The 20 Best RPGs Ever!

20. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

This was the first Shin Megami game I played all the way through. Way back in my earlier RPG days I remember, I think it was Game Informer Magazine, gave some “Persona Revelations” game a ridiculously high rating. I played it... loved the battles and how you could talk the enemy monsters into joining you, but absolutely hated the claustrophobic corridor first person camera view and quit playing. But recently, I've stumbled upon many top RPG lists praising the merits of the Persona games. So when I stopped by my local Gamestop and found a used copy of Devil Survivor, I assumed this was the series I was meant to play. And it was, sort of. I learned it wasn't a Persona game, but played a lot like it. The gameplay was amazing (think Pokemon meets Final Fantasy Tactics), the characters were interesting, and the plot was superb (like end of time shiz). Oh, and the music! There were a lot of “metal” style ditties, like this one with unintelligible lyrics that went something like:

“Dun dun dun dun dun... More killing. Dun dun dun dun dun Bilbob... Dun dun dun dun dun Bilbob? That's right it's a Bilbob, get wild with a Bilbob, getting crazy with a Bilbob. That's right it's fresh. Dun dun dun dun dun...”

Huh? Oh well, the game was fun and even though it was ridiculously difficult at times, the demon fusion system allowed for you to create far more powerful demons by meddling with your current roster of the dears.

19. Final Fantasy VI

Ahh... Final Fantasy VI. Many peoples’ favorite RPG, and often referred to as the “greatest RPG of all time!” I loved playing this game, yes, but I don’t think it was as good as all the “hype” led me to believe. Honestly, I liked Final Fantasy V and VII much better (list spoiler alert). But now that I am done degrading the game, I will tell some of the reasons why it really is a very good game regardless of my lack of favor. For one, it had a pretty darn cool storyline, up until about the halfway point in the game, and then it kind of stagnated. Pretty much, as long as Kefka was running around causing trouble, the plot would move along. But after he made a little lair to “chill out” in, not much happened. I did like the whole Esper plot line though, and the “almost” complete destruction of the world was pretty cool too. For me, the best part of this game was its overall atmosphere. The kind of worn down towns (Narshe), and beautiful music always put me in the mood... to explore! Overall, a very satisfying game to play (albeit a bit overrated). But Final Fantasy fanatics don't hate me too much, it did make the top 20 list!

18. Fallout 3

If there is one thing I learned from Fallout 3, it's that it's always okay to brutally murder someone as long as they are a “bandit.” First Person Shooters are typically hit or miss with me, but add RPG elements to one and you've got me hooked. Bethesda did just that, as well as creating a very real post apocalyptic Washington DC world inhabited by those aforementioned bandits, many super mutants, and by far the worst enemy, radroaches. Thankfully the Lone Wanderer is there to brutally murder all of these abominations and set out in Daddy's footsteps to [sort of] fix the world. Oh, and it's always satisfying to snipe someone's head off with the cool zoomed in killshot this game provides. If I survive nuclear warfare, I promise to never be a bandit... I'm already a Super Mutant, so there's no helping that.

17. Persona 4

This game is about a sad and lonely bear monster with existential issues! Is he a depressed and hollow bear monster? Or maybe a pervy boy that came out of a depressed and hollow bear monster? Perhaps he's really a young blond girl... does he even exist at all?! Ok, so that's not the main plotline, but you get that this is very much a JRPG

Yes, I know this is in the one or two spot on all of you JRPG fans top lists, but I think it belongs in this spot (at least to me). I'm going to diss on the game a bit before I praise it... Don't get angry (I know you already are), but just know that it has its faults that keep it out of my top 10. For starters 6 hours... That's how long it takes before you have any kind of battle (I don't count the one the protagonist has in his sleep) or dungeon. Really? I appreciate the sim elements of this game, and had enough fun with it starting out to finally get me to the gameplay aspects of the game, but I can see how many Western RPG fans would probably drop this game at the hour and a half mark. Now the praise (hey it still ranked highly!)! The gameplay itself is terrific, and the sim elements of building your friendships and relationships in order to acquire stronger personas is deeply satisfying. Knowing that even if one boss or dungeon rocks you, that you can always just go to the Velvet Room and fuse some badass overpowered demon (er... persona) is an experience that I've really enjoyed in this game. And though the sim elements have a positive affect on battles, it's still the experience of watching the characters' connections grow that is the most rewarding experience in this game. Just... be sure to give the game a good 6 hours before you throw it away WRPG fans. Oh yeah, and the music is great too (the game even came with a partial soundtrack)!

16. Fire Emblem Awakening

It's Fire Emblem Awakening! It's cool, it's fun! It's a strategy RPG that has you caring about every character, because when they die, there's no bringing them back... Yep, no phoenix downs in this one, just your reset button! And why do you care about every character? Because they fight for you, they might even marry you or each other and start a whole new family of characters that you can make fight for you. Just... be aware that you can even talk to enemies on the battlefield that are apprehensive of their own commanders' choices. Yes, there were playable characters in the first few battles that died permanently because I didn't realize my main character could talk then into fighting for me instead of against me. What lineages did I sever? Guess I'll have to replay the game to find out! My only complaint about the battle system (which is essentially a modern gorgeous Shining Force) is that the ranged attacks just aren't very... ranged. Maybe this was an intended design situation to bring characters you care about into the thick of battle where they might/will die? But still, I miss the Final Fantasy Tactics style spells where I can have a character attack comfortably from the other side of the game screen. Which is kind of ironic because if a black mage or calculator somehow dies in battle I can just... make another one. Whereas poor Meriel just dies... for good. But there is that reset button.

15. Xenoblade Chronicles

So people throw around the word “epic” a lot in reviews, but that is really the best word to describe Xenoblade. Yes, Xenoblade is the most epic [non-mmo] RPG I have ever played. Not only does it take an epic amount of time to beat (I thought I was near the end at the 70 hour mark, but I had crossed 100 before I was finished), but there is also an epic amount of quests to complete, not to mention the most epic ending revelations. Epic! Oh, but if I have to say something bad about the game (and I don't... but will), I did find the non player controlled AI a little retarded. Like why were my party members suiciding themselves into deadly poison filled waters while I'm clearly trying to coax a boss into a safe zone? Oh, and the camera was horrible... Still though, epic game!

14. Guild Wars 2

Okay, so when I wrote that I couldn't really get into MMORPGs, there is one exception to the rule, and that is Guild Wars 2! Yes, I put over 200 hours into this one and loved every second of it. I think mostly I liked the weapons based skill system, as it seemed I was always unlocking a cool new skill just by fighting. Also, a lot of the “chore” based gameplay from games like World of Warcraft is removed, such as having to talk to an NPC to get a quest and then kill such and such amount of bears and then trek all the way back to the NPC to collect your reward. Here, its all done for you. You simply kill bears and whatnot at your leisure and if it happens to align with a quest's objectives, you get that reward without all of the tedious backtracking. Hard core WoW players might scoff at this concept, but I loved it...

13. Super Mario RPG

One of the first RPGs I ever played, and I thought it was so freaking great that I scoffed at the magazine Game Pro for putting RPGs above it on its 100th issue top-ten RPG list... Now if I hadn’t decided to try some of those games, then I would have never been introduced to certain games that may end up on this list somewhere. But alas, Super Mario RPG is an excellent game, but my only complaint is that it is a bit too easy to beat. I didn’t care the first time I played this game though, as I was in love (married and later divorced) with it. Its perfect blend of RPG gameplay and Mario style platforming left me excited and flabbergasted (oh yeah!). I had never felt so alive as the first time I Geno Blasted a Koopa Troopa in the face. And we all know Geno was the coolest character in the game (excepting maybe Frogfucius). And the story here is pure genius, a gigantic sword (presumably from space?) flies through Star Rode breaking it into pieces that rain down on the “Earth” or whatever the Mario world is called (not all of it is the Mushroom Kingdom dangit!). So naturally Mario and all of the good pals he meets in his journey have to collect the star pieces so that Star Road can be repaired. It is like a celestial jigsaw puzzle, and the gamer is a crack and puzzle addicted old man (or woman). Oh, and you’ve got to kill that sword and the “evil Smithy dude” inside of it too... you wouldn’t want them poking any more planets.

12. Dragon Age Origins

Violent and bloody RPG awesomeness! This game had one of the most enjoyable battle systems I've experienced in an RPG. But what really made this game stand out for me was the superb character interactions and dialogue. Another game where choices matter and ultimately change the game's direction.

11. Disgaea

Probably the most “hardcore” strategy RPG I've ever played, in which you can actually level up your characters to level 9999! Any RPG fan's dream (or nightmare)! There was also a deep item world where every item you acquire in the game can be entered, fought through, and leveled up. Then there was the equally fun Dark Assembly senate thing where you could bribe the other senators to pass bills that unlock characters and whatnot. Also, the game oozes personality, and is easily one of the most amusing games I have ever played.

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