40. Shining Force
Unfortunately, I never got to enjoy this gem back in the heyday of the Sega Genesis, and was forced to play it through for the first time on the Wii Virtual Console. Although a certain amount of the game's “magic” is taken away when played on such an emulator, it was still a blast to play, especially whilst inebriated with my roommate who actually did play this one in its heyday! One of these days I'll play the sequels (spoiler alert, they're not on the list).
39. Pokemon Blue/Red
Here it is, the game that started the Pokemon craze that never really ended. Finally kids could play with their pocket monster in public and no one would freak out! I was just about too old for this one when it came out, but the gameplay was super addictive and I just couldn't stop playing and trying to catch more Pokemon... I would probably play the sequels today, but a grown man playing with his pocket monster in public is somehow wrong.
38. Final Fantasy XII
Oh look, there's another Final Fantasy game on my list (get used to it)! This one took the opposite approach that Final Fantasy X took, focusing on non-linear exploration as opposed to the “you only have one way to go” gameplay that made X a worse game than it should have been. Unfortunately, the so so plot and character depth hold this game back from ranking as high as the earlier entrees in the series (list spoiler alert). Though the character depth was lacking the exploration and excellent MMOish battle system did make this game highly enjoyable, and I really liked the fear that a super overleveled monster could show up at any time and wipe out my party.
37. Saga Frontier
I think most people who played this game didn’t like it. I know it usually got “average” reviews, with most gamers just not liking the non linear style of play. But I loved it... You could pick one of many characters to start the game with (I went for the robot first, yay!), and then after a little bit of their intro story, you could go pretty much anywhere. Most of the dungeons in the game had monsters that would be different depending on how strong your party is, so you could play them in pretty much any order you choose. None of this “you HAVE to go to this town to confront this villain” nonsense. Go where you want... More RPGs should be like this (Final Fantasy X could learn something from this game)!! I enjoyed the battle system as well, which basically thrived on team combos. Certain characters were better at certain types of skills, and would learn the next one in the series much faster; you really just used skills over and over again until a little light bulb shines over your character’s head and they do a stronger skill. That light bulb and its accompanying noise were so satisfying. Like when a starving child gets prime rib for dinner (or dinner at all for that matter)!
36. Breath of Fire 3:
This is another more “traditional RPG,” but I found it fun to play as well. Sure the plot kind of sucked, the music wasn’t that great, etc, but it had a kind of charm that made me want to keep playing. I mean how many games let your main character change into different dragons (besides Monopoly)?! The mini games were pretty entertaining too, and I usually don’t include a games “mini games” in my comments on it. But, this game’s are just so fun to play! I especially enjoyed the fishing one. Gotta... catch em’ all.
35. Disgaea 2
A sequel to a game that may or may not appear somewhere on my list, this one brought even more fiendish level grinding to the game, but with slightly less engaging characters and less novelty than its predecessor (which... probably will arrive on my list at some point).
34. Diablo 3
Diablo 3! Finally another Diablo game! Oh what great loot based fun was had with this one. For some reason though it didn't really have the staying power for me that Diablo 2 did (list spoiler). Maybe it was the overhaul of the skills based system removing some of the uniqueness of peoples builds that were found in the earlier games. Regardless, I still enjoyed it for a full one and a half time play through at least.
33. Star Wars: The Old Republic
I don't know why, but for some reason I've never really been able to get into MMORPGs, try as I might (I'm looking at you World of Warcraft). This one however was made by Bioware and set in the Star Wars universe, so it held my attention much much longer. Maybe it's the whole monthly subscription thing that holds me back from enjoying these sorts of games more. Regardless of my mostly negative feelings towards the MMORPG genre, this game was still a lot of fun to play, mostly because it was extremely satisfying to be an arsehole of a Sith Inquisitor.
32. Phantasy Star IV
A great “old school” RPG that had some cool innovations that were ahead of its time. Like these customizable macro skills that let you program in a series of attacks you wanted to use so that you only had to click one button to use the whole string of them in the future. A good idea, and it surprises me that more RPGs don’t use it. It also had cool vehicle battles that I hadn’t seen in any game afterwards until Xenogears. The style of animation here is vibrant, and brings the interesting cast of characters to life. Lutz and Zio of course being the coolest, gotta love the wizards; even when they aren’t wearing cool pointy hats. Oh, and Dark Falz should have been the main character...
31. Wild Arms
I found this game pretty darn entertaining, even though it isn’t the greatest RPG out there. The battle system and all of that is strictly your “traditional RPG” fare, but I really liked the whole usage of tools feature. It made the game feel a bit like Zelda, finding certain tools to help me traverse the many dungeons (which are some of the greatest I’ve played through in an RPG). There are some fiendish little puzzles here too, and not all of them have to do with pushing boxes or throwing barrels (got 5 Zenny!). Oh and you get to explore the world map to “The Ecstasy of Gold” song, how cool is that?
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