RPG-age: Top12 (sorry!) RPGs this generation assembled from Japanese user reviews

Jun 7, 2004
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#1
EDIT: I messed up originally. The NDS Mk2 site split RPGs into RPGs, ARPGs, and SRPGs, so I missed two titles which should have made the Top10. Instead of deleting the write-ups I did for the two titles which would otherwise be booted from the list, I amended it to a Top12. :(

Disclaimer: This is not a specific study into a list of the Top10 games of individuals, but instead it is assembled from user reviews on the Mk2 review portal. The 10 games listed here are the top 10 scoring games in the RPG genre which have at least 50 user reviews across all current generation platforms (PS3, 360, Wii, PSP, NDS).

What is Mk2?
Mk2 is a Japanese review portal which is a series of sites each catering to user reviews for a specific platform. It covers all genres, and user reviews are moderated. It is more meaningful than a regular user review collection because there are specific standards to the review format. Users are required to detail the review substantially with likes/dislikes on the game, critique, list how long they've played the game, and score the game in various categories. For each game, there is also a chart showing how the review scores are distributed across the percentiles, to make up the average actual score.

What should I know about these reviews?
As these are user reviews, and more importantly detailed ones at that, it should probably be considered that the only people who will be submitting such reviews would generally be those who are already interested in what the game has to offer, or bought it based on recommendations of a friend. Unlike publication reviews, users are obviously not required to play and review every single game out there, as such games which failed to attract much attention at all will not be represented in a meaningful way.

Are these all the best scoring RPGs on Mk2?
No, these are the best scoring RPGs on Mk2 with 50 or more reviews. There are games which have a higher average score, but some have so few reviews that it makes the statistic much less meaningful. I felt that 50 is a pretty good number to get a sense of how a decent sample of people who played that game felt about it.



12. Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland [NDS]
Average Score: 77
Difficulty: 2.24
# of Reviews: 74

Score Chart
Originality: 4.36
Graphics: 3.77
Sound: 3.50
Immersion: 3.53
Satisfaction: 3.77
Amenity: 2.91

Some notes:
- The game design revolving around Rupees is something almost every reviewer mentions as a novel concept. The animation in the game and the music are also points which get quite a bit of praise.
- Players seem to express that the game is more like an adventure game than a RPG, and the RPG elements are relatively weak. Another negative point mentioned often is the control scheme of the game being tiring in long play sessions.



11. Tales of Vesperia [360]
Average Score: 78
# of Reviews: 198

Score Chart
Originality: 3.54
Graphics: 3.91
Sound: 3.00
Immersion: 4.19
Balance: 3.80
Volume: 4.09

Some notes:
- Good graphics, good boss fights, fast load times. Bad AI, story falls apart, can't skip events.
- Yup, sounds like a Tales game.



10. Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki [PSP]
Average Score: 79
Difficulty: 1.89
# of Reviews: 54

Score Chart
Originality: 3.26
Graphics: 3.46
Sound: 3.90
Immersion: 4.02
Satisfaction: 3.57
Amenity: 3.80

Some notes:
- The game seems pretty much tailor made for Falcom fans or Sora no Kiseki fans. Those who like the story style, characters, battle system will enjoy this a lot.
- The game seems to pander too much to fans of the series, and there are various complains about not knowing the full requirements of certain hidden achievements. The game also seems to not offer much challenge at all.



09. It's A Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) [NDS]
Average Score: 79
Difficulty: 2.45
# of Reviews: 156

Score Chart
Originality: 4.41
Graphics: 3.72
Music: 4.30
Immersion: 3.97
Satisfaction: 3.94
Amenity: 3.04

Some notes:
- The main attraction for the game is the high quality music, direction, design, and general feel of the game.
- Complaints generally center around the interface, battle system, and collection of the badges. Some reviews wanted a map on the top screen when moving around, while many also said the dual screen combat was rather hard to get used to. The collection of badges is also overwhelming for some users.



08. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion [PS3/360]
Average Score: 79
# of Reviews: 177

Score Chart
Originality: 4.05
Graphics: 3.75
Sound: 3.30
Immersion: 3.85
Balance: 3.35
Volume: 4.35

Some notes:
- The huge world and the large amount of quests and content are some of the things people liked about the game.
- The lack of actual variety, lots of loading and bugs are some of the things they disliked.
- It's interesting to note that the freedom in the gameplay and the size of the world are both pros and cons depending on the reviewer, and depending on the specific elements listed. While some people liked how there were tons of NPCs, and how they had behavioral patterns for day/night cycles, others point out that most of them are basically the same, and it ends up feeling kinda lame.



07. End of Eternity (Resonance of Fate) [PS3/360]
Average Score: 80
Difficulty: 3.14
# of Reviews: 95

Score Chart
Originality: 4.60
Graphics: 3.60
Sound: 3.50
Immersion: 3.98
Satisfaction: 3.74
Amenity: 3.11

Some notes:
- The score chart is based on the PS3 review set because it has more reviews.
- The battle system, music, and setting get high praises.
- Negatives mentioned include poor tutorials, complex sub-systems, and some interface issues.



06. Enchanted Arms [360]
Average Score: 80
# of Reviews: 105

Score Chart
Originality: 3.53
Graphics: 4.19
Sound: 3.10
Immersion: 4.13
Balance: 3.84
Volume: 3.75

Some notes:
- Many of the reviewers seem to enjoy the game because of the story and world, and how user-friendly the game is. The ability to save anywhere and the auto-battle system are apparently plus points.
- The reviewers seem to have issues with the actual gameplay, the VP system, and the Golems.
- I think it would be fair to say that this game will not have reviewed as well if it was released later in the generation, and it benefited from the advantage of being one of the first "next-gen" JRPGs in Japan.



05. Valkyria Chronicles [PS3]
Average Score: 81
Difficulty: 2.75
# of Reviews: 84

Score Chart
Originality: 4.54
Graphics: 4.25
Sound: 3.60
Immersion: 4.11
Satisfaction: 3.99
Amenity: 3.06

Some notes:
- The battle system is what most players seem to agree is the strongest point of the game. It is original and lots of fun. The graphical style is appealing as well.
- Load times, interface issues, and some unskippable events are various factors listed as lowering the enjoyment in the game.
- There are also quite a few complaints about the story and writing.



04. Devil Survivor [NDS]
Average Score: 81
Difficulty: 2.67
# of Reviews: 110

Score Chart
Originality: 3.95
Graphics: 3.53
Music: 3.30
Immersion: 4.20
Satisfaction: 4.01
Amenity: 3.96

Some notes:
- The game is praised for the strong dark scenario and varied characters, as well as introducing Shin Megami Tensei mechanics into a traditional SRPG.
- Negative areas include immunity balance issues, and a general lack of content with the game reusing the same stages many times, and a relatively short campaign.
- Reviewers like the New Game Plus mechanics which carry everything over, which makes replaying the game less stressful.



03. Fallout 3 [PS3/360]
Average Score: 82
# of Reviews: 139

Score Chart
Originality: 4.38
Graphics: 4.00
Sound: 3.50
Immersion: 4.49
Balance: 3.51
Volume: 4.39

Some notes:
- The score chart here is based on the 360 version, since it had more reviews. The average score and # of reviews are a combination of both PS3 and 360 reviews.
- Reviewers liked the VATS system, as well as the level of freedom in the game. The localization being fully voiced was also a positive.
- The negative elements are the usual suspects: bugs, crashes, etc.



02. Demon's Souls [PS3]
Average Score: 89
Difficulty: 3.90
# of Reviews: 149

Score Chart
Originality: 4.41
Graphics: 3.82
Sound: 3.80
Immersion: 4.32
Satisfaction: 4.24
Amenity: 3.54

Some notes:
- The online system seems to be a unique feature which reviewers reacted well to.
- The atmosphere in the game along with the challenge are also favorable points.
- The load times are the most frequently commented negative point.



01. Xenoblade [Wii]
Average Score: 90
Difficulty: 2.33
# of Reviews: 67

Score Chart
Originality: 4.16
Graphics: 3.69
Music: 4.40
Immersion: 4.64
Satisfaction: 4.58
Amenity: 3.73

Some notes:
- Most reviewers played it with the classic controller.
- Many of them have played the game for over 100 hours.
- The seamlessness of the game and general overworld design gets a lot of praise, along with the lack of load times and solid flow and pacing.



TLDR List said:
Rank. Title [Platform] - Average Score (# of Reviews)

01. Xenoblade [Wii] - 90 (67)
02. Demon's Souls [PS3] - 89 (149)
03. Fallout 3 [PS3/360] - 82 (139)
04. Devil Survivor [NDS] - 81 (110)
05. Valkyria Chronicles [PS3] - 81 (84)
06. Enchanted Arms [360] - 80 (105)
07. End of Eternity (Resonance of Fate) [PS3/360] - 80 (95)
08. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion [PS3/360] - 79 (177)
09. It's A Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) [NDS] - 79 (156)
10. Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki [PSP] - 79 (54)
11. Tales of Vesperia [360] - 78 (198)
12. Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland [NDS] - 77 (74)


Appendix

Here are the next few titles of note, which didn't make the list:

Rank. Title [Platform] - Average Score (# of Reviews)

11. Persona 3 Portable [PSP] - 76 (52)
12. Arc Rise Fantasia [Wii] - 76 (55)
13. Tales of Graces [Wii] - 76 (59)
14. Etrian Odyssey [NDS] - 75 (165)
15. Tengai Makyou 2 [NDS] - 75 (100)
16. Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey [NDS] - 75 (73)


There are some titles which failed to make the chart based on the 50 review criteria. I'm going to list some of them here:

PS3:
Tears to Tiara - 81 (18)
Disgaea 3 - 77 (21)

360:
Mass Effect 2 - 94 (9)
Tengai Makyou ZIRAI - 79(22)

Wii:
Muramasa - 78 (36)

PSP:
Disgaea 2 - 87 (22)
Elminage 2 - 85 (30)
Ys SEVEN - 84 (45)
Hero30 - 78 (17)

NDS:
BlazerDrive - 80 (30)
Mysterious Dungeon Shiren 4 - 80 (40)
Etrian Odyssey 3 - 77 (49)
Radiant Historia - 77 (48)



Sources:
PlayStation mk2: http://www.psmk2.net/list.php?genre=41&sort=point
Xbox360 mk2: http://www.gamers-review.net/list.php?genre=21&sort=point
Wii mk2: http://wiimk2.net/list.php?genre=37&sort=point
NintendoDS mk2: http://ndsmk2.net/list.php?genre=46&sort=point
PSP mk2: http://pspmk2.net/list.php?genre=41&sort=point
 

luka

Loves Robotech S1
Jan 15, 2009
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I want to play Xenoblade so much, but I just don't think it's worth importing a Wii. Ah well.

No Nier? I didn't pay attention to how well it was received there.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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luka said:
I want to play Xenoblade so much, but I just don't think it's worth importing a Wii. Ah well.

No Nier? I didn't pay attention to how well it was received there.
NieR Replicant (PS3) - 75 (42)

I don't think a single review of NieR Gestalt (360) was submitted.
 
Apr 23, 2008
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Japanese gamers coming around to open-world RPGs? Seems like that's been going on for a bit.

It'll be interesting to see how Skyrim does there, in both sales and reception.
 
Jan 31, 2007
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What makes this different, to say, a collation of GameFAQs reviews? I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, I'm genuinely curious. Is this site known for a high standard of reviews?
 
Jul 26, 2004
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legend166 said:
What makes this different, to say, a collation of GameFAQs reviews? I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, I'm genuinely curious. Is this site known for a high standard of reviews?
Its from Japanese users reviews.
 
Aug 26, 2008
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#24
Zeliard said:
Japanese gamers coming around to open-world RPGs? Seems like that's been going on for a bit.

It'll be interesting to see how Skyrim does there, in both sales and reception.
I really hope the success of the open world rpg will cause Japanese developers to try new directions with the jrpg format. They seem to be so obsessed with cramming in as many gameplay systems into the game they overlook rote plots rife with cliches while completely failing at character designs that can resonate outside of Japan.

Honestly, I would love to play some good old fashioned jrpgs, but the difference in todays jrpgs and the SNES/PSX jrpgs I loved in the 90s is a mix of nostalgia and the fact that the limited hardware allowed me to fill in the world with my imagination. Once they had the hardware power to fully realize their vision technically, I no longer wanted anything to do with absurdly designed protagonists and grating voice acting.

I just wish that western developers would make a quality rpg with Japanese gameplay and Western Design.

Edit: There are exceptions of course, my (crappy) avatar is proof of that.
 
May 15, 2007
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#25
Zeliard said:
Japanese gamers coming around to open-world RPGs? Seems like that's been going on for a bit.

It'll be interesting to see how Skyrim does there, in both sales and reception.
hopefully this time whoever brings it over goes through the effort to translate most of the text.

edit: now I am looking around and bethesda says the game is fully translated...hm
 
May 20, 2009
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Zeliard said:
Japanese gamers coming around to open-world RPGs? Seems like that's been going on for a bit.

It'll be interesting to see how Skyrim does there, in both sales and reception.
I think it's just specifically Bethesda games.

Oblivion isn't a surprise as I believe it is the most successful WRPG in Japan but I am surprised to see Fallout 3 more well received as I thought it's shooting elements would turn them off.
 
Dec 20, 2004
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#30
Curious what these games scored:

Blue Dragon - 74
Lost Odyssey - 73
FFXIII - 58

Also no DQIX(57) in the top ten?

Overall their tastes are relatively in line with GAFs I'm surprised.

Edit: Found the scores if I'm reading it right
 
Jun 7, 2004
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legend166 said:
What makes this different, to say, a collation of GameFAQs reviews? I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, I'm genuinely curious. Is this site known for a high standard of reviews?
The site doesn't do anything other than collect reviews. That makes it more specialized. As far as quality of reviews go, I can't really say it's that different other than the fact that they have a very solid format which encourages reviewers to be informative and more data is collected than usual in terms of how the reviewer feels about various parts of the game and how long the person has spent with the game.

It's not a scientific study, but rather a look at how gamers have responded to RPGs this generation so far. Mk2 is the biggest and most well known user review portal for Japanese impressions. It's also been around for a very, very long time.
 
Jan 20, 2005
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Tengai Makyou 2 at #15, great surprise and makes me forgive the list for putting Vesperia over Graces.






I don't own the version that made the list :(
Maybe I'll see it at Book-Off one of these days.
 

WanderingWind

Mecklemore Is My Favorite Wrapper
Feb 4, 2009
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01. Xenoblade [Wii]
Average Score: 90
Difficulty: 2.33
# of Reviews: 67

Score Chart
Originality: 4.16
Graphics: 3.69
Music: 4.40
Immersion: 4.64
Satisfaction: 4.58
Amenity: 3.73

Some notes:
- Most reviewers played it with the classic controller.
- Many of them have played the game for over 100 hours.
- The seamlessness of the game and general overworld design gets a lot of praise, along with the lack of load times and solid flow and pacing.


Sigh.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#38
Liquid_Bike said:
Curious what these games scored:

Blue Dragon
Lost Odyssey
FFXIII

Also no DQIX in the top ten?

Overall their tastes are relatively in line with GAFs I'm surprised.
Blue Dragon - 74 (188)
Lost Odyssey - 73 (173)

FFXIII PS3 - 58 (405): http://www.psmk2.net/title.php?title=519
DQIX - 57 (296): http://ndsmk2.net/title.php?title=1580

For RPGs which sell very, very well (millions) it is very unlikely that they can achieve high average scores on user reviews if everyone is honest. The main reason is that they attract a huge range of gamers with varied tastes and different opinions on what they want the game (or series) to be like, so you cannot please everyone. As you can see from the breakdown of the review score distribution in those reviews, there are reviews covering the entire spectrum from 0 to 100.

With more specialized genres (like action games), or RPGs which cater specifically to a certain type of taste and does it really well, they can score very high because people who don't like that sort of gameplay will not even be interested in playing it in the first place.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#40
Empty said:
dragon quest IX has an average of 57 on that site. what.
That's because it deserves it in the eyes of hardcore jrpg fans.

As you can tell by a lot of those entries the hardcore jrpg fanbase in Japan has a very different set of tastes and standards than the mainstream public that buys pokemon.
 
Feb 21, 2010
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I've really liked what I've seen of Xenoblade so far. I'm still confident that at some point in the future we will get to play it on the Wii.
 
Dec 20, 2004
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#45
Bebpo said:
That's because it deserves it in the eyes of hardcore jrpg fans.

As you can tell by a lot of those entries the hardcore jrpg fanbase in Japan has a very different set of tastes and standards than the mainstream public that buys pokemon.
Do you think its safe to say they feel the same as GAF in regards to the overall quality/quantity of JRPGS this generation?
 
#49
Bebpo said:
That's because it deserves it in the eyes of hardcore jrpg fans.

As you can tell by a lot of those entries the hardcore jrpg fanbase in Japan has a very different set of tastes and standards than the mainstream public that buys pokemon.
I remember a long time back they had a "Top 10 RPGs This Generation" with SMT:Nocturne as #1.

In other words, these guys tend to have Good Taste.