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NeoGAF's Essential Rpgs (2011 edition)


Breath of Fire III
Chrono Trigger
Dragon Quest V
Final Fantasy VII
Star Ocean: the Second Story
Suikoden II


- Breath of Fire III: often overlooked among RPGs, this game puts you into a world that's at peace and stays so till the end. What's to do in it then? Adventuring, to learn about the world and find your purpose. The game plays slow and its mechanics are classic turn-based RPG stuff (with a good number of novelties though), but it's very immersive, with well-animated characters and great-looking special effects. Also, fishing!

- Chrono Trigger: a classic JRPG which incorporates a lot of great elements of the genre, that are often times not found in later games

- Diablo: more action game than RPG, but still uniquely great. I prefer the first to the sequel because of its atmosphere, progression (more limited, but more rewarding and varied), and because it came out 4 years before :D

- Dragon Quest V: representative of the Dragon Quest series, this one's arguably got the best plot. Challenging, immersive, with interesting characters and monsters

- Earthbound: anyone who can understand the world Earthbound represents (and pokes fun at) will enjoy this game. Excellent writing, simple yet solid game mechanics and elements often missing in modern games

- I was tempted to put in Final Fantasy VI in its place, but the influence the seventh episode of the series had on the videogame world is undeniable, good and bad. Complex yet accessible, home to many memorable characters, and an amazing effort for the time it was released

- Gothic: the first of a series known more for its bugs than its merits, unfortunately. Great sense of immersion in a cohesive world that's fun to just explore; unique setting and likable, not overplayed characters. I chose the first one instead of Gothic II because, despite being more buggy, the world in it makes more sense

- Star Ocean: the Second Story: cliché story and characters, but still interesting to follow. Great battle system and item creation mechanics. Progression is varied and challenges abound. You'll be impressed with the amount of details in things usually only found in traditional WRPGs

- Suikoden II: how to make a game with dozens of characters and make it work. Healthy mix of war, heroes, political intrigue and fantasy elements, this games captures the essence of the Chinese classic Shui Hu Zhuan pretty well (as far as I can tell) and makes it very fun to play

- Xenogears: cult classic or not, you have to give it credit for a bunch of stuff, like the great-looking scenery, the music, the combat system and the ambitious, if at times pretentious, story

Notes: Games I'm not very familiar with haven't been included, despite me knowing how influential they may be in the RPG world. Games I consider belonging to a different genre aren't listed (mainly the Zelda series)


My QB is a Dick and my coach is a Nutt
Beyond listing BG2, I don't think I could actually rank my favorite RPGs, so in no particular order...

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
I consider this to be the definitive RPG. While other games do certain things better, I don't think anything else has brought them all together into one comprehensive package like BG2. It took all of the good things from the first Baldur's Gate and improved on them a hundred fold. The writing is good and the characters are great. The world is huge, detailed, and filled with a ton of quests. The combat combat could be very challenging. Even better, it took some real strategy to defeat some of the more challenging battles in the game. I lost track of the amount of times I had to load up a save file while trying to defeat some optional dragon.

Planescape: Torment
I unfortunately missed this game when growing up, so I only finally played it a few years ago after purchasing a copy off of eBay. While the combat isn't really that good compared to BG or Icewind Dale, and honestly there are a several other issues the game suffers from, none of that really matters. The writing in this game is why I love it. Thankfully as other people have mentioned, you do more reading in this game then anything else. This is probably the one game I would hold up as an example to show that writing in videogames can be just as good as other mediums.

The Witcher
Fate seemed to do everything possible to prevent me from playing this game. The Witcher hated my SLI configuration, causing me untold grief in getting it configured so it would display correctly. One I finally got it working, my hard drive crashed as soon as I got to Chapter 2. Despite these issues, I am so glad that I decided to keep playing the game. I know the game is based on a series of (Polish?) books, but CD Pojekt did a great job in creating and realizing a darker fantasy world. Especially compared to something like Dragon Age, which to me was nothing but Tolkien with blood.

This was one of the few RPGs on consoles that pulled me in when I was a kid. The varied locals just oozed charm. I couldn't wait to see what the next zone would offer. While the combat was nothing special, the game had several memorable (as well as insane) enemies. It still drives me insane that Nintendo never brought Mother 3 over to the US.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
I unfortunately missed Daggerfall and other games in its vain. So the play style of Morrowind was a breath of fresh air for me. I loved just starting on the ship, creating a character, and being released in the world to do whatever I want. I sunk so many hours into this game. Actually, with the exception of World of Warcraft, Civ IV and maybe BGII, it might be my most played game. I still have memories of trying to sneak into Daedric shrines that I had no business being in so I could still armor that I wasn't intended to have for many levels. That or exploring cave after cave along the coast line. The world was so vibrant and interesting.

World of Warcraft
While I have tried several different MMOs, WoW is the only one I have ever found to be worth playing. And play I have... way, way too much. I have been in the game since Beta. I have taken some breaks (most of BC), but I always get dragged back. The memories of the first time I entered Westfall or my guild's first Ragnaros kill are still vibrant. The crazy thing is looking back on those times and realizing (past the nostalgia) just how much better the game is now. So much of the frustration has been removed, while the things that actually make the game fun remain.

Skies of Arcadia
I honestly have no idea why I like this game. I hate random battles with a passion and this game has them in such frequency that it is sickening. Despite that, I couldn't stop myself from playing this game. The world it created was just so enjoyable.

Mass Effect
I am a sap for pulp scifi/space opera. So saying that, I loved Mass Effect. The game has a ton of issues; the inventory system is broken, the Mako was not fun to drive, the random worlds had way too many mountains, and there was too much copy/paste in the environments. Still, the game overcame those issues. The universe it established was fantastic and just sucked me in. I beat the game on Xbox almost 5 times (one of the few games that I have every achievement for), and then went back and beat it a few more times on PC. Needless to say, I was less then pleased with the sequel, but the original I still love.

Diablo 2
Loot, loot, Battlenet, loot, and loot. What more needs to be said.

Really, you could substitute FO2 or New Vegas here too if you want. As for the original, I love the atmosphere of the game. The VATs system was really interesting and added a unique twist to the combat system. The quests were good, it was well written, and there was a really good emphasis put on player choice. I also loved how differently the game could play based on what type of character you designed.
Patryn said:
Knights of the Old Republic. It's a fairly forgiving WRPG in a familiar world with a good story.

Only problem is that the graphics look a lot more dated than the old Infinity Engine games, IMO.

I think with the wide screen hack and at a high resolution, I think the game actually stands up pretty well for it's age.


  • Chrono Trigger
  • Secret of Mana
  • The Witcher
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Valkyria Chronicles
  • Skies of Arcadia
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon's Quarter
  • Breath of Fire IV


Phantasy Star 4
Grandia 2
Final Fantasy 4
Final Fantasy 6
Lunar Silver Star Story
Shining Force 3
Shining Wisdom
Skies of Arcadia
Super Mario RPG
In no particular order

Xenogears (my top pick) : best story, favorite chara design, great music, characters I care about, good balance of cities, exploration and fighting, awesome scenes, each town with its own flavor, etc.
Suikoden 2
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII
Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song
Phantasy Star IV
Persona 3

The lack of t-rpg makes me sad but top 10 is so difficult

edit: if Shenmue 2 is considered an rpg, then Shenmue 2 instead of Persona 3


Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete - This update from Working Designs on PSone was fantastic. Working Designs introduced me to RPGs with Cosmic Fantasy 2 on TurboDuo, but Lunar: SSSC was their best translation. Magical game...

Dragon Quest IV - I love how the stories from all the characters come together. This game made me adore Torneko.

Chrono Trigger - Fucking legendary.

Persona 4 - The small town setting, the mysterious deaths, the awesome gameplay... everything. This game is a modern classic.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - I've never been so immersed in a game in my life. I remember hiding out in the shadows during a spy mission and actually feeling anxiety. I loved simply setting off on foot to discover new areas.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King - The game is so fun and charming that I was actually able to forget how much I dislike random, turn-based battles. Great story and really memorable characters.

Shenmue - Is this an RPG? I think so. Blew my fucking mind when I first played it. Its sequel is arguably better, but this game put me in a living, breathing city. Plus, I got to fulfill my dream of being a forklift driver.

Ys: Book I and II - Grand exploration, fast-paced game, and the first game that made me say, "That music is fucking amazing!"

World of Warcraft - Biggest game I've ever played. Perfect in almost every way.

Demon's Souls - The first RPG in years to actually do something new and be incredibly successful with it. One of the best overall games of this generation.


I got into rpg's kinda late, so my experience extends to maybe the last 12 years or so, in no order:

Grandia (PSX)
Loved the whimsical story, colorful world, and characters, best battle system until Tales of Symphonia/Abyss imo
Chrono Cross (PSX)
Never played Trigger, but the world and especially the music of this game blew me away, too many characters though
Pokemon Yellow (GBC)
My first and only time playing a Pokemon game, and I got totally addicted to capturing and raising Pokemon, I really did catch them all
Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)
Omg the world, the incredible music, and even the story amazed me, this is probably my all-time favorite rpg, plus I played it over Christmas break so lots of nice memories
Panzer Dragoon Saga (SAT)
Totally different rpg than anything i'd played, flying around battling with and raising your dragon was cool, the story and world reminds me of Ico somewhat (the ending especially)
Skies of Arcadia (DC)
Amazing setting and world, loved the story too, generic battle system though and tons of random battles
Phantasy Star Online (DC)
Spent 6 months of my life playing online with friends, my first online rpg experience, incredible music
Tales of Symphonia (GC)
Incredible battle system, huge world to explore, didn't really like the story though
Tales of the Abyss (PS2)
Amazing battle system (like Symphonia), liked the characters, story was alittle better, this edged out Symphonia as my favorite Tales game
Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Loved everything about this game, yes even Vaan (i went there), loved the battle system, the world, the mmorpg-lite approach to everything

If the Shenmue games are considered rpgs, then i'd like to add them too
  • Baldur's Gate II
  • Final Fantasy IV
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Persona 3 Portable
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  • Demon's Souls
  • Shining Force II
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
  • Planescape: Torment
  • Fallout: New Vegas

Let me in

In no particular order:

1. Chrono Trigger -
One of the first RPGs I ever played. It was so endearing and compelling. Everything about it came together like a perfect storm -- gameplay, music, characters.
2. Final Fantasy VI -
The beginning of the emotionally compelling and "cinematic" FFs. Uematsu's magnum opus.
3. Final Fantasy XII
Far too underappreciated. For too maligned by detractors. XII didn't make me feel like it was a chore to go around the game's world. I was compelled to explore and develop my characters. The enjoyment doubled for me with the international release.
4. Panzer Dragoon Saga
This did not reach enough people. Team Andromeda was a spectacular team. This is one of the most fun RPGs I have played. I love the battle system.
5. Xenosaga III
This is another underappreciated game. It blows away the first two in the series. I love Yuki Kajiura's soundtrack. I enjoyed grinding in this game. The battle system is quick and enjoyable.
6. Paper Mario: The Thousand-year Door
The gameplay is simple, but fun. But the dialogue, story and graphical charm make this a favorite for me.
7. Grandia II
Another RPG that sucked me in with its battle system. I loved playing this one.
8. Pokemon Red
I might have broken the game clock on this one. After I was done catching them all, I glitched the game to hell and back. Enormous fun as a kid.
9. Baten Kaitos Origins - (two points)
This game improved much over its predecessor, had a great soundtrack and a great battle system. I loved the characters and the story.
10. Chrono Cross
One of the few RPGs I have played multiple times. Different than its predecessor, not worse.


Junior Member
1. Final Fantasy IV SNES

The best RPG I've played. It combines the fantastic ATB system with simple mechanics, terrific locales, and a hugely memorable cast. Not to mention the soundtrack is amazing.

2. Suikoden II PSX

Fantastic battle system with tons of characters and combines attacks. What really makes this one stand out is the compelling battle system and fantastic scenario.

3. Soul Blazer SNES

The progression system (releasing NPCs from monster lairs) is what makes this game incredibly memorable, not to mention the fun battle system and amazing soundtrack.

4. Final Fantasy VII PSX

Haters can hate all that they want, but FFVII is a really well made game. The game may be cinematic heavy and the story convoluted, but honest to goodness the materia system is the most strategic magic/skill system the series has ever seen (and it completely blows the thoughtless Esper aspect from FFVI out of the water.)

5. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete PSX

As far as I'm concerned this is the definitive version of the game. Lunar 2 is incredible because it is one of the most charming games I've ever played, and the battle system is quite distinct and a lot of fun.

6. Skies of Arcadia DC

I've never played an RPG in which exploring is such a rush. Not only that but Skies features a very charming atmosphere along with a fun and functional battle system. Not only that, but I absolutely loved the airship battles.

7. Lunar: The Silver Star Sega CD

This is the definitive version of The Silver Star, and yes, there are huge differences between all versions of the game. While all are charming (save for the GBA and PSP remakes) this Sega CD version features the most interesting scenarios and best soundtrack of the bunch. Like Eternal Blue the battle system is quite fun and the story is a real charmer.

8. Dragon Quest III NES

I've always been a fan of the series but this is the game that turned this passion to obsession. This is simply the best game in the entire system thanks to the wonderful job system and, without spoiling anything, an incredible setting. It also features a crazy fast battle system and some pretty difficult boss encounters where you'll have to put much strategy to use. Simple an amazing game.

9. Panzer Dragoon Saga Sega Saturn

While not quite worth the steep price tag on ebay, this is the best RPG available on Sega's best console ever. Panzer Dragoon Saga is so high on my list because it features a remarkable battle system that, while completely non-traditional, is very, very engaging. I'm also a big fan of the setting and art style.

10. Grandia PSX

Grandia and Skies of Arcadia give me very similar feelings with their huge air of adventure and charming themes. Grandia ranks lower for me simply because, while it has a vastly superior battle system, exploration is quite limited. Either way it's still an amazing game.
1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
3. Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic: The Sith Lords
4. Mass Effect
5. Mass Effect 2
6. Suikoden
7. Suikoden II
8. Final Fantasy VII
9. Pokemon Soul Silver/Heart Gold
10. Fallout: New Vegas

So yeah, i guess i love Bioware. :lol


Neo Member
In no particular order:

1. Persona 4 - It did a lot of unique things that were memorable such as the small town mystery and the characters that still keep me looking fondly back on it.

2. Dragon Quest V - Similar to the above, but it's one of the only games where growing up and becoming a man is done so well. The DS version's party chat made the game for me in how it developed your family and friends.

3. Terranigma - Many older RPGs banish you from your village. Few create the sense that you're completely alone in the world the moment you leave. Emotional music as well as the storyline of reviving the Earth while trying to return home to your love, and a fun combat system makes this one a significant RPG for me.

4. Seiken Densetsu 3 - I loved Secret of Mana, I just happen to love its seemingly forever-unlocalized sequel more. 6 character choices that changed the plot to a decent extent based on who you chose for your team gave the game plenty of replay value. We lose the multiple weapon system unfortunately, but the class system makes up for it a bit. That and one of the characters is a werewolf.

5. Final Fantasy VI - Beautiful music and a memorable cast of characters is only the first few things that make this one a classic. I don't really have to say much on this entry since most savvy people already know its merits, but I always enjoyed the fact the switch in perspective halfway through the game, and the fact that there's no real main protagonist.

6. Chrono Trigger - Similar to FF6, I really don't have to say much. It did a lot of things well, and kept my attention the entire way through.

7. The World Ends with You - One of the most unique RPGs in the last few years, while also boasting a decent plot that's fairly original, as well as a very fun battle system.

8. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - Despite my first run as a Malkavian, or because of it, Vampire will remain one of those games where you can legitimately screw around within a karma system without acting like a saint or asshole. The hotel sequence using actual horror on you without trying to kill you (kind of) was a fun experience.

9. Kingdom Hearts - Despite where the series has gone since then, there is something very charming about the first one when you're just out exploring the world of Disney. Despite how silly it was, I gotta say I enjoyed hanging out with Winnie the Pooh and flying around in Neverland.

10. Live a Live - No one cares about Live a Live..... but this also unlocalized SNES RPG from Square will always remain one of my favorite RPGs. This particular RPG is just memorable in how it uses its various protagonists to define what it is that makes a hero, then subverts it at the end when you actually play as a "chosen one." Each scenario was unique from the next, some lacking combat (the future scenario), some entirely combat (the boxing scenario). With Yoko Shimomura composing, some particularly dramatic moments were made that much more awesome. The homages to anime, Alien, Spaghetti Westerns, and other movies were also a plus. The true ending is also one of my favorite endings in games (I should try out the bad end sometime......).

I do have to admit, I was tempted to add an obligatory Bioware entry, though I've only played KoTOR, Jade Empire, and Sonic Chronicles (which has soured my opinion toward Bioware in general). Decided not to mainly because I'm in the minority of preferring Jade Empire over KoTOR. I have a slight bias towards JRPGs, though I didn't list certain games like Earthbound mostly because I have yet to play them. Similar reasoning with WRPGs, and having older PC means I lose out on trying out the noteworthy rpgs of the last couple of years. Ah well, I'll get around to Planescape and Baldur's Gate one of these days...


In no particular order

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
World of Warcraft
Baldur's Gate II
Planescape Torment
Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy VI
Dark Cloud 2
Titan Quest
Dragon Quest IV


1 - The World Ends With You
2 - Final Fantasy 12
3 - Gothic 2
4 - Final Fantasy 6
5 - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicle
6 - Chrono Trigger
7 - Shadow Heart: Convinant
8 - Baten Kaitos
9 - Suikoden 5
10 - tales of Symphonia
Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistals
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy XII
Dragon Quest VIII
Dragon Quest IX
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Dragon Age: Origin
Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light - I think I'm the only one who will vote for this, but I love the game. I really like job systems and this game feels a lot like a Dragon Quest game. It feels good all around.
demon souls
vagrant story
brave fencer musashi
final fantasy 6
fallout 3
chrono cross
persona 4

most of the games on my list are just a matter of "fond memories." I doubt I'd play any of them again. I don't really play rpgs at all anymore. fallout 3 was the last one and I didn't even finish it.


Unconfirmed Member
1. Shadowrun (Genesis)
2. Shining Force 2
3. Persona 4
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
5. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
6. Grandia 2
7. Disgaea
8. Suikoden 2
9. The World Ends With You
10. Phantasy Star 4

I'll be honest, I cut a few games out because I knew they'd get enough votes without me (ex. Final Fantasy 7).


  • Chrono Trigger
  • Chrono Cross
  • Final Fantasy X
  • Final Fantasy XII
  • The Legend of Dragoon
  • The Witcher
  • Pokemon Red/Blue
  • Persona 4
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Fallout New Vegas
jeremy1456 said:
4. Final Fantasy VII PSX

Haters can hate all that they want, but FFVII is a really well made game. The game may be cinematic heavy and the story convoluted, but honest to goodness the materia system is the most strategic magic/skill system the series has ever seen (and it completely blows the thoughtless Esper aspect from FFVI out of the water.)

The problem is that the materia system removes makes all characters all but interchangeable in terms of abilities. The Esper system doesn't have that same kind of problem. So there.

Colocho said:
Final Fantasy VII - 2 points. The only really essential one for me.

Perhaps, if said person is a casual.


Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy XII
Etrian Odyssey
Pokemon Silver
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Fallout 3
Mass Effect
Super Mario RPG
Neverwinter Nights 2

Laughing Banana

Weeping Pickle
I can't understand those with "What the hell why would you like that?" attitude. Condescending crap like this always annoy me to no end.

Anyways, my vote, in no particular order (except the last one):

BREATH OF FIRE V: DRAGON QUARTER: It seems like this is the only vote this game will ever get in this thread, if not ever. Although somewhat repetitive, in my opinion the game offers fantastic experience, filled with memorable characters, touching narrative, and excellent challenge filled with lots of nail-biting encounter. Very memorable for me.

SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: DEVIL SURVIVOR: It is incredible for me personally how a portable game with such a small size can possibly more addictive than many of console/pc games out there. Excellent gameplay, excellent re-playability, excellent value. One of the best DS RPG games, bar none.

DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS: One of very few current gen games that I bother to play several times. In my opinion, this game outclasses Mass Effect by a large margin. It may not feature the most original of gameworld, but what's available in the box entices me more than many other games out there.

FALLOUT 3: Dull characters/story and bugs aside, this game is very capable in providing me a (huge) world that I can explore for hundreds of hours non stop while at the same time engaging me with its great gameplay. For me this is definitely one of the most memorable current-gen RPG available.

GRANDIA: Very few, if not straight out none, RPGs I have played managed to evoke a grand feeling of adventure as well as Grandia. Very memorable characters, simple to understand but nevertheless epic story, capable gameplay: one of Playstation's finest and a classic RPG that no one should miss.

LUNAR SILVER STAR STORY COMPLETE: If there is one word that is very apt in describing this game for me personally, it is definitely "magical." The story is simple yet fantastic, and it is filled with lots and lots of endearing characters that I loved. This is quite probably my most favorite love story ever featured in a videogame, bar none.

SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: PERSONA 4: A classic RPG package filled with great gameplay, story, and most important of all: lovable characters, which are all voiced very competently. The blend of lite-life simulator and RPG gaming is superbly done, and the various improvements made from its predecessor (which is also a great game by itself) made this an easy choice for me (I'm playing it right now, in fact)

SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: NOCTURNE: Incredible RPG with incredible atmosphere and very addicting gameplay. This is my first foray into the universe of Shin Megami Tensei, and it's an experience I will never be able to forget. A fantastic game.

SUIKODEN 2: Iffy translations aside, this is truly a fantastic RPG done right. Featuring a seamless blend of great characters, story, gameplay, and music, Suikoden 2 is a definite classic that no self-admitted RPG fans should miss. Konami really struck gold with this incredible gem.

XENOSAGA SERIES: I don't know if this is allowed or not (if not, then just count my vote to Xenosaga III), but Xenosaga series, as a whole from the very beginning until very end, is quite possibly one of the most comprehensive experience I have ever felt from any RPG, ever. Great cast of characters, great story, great music, great gameplay (except maybe the second game, which is just 'acceptable'), when I finished Xenosaga III I really felt like I just lost a dear friend. A very memorable experience that I will never, ever be able to forget. I don't care to hear any complaints: Xenosaga >>>>>> Xenogears. TWO VOTES FOR THIS ONE.


Laughing Banana said:
BREATH OF FIRE V: DRAGON QUARTER: It seems like this is the only vote this game will ever get in this thread, if not ever. Although somewhat repetitive, in my opinion the game offers fantastic experience, filled with memorable characters, touching narrative, and excellent challenge filled with lots of nail-biting encounter. Very memorable for me.
Huh? I voted for it, and I saw at least 2 other votes. It's actually quite popular on GAF, because we are awesome like that.

Laughing Banana

Weeping Pickle
Durante said:
Huh? I voted for it, and I saw at least 2 other votes. It's actually quite popular on GAF, because we are awesome like that.

Sorry, I must have missed it.

But glad there are other Dragon Quarter lovers here other than myself. It gets pretty lonely oftentimes, hahaha.


Laughing Banana said:
I can't understand those with "What the hell why would you like that?" attitude. Condescending crap like this always annoy me to no end.

I agree.

The thread is a little slower this time around, but I am hoping we can get at least 200 lists before the 24th. That will give me enough variety to make a Top 100 that isn't filled with 1 and 2 vote games in the bottom quarter.


Second-rate Anihawk
1. Baldur's Gate 2
2. Final Fantasy 6
3. Chrono Trigger
4. Earthbound
5. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
6. Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines
7. The Witcher
8. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
9. Shining Force 2
10. Fallout 2


Chrono Cross (two votes please)
Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy IX
Fallout 3
Lost Odyssey
Knight of the Old Republic
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Final Fantasy Tactics
Pokemon Red
Kingdom Hearts II


1. Planescape: Torment - Taking such a worn-out trope and turning it into (probably) the best writing in a videogame is an amazing achievement.

2. Vampire: Bloodlines - Dripping with atmosphere as well as amazing writing that gets you invested in the game.

3. Deus Ex - The nostalgia gets me through this easily, but may be hard for people new to it. The flexibility of quest design is something rarely seen.

4. Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn - All other elements of the saga had significant issues but this achieved the perfect balance of combat and story.

5. Arcanum - Hugely underrated game. The only shortcoming is the balance of the game but otherwise great. I would read books written in this setting.

6. Mass Effect - The best realised world I've seen since Arcanum. My dream is for ME3 to go back to ME1 systems a little. There is no doubt that streamlining was needed but they went too far.

7. Chrono Trigger - The pinnacle of the JRPG (for me)

8. Morrowind - I would have done so much better in highschool if not for this and Counter-Strike.

9. Diablo - Better atmosphere than the second

10. Fallout: New Vegas - What Fallout 3 should have been.

Dead Man

Great thread idea. In no particular order:

1 Fallout
2 Fallout 2 - 2 points
3 Valkyria Chronicles
4 Final Fantasy 7
5 Baldurs Gate II
6 Planescape: Torment
7 Deus Ex (not strictly a RPG, but it had enough elements to qualify if VC does)
8 Eye of the Beholder
9 Fallout 3
10 Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

I was gong to write a little bit about each one, but it would basically be the same blurb: Great game that offered amazing replay value. :D


I'm pretty sure I posted in last year's thread, but what the hell. Maybe my list changed since last.

In no particular order..

1.) Final Fantasy VI - In my eyes, this is the quintessential Final Fantasy game, let alone the quintessential RPG. Sporting some of the series' best music selection, it comes equipped with (mostly) memorable characters, one of the best villains in the entire franchise, a story that goes beyond boundaries that JRPGs typically still don't traverse, and comes with a rather well-made battle system.

2.) Chrono Trigger - You know how I said that FFVI may be the quintessential RPG in my eyes? Well... Yeah, Chrono Trigger actually makes that kind of tough. Its story may be simplistic time-travel fare, but is still a tremendously fun journey with innovations that, again, most RPGs still tend to shy away from for some reason, including multiple endings and new game +. Plus, the music is only rivaled by few, most notably its "sequel", Chrono Cross.

3.) The World Ends with You (Since this one needs it the most, TWO POINTS) - This title became Square-Enix's only, and truly unexpected gem of this generation. With a story that surprisingly becomes rather interesting and compelling despite the ensemble of everything despicable about anime these days, J-Pop and J-rock that still manages to penetrate its way into your brain regardless, and a battle system that truly utilizes the DS to its full potential in a way that has not been replicated since combined with its own unique quirks (the level slider to control exactly what level your party is at any time you wish).

4.) Valkyria Chronicles - Virtually one of the only true gems SEGA has released this generation, and it definitely is a unique take on the SRPG genre. Story is cheesy in its own right, but you cannot help but getting attached to some of these characters. And it helps that the game itself is very addicting. Graphics are definitely a plus in this situation, as the Canvas engine is really a beauty to behold. Definitely one of the finest SRPGs available.

5.) Persona 4 - I guess I could fill this entire list with Megami Tensei candidates, but I think that Persona 4 really takes the cake of the heights of the series (yes, even slightly edging out Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne). Interesting mystery premise, really memorable characters that you will become attached to, music that you'll (hopefully) remember for quite a while, and it has a really fast (difficult, but still always fair unlike some of the other titles in the franchise) battle system that makes even typical problems of turn-based combat pass by in an instant. If there's one Megami Tensei game to play, I would say that Persona 4 definitely has to be it.

6.) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Well.. this being better than anything Star Wars related in the past decade nonwithstanding, this RPG really manages to capture all of the essential elements of the Star Wars franchise while simultaneously delivering on a very well-crafted RPG title in its own right. I would say that KOTOR I is the essential choice simply because it was the title that started it all and it has one of the more popular (for better or for worst) plot twists in gaming. I'll admit that I appreciated the boundaries that KOTOR II tried to push (well.. what was actually finished, anyway), but that's another story entirely.

7.) Fallout 3 - Yeah.. I was a Fallout neophyte when I played Fallout 3. But despite its bugs, glitches, and rather lacking main campaign, there was something to love about the overall sense of freedom and desolation in the Capital Wasteland. Yeah, the actual combat components were not really up to snuff in the grand scheme of things, but what Fallout 3 succeeded in for me was the true sense of allowing role-playing in this vast wasteland. Why not New Vegas? Well, despite how New Vegas does have a better written main campaign and characters, I just appreciate the true sense of post-apocalyptia that Fallout 3 conveys in the Capital Wasteland than New Vegas with the Mojave.

8.) Panzer Dragoon Saga - Despite how you'll probably never be able to play this game without a deep wallet, divine intervention from the heads of SEGA, or less-than-savory ways found on the internet, Panzer Dragoon Saga is definitely something quite unique and unlike anything else period. Story's good, the music is very unique an immaculate, the setting manages to be quite unique in the grand scheme of things, and the battle system is... quite hard to describe. But just take my word for it; SEGA crafted a nearly flawless, timeless gem with this one.

9.) Deus Ex - Personally, I was definitely not expecting to like this game at all when I first played it. However, don't be fooled by its first person appearance; this is very much an RPG to the core with a plethora of different ways to get through each level (if you want to hack a control console, do that. lockpick? sure. Rambo? That works too). And the story is pretty delicious if you're a fan of cyberpunk settings and themes.

10.) Lunar - Eternal Blue - Glad to see there's some Lunar love here, but given how I have not played a satisfactory degree of Silver Star Story despite its many, many incarnations, I'll have to go on the one Lunar title that I did play to completion and loved: Eternal Blue. Yeah, the translation is filled with late-90s jokes that have not aged well in the slightest and the characters are about as anime-archetypal as you can get, but you'll find something to love about these characters. The battle system actually works pretty well as its not quite as simple as to make things really boring. The story itself is, again, typical, but still quite some fun to journey through and you'll witness one of the better told love stories in gaming.
1. The World Ends With You (2 points) : One of the most innovative RPGs of this generation. It does so many things right. First, there is the battle system, designed around the DS' unique features. It's tricky to grasp at first, but once it clicks it's so enjoyable to flick around the stylus with Neku while glancing at the top to create combos with his partner. Second, there is the huge amount of customization, from pins and their evolution system to the food and clothing mechanics to being able to adjust your difficulty and level on the fly. Third, there is present-day Shibuya, a unique setting for RPGs, and characters who show surprising depth and development. Moreover, there is excellently-realized post-game content with valuable rewards that flesh out the plot. I'm sorely tempted to stop writing this list now and play it again. It's that good.

2. Chrono Trigger : A towering peak among RPGs. Streamlined to perfection, smoothly leaping in and out of fast-paced battles and advancing to the next important plot point without any boring grinding or fetch quests (the ill-advised DS additions aside). An excellent soundtrack and beautiful 2D visuals create a package which has not aged a day since its release.

3. Dragon Quest V : An ambitious story of one man's journey from childhood to parenthood. Even though the mute Hero has no personality by himself, his relationship with family and friends is so well-realized that he lives through them and you through he, desiring him to establish the connections he longs for. The battle system, if standard, is well-executed with a nice monster-recruiting aspect.

4. Planescape Torment : Wow. Powerful writing, fasincating characters, involving story - its reputation as one of the heights of video game narratives is well-deserved. Amnesia is normally an excuse to give a main character a blank slate at the beginning of a game, but not here.

5. Final Fantasy IX : An homage to the sprawling epics the Final Fantasy series had created to date, and a summary of the kind of JRPG I fell in love with growing up. I'm especially fond of the cast of characters - at times humorous, at times touching - the ability system, and the massive amount of side-content. Chocobo Hot and Cold is addictive.

6. Mother 3 : Nintendo of America not localizing this is one of the great tragedies in video game history, only redeemed by a superb fan translation. Besides the moving and well-written story (amazing what a professional writer like Itoi can do for a game), the rhythm-based combat means a wealth of battle music (well-composed, I might add!) that's a welcome contrast to many RPGs.

7. Half-Minute Hero : I know this isn't just an RPG, but the RPG part is the best part. Remixes the cliches of 8-bit JRPGs into fast-paced, bite-sized chunks requiring a careful plan of attack and efficient execution. Very replayable, since there are many possible approaches to each segment. At once a tribute and a breakthrough.

8. Valkyria Chronicles : Interesting mix of turn-based and real-time gameplay. Potentials and tiny voice clips reveal each character's distinct personality in battle, even though most of them have no plot time. The plot itself, despite underdeveloped villians, holds your attention mostly due to the good characterization of Squad 7. Great visual style too.

9. ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery) : My first stab at a roguelike, before I knew what a roguelike was, and it was punishing. I wasn't used to having my save erased when I died, and always kept a backup save in another folder. Even when I was failing, though, I was still enjoying it. Incredibly deep with an expansive world filled with content.

10. Super Mario RPG : As my first RPG, this is my nostalgia choice. There have been great Mario RPGs since, but none that married the classic Squaresoft feel with Mario whimsy. Still holds up today.

There are many RPGs I haven't played yet, so don't take this as a top-ten of all time list. I think everyone mildly interested in RPGs ought to at least try out these ten titles, though.
Final Fantasy VII
Deus Ex
Final Fantasy XII
The World Ends With You
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Chrono Cross
Valkyria Chronicles
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Demon's Souls
Persona 4


1. Deus Ex (two points)
2. Mass Effect
3. Final Fantasy VII
4. Final Fantasy VIII
5. Final Fantasy XIII
6. Enchanted Arms
7. Final Fantasy X
8. Mass Effect 2

Top points for Deus Ex as it's one of the best games ever made. The shooting mechanics and graphics are as shite now as they were on release but all other aspects - the environments, the score, the story, the dialogue, etc. - are timeless perfection.

The Mass Effects and Final Fantasies are well-known enough so I'll just say that I disagree entirely with the widely held notion that Mass Effect 2 was an inherently superior sequel. Great game but a definite step down. And with regard to the Final Fantasies, I missed out on all the pre-PS1 titles first time around and haven't managed to get into them since, didn't enjoy the entries that lacked a sci-fi angle and detest MMOS. All the rest were ace.

It's probably a waste of time recommending Enchanted Arms as anyone with enough investment in JRPGs to bother with it will probably have already tried it (and probably hated it, given the general reception at the time) but I really enjoyed it. The story was silly but enjoyable enough, it featured some nice locations and I felt the odd, shape-puzzle battle system had a certain strategic elegance to it.


1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (2votes)
2. World of Warcraft
3. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
4. Mass Effect 2
5. Fallout 3
6. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
7. Dragon Age: Origins
8. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
9. Golden Sun
10.Pokemon Red/Blue


I am not an rpg gamer, but I love some of the few I have completed so I will vote:

1. Earthbound
2. Mother 3
3. Dragon Quest 5 (DS)
4. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
5. Demon's Souls
6. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
7. Paper Mario
8. Paper Mario 2
9. Fire Emblem 7
10. Final Fantasy VI (GBA)

If the list was longer it would be filled with other DQ games (III, IV, VIII) and more Nintendo RPGs (Pokemon something, Mario & Luigi 3, Fire Emblem 9 and 10).

(maybe not the thread to ask, but I would like to know (maybe via PM) which RPGs should I try if I love the ones mentioned above but get bored by almost everything else I have tried, usually due to excesive cutscenes or overdone scenarios and characters, and/or due to gameplay complexity (not challenge, but complexity in the systems used)).


1) Star Ocean: The Second Story. Two points (Playstation 1 original version, because the PSP remake is ass.)

2) Persona 4.

3) Suikoden 2.

4) The World Ends With You.

5) Final Fantasy 7

6) Xenogears

7) Legend of Dragoon

8) Breath of Fire 4

9) World of Warcraft

10) Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

There's so so many others you can list, and in my list I tried to think of games where someone playing them now could appreciate what it is they do so right. All of these games I feel still hold their own, even though some are more fairly new. I was also thinking what WRPGs are 100% must plays for RPG fans, but even when I think of the good ones they don't hold a candle to what these 10 and some others do so well.

Different strokes for different folks though. Oh and I should point out while my three favorite Final Fantasies are 9, 5, and 11 I don't feel any of those 3 are as ESSENTIAL as FF7 is. Not because, FF7 was a better game to my likings, but because of what it did for the genre at the time and how the following/hype behind it is still insane. You'd do yourself a great injustice saying you are a RPG fan without going through it entirely so you can at least understand WHY someone would love it so much. Just my 2 cents on it.


1. Chrono Trigger
2. Skies of Arcadia (Legends)
3. Mass Effect
4. Deus Ex
5. Gothic
6. Final Fantasy VII
7. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
8. Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals
9. Icewind Dale
10. Persona 4

While I think that Chrono Trigger is the pinnacle of jrpg, I give my 2 points to Skies of Arcadia, as this game holds a special place in my collection.


is beloved, despite what anyone might say
stalker said:
I am not an rpg gamer, but I love some of the few I have completed so I will vote:

1. Earthbound
2. Mother 3
3. Dragon Quest 5 (DS)
4. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
5. Demon's Souls
6. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
7. Paper Mario
8. Paper Mario 2
9. Fire Emblem 7
10. Final Fantasy VI (GBA)

If the list was longer it would be filled with other DQ games (III, IV, VIII) and more Nintendo RPGs (Pokemon something, Mario & Luigi 3, Fire Emblem 9 and 10).

(maybe not the thread to ask, but I would like to know (maybe via PM) which RPGs should I try if I love the ones mentioned above but get bored by almost everything else I have tried, usually due to excesive cutscenes or overdone scenarios and characters, and/or due to gameplay complexity (not challenge, but complexity in the systems used)).

Hmm, based on what you're looking for - non complex, not too challenging, briskly-paced RPGs, I'd recommend Chrono Trigger, Lufia II (especially if you like puzzles), Phantasy Star IV, Breath of Fire 3, and the Lunar series.


SalsaShark said:
edit: Diablo II isnt an RPG guys.

Funny how a non-RPG made it into the top 10 of last year's list. -_-

Anyways, it's kinda hard to rank the games in any particular order, but this is what I came up with.

1 - Chrono Trigger

Not only the greatest RPG ever, but I consider it the single greatest video game ever made. Everything about the game is amazing - the characters, storyline, graphics, battle system, and the greatest video game soundtrack ever made.

2 - Planescape: Torment

The deepest, most complex storyline ever written for a video game. I mean nothing even comes close. Plus, the characters are creative and brilliant. Sick of playing RPGs with humanoid characters or the occasional elf? How about a smartass, floating skull? Too cool.

3 - Final Fantasy 3/6

Another one of the old SNES RPGs that made me fall in love with the genre. Awesome storyline and characters, plus one of the greatest main villians ever created.

4 - Diablo 2

I don't think I've spent more hours in a video game than I have in Diablo 2. Each of the characters was fun to play in their own unique ways. This is the game that made me an addict of the loot-whore "genre."

5 - Baldur's Gate 2

As great as the first Baldur's Gate is, the second is just better in every way. I'll never get sick of the complex nature of the character relationships. The fact that an evil-aligned character and a good-aligned character could eventually get sick of each other and actually fight to the death is just an incredible concept.

6 - Dark Cloud 2

While the storyline wasn't the greatest, the gameplay really shined in this one. I loved the random dungeons and combat system, and if I ever needed a break from that, why not golf through the map you just fought your way through, or go fishing?

7 - Pokemon Red/Blue

No matter what kind of faces make when I bring up the Pokemon series, I will always defend it to the death for being a fantastic set of RPGs. I was so proud of myself when I got my Charizard to level 100. :D

8 - Shining Force 2

My favorite game on the Genesis, and the game that made me fall in love with the SRPG genre. Some of the coolest playable characters, too, like Peter the phoenix and Slade the ninja rat.

9 - Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

I loved the challenge that this game brought, plus the variety of badass demons were so damn cool. I love how twisted the game is.

10 - Demon's Souls

Light on story but super heavy on the gameplay, I loved the game so much that I played up to New Game++++, and I probably would've continued playing through the game if I didn't have such a huge backlog.

Honorable Mention - Phantasy Star 4

Probably my second favorite Genesis game, this was another absolutely fantastic RPG in every aspect.

Honorable Mention - Super Mario RPG

I probably played some RPGs on NES (I was too young to remember), but Super Mario RPG is the game that got me into RPGs, and while it may not be in my top 10, it's close.

I know I'm probably forgetting something important, but whatever.


As in "Heathcliff"
1. Chrono Trigger - You can't deny that it is one of best rpg of SNES era.

2. Final Fantasy VI - one of classic rpg for snes. I remembered I had hard time with it because it was my first rpg. :lol evenly, I returned it to blockbuster but later on, I finally understood and finished it.

3. Super Mario RPG - From my opinion, I think this is one of great rpg for few reasons. Also it is great rpg to train kids to play traditional game. Simple and Fun.

4. Breath of Fire II - I remembered I picked this game up and I had a lot of fun with this game. Figure out all of shamans combined by yourself is a lot of fun.

5. Final Fantasy IX - Easily one of best ps1 ff game. I remembered my mother made mistake not buying PS2, and got PS1 and FF9 instead due to babbages worker. I think it is one of best mistake ever. (also it rekindled my RPG passion)

6. Lunar - one of great game that I played. I was disappointed with PSP remake, and they made remake way too easy and buggy.

7. Tales of Abyss - the game that i have been replayed more than 3 times with friends. It was a lot of fun to make combo with friends and trying to break the record. The story was great.

8. Tales of Vesperia - very vibrant game. one of beautiful current-gen traditional rpg that i enjoyed the game. My friend and I picked this game up and played the game. I wish that they bring Tales of Grace to US.

9. Final Fantasy Tactic - One of few tactic game that I enjoyed and completed.

10. Final Fantasy XI - I think it is one of the best final fantasy game in series, but I am not sure if MMORPG count in this list. It actually made me felt that I am in fantasy world and I can be someone else. Traveling around the world and viewing the beautiful scene, and fighting against the monsters with friends. What else could you ask for in this game?

Honorary mention:
Skies of Arcadia
Golden Sun 1 and 2
Secret of Mana
Lufia 1 and 2
Thousand Arms
Tales of Symphonia
Final Fantasy 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10
Lunar 2
Grandia series
Breath of Fire 3 and 4
Dark Cloud 1 and 2
Chrono Cross
Star Ocean series
Dragon Quest 8
Pokemon Series (expect Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald)
Kingdom Heart (Shoot, I forget about this series but if FFXI don't count on the list then I will replace with Kingdom Heart 1)


The Witcher, PC
-> Gametraielrs review said it best with "very few games even attempt this level of depth."

Skies of Arcadia, Dreamcast (later Ported to GameCube)
-> Wonderful, unique world; fun battle system, enjoyable story. Loaded with anime/JRPG cliche, but it does everything so well that it doesn't even matter.

Final Fantasy IV (SNES as "Final Fantasy II," also ported to PSX in "FInal Fantasy Chronicles;" script and visuals touched up and ported to GBA, full-out 3D remake appeared on DS. Soon, a new 2D version will also be on PSP.)
-> Has been called "the birth of the story-driven RPG." This one is a true classic for a good reason. Every aspect of the game is high-quality for RPG veterans and genre newbs alike.

Valkyria Chronicles, PS3 (*DOUBLE VOTE*)
-> After over a decade of same-y grid-based combat with few exceptions, Valkyria Chronicles redefined the tactical RPG subgenre. An instant classic in a world where I hate the phrase "instant classic."

Breath of Fire III, PSX (later ported to PSP in Europe and Japan)
-> I'm playing this game right now, for the 4th time since its 1998 release and wow, everything still holds up. Some of its systems are pure genius.

Final Fantasy VII, PSX (later ported to PC and released digitally on PSN)
-> Don't hate. :(

Mother 3, GBA
-> The fact that this didn't come out stateside is a real shame. Wonderful battles and a surprisingly strong story.

Final Fantasy XII International: Zodiac Job System, PS2 (Japan only)
-> Final Fantasy XII was the best FF game on PS2 when it came out -- and the best in the series since FF6. But the International version with its modified interface and growth system made the game so much more awesome.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, PC/360/PS3
-> Extremely immersive, deep, addicting, and engaging. You'll get really wrapped up in developing your skills and always wanting to explore every inch of the land.

Odin Sphere, PS2
-> The way the story is laid out is amazing. It has unique gameplay and beautiful visuals.


1 more day to get your lists in if you want to participate. Going to start tallying results and writing up game summaries over the Xmas break.

Thanks to those participating. We may have less lists in general, but well over half of you are including some reasoning behind your picks. Last year that was more like 10%.

Still debating whether it is kosher to include a list of my own.


Strap on your hooker ...
  • Persona 4
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • Earthbound
  • Mass Effect
  • Final Fantasy V
  • Fallout 3
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant
  • Brave Story: New Traveler - The story's not much to write home about (it's got that sort of Dragon Quest thing going on; simple, but idyllic), but a great battle system with team-up attacks like Chrono Trigger, a robust item-combining mechanic, enjoyable side-quests, and just being such a god-dang pretty game kept me hooked. Deserves extra credit for being one of the few modern RPGs that keeps closer to the woefully abandoned 8/16-bit era runtimes the genre used to enjoy; I 100%ed it in a bit over 30 hours. Grossly underloved.
  • Dragon Quest V DS


I'm going to close of the voting part of this thread in a few hours, so this is your last chance to participate if you want to add a list.

Thanks to the 175 people who have shared their thoughts so far!


Top 10 Essential Final Fantasy titles by votes so far:

1) Final Fantasy 6 - 64
2) Final Fantasy 7 - 37
3) Final Fantasy Tactics - 25
4) Final Fantasy 9 - 22
5) Final Fantasy 12 - 20
6) Final Fantasy 4 - 17
7) Final Fantasy 10 - 17
8) Final Fantasy 5 - 8
9) Final Fantasy 8 - 5
10) Final Fantasy 13 - 2

Anything not on the list received one vote or less. Final Fantasy 2 and Final Fantasy XIV were the only two numbered games to receive 0 votes.


Crap, almost forgot about this. But good call on having a new one, as my list is slightly different from last year.

In no order and 50-50 split between j-rpgs and w-rpgs.

Shin Megami Tensei : Nocturne
Mother 3
Vampire : Bloodlines
Fallout 1
Baldurs gate 2
Planescape torment
Icewind dale
Chrono trigger
Final Fantasy IX


Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter
Dragon Quest 3
Final Fantasy VIII
Dark Cloud 2
Legend of Mana
Mass Effect

Notable mentions
Vampire the Masquerade
Secret of Mana
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
Tales of Destiny Remake
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