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NeoGAF's Essential RPGs - 2015 edition



Welcome to the fifth edition of NeoGAF's essential RPG list.

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 close to 200 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 (eventually) 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!

NOTE: The final aggregate list is currently a work in progress! As I mentioned in the voting stage of this thread, I find my personal life much changed in the two years since I last ran the Essential RPG thread. As such, I have limited free time to work on the thread. Thank you for your patience as I get everything updated!

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

Summary: Fire Emblem Awakening is the latest game in the beloved Nintendo strategy franchise. Awakening retains its predecessors' simple but deeply gratifying rock-paper-scissors strategy foundation and adds a plethora of new gameplay features (such as a traversable world map) and online capabilities. Fire Emblem: Awakening allows characters to pair up in marriage (Similar to the Japanese only Genealogy of the Holy War), creating offspring characters that inherit their parents abilities and strengths. The marriage system makes Awakening very replayable, and experimenting with different pairings to create the ultimate warrior has never been more gratifying. Fire Emblem: Awakening offers a new twist on classic gameplay and is a great starting point for new fans.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​



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…​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

Summary: Divinity: Original Sin ("D:OS") is a 2014 CRPG developed by Larian Studios. The story follows two "Source Hunters"--authority figures responsible for punishing the practice of "source" magic--who, while investigating the murder of a town councilor, find themselves on the trail of a dark and wide-ranging conspiracy. Players eventually control a party of four and can recruit additional characters to form a deep bench of fighters. One of the first major titles of the 2010s CRPG renaissance, D:OS features the dramatic combat, (comparatively) free exploration, and plentiful sidequests that were hallmarks of the genre in its heyday. But D:OS is more than a throwback. Within the classical framework, D:OS introduces drop-in co-op, a robust crafting system, and turn-based combat that sets a new standard for the genre. Players can combine tactical-positioning, environmental effects, and telekinesis to unleash creative destruction (in the literal sense) on their enemies.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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. However, the game was recently re-released on the Playstation Network​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

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.​

Summary: Dragon's Dogma released by Capcom as their answer to the popularity of Open-world RPGs. Dragon's Dogma's world might not be as large as its contemporaries, but it boasts a wide variety of uniquely designed dungeon to explore. Exploration isn't the main attraction however, since Dragon's Dogma brightest gem is its (stylish) action gameplay. Climb a big monster and strike their weakness up close, or execute flashy skills to bring them down to their knees, Dragon's Dogma offers gameplay that will keep players entertained for countless of hours. Dragon's Dogma;s expansion, the Dark Arisen, adds a vast dungeon to the game: The Bitterblack Isles. This land is the home to many dangerous monsters and powerful equipment unavailable in the original game. Less of an open-world, and more of a dungeon crawl, Dark Arisen adds both challenge and new gameplay experiences. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen isn't only a must-play expansion, but rather the definitive edition of the game.​

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.​

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.​



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.​

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.​

Summary: Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel to the original Deus Ex, taking place 25 years prior in a futuristic Detroit. The game centers around Adam Jensen, a security manager for the biotechnology firm Sarif Industries. After a terrorist attack at the companies headquarters, a critically wounded Jensen is forced to undergo surgery to replace a majority of his body with advanced augmentations. When Jensen returns to work after recovering, he is determined to find the ones responsible for the attack. The player is given the freedom to choose how they want to approach confrontations; they can either take a nonlethal, stealthy approach, or go in with intent to kill. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles of play. Augmentations can be purchased throughout the game to improve Jensen's skills, ranging from abilities that help improve combat to hacking upgrades. The outcome of many events in the game are heavily influenced by social interactions. These interactions are shaped by the player, along with Jensen's moral compass. The player is not forced to stay on one moral path or choose only one play style, giving them the freedom to be inconsistent.​

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.​

Summary: Super Mario RPG - Join Mario, Peach, Bowser, and two new characters - the marshmallow, Mallow and the living doll, Geno - on an epic quest to save the Star Road. A collaboration between Nintendo & Squaresoft, Super Mario RPG features prerendered 3D visuals like the Donkey Kong Country games and music from Yoko Shimomura (Street Fighter 2). Combat is turn-based but in keeping with the Mario theme, SMRPG is one of the first noteworthy RPGs where timed button presses can be used to enhance the power of your abilities.​

Summary: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is a turn-based tactics RPG in which the player controls a small mercenary company fighting to restore a princess to her throne. It is the ninth game in the series and the first of two set on the continent of Tellius, where humans ("Beorc") co-exist uneasily with various tribes of shape-shifting beasts ("Laguz"). As with many other games in the series, it marries simple rules -- such as a rock-paper-scissors weapons triangle in which lances beat swords, swords beat axes, and axes beat lances -- with stiff consequences to create challenging, addictive gameplay. Path of Radiance was the first Fire Emblem to feature three-dimensional graphics. It also introduced bonus experience that the player could distribute between battles to compensate for a character's weakness, poor availability, or bad luck with random level-ups. If you enjoy fast-paced, tactical combat and gameplay that generates its own drama, Fire Emblem is a series worthy playing. In the world of Fire Emblem, death is (usually) permanent. Beloved characters make heroic stands against all odds only to fall to an enemy's critical strike. Reset for a perfect run, or push ahead to avenge your fallen ally. The story is yours to write.​

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.​

Summary: Pokémon Red Version and Blue Version are role-playing games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy. Pokémon Yellow, a special edition version, was released roughly a year later. Red and Blue have subsequently been remade for the Game Boy Advance as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, released in 2004. The player controls the main character from an overhead perspective and navigates him throughout the fictionalized region of Kanto in a quest to master Pokémon battling. The goal of the games is to become the Champion of the region by defeating the top four Pokémon trainers in the land, the Elite Four. Another objective is to complete the Pokédex, an in-game encyclopedia, by obtaining the 151 available Pokémon.​

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.​

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.​

Summary: Summary: Final Fantasy VIII was developed and published by Square. The game's story focuses on a group of young mercenaries who are drawn into an international conflict, and seek to protect the world from a sorceress manipulating the war for her own purposes. Final Fantasy VIII uses a battle system based on summon-able monsters called Guardian Forces (GF). Assigning a GF onto a character allows the player to use battle commands beyond Attack with the main weapon. In Final Fantasy VIII, spells are drawn either from enemies in battle, Draw Points distributed throughout the game's environments, or by refining items and cards. Spells are then stocked on characters as quantified inventory and are consumed one by one when used. Characters can also junction these spells onto their statistics for various bonuses, provided the character has junctioned a Guardian Force. The junction system's flexibility affords the player a wide range of customization options.​

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.​

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.​

Extended Top 100 and more coming soon



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

52) Bravely Default (2012)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: 3DS
Completion Time: 55-70 hours
Available Digitally? YES

53) Secret of Mana (1993)
Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: SNES, Virtual Console, iOS, Android
Completion Time: 15-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

54) Shin Megami Tensei IV (2013)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: 3DS
Completion Time: 40-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

55) Diablo II (2000)
Genre: Hack-and-Slash Action RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

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

58) Kingdom Hearts (2002)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PS2, PS3
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

59) Tales of Vesperia (2008)
Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Completion Time: 40-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

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

62) Valkyrie Profile (1999)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSP
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

63) Gothic II (2002)
Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 50-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

64) Ni No Kuni (2011)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: DS, PS3
Completion Time: 45-55 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

66) Dragon Quest VIII (2004)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS2, iOS, Android
Completion Time: 65-85 hours
Available Digitally? YES

67) 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)

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

69) Grandia
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Saturn, PS1, PSN
Completion Time: 45-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

70) Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (2004)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PC, PSP, PS3
Completion Time: 35-50 hours
Available Digitally? YES

71) Dragon Age Inquisition
Genre: Open World Action RPG
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC
Completion Time: 40-75 hours
Available Digitally? YES

72) Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1 + 2 (2004)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS2, PSN
Completion Time: 35-50 hours (DDS1), 35-45 hours (DDS2)
Available Digitally? YES

73) Pokemon Black/White/Black 2/White 2 (2010)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: DS
Completion Time: 35-60 hours
Available Digitally? NO

74) The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion (2006)
Genre: Real-Time RPG
Platforms: PC, 360, PS3
Completion Time: 25-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

75) Etrian Odyssey IV: Legend of the Titan (2012)
Genre: Dungeon Crawler RPG
Platforms: 3DS
Completion Time: 55-70 hours
Available Digitally? YES

76) Golden Sun (2001)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: GBA, Wii U (Virtual Console)
Completion Time: 20-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

78) Fire Emblem (2003)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: GBA, Wii U (Virtual Console)
Completion Time: 25-40 hours
Available Digitally? YES

79) Shadowrun: Dragonfall (2014)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
Completion Time: 15-25 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

81) Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (2010)
Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: PSP
Completion Time: 30-40 hours
Available Digitally? NO

82) Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga (2003)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: GBA, Wii U (Virtual Console)
Completion Time: 15-20 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

84) Final Fantasy V (1992)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: SNES, PS1, GBA, Virtual Console, iOS, Android
Completion Time: 30-45 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

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

87) Dragon Quest IV (1990)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: NES, PS1, DS, iOS, Android
Completion Time: 25-35 hours
Available Digitally? YES

88) Mass Effect 3 (2012)
Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U
Completion Time: 25-35 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

90) Shining Force 2 (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

91) Tactics Ogre (1995)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platforms: SNES, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Console, PSP
Completion Time: 45-65 hours
Available Digitally? YES

92) Vagrant Story (2000)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSN
Completion Time: 20-35 hours
Available Digitally? YES

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

94) Breath of Fire 3 (1997)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSP
Completion Time: 40-50 hours
Available Digitally? YES (in JP/EU)

95) Fallout (1996)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 15-30 hours
Available Digitally? YES

96) Persona 2: Innocent Sin + Eternal Punishment (1999)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS1, PSP, PSN
Completion Time: 35-50 hours each
Available Digitally? YES

97) Darklands (1992)
Genre: Open World RPG
Platforms: PC
Completion Time: 40-60 hours
Available Digitally? YES

98) Dragon Quest 7 (2000)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: PS1, 3DS
Completion Time: 100-125 hours
Available Digitally? NO

99) Lost Odyssey (2008)
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Platforms: Xbox 360
Completion Time: 50-70 hours
Available Digitally? NO

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


1) Earthbound - This is the game that got me into the RPG genre into the first place. When I was young, I actually HATED fantasy and RPG's. I found the gameplay so confusing etc. Then I played Earthbound... this game isn't your typical fantasy JRPG. It takes place in a modern 90's world. You're a kid named Ness who uses a baseball bat and psychic powers to take on an alien named Gygas with the help of your friends that's trying to take over the world. ( This game has a VERY dark story and elements behind it too! ). They made grinding in this game less tedious as well. If you're stronger than an enemy, you can steamroll them for free exp. The music, the different aesthetics, even the monsters you face (hot cup of coffee, abstract art, taxi's, etc)... it's quite unique and recommend it to anyone! Greatest moment in this game is its humor as well. A lot of quirky moments in this game.

2) Chrono Cross - Both the Mother series and the Chrono series are the only franchises I actually consider legitimately PERFECT. Chrono Cross has an amazing setting, tons of characters (though that's also what some consider a drawback) and easily the best soundtrack in any video game out there. The game has multiple endings and the art perfectly compliments the setting. You really won't find many JRPG's that take place on a tropical island or around that kind of thing. It's truly something else.

3) Chrono Trigger- Without Chrono Trigger there would be no Chrono Cross. For me, personally, Chrono Trigger's great story, the customization of techniques you can perform in battle and the characters are the areas that stand out most for me. One area where I thought that Cross lacked. They all have memorable themes too and made the playthrough so much more enjoyable! As I type this I'm actually just finishing listening to the Chrono Trigger soundtrack so... yeah. Funny that!

4) Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 & 2 - An RPG that takes place in the future. Not many out there like it. The combat is timing based and it was considered to be pretty action heavy for its time. This was the first online console game I've ever played. Had an enjoyable lobby area to race people around in chairs or playing lobby soccer when you weren't on the field slaying huge monsters. A lot of games today even still draw inspiration from this game. Monster Hunter etc... while they may be their own game, I feel they definitely borrow a bit from this game. This game was also the first procedurally generated console game I've ever played. Every time you went on a field it might not look similar to the next time you went back (different paths to take but generally still the same). The number of rare items you could get was also too. The character creation... so many features I can list so I'm not going to bother continuing and taking up more space on this than I already have. The best part? local split screen multiplayer. This was the best step Sega did with this game. COUNTLESS hours spent trying to go to level 200. It's unreal... not only that but just how many character classes we all actually ended up having in the end!

5) Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions - This Final Fantasy game is my favorite of every single one out there. The story is very dark, the game is quite challenging at times and offers an amazing job system. There's a lot of great summons and I REALLY like a lot of characters in this game! So many to choose from! I really the outfit design in Tactics as well. The revamped version (War of the Lions) added some AMAZING voice over, the inclusion of multiplayer via ad-hoc for PSP (either through battle, where you fight each other out, or rendezvous, where you do missions together). They also added the Dark Knight and Onion Knight class in this one.... now I want to replay it as I'm talking about it. The music is really well done by Sakimoto-san as well. Really evokes a feel of War.

6) Ragnarok Online - This is a Korean MMO. This is my very first PC MMO. Its design sets it apart from any other game out there, I think. 2D sprites in a 3D world. Sound TEMP does the music for this and the game is very lighthearted and just all around fun. I still go back and play all my games on top 10 list regularly (except Xenoblade due to how massive it is). Some of my most memorable moments... seeing a GM for the first time (Christy) man... seeing so many people gathered around... heck, I'm even surprised I remember the GM's name! The job classes you can play as, finding out strategies to use in PVP etc. So many great moments with this one!

7) Legend of Dragoon - I really enjoyed the combat system first and foremost in this game. You had to time your attacks with button presses and if you were really good at it, you'd perform some crazy attacks! This works with magic abilities or when you transformed as well! It's a JRPG developed by SCEI. I guess one of the reasons I enjoy this title so much was that it drew a lot of inspiration from Squaresoft titles. The menu's, music, view of the battle system (though still unique in its own right), the pre-rendered backgrounds. The world map was also different as well as you had set locations to go to so... it was different in the sense you didn't have a large world map like FF titles but it was still pretty big in its own right.

8) Mother 3 - It's a shame this title was never localized in North America officially from Nintendo. The cast of characters are all great and surprise, a dark story as well! The cool thing about this title too is its battle system in where if you attack along with the beat of the music, you will do more damage. I wish the game actually came out on the Nintendo 64 like it was originally supposed to and I didn't find the music as memorable as Mother 2 but it certainly had a few good tunes but those are two minor things in a game as amazing as this.

9) Xenoblade - The setting in Xenoblade... wow... for a game to achieve what it did on the original Nintendo Wii is a testament to how great Takahashi-san and his team really are. The music is done by Yoko Shimomura as well. The setting in this game takes place on two giant gods. The areas you go to are MASSIVE and each vastly different from the other. Europe did an awesome just with the voice overs, the story is crazy and I REALLY want Xenoblade X already... as you may be able to tell from my avatar! Shulk, Dunban, Reyne and Riki. My favorite characters. xD

10) Final Fantasy Type-0 - With Type-0 HD on the way and having played the original, I'm putting this as my #10 on my list. I mean, heck, my avatar on GAF is Izana Kunagiri from that game. He's just one of the characters I like
(not even a playable character either!).
Though I won't say much regarding that... just yeah. It's the different approach this game took with Final Fantasy that I liked a lot. Especially with the battle system, the summons (you sacrifice the character you are playing as to summon a monster). I also like how each character is based around a certain fighting style. The music is very fitting as well.

Honorable Mentions

11) Wild Arms - The animated intro in this game and its theme are great. This is a JRPG that takes place in the Wild West. I really liked how you could affiliate yourself with a lot of different summons and the world of Filgaia really had a lot to explore. The humor, characters, the puzzles... this game has a lot to it and it only starts with the first game.

12) Wild Arms 2 - This game expands on the first game but has a lot more replay value. The optional boss fights are great, the characters are just as good, if not better, and the music is just as enjoyable.

13) Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Edition - If it wasn't said enough already, I LOVE the world of Ivalice. XII is no exception. I really enjoyed the characters but at the same time... didn't particularly like the outfit design. The world, however, looks amazing. Loved the zones, loved hunts! I really loved the revamped job system too which is where it shined over the original XII, I thought.

14) Final Fantasy X - Love the story, setting, background, characters and music. Though Tidus' outfit could look better the game is very well done. The first Final Fantasy to have voice over work in a main game. The one thing it lacks is an explorable world map... I was disappointed with this but the music and Blitzball etc make up for it. Great game!

15) Valkyria Chronicles - Sakimoto-san did the music for this game too... same guy that did the OST for Final Fantasy Tactics! Loved the cell shaded art style to this game and is also very different from a lot of other strategy games out there. Love this one!


Reserved, because there has to be a mention of Mega Man Battle Network somewhere near the top.

1) Chrono Trigger

2) Mega Man Battle Network 3: Blue Version

3) Pokémon Black 2 or Pokémon White 2

4) Persona 4

5) NieR

6) Chrono Cross

7) Pokémon Platinum

8) Xenogears

9) Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

10) Valkyria Chronicles

I'll add descriptions later if and when I have time.
Reserved for front page

1) Pokemon Gold/Silver - While the 1st gen games had a myriad of problems, Gold/Silver fixes almost every issue with the original and even expands on it, providing a revisit to Kanto as post game and that epic encounter on the top of Mt.Silver. It's also the game where the future of Pokemon as something competitive really began to take root.

2) The World Ends with You- (insert explanation here)

3) Xenoblade Chronicles (3 points) - (insert explanation here)

4) Chrono Trigger - (insert explanation here)

5) Valkyria Chronicles - (insert explanation here)
1. Mother 2 (Earthbound) - The 'everyone' favourite cult jrpg,

2. Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System - This version definitely fix most of the flaw in the original vanilla FFXII. Gambit system is more refined, the 12 license board makes every characters more unique.

3. Pokemon Red/Green/Blue - For me, the 1st generation is still the best Pokemon game ever. Not that I'm a genwunner, but its simplistic (really?) design makes me interested in the series. Tbh, if Gold/Silver is the 1st Pokemon game that I played, I might ragequitted from playing the series for some reason.

4. Lufia II - Was it the 1st jrpg which implement puzzles? I'm not sure but it's definitely the 1st one that I played. Some of the puzzles are quite challenging if my memory doesn't lie lol

5. Chrono Trigger - Erm...

6. The World Ends with You (3 points) - The only game in my opinion that fully utilize the dual screen capability of Nintendo DS, although some people don't like its battle system.

7. Valkyria Chronicles -

8. Persona 2 Innocent Sin/Eternal Punishment - The best Persona game... the end

9. Golden Sun - Finding djinn in world map random encounter is fun :p And of course who doesn't like the best battle theme in the series, Saturos battle theme

10. Final Fantasy Tactics - One of the best Team Ogre game that had been made. Good storyline, music, gameplay etc.

Honorable Mentions

1. Fire Emblem Awakening - To be honest, it it isn't the best Fire Emblem game. But it can serve as the entry game for people to deal with the series and then play the older titles... *cough*Thracia 776*cough*

2. Tales of Vesperia - The best Tales of game in the series for me. It is almost the perfect Tales of except for the typical TP-based combat in which....

3. Tales of Graces - The game which tops Tales of Vesperia in battle system category. Unlike TP, Chain Capacity (CC) allows for greater freedom in chaining moves and skills.

4. Xenoblade Chronicles - Beautiful scenery. Beautiful musics. And a 'better' version of FFXII combat system.

5. Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne - The game that introduce press turn battle system which make the normal turn-based jrpg a bit more interesting.

6. Pokemon Black/White - While many people seems hate this version for various reason, it is in my opinion has the best storyline in handheld Pokemon game. Besides, its music is good too.

7. Bravely Default For the Sequel - How to make a normal boring turn-based jrpg become more interesting? The answer is lies in this game battle system.


1) The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - At first, this particular game doesn't really seems to excel at any point; but everything it does, it does pretty well. The story is kinda cliche, but it's so well written that it becomes interesting from beginning to end and the battle system, while simplistic, it has aged well, so it's still enjoyable to this day. Only RPG were I look forward to starting a new playtrough.

2) Persona 4 - Pretty much my favorite story in a game, I was involved from beginning to end
Honestly, the Heaven dungeon was probably the only moment in a game where I genuitely wanted to save a character as fast as possible; shit hit hard for me
, and I did appreciate the changes to the mechanics (Direct Commands was much appreciated; and I felt like I had more stuff to do in Inaba, I didn't really had anything cool to do on P3 city near the end of that game). I can't really replay this game as easily as Trails (Maybe it's the battle system), so this one stays as 2º place.

3) Xenoblade Chronicles - I've played this on the Dolphin emulator, and honestly, this is probably the prettiest game I've ever played... Of course, not talking it on a technical level, but the areas are so well designed, I coudn't help but admire everything. It had a solid battle system and everything else worked fine. Didn't really like the soundtrack, though (Not talking about the tracks, those are fantastic; but my problem was having "Monado Awakens" play every time you would change the future in battles, that got really old fast, and I coudn't stand it after a while)

4) Chrono Trigger - Only RPG I ever liked back when I was a kid; wasn't really a fan of the whole "Change to battle scenario" that was the norm back in the day, so having one were enemies would run at you and fight at the same place you were really made it far more interessing for me. Game hasn't really aged well for me, but it's still a timeless classic for me.

5) Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten - By far my most played RPG; I just coudn't get tired of it, it's only franchise were I look forward to grindind, and this game nailed it, and even after I stopped playing it, I still had lots of stuff to do. And the story was actually pretty decent, I enjoyed it more than the first game.

6) Zettai Hero Project (3 Points) - The hidden gen of the PSP for me. I never really was a fan of rogue-likes, but this games adapts it in a way that makes it enjoyable for me. But the thing that I most liked about the game was the main character; he would grind, and after that he would try to defeat the evil monster and the he would fail, the secondary characters would shit on him, he would grind some more and the cycle would repeat. I never played a game where I actually wanted the main character to suceed as much as this one.

7) Persona 3 - I'm not that big a fan of this one compared to other people (Felt like most of the time you did nothing, and I really disliked the lack of Party Commands), but it's still one of my favorites. I did find the story more engaging, and it has the best ending I've seen in a game.

8) Ys Seven - Not a big fan of the party system, but it's pretty much my favorite battle system; it just feels good to play this. And together with one of the best soundtracks out there, and it becomes one of my favorites.

9) Kingdom Hearts II - Man, replaying this on critical really made me appreciate this game a lot more; I don't think it plays as good as Ys 7, but it's close.

10) Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord - Probably the biggest surprise I had with a RPG; picked this up not expecting much (Played the japanese demo, and though it was pretty poor), and I was blown away. Since Trails I haven't played a JRPG so well written (At least at some parts, some other it was really dumb; but the good parts were gooood), and the SRPG in it was one of the most enjoyable I've played.

1) Xenoblade Chronicles - The setting, the soundtrack, the cast, the exploration. This is just simply my favourite game of all time. It just defines what an RPG is about to me, in making the majority of the gameplay being the adventure itself, with the stunning world open for you to explore as you play through the storyline, some of the vistas were breathtaking, and this was all done on the little Wii.

2) Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal/HeartGold/SoulSilver - The definitive Pokemon game. The Johto region has the most remarkable areas and lore of the series, Ecruteak and Goldenrod being my favourite cities, and Lugia and Ho-oh are still unmatched as far as cover legendaries go. But the real winner of these games is the amount of content, 16 badges, 2 regions, and the best final boss in the series.

3) Persona 4 - Another one of my favourites. While I did adore the more dark storyline of P3, there was just something special about the more laidback, down to earth, and frankly charming world and story of Persona 4. I really came to care about the characters in this game, and they almost felt like actual friends. They are just so well written, largely due to the social links and extra storyline activities the party partakes in, rather than solely focusing on the supernatural elements of the main storyline.

4) Kingdom Hearts - I absolutely adore this game, and I still think it is the best in the series, largely due to the sequels axing the platforming and exploration that made this game so special. No world in the later games has been as great as Hollow Bastion. The Disney worlds were also incorporated into the story far better than later games thanks to the more simple storyline. The action combat is also sublime. Who would have thought a Squaresoft RPG about Disney characters and Final Fantasy cameos could have turned out so well.

5) Dragon's Dogma (3 points) - Fighting mythological creatures has never been so fun. The combat system in this game is one of the best in any game I have had the pleasure of playing. Climbing a cyclops and stabbing it in the eye, or summoning hurricanes on a flying griffon, or launching a volley of arrows at a hydra, this game is just a dream. Just writing this out has made me want to go back and play it some more.

6) Persona 3 - My introduction to the Persona series. I really appreciated the dreary atmosphere of this game, with death being the biggest theme throughout. Tartarus was somewhat interesting, and I did enjoy making good progress in it, and the boss fights coming at the full moon was a nice way to incorporate a game mechanic. Fuck Ken though.

7) Dark Souls - Dying has never been so fun. No other game makes the player feel as skilled as the Souls games. Going from being brutally killed, to the one brutally killing is oh so satisfying. All the enemies tells and animations are just right, and the weight behind all your attacks are perfect. This game just feels so good to play. The dreary atmosphere and fantastic enemy designs make for a superb world, and actually good items and equipment being scattered about makes exploration amazingly rewarding.

8) Final Fantasy VII - What I consider to be the epitome of 'the JRPG'. The world map, the airships, the towns, the party, the random battles, the spells and abilities. It all just works so well. The materia system works fantastically, and allows you to customise your party as you see fit, and equip whichever abilities you feel necessary. The world itself is fantastic, the mako, lifestream and all the other terminology is spoken of so convincingly that you can really believe in this world, and Sephiroth and the Shinra make for fantastic villains. All topped off with a superb OST.

9) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - Nothing else is quite like Mario RPGs, and this is what I consider the best of the bunch. The party members are fantastic, the locations are memorable, the humour is top notch. The game is just a masterpiece. Feel the RAAAAAWWWK.

10) Demon's Souls - While I feel Dark Souls is the better game, this one excels in one area, the atmosphere of this game is in a class of it's own. Tower of Latria is just superb. I've never felt as I did in that tower. The bells of the cthulhu guards will forever haunt me.

Honourable Mentions

1) Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

2) Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow/FireRed/LeafGreen

3) Earthbound

4) Chrono Trigger

5) Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire

6) Fire Emblem: Awakening

7) Kingdom Hearts II

8) Pokemon Black/White

9) Paper Mario

10) Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories



Harvest Moon 64 (3 points)
Live a pleasant life in a small town.

Paper Mario
Read a lovely story book with all your favorite Mario characters.

Mother 3
This game is really depressing and really funny.

Pokémon Gold Version/Pokémon HeartGold Version
You'll spend hundreds of hours preparing for 5 minute battles but it's very satisfying to perfect your team.

Fire Emblem Awakening
Play matchmaker. There's other stuff but it's not as important.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4/Persona 4 Golden
Solve a murder with your friends and date highschool girls.

Final Fantasy XII/Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System
Be a sky pirate.

Skies of Arcadia/Skies of Arcadia Legends
Be a sky pirate again.

Valkyria Chronicles
Form a squad of weirdos and watch them interact on the battlefield.

Demon's Souls
Explore a very scary and very dangerous world.

Honorable Mentions:

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
The World Ends With You
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature/Harvest Moon: Boy and Girl/Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES/Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Odin Sphere
Resonance of Fate


1) Persona 3 (3 points) Welcome to the dark and tragic world of Persona 3. If you've played Persona 4, you should know what to expect in terms of gameplay, but story and character wise? I have to say I marginally prefer the third in the series. They both have very different themes, but both games do them exceptionally well, it just so happens that I feel Persona 3 resonates with me more. You start without much context and, following some foreshadowing introductory scenes, are thrust into a contract with a mysterious child. As the game goes on you answer many of the questions that rise from the story and feel tight bonds with your party members. I cannot recommend this game enough.

2) Baten Kaitos Origins - Simply put, Baten Kaitos Origins has the best battle system I've ever had the fortune of using. It's extremely satisfying and you get healed automatically at the end of every bout. This means that instead of being slowly wittled down by waves and waves of boring enemies you have to fight for your life in each encounter, which fortunately aren't random encounters either. This is one of my all time favourites, it's so good. You only ever have three party members but the story is incredible and the characters are genuinely interesting and loveable. The first game was very hit and miss with people, but I urge everyone to try this game even if they didn't enjoy the first. The voice acting is much, MUCH better and the battle system has changed dramatically, they basically only share a world and some characters.

3) Pokemon HeartGold - Honestly, I wasn't too fond of the Original G/S. Maybe it's because I was LTTP and skipped Gen 2 initially but boy, were the remakes some of the best god damn RPGs ever. It's standard Pokemon fare, but honestly the biggest draw here is the wealth of content. It really hasn't been matched on that level yet and is my favourite Pokemon game due to balancing difficulty and content better than any other. I hope some day they'll go back to not thrusting the EXP. Share in your face at the beginning of the game, thus negating any difficulty.

4) Persona 4 - (insert explanation here)

5) Final Fantasy X - (insert explanation here)

6) Golden Sun - (insert explanation here)

7) Skies of Arcadia - (insert explanation here)

8) Golden Sun: The Lost Age - (insert explanation here)

9) Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean - (insert explanation here)

10) Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones - Although this game certainly doesn't get as much hate as Shadow Dragon, it's often considered one of the weakest FE's to be released in the west. I've never understood this. Yes you can grind if you want, but honestly? I gain a huge satisfaction from grinding in this game and then wiping out an entire map with one dude. Seriously a great game and my favourite FE still.

Honorable Mentions

11) Pokemon Black - (insert explanation here)

12) Ys: Memories of Celceta - (insert explanation here)

13) Tales of Hearts R - (insert explanation here)

14) Persona 2: Innocent Sin - (insert explanation here)

15) Fire Emblem: Awakening - (insert explanation here)

16) Chrono Trigger - (insert explanation here)

17) Child of Light

18) Pokemon Emerald

19) Star Control II

20) Earthbound


EDIT: Pretty much done. Sorry for the length... I tried to keep it shorter for the games I added in later.
I'm mainly a pen and paper RPG gamer, and that is reflected in my taste in video game RPGs. I like games that provide me opportunities to role-play. Especially those that give me not just the freedom to create my character, but also a reactive, emotional and engaging story that would make me want to explore as this character. I played both JRPGs and WRPGs growing up, but as I got more and more into P&P, my opinion shifted heavily towards WRPGs, since they're much closer to what I consider a good RPG experience.

Main List

[List order is random and I restrict myself to one game per series.]

Baldur's Gate II: Shadow of Amn (3 points)
The magnum opus of BioWare. A member of the Infinity Engine family, with some of the most celebrated RPGs ever, BG2 stands a head higher than even other games of its era. Most other games go for either width OR depth, but BG2 just said fuck it and went for both. And that goes for every aspect of the game. Not only is the game huge, with Athkatla alone featuring more quests than several other games I can think of, but each quest feels original and unique, without a single quest feeling stupid or redundant. I am constantly amazed by the amount of work they put into even the sidest of quests, I can barely think of quests that feature no sudden complications or surprises. Not a single procedurally generated bore-fest to be seen.
BG2 also took companions to the next level. While there are less than the first game, there is no shortage of of them (17 overall including ToB), and each of them feels unique. Besides maybe a few, they each feature interesting personal arcs and stories (which is not something I can say about many other RPG companions). As I traveled with them, I really came to think of them as people rather than data or stats. But where the game truly stands above even other excellent RPGs is the depth of interactions between members of your group, with characters bonding, making rivalries, mentoring, joking and even romancing. I can't stress enough how exciting it was the first time I played the game to suddenly have to make very delicate intimate choices, and to see the romance grow and the characters change with it. And all of that stuff is entirely optional but still feels integral to the story if chosen.
The combat system, which in essence is identical to other IE games, really shines as well. The encounters play to the system's strength - Pitting you against spell casters, large groups of various classes and other such adversaries that require you to manage several different kind of threats. The game always keeps you on your toes and battle feels wholly engaging. While not perfect, combat is much better than the somewhat straightforward encounters of the first BG (and even later IE games like PS:T.) The higher power levels also help, D&D is usually mostly boring until about level 8, which exactly your starting point in BG2, so more interesting weapons and abilities are available to the player (and enemies). And again, width AND depth, despite the large number of weapons in the game, the number of generic "+n" fillers is relatively low. Instead, we get unique weapons with unique abilities and written histories.
BG2 is really the quintessential RPG - It doesn't just do everything, it does everything well. Some things better than others, but even what it's worse at it does decently. Playing through this game is an experience, and a must for every RPG fan.

Planescape: Torment
Another Infinity Engine classic. PS:T sets itself apart not only in quality but also in content. The game takes place in the world of "Planescape", a center point of the cosmos in which planes and worlds collide into a cosmopolitan city, Sigil, based upon Industrial-era London. The setting of Planescape is crazy, it's a city shaped like a doughnut, in which anything can be a door with the right key (which can also be anything, from an object to a thought) to any world. As mentioned, the city is pretty much smack in the center of the cosmos, easily accessible to the planes such as Mechanus(a world of machines), Abyss (Hell), Celestia (Heaven) and more. Sigil, the city of doors, is populated by everything from alien races, robot-like creature, zombies and people from other D&D campaign settings who happen to go through a wrong portal. The genius of the game is in making this cooky world feel real and alive. You believe the cultures and people inhabiting this city, thanks to details like the unique slang ('eh cutter?), the amazing prosaic writing and detailed pre-rendered graphics to name a few.
But a game is more than it's setting, and PS:T does more than simply present you with crazy lore. The game uses the weirdness the setting affords to tell a different story than the ones we're used to from RPGs, and an amazing one at that. This is not a game about saving a world, this is a completely personal quest, that engrosses you into the life of the Namesless One. This is the most personal RPG I've ever played, pretty much every character or story-line directly revolves around the Nameless One, and in the end, it really does manages to get through and tell you something.
Because this game it tied so closely with BG2 in my head, I feel the need to explain why I didn't give it the 3 points. First of all, combat. Yeah, I'm just gonna say it - Combat in PS:T is garbage. It's not fun, it's not engrossing, it's bullshit. And don't get me started on that "You don't have to fight!" mantra some people repeat with this game, because we all know there are certain parts of the game in which sneaking is such a chore that even if it's technically possible it's not very feasible. In the end, combat is a glaring flaw in the game, one that sadly makes it as a whole less fun than BG2. But other than that, I think there's another, more interesting reason I chose BG2 over Torment. PS:T is an amazing game with an amazing story, but it lacks some of the "depth" BG2 had. I do not mean depth as in "Makes you think of stuff", but as in a "vertical design", how far the game goes with the content it presents. Quests in BG2 had that sprawling feeling to them - They started as one thing, evolved to another, and then ended with a memorable bang. Characters weren't just interesting concepts, but evolving people you formed relationships with (A character could start as an apprentice, and go through the process of joining a Knight order, for example). In PS:T, quests were interesting but lacked the twists of BG2 and characters were interesting but rarely evolved into something different than their initial concepts. I attribute this largely to the foreign world of Sigil. While BG2 had the benefit of a recognized and easily understood world, PS:T had to spend much of the game getting the player familiar with concepts and ideas. It did it the best it could, but it still provided the game with some limitations on how far down they could go vertically.
PS:T is the RPG that shows what RPGs can do, how far they can go. It may not "have it all" in the same sense BG2 does, but that's only because it decided to go further, to push the limits into uncharted territory.

Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness
If I had to choose one series that best translates the feel of pen and paper RPGs to the video game format, It'd be Quest for Glory. The series is a perfect blend of "RPG" and "Adventure", with each genre perfectly complements the lacking of the other. It also does an amazing job of immersing you in its charming cities, cultures, quests and stories. While the combat is rather simplistic (not to say boring) compared to other RPGs, it more than make up for it with everything else, and the "Adventure game" aspects usually make sure you have creative alternatives to combat. It was hard for me to choose one game to represent this series, it was a close race between this and Trial by Fire, but in the end I felt like Shadow of Darkness wins out thanks to the better story and puzzles (and the darker tone.) I consider this series a must play, and I really do mean that.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
Vampire: The Masquerade's World of Darkness is one of my favorite settings in RPGs. I'm usually always in at least one P&P campaign running it. After the snooze fest that was Redemption, Bloodlines was everything I wanted in a WoD game. It's one of those game you can always run through and get a very different experience, which is, to me, a sure way to tell it does something right as an RPG.

I'm a huge fan of Spiderweb, and Geneforge is one of their best offerings. It mixes good story with a very original settings. I have to emphasis how awesome this setting is. Unlike Planescape, where the coolness comes from going off the cliff with weirdness, Geneforge keeps the basics of a fantasy world intact, only changing where necessary and logically following from that, which makes the setting much more accessible than other games with an "out there setting".

Live A Live:
The one JRPG even I couldn't snub. The game starts you off with a choice of 7 stories of different genres - From Western, to Kung-Fu and even Horror. These genres aren't just limited to self-contained stories, but also dictate gameplay and tone (with one chapter featuring no combat and one chapter featuring no dialogue, for example). Each of the stories is a short, fun, troperiffic adventure in a genre. The game closes with two more chapters that bind the stories together, which helps the game feel more like a single coherent products rather than a collection of mini-games. LAL is first of all an amazing experiment in narrative, as it plays with many genre tropes fluently and masterfully. The game is never low on self awareness, and the end chapters play like some sort of crazy meta-RPG. It's really really great - and that's coming from someone who usually can't stand JRPGs!

Star Control II: Ur-Quan Masters
I didn't start out liking SC2, it was too unwieldy for me and I kept dying without any idea why. But once the game clicked, it quickly became one of my all time favorites. It has that combination of fun, engaging combat, interesting story to follow and just truckloads of charm. That third part is really what holds it all together, the amazing alien races in the game makes everything leak fun. I still quote many of them regularly. Also, it's goddamn free! So, do not forget to *enjoy the sauce* and Download it now!

Fallout 2
For me, this is the gem to complete the Infinity Engine crown (even though it's not an IE game itself). Fallout 2 is an amazing game, packed full of awesome content - especially the little bits, the flavors to the quests that make it such a vivid depiction of a nuclear wasteland.. It's paints such a strong picture of the wasteland, it's my go to game to judge every post-apocalyptic game since, RPG or not.

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer
I'm not a huge fan of the NWN series. The first game was my first (and harshest) gaming disappointment, and the second proved to be a barely decent endeavor. Then I heard about Mask of the Betrayer here on Gaf. I was skeptical at first, but soon I bought the game on sale. And boy, was I in for a treat, this expansion pack was came very close to the IE glory days for me. With a great story, great cast and great writing to boot. The game takes my favorite part of Fearun, The Unapproachable East, and shows us just why it is such a cool place. A wrod of caution though - It's still NWN2. The game is so clumsy I wanted to punch my monitor several times, and the companion "loyalty meter" is still as stupid as it ever was, with crunchy bonuses based on how close you are with companions, which soon proves to make the conversations into vehicles to minmaxing.

Wasteland 2
Wasteland 2 is the first RPG in years that made me make up stories IN MY HEAD. 10 hours into the game I knew my party inside and out, as people and not just as "warrior guy" or "shotgun guy", which is a feat in today's RPG climate. Most newer RPGs make me view many characters as the sum total of their skill points, but WL2 encourages you to think and imagine, with flavor texts and highly illustrated writing. The game story and text driven approach made me more immersed in the world than any fancy rendering tech. And this is, to me, the essence of a good RPG. The game does have some problems: It suffers from a clunky dialogue system - Seriously, can we please erase the "ask everyone everything" method of dialogues in RPG forever please? The combat is fun, especially when confronted with interesting encounters, but sadly too many encounters are unmemorable and don't do the combat system justice. But I chose this over games that might be better overall because I realize that those lists are first of all political. There is no true value to ranking games, the reason we do it is to bring certain games to attention and build a narrative by deciding which games are the "essentials" in the genre. Wasteland 2 is more than a great game, it's an important game. It's, hopefully, the harbinger of the return of isometric party-based RPGs, in the form of small, Kickstarter funded indies. So I can forgive the rough edges and the issues, because no other game excited me more this year or made me more hopeful of the future.

Honorable Mentions:

Icewind Dale
IWD is very recommended to anyone who liked the Infinity Engine combat system. It's fun and it has a pretty good story despite being basically an hack & slash title. But I always found it to be the weakest entry in the IE pantheon. It lacks much of what made the BG and Torment series so engaging. So it ended up off the main list.

An unorthodox choice, I know. A short, simple game, with barely any combat and no numbered skill or stats to be found. Some people even classify it as a visual novel rather than an RPG. It has many rough edges - much of the design is somewhat clunky, music loops forever and the graphics get the job done and little else. So why give it an honorable mention? I wanted to highlight this unpolished gem, because it did something interesting. It chose an unorthodox story: Set in ancient India, the plot doesn't feature heroes or champions, but let's you play people of simpler fates (such as a peasant girl or an elderly priest). People locked into traditions and castes. Your dilemmas are simple and less grand than most games - For example, You have been wed against you will, what do you do? The system help bring those concepts forward. Combat is rare and dangerous. Rather than skill or stats, you have text-based traits such as "Opportunist", "Kind" or "Bold" which have no gameplay benefit, only helping you farther establish the story you weaved. The game is far from perfect, and the ending left a sour taste in my mouth, but it still does something few games have done, and I wanted to give credit where it's due.

Chrono Trigger
A great game. One of the best JRPGs I've ever played. Loveable characters, cool story of epic proportions and adorable graphics. Plus, the game manages to avoid most of my annoyances with JRPGs. Still not exactly my cup of tea, but still unquestionably a game worth playing.

The only reason this is an honorable mention is that the game is too old to be thoroughly enjoyed today be most people. I couldn't finish it. But even just playing around in it, today, you can still feel the genius of it.

Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall

King of Dragon Pass

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings


The Chuck Norris of Peace
1) Final Fantasy VI (3 points) - Not only one of the best games on the Snes and the best Final Fantasy, but the best rpg ever. With its amazing presentation, balanced and deep esper-based gameplay, to its incredible story and diverse and really fleshed out characters - everything about FFVI is at its top. And that music from Uematsu is out of this world.

2) Demon's Souls - Finally somebody managed to transform the skill-based action-rpgs like Zelda 2 and Castlevania 2 into 3D - and what a game it ended up being. While the satisfaction from this game for me mostly was based on its very deep and precise combat mechanics - the high number of possibilities for upgrading and customizing your character also makes this an incredible rpg-experience.

3) Dark Souls - Demon's came first, and I also liked the level design in Demon's better - but Dark Souls still managed to refine a lot of the great things about its prequel - like the interconnected levels - and some of the levels in Dark - Anor Londor comes to mind - is even better than in Demon's. And that Ormstein and Smough fight which took me a week was probably my best feeling gaming accomplishment ever.

4) Dragon Quest IV - I actually played this game this summer - and I was incredibly impressed by what is basically a 25 year old Nes-game. The mechanics are DQ at its core, and both presentation and music are cute and great as always - however it was the pacing made possible by the innovative chapter-system that made this game stand out from its peers and manage to wrap a fairly standard storyline into something that ended up more than the sums of its part. Fantastic experience.

5) Chrono Trigger - What more can be said about this masterpiece at this point? The essence of its greatness is to be found in its time-travel mechanics and how that makes an otherwise linear game possible to be tackled in a non-linear fashion - like beating the final boss at almost any time after the introduction. The time travel aspect also did one other really neat thing which was kinda like how its contemporary Day of the Tentacle worked, by you changing things in the past to open up new possibilities in the future. That, with its splendid pixel art makes Chrono Trigger an essensial game. And I just love Frog's theme!

6) Final Fantasy IV - The first really great Final Fantasy in my opinion, which tells the tragic tale of Cecil, a knight torn between duty and honor in a tale full of twists and which kills one of its main characters long before its much more famous and overrated sequel. The journey in this game was just fantastic - taking you both to the underworld and the moon - however, this game did have one fault which was the very limited degree of customization. And while the storytelling and increased focus on presentation was great for its time - it was also the start of what ultimately led to the whole series downfall imo. Still, you can hardly blame this great game for that. Oh, and its music might be the best in the series as well.

7) Final Fantasy V - From an heavy advancement in presentation, to the best gameplay-system in the series (no wonder the last super famicom-entry became so great with giants like that to stand on). While the story is much less interesting in this game - the advancements made in FF3's job system more than makes up for it, creating what is in my opinion not only the best jrpg-system in the series, but in the genre - still heavily used and loved more than 20 years later. I also love the Clash on Big Bridge!

8) Dragon Quest V - While I dont like this quite as much as its prequel, it was still an amazing experience, with a touching story and a fantastic new gameplay system based on monster recruitment that can be said to have spawned a sub-genre of its own.

9) Super Mario RPG - I never quite understood why I liked this game so much. The story was pretty barren and stupid (I mean who is Smithy?), the gameplay was a bit innovative, but more annoying than fun to use, and the difficulty was a joke. Still, playing this game was just so incredibly fun while it lasted. Maybe it was the fresh take on its so familiar subject matter? Maybe it was the isometric presentation? Maybe it was the great humour? I dont know what it was, but I know I loved it and its Forest Maze!

10) Secret of Mana - Another game from the golden age of rpgs in the early 90s. A more action-based approach to combat, but still very much a jrpg at heart. Again this is a game with a ton of flaws, but where once again the final product exeded the sums of its parts. Story, presentation, gameplay and multiplayer all made the game stand out - and the game always looked so fun to explore with its bright detailed sprites. And who can forget that opening?

Honorable Mentions:

11) The Last Story - I really liked this return to form for Final Fantasy. A cliched but still fun story, but most of all a fast-paced and very fun to use combat sytem. Sadly overlooked - but I still hope for a sequel. Its only real flaw was probably that the game was a bit on the easy side.

12) Dragon Quest III - If this game had been less grindy it would easily have cracked the top 5. Seriously, its that good - and that grindy. I LOVED how the game took place in an alternate real world - that made all the locations so much more fun to explore. And it was also really elegant how the game tied into its two prequels - which of course came as a complete surprised to me and most of its players at the time.

13) The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind - So I think I played this game for 20 hours - and still never really left the western coast where you start - and still had tons to do there. But I managed to get my own house :) While I seriously enjoyed my time with this game - which is why it makes the list - I think my jrpg-insticts eventually made the game overwhelm me as I wanted to explore everything, talk to everybody, complete every quest and search every dungeon. Impossible in a game like this. I eventually came to the realization that it was either me or this game, and I still wonder if I did the right choice.

14) Breath of Fire - A much more basic game than the other gems higher up on the list, with only a rudimentary story that never really went anywhere interesting, and a very easy gameplay-system that only really had one cool thing - the dragon transformations. However, it was still a very well made game, and had a ton of fun situations (like the scene at the harbour), some great presentation (like those moving windmills that had to be avoided when entering doors), and most of all a kind of puzzle-like system where the character in control of the party, gave the group special abilities that opened up new possibilities. This system was unfortunately a bit underutilized - but it was still very unique and fun in its day, and it made the game stand out from its peers.

15) Final Fantasy VIII - My favorite modern Final Fantasy had a very beautiful story and a completely broken - but still very fun to use - gameplay-system that opened up so many possibilities that I probably still dont know them all. I also really liked the setting, and while the main character kinda sucked, he was surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, including his tragic nemesis, Seifer. Still, the most unique narrative element of the game was probably the dream sequences where we got to learn a bit about the characters and its past - I really liked this part of the game, and that Man with the Machine Gun will never get old.

16) Paper Mario - A much more refined and objectively better game than SMRPG, with plenty of charm, secrets and actually much higher difficulty than its prequel. Still, the journey never felt as unique, which sends this one a bit further down the list.

17) Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - I think a great part about this game is the overworld, which was just such a joy to explore, not to big or not to small, lots of secrets and interesting stuff to do, and very beautiful to look at. I also really liked the humour introduced with now having both brothers. The best part though, was probably seeing the brothers leave the mushroom kingdom on a real adventure to a truly different world - something we had not really seen since the orginal Super Mario Land.

18) Golden Sun - This game did so much right - the presentation, the music, the story, the pacing and especially the dungeons which was more Zelda-like and much better than in more rpgs. However, it (and the whole series) has two major flaws that keeps it down here. First, the Djinn-system, while ridiculously complex, discourages experimentation by always giving bonuses for placing same type of Djinn on the same character. Second, the characters never shut up. Without those two flaws, the game would have made my first list without a doubt - but it is of course still a great experience.

19) Earthbound - This game annoyed the hell out of me at times when I played it - but it still had so much great stuff going for it, that it deserves an honourable mention - which these spots are for. One of the most unique games I have played.

20) Child of Light - Actually a pretty innovative game which took the best from metroidvanias (exploration) and inserted it in the rpg-genre. Also had a sweet story and some amazing presentation - but first of all a gameplay-system that just never got old.


Thanos acquires the fully powered Infinity Gauntlet in The Avengers: Infinity War, but loses when all the superheroes team up together to stop him.
Casting my votes now, will update with explanations soon.

1) Golden Sun - (insert explanation here)

2) Dragon Quest VIII - (insert explanation here)

3) Final Fantasy VII - (insert explanation here)

4) Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core - (insert explanation here)

5) Final Fantasy Tactics - (insert explanation here)

6) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance - (insert explanation here)

7) Grandia - (insert explanation here)

8) The Legend of Dragoon - (insert explanation here)

9) Suikoden II (3 points) - (insert explanation here)

10) Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - (insert explanation here)

Honorable Mentions

11) Dragon Quest V - (insert explanation here)

12) Final Fantasy VIII - (insert explanation here)

13) Paper Mario - (insert explanation here)

14) Kingdom Hearts 2 - (insert explanation here)

15) Fire Emblem:) Rekka no Ken) - (insert explanation here)

16) Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn - (insert explanation here)

17) Tales of Phantasia - (insert explanation here)

18) Tales of Vesperia - (insert explanation here)

19) Fire Emblem: Awakening - (insert explanation here)

20) Xenogears - (insert explanation here)


1) Planescape: Torment - Its ambitions are more novelistic than anything else, and its successes reflect that: layered narratives all binding together in one climatic encounter, summed up not with a boss battle but as a single questioning phrase.

2) Baldur's Gate 2

3) Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (3 points) - It's easily the clunkiest, buggiest, messiest game on this list, and this is a list that features yet another Troika gem, VtMB. It took me a while to get going with it - I always picture the hypothetical New Player trying to figure out what to do in the starting area, fumbling with the controls, getting eaten by wolves and being beaten down in front of the bridge before giving up like Chris Avellone - but once I did, god, it's so goddamn rewarding.

4) Final Fantasy Tactics

5) Dark Souls

6) Fallout: New Vegas

7) Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

8) Fallout 2

9) Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - dont open it

10) Persona 3

1) Persona 4 Golden

2) Final Fantasy IX

3) NiER

4) Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne

5) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

6) Xenoblade Chronicles

7) Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System

8) Suikoden II

9) Chrono Cross

10) Xenogears

Honorable Mentions

11) Final Fantasy Tactics

12) Valkyria Chronicles

13) Shenmue

14) Pokemon Gold and Silver

15) Panzer Dragoon Saga

16) Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2 - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon

17) Final Fantasy XIII

18) Mega Man Legends


Chrono Trigger: If you think this has to be explained to you, what's really up is that you have some explaining to do to everyone else.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The best "tactics"/SRPG out there. Streamlined without being stupid. Original PS1 translation is head and shoulders above the overly flowery WOTL translation. Fuck you, Folmarv. Vormav for life.

Final Fantasy VI: Best mainline Final Fantasy. Best cast and setting make up for somewhat lacking systems.

Morrowind: Because as objectively wrong as this choice for Elder Scrolls representative may be at this point in time, I can't in good conscience choose anything else.

Final Fantasy VII: Because it's better than VII, IX, X, XII, and all the XIIIs.

Divinity: Original Sin: It's just really, really, really, really good. To anyone that had the misfortune of being born too late for BG1/2, this is likely the best CRPG out there.

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen:This is my homer pick. The game is riddled with design issues, the graphics visuals are mega rough, the gameplay itself is shallow with automated combat, no town exploration, straight-line enemy AI, to name a few of its many, many problems, but goddamn, I love it. Give this game 3 points.

Super Mario RPG: I love it. Haven't played the other Mario RPGs/Paper Marios.

KOTOR: It's that good.

Baldurs Gate 2: It's that good.
1: Chrono Trigger {3 Points}

Upbeat, colorful and never duplicated, Chrono Trigger was the first RPG I ever found replayable. A ton of endings, unique battle system, and nearly zero down time, Chrono Trigger tells an entertaining story. Til this day it remains one of the most unique and memorable games I've ever played, let alone rpg. Oh, and the soundtrack is superb.

2: Final Fantasy 8

Likely not many people's favorite Final Fantasy, but it is mine. It has a weird and exploitable battle system that I loved tinkering with, and characters I found fun to explore. It's kind of hard for me to pinpoint what exactly it is about this game that connected with me so well, but it still stands today.

3: Final Fantasy 6

This one will rank as many people's favorite Final Fantasy, and I would be hard pressed to argue against the point. While I favor 8 just a bit more, 6 clocks in as a close second. Great soundtrack, gorgeous art, and the best villain in the series bar none.

4: Chrono Cross

A fantastic follow up to Chrono Trigger that really doesn't get the love it deserves. Almost everything I said about Chrono Trigger applies here, but stands on its own.

5: Persona 4 Golden

Colorful, funny, intricate systems and packed with content, I played through this one recently and it immediately cemented itself as a favorite. The way cultivating various friendships effect battle felt unique, too.

6: Deus Ex

I don't think it's even possible to lavish this game with too much praise...every situation can be tackled in a number of equally viable manners, each catering to whatever build you create. Topped with a haunting soundtrack and one of the few cyber punk stories done well in gaming, you're only cheating yourself if you don't play it.

7: Dark Souls

Yeah, it's tough. Yeah, it's infamous. Yeah, it's 'fair'. But really, it's literally one of the best examples of game design perfected to date. Progression through both the game world and your character is paced sublimely. By the end, you'll be so invested in your character that it'll almost be sad when you finish. Luckily, you can keep going...and it gets even better when you do. You've likely heard about this game and how hard it is...if that talk scares you, don't let it. The game just makes you play by it's rules, and when you realize that it all becomes very manageable. Heck, if you're really reading this right now seriously looking for recommendations and STILL haven't played this...what are you even doing with your life? PLAY THIS. NOW. :)

8: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

This post was almost Morrowind. But while Morrowind may be a deeper game in general, Oblivion just sucked me in like no other. The guild quests are some of the best side missions I've ever played, and the world just comes together incredibly well. If you're looking to jump into the Elder Scrolls game, this is probably your best entry point. More streamlined then Morrowind, but not as hand-holding as Skyrim.



The list:

The Witcher 2, PC
-> Rated P for Plowing and also AADNEABMG for Amazing Amount of Depth Not Even Attempted By Most Games.

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

Final Fantasy IV (SNES, GBA, PSX, PS Network, DS, PSP, WonderSwan...I'm missing some, probably)
-> Has been called "the birth of the story-driven RPG." This one is a true classic for a good reason. Every aspect of the game is high-quality for RPG veterans and genre newbs alike.

Valkyria Chronicles, PS3 (*3 POINTS*)
-> After so many years same-y grid-based combat with few exceptions, Valkyria Chronicles redefined the tactical RPG subgenre. An instant classic in a world where I hate the phrase "instant classic."

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

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

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

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

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

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

(More voting to be done soon)
Order is random barring the 3 points mention.

1) Persona 3 FES - I played this after Persona 4 Golden and while a lot of things weren't as good, it had higher highs like some of the social links and boss battles towards the end. My thoughts on The Answer are still that it is mostly unnecessary barring a few of the plot details they reveal. Awesome soundtrack.

2) Final Fantasy IV - The first Final Fantasy game I finished. Great characters, one of the best soundtracks in any game for me and love the battle system. Stay away from the after years though.

3) Persona 4 Golden (3 points) - The game I discovered after buying a Vita. Still obsessed with it and everything about it. I listen to the music everyday and play a bit of the game whenever I can on NG+. Amazing story, nearly all the characters are excellent, and everything is awesome.

4) Fire Emblem Awakening - The first game on 3DS that made me play until the battery drained out. It also got me into srpgs.

5) Final Fantasy X - Questionable voice acting aside, the second best Final Fantasy game for me. Very different from the older games but way too good. The amount of content is mindblowing and I love the battle system. Special mention for the magical soundtrack.

6) Chrono Trigger - This game is special. It was the first non FF jrpg I played. Great story, soundtrack, characters, bosses, everything. I'm glad SE didn't ruin it with a "3d" remake like FFIV.

7) Ys Oath in Felghana - I don't even remember how I disovered the franchise but this is still the highlight for me.

8) Shin Megami Tensei IV

9) Persona Q - I can't believe this is on the list but I loved it that much.

10) Deus Ex Human Revolution

Honorable Mentions

11) Mario and Luigi Partners in time

12) Final Fantasy VII

13) Final Fantasy V

14) The World Ends With You

15) Final Fantasy Tactics War of the lions - Probably one of my favourite games on iPad. Works so well and the game itself is fantastic.
1) Paper Mario TTYD - (insert explanation here)

2) Paper Mario N64 - (insert explanation here)

3) Pokemon Emerald - (insert explanation here)

4) Dragon Quest Rocket Slime - (insert explanation here)

5) Fallout 3 - (insert explanation here)

6) Dark Souls - (insert explanation here)

7) Monster Hunter Tri - (insert explanation here)

8) Pokemon Gold/Silver - (insert explanation here)

9) Mass Effect 2 - (insert explanation here)

10) The Witcher 2 - (insert explanation here)


**Work in Progress**

Essential RPG's

1) Persona 4 Golden

2) Dark Cloud (3 points)

3) Dragon Quest VIII

4) Final Fantasy VIII

5) Radiata Stories

6) Tales of Symphonia

7) Mass Effect 2

8) Dark Cloud 2

9) Kingdom Hearts

10) Ni no Kuni

Honorable Mentions

11) Final Fantasy X

12) Rogue Galaxy

13) Suikoden III

14) Grandia III

15) Hyperdimension Neptunia (The whole series.. couldn't pick just one)

16) Baten Kaitos

17) Final Fantasy XII

18) Magna Carta

19) Final Fantasy IX

20) Dragon Age: Inquisition
I'm going to list games that I liked yet normally don't get talked about. Listing all the big titles seems kind of boring to me so I put some of those in the honorable mentions. And there's no telling what I missed. Lots of PS2 titles. So without further ado...

Essential RPGs
01.) Radiata Stories

02.) Guild Wars (+3)

03.) Suikoden III

04.) Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

05.) Tales of Abyss

06.) Grandia III

07.) Shadow Hearts: From the New World

08.) Dark Cloud 2

09.) Rogue Galaxy

10.) Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Honorable Mentions
11.) Chrono Cross
12.) Final Fantasy VIII
13.) Final Fantasy IX
14.) Final Fantasy X
15.) Final Fantasy XII
16.) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
17.) Persona 4
18.) Dragon's Dogma
19.) The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
20.) Fallout 3

Unranked Honorable Mentions
Guild Wars 2
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Dragon Age: Origin
Titan Quest
Champions of Norrath
Vagrant Story

*Note: I used PCSX2 screenshots whenever I could to be more appealing.


While I enjoyed a great deal of (classic) RPGs throughout my entire life, I'll stick to a list of games I personally enjoyed the most and consider 'must play' and which have impacted me in one way or another.

Dark Souls

Demon Souls was one of the greastest gaming 'expeirinces' I have ever had. Little was known about the game, but enough for me to import two copies from Korea for me and my friend. We played the game in co-op right away and it was just amazing. So rewarding and enjoyable, when you overcome a difficult encounter. When you stand around for 10 minutes, because you're oom, the weapon is close to be broken and you are lost in the level. It was so much fun to carefully clear each level. Tower of Latria is one of the most atmospheric levels in gaming history. After it got more widely known in the US and the EU, it was clear that there was a market for a 'hardcore' (as in compared to the usual AAA handholding) game like this. The way the story told and the world is set up, was also very appealing to me. I just couldn't wait till 'Dark Souls' came out. I got together with 2 friends and we initially wanted to play the game together, but due to the fucked up P2P networking, it was impossible. So we played the game 'alone' but 'together' in the same room, each on his own console. It was so much fun and we shared a special feeling about playing the game this way, that we did the same for Dark Souls 2 and plan to do it again for Bloodborne. 'Dark Souls'' connected world was mind boggeling and the more you discovered the better it became and it never ceased to amaze me. It's just incredibly well done and exactly the kind of challenge a game should have (apart from Anor Londo archers, fuck em!). It was essentially the same concept, but still very different and felt like a new game. Just the right amount of change to make the game better than Demon Souls.

Final Fantasy 7

When I first played it, I was amazed by the visuals (funny writing that now) during the battle and cinematics. It has a great cast with likeable characters, a great story and great OST with some of the most memorable songs ever. Also the first and only game apart from NieR, where I was really emotionally invested. I don't think I need to write more as it's probably the most well known RPG around, and that is well deserved.

Final Fantasy 8

After Final Fantasy 7 I was sooooo hyped for Final Fantasy 8 and I wasn't let down. While it can't reach FF 7 (which was impossible to begin with) I immensely enjoyed the game and find the setting / world among the best in any RPG. The detailed cities just melted my eyes. Music is again really memorable and it has one of the best intros. Where it not for the incredibly stupid plot twist, it would be among my favorite games of all time.

Gothic 1

It has to this date, the most immersive gameworld. No other game has created such a believable world. Everything just makes sense, everyone has a 'reason' within the world to do the things he does. The setting is just great.
The game takes place in a medieval fantasy realm in which humans are fighting a losing war against the Orcs. In order to fight back, the king needs to extract magical ore from mines, which can be used to forge more powerful weapons. Therefore he decides to send every man who has committed a crime to the ore mines.
To prevent the convicts from escaping he orders his 12 most powerful magicians to erect a magical dome over the mining colony. However, the Barrier goes out of control and grows large enough to cover the entire valley, trapping the magicians inside, and giving the convicts a chance to kill the distracted guards and take control over the colony. You can only enter the barrier, but not leave it. The king is thus forced to come to an agreement with the prisoners, trading goods for ore.
Soon after, the convicts separate into three different groups: the Old Camp which controls trading with the king, the New Camp which refuses to trade the ore they mine, and instead plan to use its magical power to explode the Barrier, and the Brotherhood, whose members believe in a god called the Sleeper which will help them escape from the colony. The magicians that created the Barrier also divided; they formed the Fire Mages, who joined the Old Camp, and the Water Mages, who joined the New Camp.
It is so fun to be just part of the world. Do duties, go hunting, work up your rank. Day/night cycles, open world without any restrictions, great voice acting and that before everything listed was even a thing in other games. One of the best gems and one of my favorite games. Apart from the very clunky controls (which were terrible even when it was released), it still holds up well to this day.

Gothic 2

Take the world from Gothic 1 and just quadruple it. That's what Gothic 2 has done. It's dense, big and filled with the same great immersive living world as Gothic 1. You even have access to almost the entire map of Gothic 1 on TOP! It picks up right where Gothic 1 has left off and you get the see the mainland continent. Everything what made Gothic 1 so great, made Gothic 2 even greater, as it has improved a lot and only added positives aspects to the game. Instant classic.
Nothing compares to Gothic 1 and 2.

Mass Effect 1

The whole trilogy is an amazing experience. You shape your Shepard and live with the consequences. The approach to carry over your character and choices was ingenious and changed how you perceived your journey. The series created such a detailed, vast and interesting universe that you could immerse yourself fully and get lost in it for hours. The game was a milestone in terms of dialogue and choices and basically invented the 'dialogue wheel'. You care for all crew members and have a great story and universe to explore

Mass Effect 2

I went into it blind and I literally stood up and raised my arms out of joy when I saw my pal Garrus again. The 'suicide' mission is one of the most intense things I have ever played. I really liked the pacing of the game, first you recruit your crew and then venture forth into the unknown. Seeing how your choices from part 1 affected the world was just satisfying. Yet again, they nailed the party members. Everyone had a reason, was deep and interesting. The series as a whole is just such a fun ride.

NieR (3 points)

The best game you have never played! Visuals are bland and the gameplay is mediocre, so what makes it so brilliant? It has one of the best stories, settings, great character and the best OST ever put into a video game. It's also incredibly unique as it features a Zelda-esque dungeon, text adventure part, Resident Evil mansion, has 3D shmupp elements and a Diablo section, along with a very unique spin onto multiple endings and new game+. It also doesn't spoon-feed you the incredible twist and makes you realize on your own, in what situation you are in. It's more than a game, it's an 'experience' and a roller-coaster of emotions. One of the few games where I had to take a break to process what just happened and how I should feel. Took me two weeks after finishing it for the first time to actually get back to it. It stayed in my head and it just wouldn't let me go. Boy was I in for a surprise when I played it for a second time. You NEED to play the game at least 1.5 times (second playthrough starts at half way point of the game). It is here, during playthrough B, where the magic happens, that makes NieR so memorable. It's just incredible and words can not describe the genius of the game, if you're willing to coupe with the visuals and gameplay. It's well worth it. My shared number #1 game of all time.

Persona 3

My personal favorite SMT / Persona title. The tone of the game is just great. The story and characters are very well done and the game dares to be very mature, despite being half a high school simulator. Music is also top notch.

Persona 4

While as a whole it's not as good as Persona 3 in my opinion, it's still great on its own. Very upbeat tone overall, which is in stark contrast to the game's plot line. The Socializing + Dungeon crawling formula just works and P4 tweaked P3's somewhat mediocre battle-design to be less frustrating and more enjoyable.

Honorable Mentions
Demon Souls
Diablo II
Divinity: Oiriginal Sin
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Fallout New Vegas
Final Fantasy 9
Planescape: Torment
Pokemon Red/Blue
The Witcher
World of Warcraft



1) Mother 3 (3 points)
Man, this might be my favorite game of all time? It just gets a whole lot right. It is incredibly difficult to describe what I love about it without giving major spoilers, but I'll try.

Mother 3 approaches you with this goofy, quirky tone, setting your expectations for bizarre situations and corny jokes.. and then it throws tragedy at you, suddenly and unapologetically. And then you think, "okay, this is the actual tone of the game", but the narrative puts a smile back on and continues your journey in an utterly charming way, while never forgetting what it just put you through. The entire adventure goes on like this, delicately balancing whimsy and tragedy, and it never feels unnatural. This is all nailed home by the fan-translation, which is so well done that I would have believed you if you said Nintendo's Treehouse wrote it themself.

I'm not really a crier when I play video games, but the ending had me misty eyed.

2) Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver
This one was actually really difficult to come to a conclusion on this year. I knew I was going to include a Pokemon game; it is probably my favorite series of all time, and the franchise I've undoubtedly sunken the most hours into over my many years of gaming. The endless customization potential of your party of six, the deceptively deep and complex battle system and Type Effectiveness mechanics, and the completionist urges in invoked in me to catch every single one were all elements that had me playing the games since I was 10. Not to mention the superb worldbuilding. From each interesting region with tons to explore, to the incredibly varied ever-growing list of Pokemon themselves, each with their own backstory and fluff... the universe of Pokemon is so rife with cool experiences and stories to me that I actually found a Tabletop RPG adaptation of it online, and have since both played in and ran multiple campaigns using that system. I am super cool.

The hard part is trying to figure out which game I consider the definitive version of Pokemon so far. And after weeks of thinking about it, the real conclusion I've come to is that I don't think there is one yet. Red and Blue were where everything started, and there's still an enduring cool factor to the series' first region, Kanto, and the original 151 Pokemon. But even the most recent versions of that game, while still definitely playable, are too old. They've missed out on too many of the franchises' advancements to be the best anymore. Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire got really close to getting the spot, as they are nearly-perfect remakes of the games set in Hoenn my favorite region thus far, but the comparatively small postgame set it back.

I ended up picking HG/SS, like I did last year, because I've realized what's most important to me in Pokemon is this: how long I can play after the credits roll, before I run out of things to do. And HG/SS's postgame is the biggest and best so far. After you beat the Elite Four there is an entire other region to explore. Countless new distractions open up, like the new sidequests and the Battle Frontier. And of course, there's the unforgettable final showdown after you get all 16 badges, which is a moment that I'm not sure the series has topped yet.

Really, I love every Pokemon game. Gen 6 in particular has made some amazing advancements, both in terms of new mechanics and new ways to make the games more accessible. But I think I'm still the fondest of HeartGold and SoulSilver to date.

Also, why haven't they brought back your Pokemon following you around on the map? Seriously.

3) Persona 4
Of all the video games I have played, Persona 4 might just have my favorite cast of characters.

Every member of the group you accrue is a distinct, fleshed out person with different motivations, personalities, and secrets that you get to discover by making the decision to spend time with them. They all have entertaining and believable dynamics with each other, driven home by superb voice acting and excellent dialogue from Atlus' localization team.

It was remarkable, the amount of depth they went to with each character's psyche. Kanji and Naoto's stories in particular are amongst the frigging coolest things I've seen a JRPG do, even if I don't think that those arcs reached their full potential, and they're a big part of why I love both those characters so much.

By the time I reached the game's weird, weird end, I got to see my party bond to an extent that lots of games don't bother with. Usually RPG parties establish that they share a common goal, and then reach the end of their destination as friends that usually go their separate ways, minus the romantic couple. When I beat Persona 4, the main party felt like they had become a family, and the execution of it was so good that I believed that too.

Also turns out that if you trick me into playing a dating sim I will play the FUCK out of it

4) Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
The undisputed king of hilarious dialogue for me. The localization done by Treehouse is some of their best work to date, with a whimsical and pithy style that you can't really find anywhere else. Some of the scenes were pitch perfect; personal highlights include Mario helping a bumbling penguin detective solve a mystery, and the entire Glitzville arc.

The battle system is also great. The blend of traditional turn-based menus and input-based action mesh really well together here, and your party's array of abilities bring forth some really cool and unique potential strategies. But the star is still the writing and the colorful cast of characters. I was heartbroken when those elements were stripped away in Sticker Star, and I hope that never happens again.

5) Live A Live
So glad that this game is already getting a little more love than it did last year! I love, love LOVE the selectable chapter system in this title, where each chapter is a new story from the perspective of a completely different character than the last. The game changes genres every time: swapping you from a horror story on a deteriorating spaceship, to a chapter about cavemen where everybody can only talk through word balloons with pictures of meat in them, to Street Fighter: The RPG. And it all culminates in a finale that's as awesome as it is unexpected.

This never came to the states, but the fan translation job is fantastic, if not as professional as Mother 3's. All the games on this list are great; Live A Live may be the most underrated.

6) Xenoblade Chronicles
I bought Xenoblade based on GAF hype, and I'm incredibly glad I did. The gigantic world, the great if a bit archetypal cast and the ways you got to bond and interact with them, and ohhh man the sidequests. I put about 120 hours in before I finally beat the game, and when I was done I was sad to see it go. Buying Monolith Soft is one of the best decisions Nintendo has made, and I wouldn't be surprised to see X somewhere on my list next time around.

7) Earthbound
Mother 3 is now the best game of its kind, but dangit, Earthbound was here first and it's still amazing. The weird sensibilities that only Itoi could put into a game make it continue to shine brilliantly, despite how archaic the interface is now. All of the unforgettable moments are completely different than its successor's, and fans of the bizarre should absolutely play both. In fact, play Earthbound first, both for the story payoff in Mother 3, and to appreciate all the improvements it made.

One thing that Earthbound did much better, though, is the way it handled its epilogue. I don't want to spoil it, but it was a wonderful way to look back at my entire journey and appreciate the amazing adventure I just had.

8) Chrono Trigger
Haha, yup. This game. It's funny, but as much as I tend to resist the bandwagon, I can't help but respect Chrono Trigger, because it deserves it. The cast is great, the battle system is solid- Dual/Triple techs really attached me to my characters- and the time travel is expertly executed from both a story and gameplay standpoint.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of playing the final act, when you have your whole party and you're bouncing through time, getting to experience side arcs in slightly different ways every time because people will say different things depending on your current group layout. My favorite thing of all was to play as much of the game with Ayla as possible. She just threw the serious tone in every scene out the window. "Leave nest! Have baby! Give milk! Have more baby!"

9) Final Fantasy IX
Wow, those cinematics are finally starting to age a bit, huh.

This was an Honorable Mention last time, and it almost was again, but I replayed it late last year and remembered how much I loved it. It's the definitive Final Fantasy to me. It has big story with the intimidating scale, and the constant rewards for exploring. But it also has an overwhelming amount of love and charm injected into it. The world is fun! I wanted to talk to everyone, investigate every distraction, because Square had crafted something precious. Recent Final Fantasies seem hollow and sobering in comparison.

10) Fire Emblem Awakening
It feels kind of odd to put a strategy game on my list, but whatever. Awakening just feels like an RPG to me, more than any other Fire Emblem game. The cast of characters has never felt more important to me, and I got to make so many cool decisions that altered their lives. Getting my army married to each other was incredibly addicting, as was getting to see them meet all of their kids. God. I love that system so much.

Honorable Mentions

11) Valkyria Chronicles - A beautiful, touching game with a great setting and a neat-ass mix of action and strategy. Hopefully the exceptional PC revenue it's been getting means that we'll eventually see VC III over here.

12) Dragon Quest V - The way your character grows and progresses through the story is wonderful. You get to make decisions that last for the rest of the game, and you could recruit monsters into your party before Pokemon was even a thing. If this came out in the US when it first released on the SNES, maybe Dragon Quest wouldn't be a dead franchise over here. Extremely wishful thinking, I know...

13) Lost Odyssey - Still the best Final Fantasy game released in the last generation, despite it not actually being called Final Fantasy. It's weird that on top of the base game being really good, the best part is watching a bunch of text-only stories scrolling to sad music.

14) The World Ends With You - An engaging modern fantasy that used the all of the Nintendo DS' features, each in ways that were both unprecedented and a really good fit.

15) Contact - This weird little game definitely has flaws, but their take on the class system was cool and I loved the story, especially the ending. This was another experience that took advantage of the DS' unique architecture.

16) Brave Fencer Musashi - The dialogue is adorable and hilarious, and a lot of the systems in place felt fresh and ahead of their time. My favorite was the power-stealing Assimilation mechanic.

17) Final Fantasy X - X's take on the traditional turn-based battle system, as well as the Sphere Grid, are both among the coolest things to happen to JRPGs. Having a really solid cast didn't hurt things either.

18) Bravely Default - After hearing the horror stories, I stopped playing right before the second half of the game. However, the Brave/Default system made that first half feel so fresh, deep and strategic that it more than deserves a mention.

19) Kingdom Hearts - The first KH was where it was at. It was stuffed to the brim with charm, and the story actually revolved around all the Disney stuff that was supposed to be the point of the crossover. For all of the gameplay improvements that later games in the series made, I miss the days when Maleficent was central to the plot instead of an increasing number of mysterious shirtless anime men.

20) Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together - This is actually my roommate's favorite RPG and not one of mine (...yet. I still need to play it more one of these days), but I'm throwing him this bone since my actual HM pick of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure probably isn't getting any votes besides mine anyway. It's a good pick, really. The amount of content is insane, and it has a lot of features that are pretty revolutionary for tactics games. Plus the game changing based on dialogue choices and the time travel system, it's actually weird that this isn't a personal pick of mine.


1) The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (3 points) - The best RPG I've ever played. The characters are instantly likable and grow on you as they interact in their adventure. The character interactions and story in this game are the best I've seen. The turn based combat is actually different than most other rpgs and can be a lot more fun.

2) Persona 4 - Although I prefer Persona 3, 4 is the better entry point to the series. The combat and social links are more refined and are more appealing. The characters pretty much make the game here. The music and art is amazing as well though.

3) Persona 3 - Same as above, though I feel 3 had a better story.

4) Fire Emblem Awakening - The latest Fire Emblem game is a great entry point to the series. Addicting strategy rpg and lovable characters.

5) Kingdom Hearts 1.5 - With Kingdom Hearts 3 coming soon, playing the previous games can be difficult since they are scattered all over in different platforms. Luckily, thanks to the 1.5/2.5 remixes getting into the Kingdom Hearts series is easier than ever.

6) Kingdom Hearts 2.5 - Same explanation as above. I guess you could just add these to Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 votes but really, anyone who hasn't played them yet just do yourself a favor and play the remixes.

7) Bravely Default - Some of the best music I've heard. The gameplay itself takes a lot from old school rpgs and adds its own mechanics to make them more interesting.

I need to play more quality RPGs apparently, this is as far as my list goes.


1) Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver

Gold and Silver, as far as I'm concerned, are the ultimate video game sequels. They builds off the originals in every way possible by adding more Pokemon, new balanced types, breeding, mechanics, and an entire new region full of character and charm. The postgame return to Kanto is an unexpected, fantastic, and almost somber affair as you see how much has changed while you've been away. Heartgold/Soulsilver's ability to bring the updated, more polished mechanics of the modern series into the game without fundamentally altering the feel of the originals deserves real commendation. The final confrontation with Red on top of Mt. Silver is just one of the most well executed finales to ever appear in a game.

2) Mass Effect 2

While Bioware may have cut out just a bit too much trying to trim the fat from the original, they also doubled down on other important aspects, namely characterization and streamlined gameplay. The crew in Mass Effect 2 stands tall as my favorite cast of characters in any game, standouts including Mordin and Legion. The setting itself often involves a much seedier side of the galaxy, contrasting well with the first game's relatively clean space opera affair. The ending sequence is paced wonderfully, is one of the few times in a game where I felt my decisions carried actual, tangible weight. Too bad about that sequel though.

3) Fire Emblem: Awakening

After dabbling very casually with SRPGs, Awakening was the first one to grab me all the way to the finish. Awakening manages to be an exceptionally accessible game without ever feeling overbearing or patronizing to the player. An enormous ensemble cast guarantees everyone will find their favorites to use in battle and invest emotionally in what isn't an otherwise remarkable story. The soundtrack is also nothing short of phenomenal.

4) Lost Odyssey (3 points)

I just know this one is going to get trampled under the heels of more renowned games, so I think it needs all the love it can get. Lost Odyssey's battle system is simple, but well put together, featuring traditional turn based combat that has been sadly cast aside in recent years. The story and cast are more than enough to keep interest in the game, but the real showstoppers are the short shorties you collect in the form of forgotten memories. Oh man, some of those short stories.

5) Chrono Trigger

I was very late to the party with Chrono Trigger (I finally got around to playing it two years ago), and I have to say, this is the quintessential "classic." It feels like it hasn't aged a day. An unforgettable cast of characters, a gripping, remarkably well paced story, a wide variety of diverse locations, a battle system that perfectly marries simplicity with customization. The game just excels so well at everything it sets out to do, I have a hard time coming up with places to fault it.

6) Dragon Age: Origins

The mix of realtime and tactical combat in Dragon Age: Origins is one of my favorite battle systems in any RPG. Coordinating combos, positioning, buffs, debuffs, potions, etc. all at a leisurely pace during combat is just such a satisfying thing. The other area Origins excels at is its dialogue options. Unhindered by the necessity of voice work for the main character, the player has a much wider variety of responses than in other games. Want to play as a sociopathic murder machine? Have at it. Feeling like being more a saintly stick-in-the-mud? Go right ahead. For as much as I enjoy other recent Bioware games, nothing can come close to matching roleplaying opportunities in Origins.

7) Fallout: New Vegas

Obsidian was able to fine tune Bethesda's framework into an actual roleplaying experience. Adding factions, better companions, and a more interesting Western setting to what was achieved in Fallout 3 really pushed the game into greatness. Quests were more plentiful and did more to flesh out the world than the fewer, longer quests of Fallout 3. Having multiple endings based on how you wanted to shape the Mojave was also a nice touch.

8) Final Fantasy XII

My personal favorite Final Fantasy. The more grounded world and characters added a lot to the world building, and the more tactical approach to combat made for a very pleasant experience. Bustling cities, having monsters roam the overworld instead of random encounters, the races populating the world, and a thousand other small things really endeared the game to me. Still impatiently awaiting SE's HD release of the International version. Maybe someday.

9) Mass Effect

One of the best paced games I've ever played makes this easily the most replayable game on my list. More heavily rooted in RPG mechanics than its successors, Mass Effect allows you to outfit your squad with weapons, armors, and equipment to exactly as you see fit, an option sorely missed in later games. The cast doesn't quite reach the heights of Mass Effect 2's crew, but it is the only game to feature Wrex. That has to count for something.

10) Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

My favorite setting in any game, Morrowind's Vvardenfell is such an alien yet cohesive place, with its large fungal forests, blinding ashstorms, and the giant volcano looming over the entire island. The game is also unmarred by the modern concept of waypoints, leaving you to explore the large open world with only vague directions you gather from the NPCs. The combination of setting and exploration makes Morrowind a really magical experience, even if the game is hindered by an archaic combat system.

Honorable Mentions

11) Xenoblade Chronicles

12) Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

13) Dragon Age: Inquisition

14) Bravely Default

15) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

16) Kingdom Hearts

17) Kingdom Hearts 2

18) Pokemon Black 2/White 2

19) Final Fantasy IV

20) Final Fantasy X-2


Neo Member
1) Fire Emblem Awakening (3 pts) - The first game I completed when I got my 3ds last christmas. Within the week I had played almost 50 hours. There is something special about this game that I have since played through it 5 times, and I feel as if I can play another 5 no problem.

2) Persona 3 - I played this and persona 4 during the summer, and I they are both in the my top 10 of all time, but I enjoyed the story and mood of persona 3 better.

3) Persona 4 - I really enjoyed this game, but I fatigued myself since I played it right after persona 3.

4) Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked - I bought this game and the etrain odyssey games on a sale on the eshop. I regret nothing.

5) Shin Megami Tensei 4 - Wow, this was the first megami tensei game I played and it was definitely a blast. It introduced me to altus and all their games.

6) Fallout 3 - I originally bought it a couple years after release but I never got around to playing for a year or two, until late 2012. I played over 150 hours, which is a lot for me.

7) Fallout New Vegas - After fallout 3 I knew I had to play this game, and it was just as good if not better. I also sank over 150 hours, and the only reason I didn't play more, was due to the game crashing every few minutes.

8) Pokemon SoulSilver/Heartgold - Pokemon silver was my first pokemon game I played, so it was quite nostalgic for me to play through it 10 years later. Best pokemon game.

9) Pokemon Platinum - An improvement of diamond/pearl, especially the game speed.

10) Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - I know it is a bit early, but I have had a blast playing this game the past few weeks. I enjoyed the way they mixed persona with etrain odyssey.

Honorable Mentions

11) Bravely Default

12) Etrain Odyssey 4

13) Mario & Luigi: Bowser Inside Story

14) Etrain Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

15) Pokemon X/Y

16) Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Soul Hackers


Plan to edit with more details

1) Persona 4 (+ P4G) - PS2, PS3, PS Vita (3 POINTS)
Does so much perfectly that its faults are forgettable. For me, as soon as those credits hit, emotions hit me like no other. Few other game series captures the feeling of experiencing a journey and the ordeals from it with a group of friends. It holds my favorite video game song in I'll Face Myself (reincarnation version). The definitive version of Persona 4 Golden adds a lot of great content and extends the playtime even further. Combat is a matter of pace. You have to keep your team up and going while keeping the other side on edge. Take advantage of their weaknesses and you can control the flow of battle. Combine this with the customization from the Persona collection aspect, and you find yourself with many strategies you can deploy to take care of the regular enemies and bosses alike. Story-wise, Persona 4 is a murder mystery game. Over the course of a year, the mystery slowly unravels in interesting ways. The game is great and deserves all praise anyone has given it.

2) Dragon Age Inquisition - PS3, PS4, PC, 360, XB1
The current height of Bioware style RPGs of the modern era. Adding in exploration to the formula this time, we see the classic decision making, dialogue wheel, and great cast of developed characters return for an epic. Best Dragon Age to date. That is saying something. Gameplay wise, the addition of tactical camera to consoles was great. It may not be perfect, but I liked to use it and real time in similar fashions to employ different strategies. The story is epic, though simple. It gives you a task and lets the lore of the world give further substance to everything that's going on. The cast is also great. Everyone is a strong, fleshed out character despite what initial impression you may get. It tackles many interesting modern social issues as well as historical ones. If I were to find a fault, its that it doesn't let me be a smartass the entire time like DA2.

3) Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - GC
Best in the series, this game offers a way to ingest the classic Nintendo charm via the characters, the world, and writing. With fun gameplay and such, it stays up there as one of the best out there.

4) Kingdom Hearts 2 - PS2, PS3
Refined the combat into a very fun system while offering a increasing complex story on central themes. Its really hard to explain why KH is good.

5) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - PC, Xbox, iOS
Was continuously a great game all the way through. Then that twist. That is all.

6) Fallout: New Vegas - PC, PS3, 360
It felt like the most complete experience and a step up from an already great Fallout 3.

7) Persona 3 (+ FES and Portable) - PS2, PS3, PSP, PS Vita
A lot like Persona 4. Same type of explanation is needed, but I'll note P4 simply did everything better in the end.

8) Pokemon Gold (+ Silver, Crystal, and HGSS) - GBC, NDS
Ah... Speak of nostalgia. Everything you'd want in a sequel. Especially from the perspective of my childhood.

9) Tales of Symphonia - GC, PS2, PS3
One of the better action JRPGs I've played. A good story and an endearing cast of characters (starting to feel deja vu) add onto a battle system that didn't get old or ever really feel grindy.

10) Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu - PS1
This one... Is an interesting one. Jade Cocoon is more of a mature Pokemon style game. Its a short little story about a world where the forest of monsters coincides with civilization. Special warriors tame these beats to fight back against the forest. I still love the story, and the merging system will never be matched again.

Honorable Mentions (no particular order)

11) Chrono Trigger - Story and gameplay was excellent. Holds up surprisingly well.

12) Persona 2: Innocent Sin - Probably the best story in the series, imo. Was fun throughout and really struck the right chord with me.

13) Dragon Age: Origins - Started off the series. Loved it a lot, played it through many times.

14) Fire Emblem: Awakening - Best instance of tactical JRPG I can think of

15) Fallout 3 - Reintroduced the Fallout world in spectacular fashion.

16) Mass Effect 3 - My favorite of the series. I didn't mind the ending.

17) Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - I guess I liked the world more for this one. I also am a huge fan of the expansion, Shivering Isles.

18) Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - One of those games you had to be told is good to even realize it exists.

19) Ys: Memories of Celceta - The combination of the full world being like one big dungeon and the relatively free action gameplay worked really well.

20) Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords - Debatably better sequel hampered by the fact that it was literally released unfinished.

Unranked Honorable Mentions
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Jade Cocoon 2
Paper Mario
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Dragon Age 2
Pokemon RBY + FRLG
SW: The Old Republic
Bravely Default
Persona Q


My QB is a Dick and my coach is a Nutt
I gave up on trying to rank the games, because I just couldn't after a certain point. Planescape is number one, followed by BG2, but after that the numbers are just there to make for easy counting. They aren't in any particular order. The same with the honorable mentions.

1) Planescape: Torment (3 Points) – After replaying this game two years ago, it has become not just my favorite RPG, but favorite videogame. It shows that games can have stories that rival other mediums. But the game is more than just a fantastic story. It contains one of the most unique worlds in RPG history and some of the most interesting characters. While the game is certainly not perfect (while combat is serviceable, I wouldn’t call it fun), it provides an experience few other games can even hope to match.

2) Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn – Baldur’s Gate II doesn’t have a story as good as Planescape, or combat as fun as Icewind Dale, but as a total package it is still one of the most well put together RPGs ever made. It certainly is still Bioware’s crown achievement. There are a myriad of areas to explore, all packed with content. Athkatla is still probably one of the best designed cities in an RPG. The companions have depth, and unlike later Bioware games, the relationships were interesting to explore. Finally, the encounters were well designed, with some of the optional dragons being especially memorable.

3) Fallout: New Vegas – Honestly, this could easily be switched out for Fallout or Fallout 2. The replay value of this game compared to other RPGs is nearly unparalleled (the first game I would compare it to would be Obsidian’s underrated Alpha Protocol). Almost every quest has multiple ways to approach and resolve them, and better yet will actually provide real consequences to your decisions. There are a variety of technical flaws inherited with the Gambryo engine, but thankfully many of them could be fixed with mods.

4) Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines – This is a very flawed gem, but one that I can’t help but love. It is very much an example of game that the whole is better than the sum of its parts. The atmosphere maintains a fairly constant level of creepiness, with a few occasions slipping into the horror genre (I might just be a pansy, but the Ocean House Hotel still creeps me out). While the overall story is just fairly good, the dialog is just amazing. You have to play as a Malkavian, as it least once. It is just a shame the combat is mediocre at best and toward the endgame is forced way too much.

5) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 – For a game I never would have paid attention to in the first place if it wasn’t for the Giant Bomb endurance run, I ended up loving Persona 4. The atmosphere and store could push both melancholy and happiness depending on what was happening. Your companions were fun to be around and the game did a fantastic job of showing the friendships that were developed throughout the game. I bought a Vita just to play this and I don’t regret it at all.

6) Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of The Betrayer – Vanilla Neverwinter Nights wasn’t a terrible game, but it wasn’t particular good either. For the expansion, Obsidian decided to follow that up be releasing an expansion with the best story since Planescape Torment. The companions are better, the visuals are more varied, and the quest design is improved. The only real negative is that it is still constrained by the Alpha engine, so you will have sports where you spend more time fighting the camera than you do enemies.

7) World of Warcraft – I played WoW from Beta to the beginning of Cataclysm and to this day it is still the only MMORPG that I have loved. Honestly thinking back to the amount of time I put into this game when I was younger is sort of embarrassing. That said, some of my best gaming memories come from WoW. The first time I entered Westfall (my favorite zone) of my guild’s first Ragnaros kill are still vibrant in my mind.

8) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – Morrowind is still my favorite of the Elder Scrolls games and it appears to be something that Bethesda isn’t interested in going back to. The sheer amount of freedom this game gave to you was amazing. Sneaking into Daedric shrines before you had any business being in those areas, just so you could swipe some armor that would make you a god. Taking advantage of the game mechanics (thanks alchemy!) to break the game in ways the developers never intended was especially fun. It is a shame that instead of embracing this in future games, they just stripped abilities and systems out of the game. Luckily, with the robust modding community on PC you can still make the game look as nice as most current RPGs.

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

10) Alpha Protocol – I consider this to be one of the most underappreciated gems in videogames. For everyone who complains that games don’t provide enough consequences to your actions, they have to play Alpha Protocol. It features unparalleled nonlinearity and reactivity. The approach they took to character interactions is unmatched. You aren’t forced into playing nice with everyone for stat bonuses, in fact in some cases it actually benefits you to go tell someone to fuck off.

Honorable Mentions

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

2) Divinity: Original Sin – This is a game that took me by surprise this year. I had heard about Dragon Commander, but haven’t had a chance to play it yet. But seeing some of the reactions to Divinity on GAF sold me on the game and I am glad it did. The combat is what makes this game. It is both extremely tactical, with just a bit of nonsense thrown in when the elemental reactions start going off and half your screen turns into an explosion of poisonous gas. I could easily see this being in my top 10, but I feel like I need to give it a year or two to see if it is truly that memorable or if it is just because I have played it so recently.

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

4) The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – CD Projekt’s follow up to immensely satisfying Witcher 1. Instead of improving on the combat system for the first game, they instead implemented a new one. It led to combat being more challenging, but at times felt like it focused on just a couple of techniques. The WItcher 2 has an engaging story and again has an amazing dark fantasy world. Outside of an Obsidian game, it also has some of the weightiest consequences in a videogame, where the entire middle section of the game is different depending on a choice you make in an earlier chapter.

5) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords – This is both my favorite Star Wars game (well, tied with Tie Fighter) and a bad Star Wars game if that makes sense. Its story and dialog actually is more of a deconstruction of the Star Wars universe. Unfortunately, LucasArts forced Obsidian to rush it out the door before it was finished, so the last chapter of the game is a complete mess.

6) Fallout - Compared to its sequels, Fallout is a shorter game, but contains a more tightly focused plot. The atmosphere established by the 50’s retro-futuristic look would become iconic. Combat could be simple, but was still satisfying thanks in no part to the amusing death animations.

7) Fallout 2 - It was a larger world with more stuff to do compared to the first Fallout. Useless skills were made to be less useless and the faction mechanics were better. Unfortunately that larger world sometime resulted in the game being a bit like a “Them Park” which is was something that Bethesda ramped up even further in Fallout 3. Also, the pop culture humor at times could be a bit much. Still it was a fantastic RPG, it just wasn’t quite at the same level as the first game.

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

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

10) Baldur’s Gate – Generally considered being inferior to its sequel, Baldur’s Gate is still a very good RPG. While not exactly open world, it contains a massive number of locations. Despite being constrained with how boring low level combat can be in AD&D, it still manages to be entertaining. You really can see the building blocks for Shadows of Amn being laid down.


1) Pokemon X/Y

2) Fire Emblem: Rekka No Ken

3) Fire Emblem Awakening

4) Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu

5) Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi

6) Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo

7) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

8) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

9) Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door

10) Final Fantasy X

Honorable Mentions

11) Dragon Quest V

12) Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2

13) Persona 4

14) Final Fantasy IV

15) Dragon Warrior IV

16) Blue Dragon

17) Dragon Quest IX

18) Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

19) Star Ocean: The Second Story

20) Paper Mario



1) Final Fantasy IV (3 points) -

2) Skies of Arcadia -

3) Mass Effect -

4) Final Fantasy VI -

5) Chrono Trigger -

6) Fable II -

7) Final Fantasy VII -

8) Lost Odyssey -

9) Shining Force II -

10) Breath of Fire II -


Honorable Mentions

11) Infinite Undiscovery -

12) The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion -

13) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars -

14) Final Fantasy Tactics -

15) EarthBound -

15) Golden Sun 2 -

17) Bravely Default -

18) Blue Dragon -

19) Tales of Vesperia -

20) Secret of Evermore -



1) Dark Souls - The PC version of Dark Souls with DSfix (thanks Durante!) is the definitive version. Please do not consider anything else.

As the sequel to the surprise classic Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls had the (un)fortunate task of meeting monumental expectations. To our collective relief, it exceeds those lofty expectations. At its core, Dark Souls is an action RPG. However, unlike many action RPGs, the Souls series relishes in deliberate, weighty, and measured combat. The player is tasked to commit to every swing; mistime, and you pay dearly. To supplement the combat, a plethora of weapons, magic, and miracles are included. Each offers its own playstyle, which can entirely change how one approaches the game. While I hesitate to call the combat system realistic, it nevertheless approaches combat in a more realistic, satisfying way. You may even call it visceral, if there can ever be a meaning assigned to this buzzword.

The combat system is one, albeit important, part of what makes Dark Souls so great. The visual design perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere and aesthetic of dark fantasy. From the toxic, decrepit bowels of Blighttown to the grandiose, aethereal buttresses of Anor Londo, Dark Souls provides players a gorgeous and varied world to traverse through. It isn't open world; rather, Dark Souls offers compelling open and interconnected levels. There is nothing more satisfying than to discover a much needed shortcut, or a hidden path that returns the player back whence they came. Another pillar of the Souls series is its intimidating foes and bosses. Each one is visually unique, challenging, and engenders an incredible sense of satisfaction upon conquering. There’s quite nothing like reading about the lore and exploits of a bygone hero in-universe, and then encountering said hero.

In many ways, Dark Souls is an evolution of Demon’s Souls. It takes a streamlined, more minimalistic approach. There are less obviously “videogame-y” conventions such as hubs and level selectors, which help increase immersion. In that respect, Dark Souls follows the same vein as the much lauded Shadow of the Colossus, another minimalistic masterpiece.

Much more could be said about this excellent game, but for the sake of brevity, I'll conclude that it's my game of the forever.

2) Persona 4 - This fantastic jRPG was certainly my swansong for the PS2. It is an epic game in terms of scope. Many players cite anywhere between 60 to 80 hours in terms of gameplay. That can seem intimidating, but you would be surprised at how quickly that time passes when you are swept up in the daily happenings of the small town of Inaba.

Persona 4, at its heart, is a turn-based RPG. It features the Persona system, which resembles Pokemon (or I should say, Pokemon resembles Shin Megami Tensei as the latter came first) in that players “capture” and utilize demons in battle. The system is fast-paced and the Persona system adds that extra-wrinkle needed to keep combat fresh in a genre awash of turn-based systems. However, the dungeons that players traverse are not particularly interesting in terms of design or challenges. In fact, they are randomly generated and consist of little more than barren corridors and small, square rooms.

This valid shortcoming is not what keeps players coming back, however. It is the wonderful characters. It sounds a little cheezy, but you really will feel like you’ve bonded with the characters by the end of the 80-hour odyssey. Each person is different. They have their own quirks, aspirations, fears, etc... Such characterization is much needed in a genre that can sometimes suffer from hollow, archetypes rather than complex and compelling characters. The plot is also a refreshing change from the typical sleepy-village-kid-saves-world plot (for the most part, anyway). Persona 4’s plot is much more a character study than anything else, where you get to know more about the characters than about some overarching plan by a central villain.

At the end of your stay at Inaba, you'll find that you won't want to leave. And that's why P4 is so beloved.

3) Final Fantasy VII (3 points) - The charm is still evident, even 17 years later. I'm also proud to state that it's not due to nostalgia, what with me being a latecomer to the FF series.

While the character models may not hold up, everything else about this game assuredly does: the set-pieces, the music, the characters, the locations, etc... For those individuals that have not played FFVII, I highly suggest you give it a try. If you are marginally interested in jRPGs, you will soon discover why it is beloved by so many individuals.

4) Diablo II - Diablo I was one of the first games I have ever played, and it was great. Diabo II expands and improves on the first iteration in almost every facet. There are more classes, more locales, more armors/weapons, and more bosses. More isn’t always better, but Diablo II does right by its 5 acts. Blizzard North really managed to capture and evoke that primal hoarding instinct that dwells within all of us, as descendents of hunter-gatherers of centuries past. :D

5) Pokemon Silver - For me, the Pokemon series peaked with the second generation. I really liked the designs from the 1st and 2nd generation Pokemon. Classic in every sense of the word. Despite the relatively simple combat system, there’s something viciously addicting about “gotta catch ‘em all”. Enough so that it had my complete, rapturous attention as a child and still holds a soft-spot now.

Also, the encounter with Red at the end still remains a godly moment.

6) Chrono Trigger - Chrono Trigger is hailed as a classic, and after having tried it, I can appreciate why. The characters are charming, the plot is ambitious (time travelling is never easy to do right by), and the combat system is interesting (emphasizes positioning, non-random encounters, and group “tech” attacks).

Most importantly, the music is gorgeous. I could listen to the music forever and be satisfied by that experience, alone.

I haven’t finished it, but one of these days I will.

7) Mass Effect - Call me a nerd, but my favourite two genres are dark/low fantasy and space-faring sci-fi. Mass Effect scratches the latter itch. Some of my favourite moments are exploring new planets and new locations. There’s quite nothing like staring at a moon whilst inside a collapsing space ship, or traversing through the blizzards of a icy planet. That’s the sort of experience Mass Effect captures well, and what makes it so compelling.

It’s a shame that the RPG elements are streamlined (dare I say, even “casualized”) in the sequels. That sort of change, alone, is enough to catapult Mass Effect to the top of my list in comparison to its sequels.

8) Final Fantasy VI - Along with Chrono Trigger, FFVI forms the twin pillars of perfection with respect to 2D sprite-based jRPGs. These truly are timeless classics featuring an open/vast world, involved story, varied and interesting cast, compelling villain, and the artistry to tie all the aforementioned elements together into a cohesive whole.

9) Etrian Odyssey IV - EOIV is a game that caught me by surprise. I have to admit I was skeptical, given its aesthetic (far, far too cutesy for me). It's fuzzy exterior belies a hardcore dungeon crawling experience. It is challenging. If you are looking for an engaging story with complex characters, you won't find that in the EO series. What it does offer you is pure, distilled dungeon-crawling goodness. Imagine exploring 5 varied locales, conquering multiple dungeons, and watching your party become stronger and more capable; it's very, very satisfying.

Suffice to say EOIV has surprisingly catapulted into my all-time favourite RPGs list! And to think at one point I dismissed it....

10) Planescape: Torment - (insert explanation here)

Honorable Mentions

11) Demon's Souls - As the first in the Souls series, Demon's Souls is a little rough around the edges. Nevertheless, its atmosphere and the mood it evokes (through locations such as the Tower of Latria) is unparalleled. It's consistently oppressing and, at times, frightening. Dark Souls, on the other hand, evoked in me melancholy, awe, and sometimes oppression (but the latter to a lesser extent).

Nevertheless, it's another fantastic example of dark fantasy and absolutely worth playing.

12) Valkyria Chronicles - A very solid sRPG with an intriguing premise, cast of characters (older than the typical jRPG), and gorgeous graphical artistry. For now, it remains in a lower position until I can finish it (I'm ~25% done) and really assess it.

13) The Witcher - The Witcher is a fine cRPG. It’s very much European in its setting, focusing on Witchers and the witcher mythology. The reason why I rank this game so low on my list (despite the fact that I enjoyed it) is because of how inconsistent it felt. When I purchased the game, I was expecting the experience to largely consist of what was ultimately chapter 4. Instead, I got a lot of meandering in swamps (not just once!) and cities. Neither setting really captures my imagination or interest. Not in the way the seaside/wheat-fields of chapter 4 did.

I also found the final act really disappointing. It was an underwhelming conclusion to the entire affair. At least the epilogue was really interesting (which leads into Witcher 2).

14) Fire Emblem: Awakening - I highly enjoyed my first foray into the Fire Emblem series. As the 12th iteration, awakening takes a deeper approach than is normal within the series with character interaction. You can engage in dialogue and even perform match-making with the units you recruit over the course of the game. It really helps engage the player and keep them caring about their motley crew.

That being said, I did not find the story particularly compelling or the characters particularly complex. Nevertheless, the combination of the vast cast, sRPG gameplay, and well-paced progression makes for an enjoyable experience.

1) Persona 4: Golden - The cast, story, and social link aspect make this game my all time favorite JRPG. The story was captivating and building relationships with the characters made this game for me. I never wanted it to end.

2) Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (3 points) - I've always felt KHII is the best Kingdom Hearts game out of the ones I've played. The combat is great and a lot of cool mechanics were introduced (drive forms and reaction commands), plus the levels were very memorable.

3) Final Fantasy X - One of the best Final Fantasy games set in a very memorable, awe-inspiring world. The soundtrack, cast, and gameplay were all spectacular. The ending was quite powerful in my opinion as well.

4) Final Fantasy XII - This is my favorite Final Fantasy. The cast was great, the story and lore were very intriguing, and the world was massive and fun to explore. I also loved the more action based combat system compared to the usual turn based system.

5) Xenoblade Chronicles - This game is absolutely breathtaking. The world is so beautiful and big, plus the soundtrack is just stunning. The combat, story, and characters are all strong; the cast is very likable as well as memorable. It's easily one of the most memorable games I've ever played.

6) Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - This probably is the first JRPG I ever played, and I still love it to this day. The story is simple but memorable, and exploring all the Disney worlds is a lot of fun. The combat is loads of fun, the characters are great, and the soundtrack is one of the best I've ever heard.

7) The Last Story - The combat in this game was the main selling point for me. I'm a fan of action based combat systems and this game had a very fun system. The story was also quite good, and the characters were all very likable. It's one of my favorite Wii games.

8) Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The story and world of this game were absolutely incredible. The cyberpunk and stylistic feel to the setting captivated me along with the incredible score. The characters and the political aspects of the plot regarding augmentation technology also drew me in. The gameplay was solid and allowed for different ways to approach situations, which could result in different outcomes.

9) Persona 3: FES - I like this game for some of the same reasons that I love Persona 4. The social links and cast are all very interesting and likable, plus the story keeps you interested and invested.

10) Fallout 3 - The world of Fallout 3 was a blast to explore. There was so much to see and do in this game, and there were many memorable characters and locations scattered throughout the world. The setting was the best part of this game, and the V.A.T.S. system was very cool.

Honorable Mentions

11) Mass Effect 2 - One of the best sci-fi games I've ever played. The characters and lore made this game as good as it was for me.

12) Fallout: New Vegas - The setting in this game is the reason I liked it so much. Exploring a destroyed Vegas was addicting and fun. This game played very similar to Fallout 3, which is probably another reason I liked it so much.

13) Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - I really loved this game. The story was simple, but I enjoyed it none-the-less. The gameplay was fun and the art style was great.

14) Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - The gameplay was the best part of this game. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the art style.

15) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim- As much of a mess that this game is on PS3, I really did enjoy it. I still have not beaten the story, but I've put in 80+ hours just exploring the world and doing side quests. The lore and amount of exploration you can do in this game is simply incredible.

Unranked Honorable Mentions
- Resonance of Fate
- Ys: Memories of Celceta
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep


1) Final Fantasy 7 (3pts)

2) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

3) Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

4) Suikoden 2

5) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

6) World of Warcraft

7) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3

8) Dragon Quest 3

9) Shining Force 2

10) Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Honorable Mentions:
Dragon Quest 6
Wild Arms
Chrono Trigger
Bravely Default
Pokemon Red/Blue
Diablo 2

Still editing justifications/pictures. Coming soon.


1) Fallout: New Vegas (3pts)

2) Dark Souls

3) Planescape Torment

4) Xenoblade Chronicles

5) Final Fantasy 7

6) Final Fantasy 6

7) Pokemon Heart Gold/ Soul Silver

8) Earthbound

9) System Shock 2

10) Dark Souls 2

Meeting the deadline, explanations may come at a later time.


Neo Member
Will add more description later! Here's my list.

1) Mass Effect - I love sci-fi and the lore within the game. Sure this game has its flaws, but the rich environment and characters make up for it.

2) Demon's Souls - I absolutely love the combat. Wonderfully realized world to explore.

3) Dragon Age: Origins(3 points) - Character dialogues were great and each arc revealed interesting dynamics between characters.

4) The Elderscrolls III: Morrowind - One of my first RPGs. Wonderful world with a lot of interesting things to do outside of the main story line

5) Persona 4 - Only Persona game that I've played, absolutely loved the cycle of gameplay in the game.

6) Fire Emblem - Introduced me to tactical RPGs with its straight forward story.

7) Fallout 3 - Loved the atmosphere and little details within the environment.

8) The Witcher 2- Awesome combat and character-centric plot.

9) The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion - A little janky, but the game world is wonderfully filled.

10) Alpha Protocol - A quirky game with actually meaningful choices.

Honorable Mentions

11) Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced

12) Deus Ex: Human Revolution

13) Kingdom Hearts II

14) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

15) Dragon's Dogma

The Jutty

1. Chrono Trigger - My first love. I remember beating this game over and over as a child. This is the game I judge all other rpgs by, It was the perfect storm of excellent characters, great story telling, time travel so every setting you could possibly want, and I loved not having random battles something that had annoyed me in other rpgs at the time.

2. Suikoden II (3 pts) - If you are looking for a politically motivated game of war then you can do no better. One of the games that I recall not being able to put down because I literally had to know what happens next.

3. Baldur's Gate - So much freedom. I didn't appreciate this game as much as I should have when I was younger. After I began playing D&D I decided to give this game another chance. I love BG2, but I feel the first captures the feel of actually playing D&D. If you feel like there is too much hand holding in your current rpgs give this a go.

4. Xenogears - Giant Robots and an awesome and rarely seen at the time mature theme. The only thing that holds this game back is the rushed second disc, but if you are looking for something with a more serious story and incredible music check this game out.

5. Super Mario RPG - I recommend this for players who haven't ever played an rpg and are looking to get into the genre.
reserving to post later

1. Mass Effect
2. Fallout 3 and NV
3. Skyrim
4. Bravely Default
5. Final Fantasy 7

also what about MMOs, can you throw in something like Final Fantasy 14 or wow or not?
I don't particularly believe in ranking things, and since the order of the first ten selections doesn't matter where points are concerned, mine will be approximate. Nevertheless:

1) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (3 points) - A storybook theatre of unforgettable personality and seamless unity of mechanics and theme. Every chapter presents a variation with a distinctive organizing structure of its own, while the deceptive simplicity of the battle system disguises its tremendous allowance for exploring different styles of play, and the content itself is rich and challenging enough to test the player's craftiness to its limit. That the game also stands as Nintendo's narrative watermark is practically a bonus.

2) Fire Emblem: Awakening - The most complete expression of character-driven turn-based strategy (A): Fire Emblem as a large-ensemble piece of boundless party customization and tactical variety.

3) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance - The most complete expression of character-driven turn-based strategy (B): Fire Emblem as a focused precision exercise in triage and resource management.

4) World of Warcraft - A thriving social experiment so staggering in its capaciousness, polish, and inventiveness of encounter design that its greatest failing is its pattern of rendering itself obsolete with every new expansion, as nobody else is about to do the job.

5) Chrono Trigger

6) EarthBound

7) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

8) Bravely Default

9) Tales of Symphonia

10) Xenoblade Chronicles
(not in any order since the points are all the same)

1) Baldur's Gate 2 (3 points) - In my opinion, Baldur's Gate 2 is the best videogame ever made. It had it all: an epic story, memorable characters, a huge world with adventure and mystery around every corner. They simply don't make them like they used to.

2) Mass Effect - Easily the strongest game in the series from a narrative perspective. Bioware knocked it out of the park with the world building in Mass Effect. Although the shooting mechanics were clunky compared to its successors, I still feel that the original Mass Effect had the strongest RPG elements.

3) Dragon Age: Origins - Great characters, fantastic world building, and a decent story. DA:O seems like a throwback to the classic old DnD computer RPGs that made Bioware famous in the old days. Gameplay mechanics were streamlined and modernized, but there was still enough leeway in character building to create the character you wanted.

4) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Perhaps the best Star Wars game ever made, KOTOR did a great job of making the player feel like they were actually in a Star Wars story. While the sequel offered a more nuanced and thoughtful story, the original tells an excellent classic tale of good vs. evil, along with the most famous story twist in gaming.

5) Final Fantasy 7 - FF7 did a lot of interesting things for it's time. The combination of 3D graphics and beautiful pre-rendered 2D backgrounds and CGI cutscenes were stunning for its time. The game was also interesting from it's narrative perspective, and did things that were unexpected in gaming such as using an unreliable narrator and killing one of the main characters off permanently about a third of the way through the game. While a bit dated today, FF7 was a stunning achievement when it came out.

6) Persona 3 - Part dungeon crawler, part Pokemon-style monster collecting, and part dating-sim. Persona 3 manages to blend completely disparate elements into an entertaining game with a surprisingly well told and touching story.

7) Deus Ex - Deus Ex was designed to reward exploration and actual thinking. Stellar level design lets the player approach problems in a variety of ways. The attention to detail in every aspect of the game is astounding.

8) The Witcher 2 - TW2 was a huge step forward from the original Witcher game. The story is far more mature (no more sex trading cards), and has meaningful decisions that actually significantly affect the story and gameplay.

9) Dragon's Dogma - One of the most underrated games of the PS3/X360 generation. Fantastic combat system that led to epic encounters with giant beasts and creatures. Dragon's Dogma also had an interesting and creative story, albeit one that wasn't spoonfed to the player. The pawn system which lets you share your created henchmen with other players online was also brilliant. Unfortunately, the PS3/X360 really lacked the horsepower to do this game justice, and Capcom sadly chose not to do a PC version.

10) Dark Souls - Excellent level design and combat. The sense of accomplishment from defeating a challenging boss or difficult segment in Dark Souls is almost unrivaled in gaming. The innovative multiplayer from Demon's Souls returns, although summoning other players do tend to make the challenging boss fights a little too easy.

Honorable Mentions

11) Pokemon Red/Blue/Green +remakes - The original monster collecting game. Amazingly immersive for such a low fidelity game. The original game still has my favorite cast of Pokemon, although nostalgia may be playing a big part here.

12) Final Fantasy 6 - The last and greatest 2D Final Fantasy from Square. FF6 had a diverse and likeable cast and a great story that blends lighthearted and serious moments together well. While the blueprint used in this game is definitely visible in later Final Fantasies, FF6 feels like it's crafted with just a bit more skill and maturity compared to later games in the series.

13) Diablo 2 - The most addicting dungeon crawler ever made. Tons of interesting loot, fun combat system, and memorable settings and villains.

14) Valkyrie Profile - VP's innovative combat system which rewards timing and teamwork is loads of fun. The story is engrossing and interesting, although I personally really dislike multiple endings where the "real" ending is nearly impossible to achieve unless you know what to do ahead of time with a game guide.

15) Fire Emblem: Awakening - Fire Emblem enters into the dating sim genre with Awakening. The dating sim elements are a bit disturbing

16) Divinity: Original Sin - The biggest surprise of 2014, Divinity: OS made me fall in love with isometric RPGs all over again. D:OS has some of the best turn-based combat in any RPG. Combining spell and environmental effects made battles challenging and interesting. The relatively forgettable story and characters unfortunately keeps this game out of my top 10.

17) Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines - Now a cult classic, VtM:B is an incredibly atmospheric role playing experience. The world is such an interesting setting for an RPG, and it's a shame we don't have more games like it.

18) Final Fantasy 9 - After the somewhat angsty FF7 and way too angsty FF8, FF9 was a breathe of fresh air into the Final Fantasy series. FF9 has fantastic music by Uematsu, a likeable main cast, and a relative light-hearted and well-told story.

19) Neverwinter Nights - DnD makes the jump to 3D, and it's mostly successful! While the main campaign was a bit lackluster, the expansion campaigns and the incredible modding community made NWN one of the greats.

20) X-Com: Enemy Unknown + Enemy Within expansion - The main draw here are the exciting turn-based battles (with permadeath!). Your soldiers, who all start off as useless grunts, grow on you through their prowess and feats in battle. Losing a longtime veteran in battle can be heartbreaking (unless you savescum).
1. Final Fantasy VII - The game that cemented my love for RPGs. Yeah yeah most overrated game ever blah blah blah but this game is truly fantastic. I first played the game in 2012, so I don't have nostalgia goggles on either. I think what really grabbed me in was the game's atmosphere. From the opening cinematic on the game oozes personality. The beautiful artwork and soundtrack suck me in to the world and and make me feel like I'm in the world with the characters, especially this one. But it also helps that the story is awesome and the characters are likeable. I'm also a fan of the materia system. It led to a lot of flexibility with what characters were capable of. This game has stayed relevant all of this time for a reason. It is a landmark title that everyone should experience.

2. Persona 4 Golden - Never before have I been as compelled to not put a game down as this one. I bought this when I bought my Vita solely on recommendations from the internet. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself in to, and it resulted in one of my favorite gaming experiences period. I'll have to say that persona 4 has my favorite cast of characters in any game. Everyone on the investigation team plus dojima and nanako were all awesome. Every one of them has excellent development and you really feel like you get to know them. The story was very compelling and I was sad to see the game come to an end. I really wanted to just continue going through the days hanging out with all of the characters.

3. Chrono Trigger - Talk about an epic. While I may like the top two more for sentimental reasons, Chrono Trigger is probably the best game on this list. The scope of the story is so vast that it boggles my mind. And this came out on Super Nintendo! The games battle system is probably my favorite in all of RPGs. I liked the fact that there weren't random encounters. And the double and triple techs were a game changer for me. As like the top two, the cast of characters is top notch. Plus, the many different ways you can go about finishing the game still amaze me. This game is the complete package and should not be missed.

4. Kingdom Hearts - The game that drew me into the world of RPGs. As a Disney buff, this game looked right up my alley. The fact that you could visit all of the Disney worlds was such a cool idea. But while playing it, I was also treated to a very charming story with cool characters. The later games got very convoluted, but the first game IMO has the best stand alone story. It's easy to follow and is fairly simple. The battle system was fun, especially when utilizing all of the cool summons. I feel like partly the reason why I like the game so much is on the fact that Square made the game as good as they did. It's an enjoyable ride from start to finish.

5. Final Fantasy X - Another great battle system. I loved the fact that you always had the whole party with you and that you could switch out mid-battle. I wasn't the biggest fan of the sphere grid, but it got the job done. But like FFVII, this game is also just filled to the brim with atmosphere. The world and the lore within it pulls you in. Pair that with another great soundtrack and you have a title that you'll want to see through the end. Hearing the hymn of the fayth always gave me a shiver. It's such a simple yet powerful tune. Yeah I can see how people can dislike Tidus but I personally liked him. And this game has Auron in it. That's all you really need to know.

6. Pokemon Yellow - The first RPG I ever played. I was too young to grasp that it was an RPG back when I was younger, but I still had a blast playing it. It's also the reason why Pikachu is my favorite pokemon.

Honorable mentions:

Final Fantasy IX (3 points) - I'm giving my 3 points to an honorable mention because more people need to know about this game. I'm currently playing it now for the first time so I can't properly rank it yet. But man this game's fantastic. I'm currently on disc 2. I love the more traditional setting of the game and I'm really liking the characters. They each have their own conflicts and I'm looking forward to see how they all play out. I've managed to avoid spoilers with this game so it's awesome to have this as a fresh experience. The only thing that I have to complain about it right now is how slow the battles are. Besides that I'm really getting in to the story and having a blast with this game.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 - This game deserves props for being much better than it's predecessor. I liked the characters that they introduced and thought the story was pretty compelling. Too bad the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. But for the $15 I spent, I was satisfied with the experience. Plus, it graced us with this song :p
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