NeoGAF's Essential RPGs - 2013 edition - Top 100 results posted


Welcome to the fourth annual update of NeoGAF's essential RPG list.

As it has been every year, the purpose of the essential RPG thread is to help people find great games that they might not have heard of previously, and to remind people of the classics they never got around to playing. It doesn't matter if you are new to the genre or are a seasoned member of RPG GAF, there is probably something out there that is new to you. It's not a secret that review aggregates like Metacritic or Gamerankings do a poor job at assessing roleplaying games, as mainstream review scores (and overall coverage) correlate heavily with marketing budgets that RPGs often lack. Word of mouth consensus from GAF can be better, but you have to do more digging and (again) most discussion tends to be about the big franchises. These voting threads are a great place to collect a diverse array of opinions from a large number of GAFers.

Below, you will find profiles of the Top 50 most recommended games by the 205 posters who participated in the voting stage of this thread. Each profile will give a short (spoiler-lite) game summary, information on the game's relative cost and length, and links to gameplay videos and soundtrack samples. Because aggregate lists often lose the personal touch of individual recommendations, you are highly incouraged to read through the individual recommendations that follow this list in the thread!​

GAME RANKING METHOD: Each voter was allowed to choose up to 10 RPGs, and 5 additional honorable mentions, that they felt were must play games. Votes were ranked using a semi-weighted scale, where regular votes were worth 2 points and honorable mentions worth 1 point. Each poster was also given the option to highlight a single game on their list for one extra bonus point (giving it 3 points in total). In instances where two or more games in the Top 50 had an equal number of points, the number of 3-point highlights a title received was used as a tie breaker. Failing this, the game with the fewest number of honorable mentions was listed first.​

Summary: Chrono Trigger is a turn-based RPG following a group of time-travelling adventurers who venture throughout different eras to prevent a catastrophic future from occurring. It is a collaborative effort between several game designers: Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii, Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama, and many others. Chrono Trigger was considered one of the revolutionary games of its time, featuring multiple endings, a new game+ feature that allowed players to use powered up characters from previous playthroughs, and detailed character sprites and backgrounds. Chrono Trigger also featured a unique spin on the Active Time Battle system found in Final Fantasy titles. In the ATB 2.0 system, battles now take place on the field and AoE attacks/positioning matter. 13 years after release, the game was ported to the Nintendo DS and included an extra story scenario. Both genre veterans and newcomers will find that Chrono Trigger offers them something special in terms of narrative and game structure.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Corridors of Time, Undersea Palace, Memories of Green

Summary: Persona 4 is a turn-based RPG which follows the main protagonist (named by the player), a city boy who moved to the countryside for a year to stay with his uncle. However, he soon realizes that the small town of Inaba isn’t what it seems to be on the surface, as there is a rash of mysterious murders during his stay. He and his friends are gifted with the power to summon Personas, and they decide to investigate the murders together. Persona 4 blends traditional dungeon-crawling with simulation elements such as befriending others to unlock new Personas or enhancing personal stats. It also features the One More Battle system. If the player hits an enemy with an element it is weak against, they may take another turn (sometimes leading to an All-Out attack involving the entire party). Persona 4 received an enhanced port on the Vita with substantial additions including extra Social Links, new ally follow-up attacks after All-Out Attacks, a new dungeon, new story scenes, and other enhancements.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Signs of Love, Secret Base, I'll Face Myself

Summary: Parting from the series’ traditional medieval fare, Final Fantasy VI is set in a fantasy world with a technology level equivalent to that of the Industrial Revolution. The game's story focuses on a group of rebels seeking to overthrow an imperial dictatorship. Final Fantasy VI features fourteen playable characters, the most of any game in the main series, and the turn-based Active Time Battle system that is a signature of the series. In another departure from what came before, Final Fantasy VI was the first game in the series to be directed by someone other than series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi; the role was filled instead by Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Itō. Yoshitaka Amano, a long-time contributor to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the image and character designer, while regular composer Nobuo Uematsu wrote the game's renowned score, which has been released on several soundtrack albums.

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Soundtrack Selections: Devil's Lab, Terra's Theme, Decisive Battle

Summary: Xenoblade is a highly acclaimed JRPG created by Monolith Soft and is the spiritual successor to Xenogears and Xenosaga. The game features Shulk, a boy wielding a special blade called the Monado. Banding together with a group of his friends, Shulk sets out to destroy the terror known as Mechon that threaten their world. The game features an MMO-style, cooldown-based combat system with huge open worlds for players to immerse themselves in. Xenoblade also features an expansive soundtrack featuring popular composers such as ACE+ and Yoko Shimomura.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Gaur Plains, Parting, and..., Colony 9

Summary: Dark Souls is the thrilling action RPG follow up to Demon’s Souls by From Software. Dark Souls expands upon the core philosophy of Demon's Souls and delivers a horrifying adventure through sewers and hauntingly beautiful castles filled to the brim with traps and deadly monsters. These various locales are all connected, creating a huge open world for players to explore. You will fight to fulfill your destiny in the mystical land of Lordran, using real-time melee attacks, magic, and other means. The game is noted for its extreme difficulty and may test your abilities as a player.

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Soundtrack Selections: Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, Taurus Demon, Trailer music

Summary: Planescape: Torment takes place in Planescape, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) fantasy campaign setting. The game's engine is a modified version of Bioware’s Infinity Engine, which was also used for the Baldur's Gate series. Planescape: Torment is primarily story-driven, and combat is given less prominence than was typical for 1990s era computer RPGs. The protagonist is an immortal who has lived many lives that he can no longer remember, to the point that he even forgot his own name. Following this Nameless One, you will journey throughout the city of Sigil and other planes to reclaim the memories of his previous lives. The game was not original a commercial hit but it received widespread critical praise and has since become a cult classic. Planescape: Torment is lauded for its immersive dialogue, and original setting. The protagonist also has a unique persona, which shirks many characteristics of traditional role-playing heroes.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, Mortuary Theme, Annah's Theme

Summary: An homage to the Final Fantasy titles prior to FFVII, Final Fantasy IX is a whimsical journey following Zidane and his merry crew of misfits and crazies. At times the game borders on being a parody of the genre as Zidane sets off to fix a land filled with tyranny, attempting to bring some sense into the country’s queen. Final Fantasy IX utilizes the turn-based Active-Time Battle system that is signature to the series. Each character has their own set of skills and special abilities (known as Trances) giving you a ton of options to customize your play style. Add in the wonderful soundtrack by Nobou Uematsu and Final Fantasy IX is a recipe for both nostalgic and newborn RPG joy.

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Soundtrack Selections: Black Mage Village, Freya's Theme, Crossing Those Hills

Summary: The first 3D entry in the series, Final Fantasy VII continues the change in focus started in Final Fantasy VI by throwing the player into a modern and technologically-advanced world. Instead of wyverns and bows, you find yourself facing helicopters and guns. Final Fantasy VII puts you into the shoes of Cloud Strife, a mercenary who is reunited with his childhood friend when he joins the eco-terrorist organization, AVALANCHE. Cloud and the other members of AVALANCHE set off to stop the Shin-ra Electric Company from draining the world of Mako energy, the life-source of the planet. FF7 uses the Active-Time Battle system found in previous games but adds in new combat mechanics such as Limit Breaks and Materia that allow you to customize the moveset of each character. This intricate ability system allows you to cast each character in whatever combat role you choose. This, along with its compelling narrative, makes Final Fantasy VII a game that is fun to revisit time and time again.

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Soundtrack Selections: Still More Fighting, Aerith's Theme, Jenova Absolute

Summary: Baldur's Gate 2 takes place a few months after the events of Baldur's Gate. The story opens with the player having been ambushed by assassins and taken captive in a mysterious dungeon under the control of the mage, Jon Irenicus. Often considered the culmination of the late 90s CRPG renaissance, Baldur’s Gate 2 is praised for its epic story and well developed characters. Throughout the game, the player must make critical choices that affect the lives of your party members, as well as the outcome of the game. Baldur’s Gate 2 is based on the 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing system. Using Bioware's infinity engine, the game is played from an isometric view, and enemy encounters can be fought in both active and turn-based modes.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Shadow Battle, Underdark, Main Theme

Summary: Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based strategy RPG set in the turbulent fantasy world of Ivalice. As Ramza Beoulve, a member of a noble family, you become deeply involved in a civil war that is tearing Ivalice’s kingdoms apart. Battles have you field a team of soldiers that must be carefully maneuvered around varied terrain as they contend with enemy forces. The robust job system is the heart of the game’s character customization, allowing you to experiment with countless combinations of abilities and attributes. Yasumi Matsuno’s weighty plot tackles complex themes not often covered in video games, including politics, religion and the nature of corruption, yet it remains grounded by a core group of characters that are pursuing their own agendas. Considered by many to be the pinnacle of its genre, Final Fantasy Tactics remains relevant to this day.

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Soundtrack Selections: Antipyretic, Prologue Movie, Unavoidable Battle

Summary: Pokémon Gold Version and Silver Version are the first of many sequels to the games that sparked a monster collecting phenomenon worldwide. Expanding the original roster of Pokémon to 251 and introducing an entirely new region for the player to explore, these games are bursting at the seams with content. Gold and Silver are also noteworthy for adding several features that have since become series mainstays, including Pokémon breeding and an array of new gadgets that accompany the Pokédex. Sometimes, more really is better, and Gold and Silver set the standard for future installments by smartly iterating on an already winning formula.

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Soundtrack Selections: Violet City/Olivine City, Kanto Gym Leader, Legendary Beast Encounter

Summary: Final Fantasy introduced several innovations to the series: battles occur without a transition to a separate screen, a customizable MMO-like "gambit" system automatically controls the actions of your party member unless manually interrupted; and a "license" system determines which abilities and equipment can used by characters. The game takes place in the fictional location of Ivalice, where the empires of Archadia and Rozarria are waging an endless war. Dalmasca, a small kingdom, is caught between the warring nations. When Dalmasca becomes annexed by Archadia, its princess, Ashe, creates a resistance movement. During the struggle, she meets Vaan, a young adventurer who dreams of commanding an airship. They are quickly joined by a band of allies, as they rally against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire. Final Fantasy XII was initially directed by Tactics Ogre and Vagrant Story creator, Yasumi Matsuno, who resigned from the game due to health reasons during its lengthy development.

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Soundtrack Selections: Royal Capital Rabanastre- City Upper Ground, Penelo's Theme, The Dalmasca Estersand

Summary: Mass Effect is an action-oriented, science fiction role-playing game set in the year 2183. Thirty-five years prior to the start of the game, humankind discovered a cache of technology on Mars, built by a long-extinct race called the Protheans. Studying and adapting this technology, humanity has managed to break free of the solar system, established numerous off-world colonies and encountering various extraterrestrial species within the Milky Way galaxy. As the elite human soldier, Commander Shepard, you travel the galaxy in an effort to uncover the motivations behind an attack on the human colony Eden-Prime by the Geth, an alien race of synthetic life-forms. Mass Effect combines some aspects of the third person shooter genre with the narrative style and choice systems found in previous Bioware titles.

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Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, Uncharted Worlds, Vigil

Summary: KOTOR takes place 4,000 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire featured in the Star Wars films. Darth Malak, a Dark Lord of the Sith, has unleashed a Sith armada against the Republic. Malak's aggression has left the Jedi scattered and vulnerable; many Jedi Knights have fallen in battle and others have sworn allegiance to Malak. The game's battle system is based on Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Roleplaying Game, a d20 role-playing game derived from the Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. Combat is round-based; time is divided into discrete rounds, and combatants attack and react simultaneously. An alignment system tracks actions and speech to determine whether the player's character aligns with the light or dark side of the Force. Generosity and altruism lead to the light side, while selfish or violent actions will lead the player's character to the dark side, altering the character's appearance in the process.

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Soundtrack Selections: The Sith, The Old Republic, Dantooine

Summary: Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical RPG set in Europa, a fictional version of Europe, in 1935. Because of its abundance of Ragnite ore, which can be refined into a powerful fuel, the neutral nation of Gallia comes under attack from the East Europan Imperial Alliance, which is itself engaged in a war with the Atlantic Federation. Players take control of a militia squad of Gallian nationals, dedicated to repelling the invasion. Valkyria Chronicles features a unique turn-based battle system called BLiTZ. During each turn the player can view an overhead battle map in Command Mode, before zooming in to control individual units on the battlefield. The game is noted for its unique visuals, which resemble a watercolor painting in motion.

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Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, Valkyria's Awakening, Succeeded Wish (JP)

Summary: Final Fantasy X marks the Final Fantasy series' transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, and is also the first in the series to feature voice acting. Final Fantasy X replaces the Active Time Battle (ATB) system with a new Conditional Turn-Based Battle (CTB) system, and uses a new leveling system called the "Sphere Grid". Set in the fantasy world of Spira, the game's story centers around a group of adventurers and their quest to defeat a rampaging monster known as "Sin". The player character is Tidus, a blitzball star who finds himself in Spira after his home city of Zanarkand is destroyed by Sin. During the game, Tidus, along with several others, aids the young summoner Yuna on her pilgrimage to destroy Sin.

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Soundtrack Selections: To Zanarkand, Besaid Island, Wandering Flame

Summary: The turn-based RPG Suikoden II takes place 3 years after the original game in the City-State of Jowston. The player controls Riou who, along with his best friend Jowy Atreides, acquire halves of the Rune of the Beginning, and are drawn into a devastating and bloody war. Together, they learn about the fate of those who bear the halves of the True Rune, how truly destructive war can be, and how war changes people. Suikoden II’s various systems are more polished than those of its predecessor. It uses a 3-rune slot system (up to 3 runes may be equipped per character), has a dash button, and features massive tactical war battles. The player can recruit 108 (and more) characters to join their cause. These characters will either be playable in battle or open up minigames in the protagonist’s castle. Suikoden 2 established the importance of canon within the series, allowing the player to import their save file from Suikoden for an extra quest. Due to demand, used copies fetch a high premium over the original MSRP.

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Soundtrack Selections: music: Homesickness, Beautiful Morning, Reminiscence

Summary: The Thousand-Year Door is a turn-based RPG that features the ubiquitous plumber in a quest to uncover the secrets behind The Thousand-Year Door and to rescue Princess Peach from a new, malevolent presence. You will team up with eccentric partners and put on a show for your audience in fights that reward you for precise timing and style. Between battles, you will traverse the world using Mario’s paper transformations, unique partner abilities and classic platforming tricks. Intelligent Systems and their sharp localization team make Rogueport and its surrounding areas shine with memorable characters, witty dialogue and plenty of surprises that shouldn’t be missed.

And yes, Bowser gets wrapped up in all of this, but not in the way that you may think…

Sample Gameplay Footage:!

Soundtrack Selections: Doopliss Battle , Grodus Battle, Rawk Hawk Battle

Summary: The Witcher 2 is an action RPG developed by Polish studio CD Projekt RED. Like its predecessor, the game is based on the book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The Witcher 2 contains many different paths and storylines, along with multiple endings. As in the first game, the player takes control of Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining witchers. Witchers are humans that have been genetically enhanced and trained to fight monsters from a young age. They have special Powers, different in each witcher, that include Alchemy, Magic, and Sword Handling. Combat in the Witcher 2 is faster paced than that of the original, and shares some similarities with action games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum.

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Soundtrack Selections: Assassins of Kings, Dwarven Stone upon Dwarven Stone, Sorceresses

Summary: Demon's Souls is a fantasy action RPG developed by From Software. The game is described as a spiritual successor to the King's Field series, and set in a dark fantasy world where an acursed fog brought forth demons that laid waste to humanity. Noted for its high difficulty level, Demon's Souls was released to nearly unanimous praise, winning year-end awards from several publications.

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Soundtrack Selections: Music: The Maiden Astraea, Character Creation, Phalanx

Summary: Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines set in White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade universe (also known as the World of Darkness). The game allows the player to choose one of several different vampire clans and progress through the game according to the different strengths and weaknesses of the player's character, as in the game’s paper and pencil role playing origins. Vampire: Bloodlines was infamous for gameplay bugs upon release, and received mixed reviews from critics. However, it has since developed a popular cult following, and many of the glitches have been resolved through unofficial fan patches. The game is also notable for being the first game along with Half-Life 2 to use Valve's Source engine.

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Soundtrack Selections: Asylum, Main Theme, Vesuvius

Summary: Xenogears follows protagonist Fei Fong Wong and several others as they struggle to survive in a world torn apart by war between the nations of Aveh and Kislev. The principles and philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Jacques Lacan, as well as various religious themes influence the overall plot and world of Xenogears. A major theme of the game is the nature of human memory: from the start of the game, Fei has memory loss, which colors his interactions with other characters. The struggle between man and machine is also central to the game's plot. Each of the playable characters can ride in giant mechs known as gears and can use them in battle. Xenogears gameplay features two-dimensional sprites overlaid on three-dimensional backgrounds and two different battle systems: the first uses the characters in combo-based physical combat and the second takes place in turn-based "gear" battles.

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Soundtrack Selections: Flight, My Village Is Number One, One Who Bares Fangs at God

Summary: Fallout 3 is an action role-playing shooter developed by Bethesda Game Studios. The game takes place in the year 2277, 36 years after the setting of Fallout 2 and 200 years after the nuclear apocalypse that devastated the game's world in an alternate post-World War II timeline. The game places the player in the role of an inhabitant of Vault 101, a survival shelter designed to protect a small number of humans from the nuclear fallout. When the player character's father disappears under mysterious circumstances, he or she is forced to escape from the Vault and journey into the ruins of Washington D.C. to track him down. Along the way the player is assisted by a number of human survivors and must battle myriad enemies that now inhabit the area now known as the "Capital Wasteland". The game has an attribute and combat system typical of an action strategy game but also incorporates elements of first-person shooter and survival horror games.

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Soundtrack Selections: I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire, Paradise Lost, Butcher Pete

Summary: Despite being successful in Japan, the North American version of Earthbound was met with poor sales. Despite this, the game has been lauded by gamers for its humorous depictions of American culture and parody of the RPG genre. EarthBound takes place on Earth in the year 199X, and puts the player in control of four characters, Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo. Rather than using an overworld map screen like most console RPGs of its era, the world in Earthbound is entirely seamless, with no differentiation between towns and the outside world.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Smiles and Tears, Good Friends, Bad Friends, Kraken of the Sea

Summary: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne was the first Megaten game to be released in the west using the "Megami Tensei" name. The player takes control of a half-human half-demon silent protagonist. The protagonist is an average high school student with some interest in video games and in the occult. He becomes involved in the Conception, the end of the world, when visiting his teacher. While classic MegaTen games had a simple turn-based system, Nocturne uses the 'Press Turn' system. In this system, the player is assigned Press Turns equal to the size of his party (although a special event allows the player to gain an extra press turn) and can re-use some of them by scoring Critical Hits or exploiting elemental weaknesses.

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Soundtrack Selections: Title Loop 2, World Map - Last Area, The Conception

Summary: Skyrim is the fifth installment in The Elder Scrolls action role-playing video game series, following The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Skyrim's main story revolves around the player character's efforts to defeat a recently resurrected dragon menace. Set two hundred years after Oblivion, the game takes place in the land of Skyrim, which is in the midst of a civil war between the imperial forces and the Stormcloaks. The open world gameplay of the Elder Scrolls series returns in Skyrim; the player can explore the land at will and ignore or postpone the main quest indefinitely.

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Soundtrack Selections: Dragonborn, The Bannered Mare, The Streets of Whiterun

Summary: Diablo II is a dark, fantasy-themed action rpg with elements of the hack and slash and "dungeon roaming" genres. The story takes place after the end of the previous game, in the lands of Sanctuary where Diablo, the Lord of Terror, was defeated by an unnamed warrior. The storyline of Diablo II progresses through four acts, with each act following a predetermined path and list of quests. The player assumes the role of a hero from one of five different character classes. Players fight monsters through wilderness areas and dungeons in order to level-up their character and gain better items. Combat is in real-time, and shown from an isometric viewpoint. The game can be played either in single player mode, or in multiplayer through Blizzard's service, or via a LAN.

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Soundtrack Selections: Tristram, Harem, Hell

Summary: Fallout: New Vegas re-united the series with many of the employees who worked for Black Isle Studios on Fallout and Fallout 2. Although the game offers a similar role-playing experience to Fallout 3, reusing many of the previous title's graphical assets, the plots in both games are not directly connected. New Vegas reinstated some of the roleplaying elements found in the Black Isle titles and made use of plot lines and ideas that would have appeared in the original (cancelled) Fallout 3, including the Hoover Dam as a location, and the New California Republic's fight against Caesar's Legion to hold it.

Sample Gameplay Footage: Coming Soon!

Soundtrack Selections: Johnny Guitar, Caesar's Legion - Night, Main Menu

Summary: Set in the modern-day Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, TWEWY features a distinctive art style inspired by Shibuya and its youth culture. In the game, Neku Sakuraba and his allies are forced to participate in a game that will determine their fate. The battle system uses many of the unique features of the Nintendo DS, including combat that takes place on both screens, and attacks performed by certain motions on the touchscreen or by shouting into the microphone. An enhanced port was released on iOS with HD graphics and re-worked gameplay.

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Soundtrack Selections: Twister, Tatakai, Three Minutes Clapping

Summary: Deus Ex is a cyberpunk-themed action role-playing game, which combines elements of first-person shooters with those of role playing games. Set in a dystopian world during the year 2052, the central plot follows rookie United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition agent JC Denton, as he sets out to combat increasingly prevalent terrorist forces in a world slipping ever further into chaos. Upon release the game was praised for its expansive environments, ambitious and layered storyline, and its high replayability. Missions in the game can be tackled a number of ways, depending on the preferred play style of the player.

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Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, The Illuminati, The Synapse (Wan Chai)

Summary: Initially described as the spiritual successor of Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age Origins is set in the kingdom of Ferelden during a period of civil strife. The player, who starts in one of 6 unique prologue sequences depending on their race/class, is tasked with uniting a divided kingdom in an effort to fight an impending invasion by demonic forces. Instead of the morality system found in past Bioware games, DAO uses a party favour system. Your actions will either please or displease your party members, winning you their favour or possibly causing them to leave the group. Choices made in the game also have some impact on the flow of events and the ending sequence. Dragon Age features real-time gameplay with the ability to pause events. The outsourced console versions are played from a third person perspective, like a typical action RPG. The PC version allows the player to change the game view from over the shoulder to an overhead isometric view in real-time. The player is also able to pan the camera around the battlefield to scout upcoming dangers. This allows for more tactical gameplay similar to the Infinity Engine games.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, Lelianna's Song, Tavern Brawl

Summary: Mother 3 is the Japanese-only third video game in the Mother/EarthBound series. It takes place on the "Nowhere Islands", and stars several characters. The primary antagonist is the mysterious Pigmask Army, an army of people who wear pig-like uniforms, who suddenly invade the islands, subjugating its population. The game switches perspectives between main characters during several chapters. Although the game was never localized by NoA, a fan translation group has released a patch to translate the game into English.

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Soundtrack Selections: Love Theme, Tragic Reconstruction, Memory of Life

Summary: Morrowind takes place on Vvardenfell, an island in the Dunmer province of Morrowind, which lies in the empire of Tamriel and is far from the more civilized lands to the west and south that typified the Elder Scrolls prequels, Daggerfall and Arena. The central quests concern the deity Dagoth Ur, housed within the volcanic Red Mountain, who seeks to gain power and break Morrowind free from Imperial reign. Morrowind was designed with an open-ended free-form style of gameplay in mind, with a lessened emphasis on the game's main plot. The game is praised for its alien atmosphere and architecture which stands in contrast to standard medieval fantasy settings.

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Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, Silt Sunrise, Hunter's Pursuit

Summary: Taking a departure from the RTS genre, World of Warcraft is an MMORPG that currently holds an absurd amount of subscribers. Players can choose from two different factions, Horde and Alliance, each featuring various races. The choices don't end there as players can choose from a number of classes, professions, and talents to uniquely customize their characters. WoW features a total of four expansions , each adding several new locations and hundreds of new quests to the world of Azeroth.

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Soundtrack Selections: A Call to Arms, Legends of Azeroth, Song of Elune

Summary: Dragon Quest V is a console role-playing game that was originally developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix Corporation. It has since been remade two separate times for the PlayStation 2 and for the Nintendo DS. Along with Dragon Quest VI, the original SNES release never reached North America. Dragon Quest V takes place over twenty years of the main character's life, in which he gets married and has a family. The title features classic Dragon Quest turn-based combat, and a gameplay dynamic in which monsters from random encounters may offer to join the player's party.

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Soundtrack Selections: Town theme & world map theme, Random encounter theme & boss theme, Heaven theme

Summary: Welcome to The Dark Hour, a time where peril awaits and danger hounds behind you. You play an unnamed protagonist who finds himself on a mysterious island during the dark hour, a time just after midnight when regular people are transformed into coffins and a large tower appears in the not too far off distance. You will become acquainted with the various people than inhabit the island as you make your stay there, triggering a simulation portion of the game where building relationships strengthens social links which allow you to use more powerful personas in battle. Combo this with turn-based dungeon crawling segments in the Tartarus, the aforementioned large tower, and you get Persona 3. Struggle to defeat evil shadows that lurk in the Tartarus at night while trying to manage your social life during the day. How you spend your year will dictate whether you prevail or not. The PSP received a portable version of Persona 3 which introduced the option to choose a female protagonist, additional social links, direct control over your party members in combat, and more.

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Soundtrack Selections: Want To Be Close, Memories of the City, The Battle For Everyone's Souls

Summary: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was the first game to bear the name "Tactics" in its title, a term gamers would come to associate with the genre. The gameplay of Tactics Ogre is similar to the turn-based strategy style of tactical RPGs later popularized by Final Fantasy Tactics (developed by former members of Quest, including writer-director Yasumi Matsuno), complete with battles taking place on isometric grids. The game was innovative for its non-linear branching plotline. Crucial decisions made in the game will send you on one of three paths (lawful, neutral, or chaotic) in the middle chapters of the game, affecting the members you recruit to your army and the final ending sequence. A remake of the game by the original development team was released for the PSP. This remake allowed you to revisit past decisions, trying out different paths, and featured a re-worked levelling system (among other changes).

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Soundtrack Selections: Impregnable Defence, Avilla Hanya, Theme of Black Knight

Summary: The western release of Nier was an Xbox 360 exclusive in Japan titled Nier Gestalt. Square-Enix released alternate version of the game for the PS3, titled Nier Replicant, which featured a younger main character and slighty different plot. The game follows the titular Nier as he attempts to find a cure for an illness, known as the Black Scrawl, that his daughter (or sister in Replicant) Yonah has succumbed to. The gameplay borrows elements from various video game genres, switching to them from the primary action role-playing style. The music was composed by Keiichi Okabe, head of Monaca, a music composition studio, and has sparked the release of several albums.

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Soundtrack Selections: Hills of Radiant Wind, Gods Bound By Rules, Grandma

Summary: Valkyrie Profile is loosely based on Norse mythology, where players assume the role of a valkyrie name Lenneth who recruits and prepares the souls of fallen warriors (Einherjar) before sending them to Valhalla for a final apocalyptic battle between the Æsir and Vanir: Ragnarok. Along the way, she uncovers the tragic events of her own hidden past. Much of the gameplay in Valkyrie Profile takes place in a series of dungeons. Dungeon exploration plays more like a platform game than a traditional RPG. Lenneth is capable of running, jumping, sliding, swinging her sword, and shooting ice crystals. Ice crystals can make temporary steps and freeze enemies and are used for solving many puzzles. Upon contact with an unfrozen enemy, an RPG-style battle begins. An enhanced port of the game was later released for the PlayStation Portable under the name Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. This port introduced new CGI cutscenes and some bonus content.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Take a Flight, Doorway to Heaven, Battle With God Syndrome

Summary: Alpha Protocol was developed by Obsidian Entertainment, and was their first attempt at an original IP. The game revolves around the adventures of field agent Michael Thorton. Alpha Protocol is played from a third-person perspective, and allows for both combat and stealth gameplay. Tools at the player's disposal include numerous firearms, hand to hand combat using Kenpo, and spy gadgets. In addition to the action elements, players also earn Advancement Points, which can be placed into any of the ten different skills in the game. Alpha Protocol was poorly received upon release, with most critics deriding the games clunky controls and uneven production values. However, the game has sense gained a cult following due to its novel and intricate dialogue system, well written characters, and a focus on player choice.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Turn up the Radio, Interrogation, Your Weapon is Choice

Summary: Secret of Mana was the sequel to a game released as Final Fantasy Adventure (for the Gameboy) in North America. Instead of a traditional turn-based system, Secret of Mana utilizes real-time battles. The game introduced a number of innovative features that have served as the inspiration of several RPGs developed afterwards in both Japan and the west. One of these then novel features is the "Ring Command" menu system, which pauses the flow of battle, and allows a variety of actions to be performed without needing to switch screens. Secret of Mana also featured a cooperative multiplayer system, where a second and third player could drop in and out of the games battles at any time. When not controlled by a player, the remaining party members are controlled by customizable AI settings. Secret of Mana received several sequels, including Seiken Densetsu 3 (never released outside of Japan) and Legend of Mana.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Fear of the Heavens, Star of Darkness, The Oracle

Summary: Dragon Quest VIII uses cel-shading textures for the characters and scenery and is the first game in the series to have fully three dimensional environments. Despite the graphical update, the game retains most of the series' role-playing game elements, such as turn-based combat and the experience level system. Dragon Quest VIII follows a silent Hero and his party of allies as they journey towards their goal of defeating the wicked Dhoulmagus. Like all mainline Dragon Quest titles, battles are randomly occurring and turn-based. However, this is the first game in the series to not have battles shown from a first person perspective.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: To a Vast World, War Cry, Strange World

Summary: Final Fantasy V follows Bartz Klauser and his other companions as they try to protect the world’s crystals in an attempt to prevent the evil Exdeath from coming back to wreak havoc. Final Fantasy V brought customization back to the series in the form of an updated version of FF3’s job system, which includes 22 jobs types for each character. It also allowed players to let their playable characters multi-class in that they may equip one or two abilities from unequipped jobs while taking on the guise of another job. In a way, this was almost like having more than four party members at your disposal at one time within a party. Final Fantasy V added ATB bars so that players may anticipate and time characters’ attacks, and introduced the recurring character Gilgamesh to the series. Square-Enix released an enhanced port for the Game Boy Advance which featured four additional jobs, a more cohesive and humorous script, and a new dungeon.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections:My Home Sweet Home, Clash on the Big Bridge, The Evil Lord Exdeath

Summary: Skies of Arcadia focuses around Vyse, a young pirate in a Jules Verne-inspired fantasy world, and his friends as they attempt to stop the Valuan Empire from reviving ancient weapons with the potential to destroy the world. Most of gameplay in Skies of Arcadia takes place in dungeons, and combat comprises two vastly different settings: those encountered in ship to ship combat, and character to monster combat. Sega released an enhanced port, Skies of Arcadia Legends, for the GameCube. Legends features slightly enhanced graphics, shorter loading times and some additional content.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Main Theme, Kingdom of Ixa'taka, Ice Dungeon

Summary: Mass Effect 2 begins in 2183, shortly after the end of Mass Effect. On patrol to locate and destroy any remaining Geth, the Normandy and its commanding officer, Commander Shepard, are attacked. This starts a cascading series of events that finds Shepard searching the Milky Way for a crew of specialists and commandos capable of facing the greatest threat the galaxy has ever known. Mass Effect 2 blends third person shooter gameplay with the world building and character progression that are staples of the rpg genre.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Suicide Mission, The Normandy Reborn, The Illusive Man

Summary: Tales of Vesperia is the 10th main title in the Tales series. It is a bit of darker departure for the series, receiving a theme by the creative team as “The RPG to Enforce Justice”. Vespera is set on the planet Terca Lumireis where the inhabitants have come to rely on a mysterious type of technology called “blastia” to provide them with energy and resources. The game features the former knight Yuri Lowell as he investigates a plot to use blastia as a means to control the world. Tales of Vesperia’s other claim to fame is its evolution of the series’ LMBS system. Characters may now attack while in Free Run, allowing players to initiate combos. Some characters also have the freedom to execute artes attacks in midair when they are mastered. Vesperia also includes Secret Missions, tasks to complete during boss encounters for rewards. The game received an enhanced PS3 port, which included extra scenes, new playable characters, ties with the prequel movie “The First Strike”, new bosses, new gameplay elements, and other additions.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Ring a Bell, A Vow of Unity, Indomitable Fighting Spirit

Summary: Chrono Cross is the loosely connected sequel to Chrono Trigger. Chrono Cross was developed primarily by scenarist and director Masato Kato and other designers from Chrono Trigger, including art director Yasuyuki Honne and composer Yasunori Mitsuda. The story of Chrono Cross focuses on a teenage boy named Serge and a theme of parallel worlds. Faced with an alternate reality in which he died as a child, Serge endeavors to discover the truth of the two worlds' divergence. The thief Kid and many other characters assist him in his travels around the tropical archipelago El Nido. Like Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross does not feature random battles, and all enemies can be seen on the field map. The game also featured a novel mechanism in which the player could retreat from any battle, even boss battles, with 100% success.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Time's Scar, Plains of Time, Star Stealing Girl

Summary: Vagrant Story was primarily developed by the team responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics, with Yasumi Matsuno serving as producer and director. The game takes place in the fictional kingdom of Valendia and the ruined city of Leá Monde. The story centers on Ashley Riot, an elite agent known as a Riskbreaker, who must travel to Leá Monde to investigate the link between a cult leader and a senior Valendian Parliament member, Duke Bardorba. Vagrant Story is unique as a console action/adventure role-playing game in that it features no shops and no player interaction with other characters; instead, the game focuses on weapon creation and modification, as well as elements of puzzle-solving and strategy.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Climax of the Greylands Incident part 2, Golem, Abandoned Mine First Level

Summary: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is the first chapter of the popular sixth installment in Falcom’s Legend of Heroes series. Both Estelle Bright and her adopted brother Joshua have been training to join the Bracer’s Guild. While they were anticipating run-of-the-mill missions, the guild assigned quests slowly reveal the dark side of the government, as well as a plot that threatens to restart the Hundred Days War which occurred 10 years prior to the game’s beginning. During the process of the game, Joshua and Estelle are caught up in a journey which not only tests their ability to protect their Queen, but also the bond the share together. Combat takes place on separate grid map, with each side taking turns when the AT bar is filled. Players may move their characters around the map, and may use special skills, items, and their personal S-Craft abilities. Players looking for an RPG with canonical world building will feel at home with this game.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Trails in the Sky, Studio City of Zeiss, Dancing in the Wind.

Summary: Grandia was developed by Game Arts. The game was produced by much of the same staff who worked on the company's previous role-playing endeavor, the Lunar series, including producer Yoichi Miyagi and music composer Noriyuki Iwadare. Since its release, Grandia has become notable for its combat mechanics which have been carried over to future games within the franchise. The game is set in a fantasy world of emerging technology and exploration. A young boy named Justin inherits a magic stone that leads him on a journey around the world to uncover the mystery of a long-lost civilization.

Sample Gameplay Footage:

Soundtrack Selections: Theme of Grandia, Town of Parm, Leen's Love Theme

51) Final Fantasy IV (1991)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: SNES, PS1, WonderSwan, GBA, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console, PSN, PSP, iOS, Android
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

52) Phantasy Star Online (2000)
Genre: Online Multiplayer Action RPG
Platforms: Dreamcast, GCN, Xbox, PC
Completion Time: N/A
Available Digitally? NO

53) The Witcher (2007)
Genre: Real-time RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 35-50 hours
Available Digitally? YES

54) Fallout 2 (1998)
Genre: Turn-Based RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 30-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

55) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (2005)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: GCN
Completion Time: 30-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

56) Pokemon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow+ Remakes (1996)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Gameboy, GBA
Completion Time: 20-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

57) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords (2004)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Xbox, PC
Completion Time: 30-45 hours
Available Digitally? YES

58) Tales of Symphonia (2003)
Genre: Real-time RPG
Platforms: GCN, PS2
Completion Time: 50-65 hours
Available Digitally? NO

59) Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS1, PC, PSN
Completion Time: 40-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

60) Lunar: Silver Star Story (1992)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Sega CD, Saturn, PS1, GBA, PS1, iOS
Completion Time: 25-35 hours
Available Digitally? YES

61) Paper Mario (2000)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: N64, Virtual Console
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

62) Golden Sun (2001)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: GBA
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? NO

63) Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (2009)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: NDS
Completion Time: 20-25 hours
Available Digitally? NO

64) Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (2007)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: Wii
Completion Time: 40-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

65) Super Mario RPG (1996)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: SNES, Virtual Console
Completion Time: 15-20 hours
Available Digitally? YES

66) Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer (2007)
Genre: Real-Time RPG (with Pause)
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 50-65 hours (vanilla campaign); 15-30 hours (MOTB campaign)
Available Digitally? YES (Currently only in a bundle with NWN 1)

67) The Last Story (2011)
Genre: Real-time RPG
Platforms: Wii
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? NO

68) Xenosaga III: Also sprach Zarathustra (2006)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 40-55 hours
Available Digitally? NO

69) Radiant Historia (2010)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: NDS
Completion Time: 30-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

70) The Last Remnant (2008)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: 360, PC
Completion Time: 80-120 hours
Available Digitally? YES

71) Guild Wars 2 (2012)
Genre: MMO
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: N/A
Available Digitally? YES

72) Kingdom Hearts II (2005)
Genre: Real-time RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 30-50 hours
Available Digitally? NO

73) Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (2003)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: PS2, PSP, NDS
Completion Time: 35-50 hours
Available Digitally? YES

74) Kingdom Hearts (2002)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

75) Ultima VII: The Black Gate (1993)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 50-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

76) Dark Cloud 2 (2002)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 45-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

77) Dragon Quest IV (1990)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: NES, PS1, NDS
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? NO

78) Phantasy Star IV (1993)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Genesis, PC, PS2, PSP, 360, PS3, PC (often as part the Sega Genesis Collections)
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

79) Baten Kaitos Origins (2006)
Genre: Card-based RPG
Platforms: GCN
Completion Time: 45-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

80) Dragon’s Dogma (2012)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS3, 360
Completion Time: 40-50 hours
Available Digitally? NO

81) Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011)
Genre: FPS/RPG Hybrid
Platforms: PC, 360, PS3
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

82) Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword (2003)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: GBA
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

83) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (1994)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Sega CD, Saturn, PS1
Completion Time: 35-50 hours
Available Digitally? NO

84) Shadow Hearts: Covenant (2004)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 40-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

85) Shining Force II (1993)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: Genesis, Virtual Console, PC, PS3 and 360 (as part of the Genesis Collection)
Completion Time: 25-35 hours
Available Digitally? YES

86) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PC, 360, PS3
Completion Time: 25-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

87) Resonance of Fate (2010)
Genre: Turn-based RPG (with Real-Time elements)
Platforms: PS3, 360
Completion Time: 30-50 hours
Available Digitally? YES

88) Baldur’s Gate (1998)
Genre: Real-Time RPG (with pause)
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 50-70 hours
Available Digitally? YES

89) Lufia II: Rise of the Sinestrals (1995)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: SNES
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? NO

90) Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga (2003)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: GBA
Completion Time: 20-25 hours
Available Digitally? NO

91) Star Ocean: Second Story (1998)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSP
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

92) Parasite Eve (1998)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSN
Completion Time: 10-15 hours
Available Digitally? YES

93) Diablo 3 (2012)
Genre: Hack-and-Slash Action RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 15-25 hours
Available Digitally? YES

94) Fallout (1997)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 15-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

95) Golden Sun: The Lost Age (2002)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: GBA
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? NO

96) Mount and Blade: Warband (2010)
Genre: Tactical/Real-Time Action Hybrid RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 30-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

97) Tales of Destiny (1997)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS1, PS2
Completion Time: 30-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

98) Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (2002)
Genre: Turn-based RPG (with real-time elements)
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

99) Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1+2 (2004)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 35-50 hours (DDS1), 35-45 hours (DDS2)
Available Digitally? NO

100) Dragon Quest III (1988)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: NES, SNES, GBC, Virtual Console (Japan Only)
Completion Time: 25-35 hours
Available Digitally? YES (in Japan)

101) Front Mission 3 (1999)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSN
Completion Time: 35-50 hours
Available Digitally? YES

102) Phantasy Star (1987)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Master System, Genesis, Saturn, GBA, PS2, PS3, 360, PC
Completion Time: 15-25 hours
Available Digitally? YES

103) Suikoden V (2006)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 40-70 hours
Available Digitally? NO

104) Tales of the Abyss (2005)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS2, 3DS
Completion Time: 45-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

105) Terranigma (1995)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: SNES
Completion Time: 15-25 hours
Available Digitally? NO

106) Wild ARMs 3 (2002)
Genre: Turn-Based RPG
Platforms: PS2
Completion Time: 35-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

1) Chrono Trigger - 165 points
2) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 - 141
3) Final Fantasy VI - 137
4) Xenoblade - 111
5) Dark Souls - 101
6) Planescape: Torment - 76
7) Final Fantasy IX - 75
8) Final Fantasy VII - 72
9) Baldur's Gate II - 69
10) Final Fantasy Tactics - 68
11) Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (plus remakes) - 66 points
12) Final Fantasy XII - 65
13) Mass Effect - 65
14) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - 64
15) Valkyria Chronicles - 64
16) Final Fantasy X - 64
17) Suikoden II - 62
18) Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - 58
19) The Witcher 2 - 56
20) Demon's Souls - 54
21) Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines - 53 points
22) Xenogears - 53
23) Fallout 3 - 52
24) Earthbound - 51
25) Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne - 51
26) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 51
27) Diablo II - 49
28) Fallout: New Vegas - 48
29) The World Ends With You - 48
30) Deus Ex - 45
31) Dragon Age Origins - 44
32) Mother 3 - 43
33) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - 43
34) World of Warcraft - 43
35) Dragon Quest V - 43
36) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 - 42
37) Tactics Ogre - 42
38) Nier - 37
39) Valkyrie Profile - 35
40) Alpha Protocol - 35
41) Secret of Mana - 35
42) Dragon Quest VIII - 35
43) Final Fantasy V - 33
44) Skies of Arcadia - 33
45) Mass Effect 2 - 33
46) Tales of Vesperia - 32
47) Chrono Cross - 31
48) Vagrant Story - 30
49) Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - 29
50) Grandia - 29
51) Final Fantasy IV - 27
52) Phantasy Star Online - 26
53) The Witcher - 26
54) Fallout 2 - 25
55) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance - 25
56) Pokemon Red/Blue/Green/Yellow (and remakes) - 23
57) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 - 22
58) Tales of Symphonia - 21
59) Final Fantasy 8 - 20
60) Lunar: Silver Star Story - 20
61) Paper Mario - 19
62) Golden Sun - 18
63) Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - 18
64) Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn - 17
65) Super Mario Rpg - 17
66) Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer - 17
67) The Last Story - 17
68) Xenosaga III: Also sprach Zarathustra - 17
69) Radiant Historia - 16
70) The Last Remnant - 16
71) Guild Wars 2 - 16
72) Kingdom Hearts II - 16
73) Disgaea: Hour of Darkness - 15
74) Kingdom Hearts - 15
75) Ultima VII - 15
76) Dark Cloud 2 - 14
77) Dragon Quest IV - 14
78) Phantasy Star IV - 14
79) Baten Kaitos Origins - 13
80) Dragon's Dogma - 13
81) Deus Ex: Human Revolution - 13
82) Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword (FE GBA) - 13
83) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue - 13
84) Shadow Hearts: Covenent - 13
85) Shining Force 2 13
86) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - 13
87) Resonance of Fate - 13
88) Baldur's Gate - 12
89) Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals - 12
90) Mario and Luigi: Superstar Story - 12
91) Star Ocean: The Second Story - 12
92) Parasite Eve - 12
93) Diablo 3 - 11
94) Fallout - 11
95) Golden Sun: The Lost Age - 11
96) Mount and Blade: Warband - 11
97) Tales of Destiny - 11
98) Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter - 10
99) Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga - 10
100) Dragon Quest III - 10
101) Front Mission 3 - 10
102) Phantasy Star - 10
103) Suikoden V - 10
104) Tales of the Abyss - 10
105) Terranigma - 10
106) Wild ARMs 3 - 10
107) Breath of Fire III - 9
108) Etrian Odyssey III - 9
109) Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - 9
110) Lost Odyssey - 9
111) Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven - 9
112) Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2) - 9
113) Suikoden - 9
114) System Shock 2 - 9
115) Grandia II - 8
116) Mass Effect 3 - 8
117) Persona 2: Innocent Sin + Eternal Punishment - 8
118) Phantasy Star II - 8
119) Suikoden III - 8
120) Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - 8
121) Anachronox - 7
122) Breath of Fire IV - 7
123) Dragon Force - 7
124) Guild Wars - 7
125) Panzer Dragoon Saga - 7
126) Shining Force III - 7
127) Tales of Graces F - 7
128) Ys: Oath in Felghana - 7
129) Half-Minute Hero - 7
130) Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura - 6
131) Atelier Totori: the Adventurer of Arland - 6
132) Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean - 6
133) Dragon Quest VII - 6
134) Final Fantasy XI - 6
135) Final Fantasy Tactics A2 - 6
136) Pokemon Black/White/Black 2/White 2 - 6
137) SaGa Frontier - 6
138) Valkyrie Profile 2 - 6
139) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - 5
140) Final Fantasy X-2 - 5
141) Final Fantasy XIII-2 - 5
142) Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles - 5
143) Icewind Dale - 5
144) Path of Exile - 5
145) Ultima IV - 5
146) Ys Book 1 and 2 (plus remakes) - 5
147) Parasite Eve 2 - 5
148) Super Robot Wars OG - 5
149) Tengai Makyou: The Fourth Apocalypse - 5​

Top games by era coming soon!

Thanks to the following people for helping me create and gather all of the content for the Top 50 Aggregate list.

Contribution Credits:
Format input: KuwabaraTheMan, SatelliteOfLove, Ra1den, Dark Schala, kayos90
Summary Contributions: Dark Schala, kayos90, Nert
Soundtrack Links: SatelliteOfLove, Felix Lighter, Lunar15, Acosta, KuwabaraTheMan, Dark Schala, Aeana, TWILT, Nert, Error, Necrovex, ULTROS!, Vlodril, decoyplatypus, Syn23, Giran, zkylon, jay, Yottamol
Gameplay Links: SatelliteOfLove, demidar, TWILT, Nert
Vote Audits: UberTag
Special thanks: Duckroll and Aeana for mod assistance.
1) Persona 4, (3 Points!) Either edition. I fucking hate anime but this is still my favorite game of all time. What the fuck does that say about it's quality? Some of the best characters in anything I've read/watched/played. I almost never replay games but I've played it twice on ps2, halfway through my vita playthrough, and have watched the Endurance run, and listen to it once as well separately, not to mention watched the half season of English anime. (Listened to Endurance run after watching it once since I needed shit outside of music to listen to during my runs this summer).

2) Persona 3 , Portable or Fes, both have great stuff that the other doesn't. Characters aren't nearly as strong as Persona 4 but the world in Persona 3 goes real dark in a really disturbing way at times. I think Portable is much more fun to play (go screw if you're one of the few who spams their hate for this game in every Persona thread) but also think the FES content is worth seeing. The female Protagonist is also great in my eyes for the portable version.

3) Valkyria Chronicles. Still the best PS3 exclusive by miles in my eyes. Sadly 2 turned into cliche anime, and 3 hasn't been localized. One of the most beautiful games I've ever played. The strategy and positioning of units is also very addicting and fun for me.

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
I feel like my list is going to be a repeat of last year's. Hmm... actually, I think I'm going to swap one out for something else. Depends on my mood.

I do like that honourable mentions finally get a point. I get so frustrated with rounding out a top 10 that I wish I could add a few more games I have in mind to count for a vote. Plus, yeah, it breaks up all those ties that the list already has.

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
1) Mass Effect 2 - While I think people should definitely play Mass Effect 1 first since it sets up the Mass Effect world fantastically and probably does storytelling better than ME2 or ME3 did, I think ME2 is one of the most playable RPGs out there. I finished this game over 5 times, each time making different decisions, importing different characters, and seeing different things. It doesn't quite have the mystery that ME1 did, but it sure took the series in interesting places and improved the combat significantly.

2) Guild Wars 1 - This was my first ever MMO and as such it holds a very dear place in my heart, but honestly looking back I think it probably did teamwork and community much better than most MMOs out there do today. I remember how each instance/fight required people to work really well together, and even most PUGs were actually able to hold their own weight. Pulling mobs without aggroing the entire zone was a skill dammit, and on the tougher instances you could completely wreck your team by screwing those small things up. This could have made for a very frustrating experience for some, but I absolutely adored it.

3) World of Warcraft - I don't play this game anymore, but when I did I was absolutely and completely hooked by it. This thing has been around for what, 8 years now? It's a force of nature and I think there is a very good reason for that: its mechanics are solid and it is a very entertaining world to jump into.

4) Mass Effect 1 - This game is fantastic. The combat is really wonky today, but the storytelling in this game is unparalleled. The sense of mystery and dread that pervades the entire experience is completely addictive, and you just cannot wait to get further and further into the game to unravel its secrets. Plus, the universe that BioWare created with this game was completely amazing, and you are doing yourself a disservice by not playing this game and experiencing the Mass Effect universe for yourself.

5) Knights of the Old Republic - Let's just say this game had the best story twist in gaming, period. It comes out of nowhere and knocks you on your ass. Good thing the combat and RPG mechanics of the game are extremely solid and hold up well even today.

6) City of Heroes - This is probably one of the most unique games I've ever played. Set in a world where you are a superhero, it gave you an unlimited number of customization options and set you off into a world that, while not as densely populated as those of Blizzard or ArenaNet, was still great fun to explore and play around in. I would also mention that this game has some of the best role-playing in any MMO ever. There is even an RP bar where people go to hang out in-character and shoot the shit. Too bad it got shut down, I had some great times in this game.

7) Dark Cloud 2 - Man did this game come out of nowhere. I played Dark Cloud 1 and hated its guts, but for whatever reason I decided to give the series another chance and DC2 completely blew me away. The georama feature where you picked up houses/stores from a dungeon, plunked them down into the town, and then flew into the future to see how the town progressed over time is just magical. And this was on the PS2 no less. Also I have to say that this game has some of the best minigames in any RPG ever - the photography, the inventing system, the weapon upgrading, and the golf. My God, I must have wasted hours playing that damn golf minigame...

8) Final Fantasy X - My first Final Fantasy, and probably my last. Great cast, great story, phenomenal combat mechanics, and just an overall great experience. Too bad the FFs that came after it are completely terrible.

9) Dragon Age: Origins - As you can tell I am a huge BioWare fanatic. DA:O was fun for its very tactical, pause-reliant combat system that actually felt strategic and made you think about your next move. Fighting Morrigan's mother the first time where she completely kicked my ass revealed every single flaw in my combat plan, and after adjusting my party's abilities and equipment I managed to scrape out a victory against her. That's really the story of DA:O - a tough game that can be overcome with some intelligent use of the combat system. Shame about the sequel...

10) The Bard's Tale (3 points) - The PS2 version of The Bard's Tale is probably the funniest game I have ever played. Well, at least it and NOLF are in competition for funniest game ever. Not only is this game a seriously great top-down dungeon crawler, but it had soooo much personality that I couldn't wait to come back to the game and dig in further. A protagonist that doesn't want to help others? All he wants is cash and booze and women? Well if that isn't refreshing I don't know what is. The game was undeniably hard, but at least it injected a lot of freshness into the genre that really made everything pop. I wish more people had played this game so we could get a sequel.
FFT is in no way comparable to Dark Souls, but I guess if you're used to games that slowly ramp up with no difficulty then it could seem really overwhelming and cruel. That battle in Dorter seems to be a baptismal ceremony for a lot of newbie SRPG players.

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Does it have to be RPGs from this year? What if I haven't played 5 RPGs from this year that I like, I imagine my vote won't qualify?
Your list can consist of any RPGs you've played in your lifetime, including those you've played this year. For example, take a look at the list last year:

Most of the my picks in 2011 were games that didn't come out that year. The question posed in the OP was intended to ask whether or not any of the RPGs released this year mixed up your list a bit.
I will definitely be contributing with what I think are essentials. I hope when all is done it doesn't turn into some WRPG vs JRPG debate. ie: "list is worthless because it swung in whatever direction I don't like." Can't wait to see what games people treasure. It's my favorite genre so it's making my head hurt trying to decide.
1. Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (3 points) - If I could, I'd put the whole Baldur's Gate trilogy here, but that's kind of cheating. BG2, to me, is the epitome of the WRPG. It does a great job combining combat and story exploration, which is why it gets the nod over its cousins Torment and Icewind Dale 2. If you have any interest in WRPGs, you need to have played this gem.

2. Chrono Trigger - Much in the same way BG2 epitomizes WRPGs, so too does Chrono Trigger epitomize JRPGs to me. A great gameplay system that took the ATB system to its limits by adding combined attacks combined with a fun story with good characters.

3. Mass Effect 1
- I hesitated to put this here. I know that I'm going to get ripped to shreds for doing so, but it's my list, so you all can just suck it. Sci-Fi RPGs are a neglected area, and Mass Effect does more to bring a sense of wonder and exploration than almost any other game I can think of. The Bioware formula hadn't entirely gotten tired yet, and the universe is just so, so rich. I love this game more than I probably should, and I wish there were more games that fulfilled its promise of space opera baked in RPG goodness.

4. Planescape: Torment - A visual novel is non-novel form. Combat is almost an afterthought as Black Isle takes the extremely unique Planescape setting to tell an engaging story. Well worth the ride.

5. Final Fantasy IX - A Final Fantasy game has to be on the list, and I considered FF6 and FF12, but I think 9 just resonates more. You can almost feel the changing of eras and nostalgia for the past. An absolute treat I appreciate more and more in hindsight.

6. Icewind Dale 2
- Some may prefer IWD1, but IWD2 just resonated with me more. The Icewind Dale series was really just a chance to really take the combat system of the IE engine out for a spin, and boy is it enjoyable.

7. Persona 4 - I never thought I'd like a game that was almost a dating simulator, but here we go. A great cast of characters (seems to be a running theme) and a bunch of interesting stories more than makeup for a somewhat lame conclusion. By the end, I really liked these people and understood why they were friends.

8. Fallout: New Vegas - And I add in the modern Fallout series, as Obsidian takes Bethesda's open-world RPG mechanics and finally affixes a really great story on top of it. The faction stuff really makes you feel like you're in a living world, and companions finally become non-useless. The DLC is also really enjoyable, if somewhat tedious at higher levels.

9. Shining Force 2 - Probably my favorite SRPG. An interesting mix of characters and classes, great Genesis-era music and deep strategy. Often forgotten, but I always loved it.

10. Alpha Protocol - Another controversial choice, but I had to include it for the way that its branching and dialogue system brought some fresh air to a system that had gotten surprisingly stale. Basically, Obsidian took a stab at a modern Bioware-style game and shows Bioware how to really do the story stuff. Yes, it's rough around the edges, but so much of it is so good and so satisfying.

11. Fallout 2
12. Final Fantasy VI
13. Dragon Age: Origins
14. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
15. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
Final Fantasy Tactics
Dragon Quest VIII
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Lunar: Eternal Blue
My essential RPGs include the following:

1.) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Xbox/PC) - Widely regarded as the quintessential TES experience. Choose your race, class, and birthsign and prepare to woop some demigods.

2.) Fallout: New Vegas (360/PS3/PC) - The best of the old meets the best of the new. An excellently-written campaign and eminently roleplayable.

3.) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360/PC) - A close second on my personal TES list. Elder Scrolls has never been more living, breathing, and realized.

4.) Dragon's Dogma (360/PS3) - My personal 2012 GOTY, and the greatest expression of bombastic action-RPG combat ever made. A strange title that grows on you.

5.) Persona 4 (PS2/Vita) - The pinnacle of the Persona series. Investigate supernatural happenings in small-town Inaba while balancing friends and school. Pick Chie as your RI and you'll be alright.

6.) Final Fantasy Tactics (PSOne/PSP/Digital) - Accessible SRPG combat meets a deeply engrossing storyline and lore.

7.) Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne (PSBest) - This game's sparse storyline is actually my favorite of all time. How would you shape the world, if given the sanction by "God"? Eminently replayable.

8.) Chrono Cross (PSOne/Digital) - Yes, I'm putting Cross on my list instead of Trigger. I believe it to be the superior game. A thoughtful title with a lot of heart, and a battle system that more RPGs should emulate (you don't lose resources in battle).

9.) Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (DS) - Combines the battle systems of mainline SMT and SRPGs, the social links of Persona, and the philosophical choices of Nocturne. A delicious stew of all of SMT's best elements.

10.) Nier (360/PS3) - The unforgettable Nier. Awful combat, timeless story, characters, and music.
A few things not originally in the OP.

1) I added an 8th rule to the OP letting people know that votes for ports and remakes of a game will be lumped together with the original. You can still vote for a specific version, but (for example) Tactics Ogre SNES and Tactics Ogre PSP will be counted together.

2) You can post a list now and modify it at any point before the Dec 28th cut off. I won't start tallying votes until Dec 29th. If you post your list now, and are later reminded of a game you forgot about (or finish a game that makes your top 10/15), you can change your vote. HOWEVER, don't make a new post. Just modify your original post.

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
1) Planescape Torment - Quite simply one of the best games ever written, a game that took full advantage of its unique setting, and a game that showed just how amazing dialogue driven RPGs can be.

2) Chrono Trigger - The quintessential JRPG. The game with it all; a memorable cast of characters, a fun storyline to a diverse series of locations, a large number of sub-plots that kept me engaged, and an awesome battle system.

3) Geneforge 1 - By far the most underrated RPG of all time I feel. Created by one man and yet it rivals Torment for me in the WRPG category. An incredibly memorable setting, a stupendously non-linear world that you can approach in any number of ways, great writing, great mysteries, and a fun party creation system.

4) Final Fantasy VI - The best of the Final Fantasies, pretty much based on characters, plot, and pacing. If Chrono Trigger is a saturday morning cartoon than FFVI is a late-night drama.

5) The World Ends With You - Not really JRPG or WRPG, but a bizarre mish-mash of influences, a game that oozes style, features one of the most memorable plots of the last decade, and is incredibly fun to play.

6) Megaman Battle Network 3 - My vote for most underrated JRPG. By far my favorite battle system of all time, one that I can't believe no-one has ripped off. 3's jaw-dropping level of post-game content and incredible unique boss fights push it to the top

7) Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver - The best of the Pokemon games, the RPGs with arguably the deepest battle system out there.

8) Alpha Protocol - This game gets here for audacity. Although its unpolished around the edges, Alpha Protocol does so many interesting things in the RPG space, from its conversation system to the way that the order you complete missions in has a very real impact on your future endeavors. My favorite Obsidian game.

9) Shining Force - Its hard to put a finger on why this is my favorite SRPG over Fire Emblem or FFT. Its something about the way the battles are laid out, the uniqueness of the diverse cast of characters you acquire, and the way it plays like an RPG between battles.

10) Xenoblade Chronicles - This game would be much higher without its last twenty hours. As it is, the dull nature of that portion of the game is enough to bump it down here, despite how amazing the first 60-80 are.
  1. Final Fantasy 6 [3 Points]. When I close my eyes, this is the RPG I see.
  2. Anachronox
  3. Dragon Warrior 8
  4. Chrono Trigger
  5. Final Fantasy X
  6. Morrowind
  7. Fallout 2
  8. World of Warcraft [Only MMORPG that has worked]
  9. Zelda: LTTP
  10. Final Fantasy Tactics

Honorable Mentions: (Mostly because I didn't finish them, usually an indicator that something was amiss)
  1. Ultima 7
  2. Persona 3
  3. Planescape Torment
  4. Disgaea 2 [Beat it, but IMO a bit less essential than FFT]
  5. Radiant Historia [Beat it, has a fantastic time travelling mechanic]
And extra special honorable mention to :
Trails in the Sky
1) Suikoden 2

2) Persona 4

3) Final Fantasy XI

4) Xenogears

5) Star Ocean: The Second Story

6) Final Fantasy 7

7) The Witcher 2

8) Demon's Souls

9) Final Fantasy 9

10) Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
Your list can consist of any RPGs you've played in your lifetime, including those you've played this year. For example, take a look at the list last year:

Most of the my picks in 2011 were games that didn't come out that year. The question posed in the OP was intended to ask whether or not any of the RPGs released this year mixed up your list a bit.
Ohhh gotcha. Alright well then I'll be able to partake. :)
1) The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

2) Golden Sun: The Lost Age

3) Final Fantasy VII: When someone says RPG, this is the game I think of. I grew up with it as a kid; it might not be the best, but it is my favorite.

4) Xenoblade Chronicles

5) Final Fantasy Tactics

6) Pokemon HeartGold

7) Chrono Trigger

8) Dark Souls

9) Persona 4

10) Final Fantasy VI

Honorable Mentions:

11) Vagrant Story

12) Chrono Cross

13) Valkyria Chronicles

14) Planescape: Torment

15) Skyrim
Alpha protocol (3 points) - hands down the best rpg i have played that most critics hated. Way overblown emphasis on the bugs (like other games these days aren't the same) and not enough emphasis on he spectacular conversation system.

The Witcher - Great characters,lore,story and atmosphere. Helps that its based on already created lore i guess but its a fantastic job. The only problem the game had was the weird combat system(which i wouldn't call it bad but different).

The Witcher 2 - Same as above but with far better graphics and combat system. Also a deeply political story i enjoyed immensely.

Persona 4 - I am playing the game at the moment and its mind blowingly good. i haven't connected a lot with jrpgs lately but this is an awesome game. Great atmosphere and story and music as well.

Trails in the sky - also played it this year (thanks vita) after everyone raving about it and i was not disappointed. I even liked the first chapter that is slow (but then i like the small beginnings myself).

Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines - Also at the top of the list for me as one of the best rpg's i have played. So much atmosphere and story and characters. Also great VO. I kept thinking about the game for a solid month after playing it. I wish CCP did not had the damn ip in an mmo we are probably never going to see. Troika at its best.
1) Final Fantasy 6 - timeless classic

2) Chrono Trigger - new game+, team attacks

3) Valkyria Chronicles (3 points)- beautiful water color graphics, great story, wish they could continue with it

4) Final Fantasy 7 - cinematic story telling

5) Final Fantasy 5 - classic, dat end boss fight/music

6) Super Mario RPG - rhythm tapping for massive damage, gino, mallow + FF elements

7) Paper Mario - great cell shading graphics

1. Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver

2. Persona 4

3. Demon's Souls

4. Final Fantasy XII

5. Mass Effect 2

6. Valkyria Chronicles

7. The World Ends With You

8. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

9. Mother 3

10. Contact

Honorable Mentions:

11. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl
12. Final Fantasy VI
13. Xenoblade Chronicles
14. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
15. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
FF Tactics and Valk would probably be considered RPGs by most people. Does XCOM count as well, or does it stray too far into the tactical realm?
In my mind, XCOM counts if Fire Emblem counts (and a lot of people included Fire Emblem in past years). Typically games with both strategy and rpg features get categorized as rpgs in Japan and strategy titles in the west. However, I always thought the difference between something like Fire Emblem and something like Dawn of War 2 was pretty superficial. Real time vs turn-based with more or less emphasis on multiplayer. Both have story campaigns, both have unique hero units that level up, gain equipment, etc. As I said, vote for what you like. If people disagree that it is an RPG, it just won't make the aggregate list.

Your list can consist of any RPGs you've played in your lifetime, including those you've played this year. For example, take a look at the list last year:

Most of the my picks in 2011 were games that didn't come out that year. The question posed in the OP was intended to ask whether or not any of the RPGs released this year mixed up your list a bit.
This post is correct.
8) Alpha Protocol - This game gets here for audacity. Although its unpolished around the edges, Alpha Protocol does so many interesting things in the RPG space, from its conversation system to the way that the order you complete missions in has a very real impact on your future endeavors. My favorite Obsidian game.
With a recommendation like that I can ignore the game no longer.
Hmm...tough to say, but I'll stick with most of what I had listed last year, give or take some things.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles - One of the best RPGs I've ever played. Expansive world, decent story, engaging battle system, and tons of stuff you can stumble into. It's great without being needlessly complicated or complex. And that soundtrack? So awesome.

2. Tales of Destiny: Remake - Still one of the best Tales games in my mind. Takes Tales of Destiny and completely changes the game from its original PSX iteration. Gives us one of the best battle systems to grace the PS2, pretty good visuals, lots of remixes, and some good stuff that's carried to Tales of Graces f, for those who played that. GET IT.

3/4. Persona 3 & Persona 4
Takes SMT gameplay and kinda mixes with with a pseudo-life simulator. It's pretty interesting to create Social Links and watch those relationships grow. And of course, it's a Pokemon-like bonanza trying to create and fuse demons.

5. Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver - Takes the 2nd Gen and gives us a total remix using 4th Generation graphics. The game looks a whole lot better and feels more complete than the original games as a result. And the game really tugs at those Nostalgia it's got that classic Pokemon gameplay!

6. Dragon Quest V - One of the best stories I've come across in a game. Perhaps it's something about the way it chronicles the Hero's life from child to adult to being a dad of his own children. It feels like you grow with the Hero, and you have plenty of motivation of going after the villains. Also introduces the Monster Recruitment system!

7. Mother 3 - Again, good story. Really puts out those feels... It's interesting to see how the world of Mother 3 changes throughout the game, and of course, it's got that inherent wackiness of the Mother games. Something everyone should play at least once!

8. World of Warcraft: It's still the number one MMORPG for a reason. Whether it's dungeons, raids, pet battles, the exploration, or those epic moments with friends, WoW pretty much dominates. And with Mists of Pandaria, there's even more to explore and experience!

9. Valkyrie Profile - I really loved VP, almost to the point I was playing it every Sunday morning for a few months. There was really something about seeing the backstories of the Einherjar and watching them fall to their often tragic fates. This was something I hated about VP2, since the einherjar you got were basically generics with a little backstory in the menu. I could care less for them since they were found a shitty weapon lying around. Add in all the mythology in the game and the 2D art, and it's something I recommend to everyone.

10. Diablo 2 - The classic still being played to this day! Need I say more? (Ok, there's lots of loot, monsters, and tons of replayability! It's one of those few games done right.)

Honorable Mentions:
Phantasy Star Online
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
SaGa 2
Final Fantasy XII
Half-Minute Hero
I am willing to participate in this...but I need a list of jRPGs released since the PSX/SEGA CD/Saturn era to remember some of the jRPGs I've played over the years =_=
Sadly, I couldn't even come up with 5 RPG's I really loved that I'd actually finished. Chrono Trigger, Mass Effect 2 and Dark Souls are some of my favorite ones, but I don't feel I have enough legitimate experience with the genre to submit a list. Maybe someday.

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Oh, um, if I vote for something that was on my list last year, can I reuse the summary/explanation from that post if I feel like it's adequate enough?

I am willing to participate in this...but I need a list of jRPGs released since the PSX/SEGA CD/Saturn era to remember some of the jRPGs I've played over the years =_=
Will this do? It may be a little incomplete, but most of the notables are there, I guess.
I am willing to participate in this...but I need a list of jRPGs released since the PSX/SEGA CD/Saturn era to remember some of the jRPGs I've played over the years =_=
RPGFan will list most titles that have been released in the West on consoles as well as the more notable PC and import titles.

RPGamer also has a pretty extensive RPG list (including imports), but they don't arrange them by system:

Click on the Other tab for stand alone titles.

Oh, um, if I vote for something that was on my list last year, can I reuse the summary/explanation from that post if I feel like it's adequate enough?
I suppose so. If you can expand on things, by all means do so, but I don't see much point in re-writing a solid synopsis just for the sake of it being new.


the piano man
1)BATEN KAITOS: ETERNAL WINGS AND THE LOST OCEAN - great cast, beautiful graphics, nice story, interesting card based battle system, phenomenal soundtrack, epic.

2)SKIES OF ARCADIA: LEGENDS - same reason as my first choice, 2nd on my list because of some tedious fights and very early 3D graphics that don't age well

3)BATEN KAITOS: ORIGINS - improved over the first one but a prequel and not as strong as a first game if played without having played the first game first.

4)ETRIAN ODYSSEY III: THE DROWNED CITY - best game of the three, intricate gameplay, huge adventure, lots of stuff to gather.

5)DISSIDIA: FINAL FANTASY - very addictive, fantastic presentation, rather weird gameplay but very interesting. Story development from the main cast of all FF games makes it a rewarding experience

6)FINAL FANTASY III remake DS - great remake, nice old school gameplay.


8)VALKYRIE PROFILE: COVENANT OF THE PLUME - hard as nails but interesting story

9)FINAL FANTASI XII: REVENANT WINGS - I loved this game, the only time I have enjoyed strategy RPG (besides the game mentioned above :p), maybe because it all happens in real-time instead of taking turns.

10) FINAL FANTASY: CRYSTAL CHRONICLES- incredible production values, one of the best OSTs of last gen, great multiplayer, bad single player

Honorable Mentions

So jrpg and wrpg are mixed together? Oh boy, will have to think about it then.

Also, do i have to make a top tep or can i just list 10 rpg i like?
1. Xenoblade Chronicles. Easily the best RPG ever created. Semi open world, but unlike other open world RPGs, you don't spend only 10% of the time having and the rest being bored to death, there is actually a story interesting enough to follow, battle system is fun, and the world among the most interesting ever imagined.
2. Zelda alttp. Best game ever, it has to be on every list even remotely related.
3. Fire emblem Path of radiance.
4. Zelda Majoras mask.
5. Paper Mario 64.

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
With a recommendation like that I can ignore the game no longer.
The conversation system is similar to Deus Ex: HR's, but more organic. Whereas in HR you could put a point into a skill that would explicitly show you little graphs and icons indicating the "correct" dialogue choice, in AP you have these qualitative "dossiers" that you can pick up that describe a character's personality, and you have to make on the fly judgements based on that about how your choices will be received. It doesn't work perfectly, but its interesting
Do expansions count as separate entries?
Good Question!

The answer is no. I assume you are talking about Mask of the Betrayer or something of that calibur. You can vote for that, but I will lump it together with votes for Neverwinter Nights 2 in general. Same with MMO expansions or things like the FES expansion of Persona 3. Don't vote for an expansion and its base game separately.
Will start now and add more later.

1. Suikoden II (3 points) - my favorite game of all time. Great story that doesn't have you saving the world like most RPGs, with a lot of memorable moments and the best minigame ever: COOK OFF.

2. Persona 4 - Played a bit of the PS2 version before my BC PS3 died, and now I'm addicted to the Vita version. Probably the best cast I've ever seen on a RPG, very well made characters and interessing story. A bit too soon to say, but will probably become one of my favorite games ever.

3. Final Fantasy VI - the best in the series, IMO, may look dated today, but the sprites are one of the reasons this game is so charming. Memorable characters, villians, and ULTROS. Also, the mid-game plot twist blew my mind when I played it the first time.

4. Wild ARMS - Cool, unusual western/medieval setting, with great music and a pretty good story. The way you control characters solo before you become a group was pretty cool too.

5. Dragon Quest V - It's a pretty influential game, you can still see lots of things it inspired in nowdays RPGs. The most interessing thing, IMO, is the way the game doesn't only tell how the hero saved everyone, but also tells the hero whole life story.

6. Xenogears - Deep story, heavy themes, good battle system, memorable music and characters. The second disc is a rushed mess, but the game is worth it anyway.

7. Earthbound - Was divided between choosing this or Mother 3, choose this by pure nostalgia. Both are great games, with unique visual styles, settings and stories. Also, great soundtrack too.

8. Xenoblade Chronicles - My GOTY last year. The battle system is a variation of the FFXII Battle System (one of the best things on that game, IMO). Vast world, with lots of breathtaking sceneries, unique locations, excellent soundtrack, and good characters. It's a must buy for any Wii owner that is also a RPG fan.

9. Disgaea - SRPG with humorous story, loaded with content, and infinite replayability. There is a lot to learn, but you can also play it casually without problems. The story mode is pratically a 40 hour tutorial, but doesn't feel that way.

10. Harvest Moon: Back to Nature - Probably my most unusual choice, but I consider it a RPG. Farming with dating sim elements? Who thought it would work... Is a genius. The original was something very unique on it's own, but 64 and BTN added so much to the series, that a lot of fans still consider them the best on the series. Thought about putting Rune Factory instead, but I think Harvest Moon BTN better represents what is so good and unique about the series.

Honorable Mentions:

Suikoden III - The trinity system, where you can see two (or more) sides of the same story is worth a play for it's own.
Mother 3 - The touching story makes it worth of an honorable mention.
Final Fantasy V - Job System. Gilgamesh. Doesn't take itself too seriously most of times, but has some great serious moments.
Final Fantasy IV - Great cast, story and setting. Some few cool plot twists. It has been remade for pretty much every system created after 1990, so there's no excuse to not play it.
Diablo 2 - Probably the most addicting loot whore game ever.
Just a suggestion, but I think it'd be interesting to display the rank change on the list for each game as well. It'd give us an idea of how they're trending from year to year. So, for example, if Chrono Cross dropped down from #1 last year to #3 this year, it'd be "-2". Don't mean to give you more work...just an idea I thought would be interesting. :)
Persona 3 (PS2/PSP) - Successfully merging Visual Novel and the SMT-series together in the already storybased spinoff Persona, it's a mixture of dungeonruns and getting to really know your team and the people you protect. Arguably, 4 is better paced but 3 remains my favorite of the two.

Baldur's Gate(PC, Mac) - Played this so often when I was a teenager. Great adventure-feel and a certain sense of wonder and scale made this hugely facinating to me. Yeah, 2 is maybe better for character interaction but it didn't give me the same sense of exploration kinda...

Final Fantasy V (SNES, GBA) - Best Jobsystem, most easy-going adventure atmosphere, great battle theme make this my favorite Final Fantasy.

Skies of Arcadia (DC, GC) - Grandia-like "Grand Adventure" with stereotypical, but loveable characters right out of a shonen manga. So much too do, exploring the skies and battling the empire and more... Skypirates and SEGA at their best!

Super Robot Taisen OG: Endless Frontier (DS) - Actionstyled fighting system, great niche anime humour, smooth battle animations, a sense of nostalgia what with all these allusions to super robot shows and old JRPG tropes. Made by the people who also brought us: Xenoblade Chronicles. My favorite for the DS and the one I hereby highlight since it is just sooo great and it seems so many people missed it or ignored it because of the boobie-jokes... COWards...

Terranigma (SNES) - The game were you recreated the world with Zelda meets SoM-esque gameplay. Great atmosphere, soundtrack, optics, gameplay. One if not the best ActionJRPG I ever played, I love this game so much :)

Shenmue 2 (DC) - Does this count as a RPG? In my eyes, yes; You really get to play the role of Ryo, level up his moves, interact with other people (albeit limited), travel the city/country. Made a huge impression on me even though I only played 2 to the end for the first time this year.

Dragon Quest IV (NES, SNES) - Yeah, V has "live your life" and wifes, but IV had more charme IMO and felt more nostalgic and classic. Became my favorite DQ :)

Knights of Xentar/also known as Dragon Knight III (PC, PC Engine and more) - My first RPG, believe it or not, and it even was a semi-hentai RPG. But it was fun, full of humour, the leveling and fighting was easy but addicting and I really got into the game world. Replayed it many times, still enjoy it today ^^ It may not be the best, but it has charme and humour. (maybe this is why I enjoyed Super Robot Taisen OG: Endless Frontier? They had quite a similiar humour...)

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (PS2) - Irritating level layouts at times, but they can't hurt the overall atmosphere, depth of monster fusion and batteling against other monsters, cool characters, great soundtrack, the huge game world...

Honorable Mentions:

Icewinde Dale (PC) - Like Baldur's Gate, exploration... but with a far more restrained atmosphere which is why I also liked this. It felt epic without feeling "fantasy international", you had your icy village... and the dungeons. Great experience.

Chrono Trigger (SNES, DS) - Still remains one of the best JRPGs ever. Maybe a bit short, but full of charme and NO random battles, yay!

Etrian Odyssey (DS) - A throwback to old PC rpgs like Dungeon Master and Might and Magic, but with cutesy anime optics. Much fun to be had with that one if you like old-school gaming and drawing your own maps.

Lunar: The Silver Star (MegaCD, PS1, PSP, GBA) - I like this even more than Grandia, it has and will always have a special place in my JRPG-fanboyish heart. Light and funny storyline (at the beginning at least), cool fighting system, best soundtrack and characters of the time...

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PSP, PC, Vita, PS3) - It evoked the same feeling as Lunar did in me. So much charme and fun characters. Only played FC, it was a fun ride but it felt too much like a prologue for me to include it in the Toplist (maybe that would change with SC, though?)

(a few years back, this would probably have included much more west RPGs and I feel like leaving games such as Planescape: Torment, Deus Ex, Might & Magic VI and the like of my list is a bit... unfair, but I just grew to prefer the linearity and worlds of JRPGs more over time... I also had to leave out many games I really really enjoyed as well and I tried to only pick one game per series to let more names appear on the list. Otherwise it would probably be like "Persona 2, Persona 3, Persona 4, Final Fantasy III, V, VI, VII, IX, Baldurs Gate 1, Baldurs Gate 2, the end" and that'd be boring now, wouldn't it)

edit: I have to sleep over that list for a night, I noticed I completely forgot to include Ys somewhere, or the Mario RPGs or some of the better Tales games...
1) Vagrant Story (3 points) - The master piece of Yasumi Matsuno and the perfect combination between solid gameplay, exceptional story and incredible atmosphere and art direction.

2) Chrono Trigger - The dream project they call it. This is what I expect of a game done by Square and Enix veterans.

3) Dark Souls - Demon's Souls is a master piece but, Dark Souls bring the original formula and take if further. Game of the generation.

4) Tactics Ogre : Let Us Cling Together (Super Famicom version) - Memorable cast of characters, excellent story, good music, solid gameplay. This is without any doubt the quintessence of S-RPG.

5) Xenogears - A brilliant game with a heavy story and original gameplay that involves robots and a deep thoughts about the human kind.

6) Shin Megami Tensei II - Perhaps the most offensive J-RPG story-wise. A game like that nowadays would never be released again.

7) Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne

8) EarthBound -

9) Final Fantasy XII - My favorite FF. Best story, best gameplay, best cast and art direction.

10) Dragon Quest III
- Have you ever dreamed to become a king? The deepest and most memorable entry to the series. Epic game, epic story and solid gameplay and art direction.

Honorable Mentions

11) Fire Emblem Seisen no Keifu -

12) Valkyrie Profile -

13) Final Fantasy Tactics
- Many consider this game a dumb down Tactics Ogre but it's still a master piece that must be played if you like mature stories and believable characters.

14) Shin Megami Tensei if... - This SMT takes place in Karukozaka High School, which is mysteriously warped off into the the demon world. The gameplay is traditional but the world and the characters are so striking.

15) Demon's Souls - Kudos From Soft for managing to create a challenging game with a so brilliant design.
Reserved for future use, but I will post a preliminary list now:

1. Final Fantasy VI
2. Chrono Trigger
3. Xenoblade Chronicles
4. Pokemon Black/White 2
5. Grandia
6. Final Fantasy IX
7. Skies of Arcadia
8. The World Ends With You
9. Final Fantasy XII
10. Valkyrie Profile

Honourable Mentions:

Tales of Symphonia
Dragon Quest V
Final Fantasy VII
Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn
Final Fantasy IX