30. Tales of Symphonia

The Gamecube, like the Nintendo 64 before it, was considerably lacking in the quality (and quantity) of RPGs on its platform, so when one comes along as awesome as Tales of Symphonia it really makes an impact. The art direction was excellent, but the true fun with this game is had in its unique battle system that plays out more like a real time fighting game with magic and such than your typical turn based RPG fare.

29. Dragon Warrior

This was one of the first RPGs I ever played (may have been the first), and it started my addiction to the game type. It was great... I got to battle slimes, magidrakes, and gold men! How did my main character defeat these behemoths, I’ll never know... Oh wait, I remember, it was because I was able to caste the spell “hurt more” on them! Compared to games these days, Dragon warrior looks terrible and doesn’t play too well at all. But back when I first played it, the whole “leveling up” your hero concept was new to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

28. Final Fantasy V

This game is great... But aren’t most of the Final Fantasies!? I particularly enjoyed this game’s “job type” battle engine, which was kind of a precursor to Final Fantasy Tactics’s. That alone was enough to make me like this over most of the other Final Fantasies, yes a good battle system is a must for an RPG, and a great battle system makes an otherwise good RPG excellent. Oh, and I’d like to note that X Death is the coolest villain name in any game, movie, or book to this day. I think I’ll name my children X Death, Z Death, and LL Cool Death.

27. Torchlight 2

Hey look, a Diablo “clone” that is better that the current gen Diablo game! It might not have had the so-so story that Diablo 3 did (or much of a story at all for that matter), but at least it felt like a real Diablo sequel. Both in atmosphere and in gameplay. Therefore, I am renaming Torchlight 2 to the real Diablo 3! To be fair, I haven't played D3 after any of the recent “fan service” patches, so maybe I should cut it some slack... But look, I've written an entire paragraph about the shortcomings of Diablo 3 when I should have been writing about how much of a blast Torchlight 2 was to play... Sorry Torchlight fans, but for this game to make the top 30? You should be happy (I am).

26. Bastion

So I had already decided that an Action RPG was going to be in this spot regardless of my overall list rankings. I just couldn't decide if it should be Torchlight 2 or Bastion. After deciding I loved them both [almost] equally I decided to put them both right next to each other. Bastion was praised for its excellent narration justly, but it was its combined strengths of narration, gameplay, and killer soundtrack (just youtube “Terminal March”) that put it a hair (a very thick hair) above Torchilght 2. Multiplayer would have been great, but how could ol' Rucks have narrated the goings on of two “The Kids” at the same time?! Not even I have that level of multitasking.

25. Lunar Silver Star Story

Now here is a love story I actually liked. Two very interesting characters are torn apart by a villain they thought was a “good guy.” Of course, the villain really thinks he’s doing what is right, but he is still mean for doing what he did. So of course, you have to kill him and get back your brainwashed love who is singing songs that bring destruction to the people (typical woman). Aside from all of this, the game is pretty light hearted and whimsical , and always keeps a good humor about itself. Gotta love the corny humor... Now if only we could get giant robots to fly around in. All in all, this game shows that the moon is a pretty cool place to live, and the human race should move there ASAP.

24. Kingdom Hearts 2

So the Kingdom Hearts games a very new play experience for me. I always wanted to play them as a kid because of all of the Final Fantasy elements, but then there was that whole Disney thing... I mean, some of my favorite childhood games were the Capcom made Disney games (Duck Tails, Rescue Rangers, true classics), but I believe I was in high school when the first Kingdom game came out and the thought of my friends or parents catching me playing with The Little Mermaid or anything Cinderella themed would have doomed me to the “homosexual tendencies” motif. But then I actually played the games, and yeah they were fun, minus all the Disney parts (I kid, sort of). But really, Kingdom Hearts 2... All these really unique new story experiences (I had only played the two numbered games so this was my first time meeting Roxas and Namine) and then... “Oh hey look! Donald and Goofy are back to pal around with me again...” and , “Oh look! The Little Mermaid Ariel and I are having 'lots of finny fun' in a bad musical mini game!” But really, I enjoyed this game in spite of its inherent Disnyness. The ARPG gameplay, plotline, and music were all top notch. If I didn't secretly love this game, it wouldn't be ranked so highly! Don't even start with me about “homosexual tendencies...”

23. Kingdom Hearts 1

So I played the Kingdom games back to back and there are a couple reasons why I chose game one as the better game. Firstly, two's plot was a tad bit too convoluted. I mean [spoiler alert], handsome Ansem (the boss from game one) wasn't really Ansem, but was the “Nobody” of one of the real Ansem's (i.e. Ansem the Wise) lab rat disciples. A Nobody, being a somebody with no heart that is created (as a separate entity entirely) when a person with a heart, becomes a Heartless. Our heroes Roxas and Namine being the Nobodies created when Sora removed Kairi's heart from his body with the keyblade in in game one... my head hurts. Remember how game one was kind of a straight forward save your friend save the girl plotline? That was nice... And you can't just go around creating entire new species of characters to add a new plot arc to your series (I'm also looking at you Bleach!)!n I digress, but still. If Kingdom Hearts 3 introduces a species of characters that are created when a Nobody or a Heartless gets a heart, I'll be beyond annoyed! Oh crap, that's what happens... When Roxas and Sora (as well as Namine and Kairi) merge they become an entirely new species! The Kingdom Hearts equivalent of whatever the Bleach species equivalent is (Hollow, Arrancar, Bount? I don't know!). Oh, that other reason I preferred Hearts 1 over Hearts 2... The ending song, “Simple and Clean.” Simply adorable.

22. Skies of Arcadia

The only “next generation” RPG that I’ve truly loved (author's note: part of this list are dated). This is one of the few games I’ve played where I actually spend time exploring towns and dungeons just to see all of the wonderful 3D environments. Most games I don’t even care about graphics, yet here I found myself zooming the camera in on a freaking wind mill... “It looks so neat!! Wind mill wind mill wind mill wind mill wind mill!” And then I actually “play” the game and find myself engrossed in a good plot with excellent music and “lovable” characters. And then there are these airship battles, which are superb. Much cooler than the “gear (aka giant robot)” battles in Xenosaga. I only wish this game were more ship battles, and less “normal” battles. The frequent “normal” battles are really the only downer in this game, but eventually they can be avoided (flying above the clouds) for the most part. The only thing I didn’t like about the otherwise engaging plot, is the whole “find the crystals” thing. I always hate it in an RPG when you have to find “such and such artifacts in such and such dungeons” in order to continue the story. I know that developers only put these kind of quests in a game to make it longer... But with Arcadia, it isn’t so bad, as this is kind of the main theme and it really isn’t just a gimmick. All of the characters involved in the game more than make up for the “crystal search (moonstones, whatever they were called)” hoopla, as they flesh out the “real” parts of the storyline.

21. Star Ocean 2

Don’t worry about the plot in this game (something about planets colliding, I don’t really remember), that isn’t what makes this game good. Star Ocean has what I think is the most fun “non strategy RPG” battle system I have ever used. In the battles, everything happens in realtime, and you can individually select party members to control (while the others follow the commands you gave them) and attack the enemies with. It gives this RPG the feel of a fighting game, and is a great change of pace from your typical RPG fights. The character building aspect of the game is great as well, and helps you get some good items by cooking, alchemy, etc. Now if only the game had a Xenogears quality plot and musical score, then it may have come closer to reaching my number one spot (maybe even beat out the number 1? Nah.).

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