Favorite RPG Video Games
Franchises are not listed in any order and the notable games I liked are in the parenthesis behind the franchise name.
Xenoblade Chronicles I, II or X - Based off the Xenosaga Franchise. The developer of the game created a reimagined world for Nintendo and his company Monolith Soft. The object known as the Zohar in Xenosaga, was used in the Xenoblade games by a scientist attempting to create a new world using its powers. He ended up destroying the Earth and creating a new world in which he became a god. The hero uses a weapon that is connected with the Zohar and slays the false god freeing his people.
In X (pronounced 'cross'), The Earth is destroyed from an orbital explosion during a fight between two alien armadas (could be the Zohar again). The only known survivors crash on a planet called Mira that just "appeared" in their flight path to another planet. There they fight to regain parts of their ship and rescue survivors of the crash. One of the alien races that fought above Earth are on Mira and seek to destroy all humans as we carry a gene that is like a kill-switch for their people. We find out during the mission that A) you are a robot, b) so is everyone else, 3) your body is in the "lifehold", IV) no it's not, there are no bodies and Fifth) the database that holds your minds isn't working so why are you all conscious ?
In Xenoblade 2, the Zohar makes it actual appearance in Xenoblade series as the "Conduit". Here the same scientist from Xenoblade is seen recreating his world but he is split from his body. This scientist doesn't appear evil like the first but he is struggling to recreate a world decimated by the first experiment. The whole game has you seeking a path to Elysuim, a paradise at the top of the World Tree where this world's god lives. A terrorist group is also trying to get there, and seeks the same answers for why their nation was destroyed and why the people have to suffer. In short, it is a quest to find god and ask why is he a dick. When they get there, they find the scientist and Elysium is a barren wasteland. The leader of the terrorists steals a powerful weapon after learning the truth and threatens to destroy the world. The leader of a religious cult shows up to steal all the power for himself and god (the scientist) dies leaving the world to the people.
Legend of Zelda (Breath of the Wild, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Link to the Past) or Hyrule Warriors - The classic boy finds a magical sword and must slay the great evil quest. I liked Breath of the Wild for its open world exploration and beautiful designs. The team from Xenoblade X actually made the open world design of this Zelda game. It was a bit short but fun and needed a little more to do than find 900 pieces of gold poo (no seriously that is the longest and most disgusting fetch quest). Zelda is a normal princess and doesn't have her goddess powers in this version. Link must travel Hyrule to regain control of 4 Divine Beasts and use their poweer to weaken Ganondorf and rescue the princess (being open-world you can actually skip this step and fight Ganon from the beginning if your brave).
Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess share some mythos as the sages from one game are killed in the second as Ganondorf tries to escape punishment. The world is shrouded by shadows in Twilight Princess and Link can transform into a wolf. I just wish he could the imp off his back. The same wolf can be summoned in BotW if you have the Wolf Link Amiibo toy. Ocarina of Time was the first 3D open world for LoZ on the Nintendo 64 and still had alot of the mythos and monster we expect from the Legend of Zelda series. Alot of the music is still enjoyed by fans. In OoT, you had to collect treasures (twice) to access hidden castle chambers (twice) to defend Hyrule from Ganondorf. In TP, you had to collect Pearls of Light to banish darkness form Hyrule and then collect pieces of a lost crown to get into the castle. Standard Zelda trope, collect and collect and collect; the original fetch quest. Twilight Princess has some great music as well and is orchestrated instead of synthesizers.
Hyrule Warriors is a one v many action game, like other Warriors games (a la Gauntlet). It has many of the characters from across most LoZ games (except BotW it wasn't out at the time). Different warriors come across Hyrule's history to save the world first from a evil sorceress and then Ganondorf / Ganon himself. This game is more action oriented but there are still some quests to collect things, like the Master Sword.
XenoSaga Episode I, II, III (xenosaga I rocks) - A rework of a game by the same creator called Xenogears, in this series you play as a group that comes to gether to find out what happened to a lost star system to fight a growing alien threat. Turns out the whole threat was from using the Zohar, a device found on Earth and used to develop advanced technology, the Earth disappeared and became a myth. Using the Zohar eventually awakened an intellegence called U-Do which has corrupted global networks and driven people insane. In short your team must stop another group using technology from higher plane to restart the universe (how they think it is supposed to be saved).
Final Fantasy (VI, VII, IX, XII and Tactics) - The standard most people expect from games. The graphics keep getting better each generation but the story and writing hasn't been good since the old pixel days. VI, IX and Tactics are probably the best games of the series. It always gets better just as the console dies and before they switch to a new one. Standard trope of assembling a party of heroes to fight great evil and use the powers of fantastic beasts to decimate your enemies. Every series has given you an ability to summon an Esper or Eidolon (depending on game) to use their power to strike down foes. Most are named after promiment figures in mythology; Ramuh, Ifrit, Shiva, Gilgamesh, etc ...
VI and VII are similar in that ancient beings are used to develop new tech and allow an empire to conquer the world. Until some loon created in an experiment overthrows the empire and seeks godhood for themselves (well XII did that too, recurring theme anyone ?). While a lot of people like Sephiroth and his theme "One-winged Angel", the rest of us liked Kefka and his "Dancing Mad" Theme which got a great symphonic remix in the mobile version of the game. There is no scarier clown than Kefka Palazzo even IT could learn a thing or two from him :
- Slays main heroine's Esper father and drains him for magic.
- (Slays main heroine's Human mother; well can't blame Kefka, Emporer Gysthal did this one himself.)
- He brainwashes the main heroine and uses her to burn his own troops and a village
- Uses troops as a chair while they clean sand from his boots
- Poisons a castle including women, children and his own troops held prisoner.
- Wipes out a village to get enemies of Empire.
- Same village, kills to get heroine and Esper back.
- Wipes out a village to collect Espers for draining magic.
- Assassinates the emporer.
- Uses the three goddesses of magic to become a god himself.
- Destroys the world.
- Kills a cult that worships him like a god.
- Destroys the world a second time.
- "Dancing Mad"
- Dies laughing when you defeat him cause you just proved him right.
I liked IX better than most of the polygon Final Fantasy games. It had good music, the art could be better but it was a PS1 game. The characters were fun and more interesting than most other Playstation era games. After IX, I didn't really enjoy any game except I had a decent time playing XII. I don't know why people didn't like XII, it was okay and felt like the sort of game like VI or IX more than the other games did. I do not like the Zodiac Age remix though and being forced into a character class that you can't change. Some Final Fantasy's had classes but you could change them during play. The Zodiac Age took that away, ugh.
Tactics was awesome and had a mixed up plot involving two warring kingdoms and the church. An ancient prophet of the church wanted to resurrect a demon but was defeated. Now the church has hidden the truth, brands anyone who finds out a heretic and the demons now run the church searching for the next host of the demon the prophet carried. It was a fun game with decent music and graphics. It was remade for the PSP but I haven't played that version. Random cameo by Cloud from Final Fantasy VII as a playable character.
Disgaea (1 / 5) - Best describe as a game that "forgot how to do math". It is a tactical game in which you select a team of demons to fight for control of the Netherworld. It is ridiculously silly and a parody of what is depicted as evil in other games. The Prinny is a hilarious parody of a sidekick, as a human soul toiling to earn the right to reincarnation. The Prinny Commentary from the DS version is funny and a shame it wasn't included in other remakes of Disgaea One. Otherwise I liked playing Disgaea 5 Complete, it has all the characters from the previous games and a ridiculous storyline. The series has no concept of math and in Disgaea 5 you can increase the stats of your character to 99,999,999 (their level to 9,999) and deal damage in the millions or even billions. The theme for the secret boss Ba'al ("Great Wild" or "Great Wilder") is one of the best music from video games. The version from Disgaea 5 or La Pucelle Tactics is the most complete version of the theme. The original PS2 version of Disgaea 1 had the "Invasion Within" song from Tsunami Bomb instead of "Great Wild" but after that game the band kind of faded away and the game developer never tried getting the rights to the song again.
Fire Emblem (Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, Awakening) or Fire Emblem Warriors - I liked the Wii and Gamecube games best but the 3DS game Awakening is pretty good. It is a popular strategy game in Japan but only has a little popularity here. The Warriors variant is a one v many action game like other Warriors game (you know like Gauntlet). The Radiance games had a good stroy line and I liked the characters better than Awakening, my favorite was cat-girl Lethe (who died in combat dang it and now I can't get her back; the old versions did that, no respawning). Awakening is the first version that used Casual Mode and allowed for respawning dead characters between combat. Fire Emblem overall likes to focus on story and characters, the strategy is a basic Roshambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors) between characters with Swords, Spears and Axes. You just have to keep them in their correct place against the correct enemy. The triangle gets a little wierd with archery, magic and flying units in the mix.
I may have to play the Switch version 'Three Houses', the DLC has a fourth house; the Grey Wolves.
the . Hack// Series - A multimedia campaign of games, books, shows and films. The heroes are trapped in a PC game called the World and cannot log out. An AI like a little girl is the artificial daughter of the games creator and the woman he loved who died from illness. The game corporation doesn't want anyone to find out the game is putting people into comas as programs are killing players and trying to capture the AI for themselves. Events in the games affect the real world as systems are interconnected. Whole regions of cities are evacuated as buildings, and networks, become unsafe.
It is a normal RPG series set in a fantasy-like world but you interact with the other players and their real life counterparts as if you were playing an MMORPG. The series has a sequel called .Hack//G.U. which pretty much has the same plot but is more action-oriented than RPG-like and has programs altered by the original characters as 'the World' becomes more corrupted.
Phantasy Star Online (I & II or Universe) - Overall a decent Sci-fi or Sci-Fantasy game where you are trying to colonize a planet for rehabitation after an environmental disaster on your own world. Ep. I, has you investigate the disappearance of Red Ring Rico, only to discover that your new world is secretly a tomb of an ancient psychic evil that has corrupted her into a fantastic horror. In Ep. 2, you investigate the computer of a research lab that has gone rouge and turned into another horror. (I haven't finished this one, I think it is the last boss.) For Universe, you play the role of a cadet of an interplanetary army/police force that is defending star systems from a interplanetary threat of alien plants that create monsters.
The Playstation Universe version has you play a specific character but has a mode for custom characters. The Gamecube version uses custom characters only. Universe has a beast-man race but they don't existin other versions; other games have humans, cyborgs and newman (ie space elves). The new PSO2 for PC and Switch has deuman (demon? maybe). Don't know it is only in Japan but maybe we US Switch players might get it, it is coming to PC and XBOX.
Dragon Quest (IX, XI) - I honestly have yet to finish a Dragon Quest game. I own III, IX and XI but never completed one yet. With III, I got bored and lost. In IX, I ran into a wall with a boss that is much more powerful than the team can be at the time. For XI S on the Switch I am at least in the second act and making good progress. It is not boring me but hard to play for long time without getting tired of it. Dragon Quest is a great game with art style form the same guy that does Dragon Ball Z. XI's music is good and I like the characters and story. It has great graphics on the Switch with an option for 8-bit mode like the original NES versions. This series isn't as popular in the US as say Final Fantasy would be but the later games have gotten more notice. It was easy to get a copy of IX (DS), X (online only WiiU / 3DS) or XI (PS4 / Switch). I also like playing Dragon Quest Builders (I have the sequel, #2) which is like Minecraft but better story characters music and the stuff looks like it was really built and not so blocky / pixeled.
Octopath Traveler - An excellent Switch game if you can get hold of a copy. A classic 2D JRPG with good graphics and music. Eight characters embark on a path to fight evil and get revenege for family or lost loves. Some just want to help others and be the best they can be. At times their paths cross and you can get them to aid in the quests of the others. A secret ninth path exists that have you fight all eight bosses again and two additional ones. Best theme music ("Daughter of a Dark God") in final boss fight of any game. Second only to "Dancing Mad" from Final Fantasy Six. My favorite character was Ha'anit, the Hunter; second was Primrose, the Dancer. Best way to win any battle is Wargod Ha'anit, set Ha'anit to the Warmaster for her second job. Blow everyone away with Winnehild's Battle Cry.
Bravely Default / Bravely Second - A switch departure from Final Fantasy. These games use a mechanic where you 'Default' (defend really) or 'Brave' your action. By defending you store points that can be used when brave to pump up the power of your characters. The fun and strategy you can have mixing up the powers and abilities with this mechanic. There is a class system that you can use to customize powers and abilities for your character (use Dark Knight to sacrifice HP in attacks and then use Monk's Phoenix Dive to deal damage based on HP lost, ooo sweet!). Music is good and the Espers are made from old tech of the destroyed world. Like the wind esper is a aeroplane that looks like a raven. (Only the Ice Esper and Susano'o are normal people.)
The series has you find four crystals (like eight separate times, there is a reason for that) to stop an evil from imbalancing the world. Only doing so breaks the world and you have to fight the evil anyway. The second game investigates what happened in the first and has you fight another evil that game in through the whole made by the first. It gets a little confusing wiht the alternate worlds and everything but then time travel is thrown in to boot.
Golden Sun (I, II & Dark Dawn) - A cool game that reminds me of Secret of Mana due to similar artwork and the fact that the first cave is like a pixel by pixel copy of the Gaia's Navel from Secret of Mana. You are a set of heroes that link with spirits of differing elements to control the power of Alchemy. You have to light lighthouses to release energy and save the world. The first game has only one lighthouse you reach the others in the sequel which you play from the viewpoint of the 'bad guys'. The third game on the DS is the children of the main characters from the first two games. Overall you have to use Alchemy to fight the darkness of the void that is destroying the world as it falls into entropy. (damn why so many RPG's are so damn depressing :( )
Shin Megami Tensei (Persona 3, Persona 4, Devil Survivor) - An RPG where you can summon and merge demons. The Persona series has an odd mechanic where you shoot yourself in the head to knock out the demon from some sort of alter ego ?. Nuts but whatever, Devil Survivor has you use computer programs in a DS looking device. Most demons are from actual mythology and are used to fight other demons. Relatively good music and graphics. Like Dragon Quest I haven't really ever beaten one of these games. Both are limited, the Persona games take place over a year and the DS game over a week. You have one year/week to build relationships and fight the dungeons. I get bored with these kind of games and they function like dating sims to 'get to know' characters to increase powers and the types of demons you can summon.
Tales of ... Series (Symphonia, Symphonia II, Abyss) - I haven't played other Tales games than what is listed here. I like Symphonia best but Abyss is fun too (with a slightly deeper story). The second Symphonia game plays more like an action, monster-collecting game; like Pokemon or SMT:Persona (you can merge monsters). The Tales series has long been a quest to reach the world tree and stop evil from controlling the world. In Symphonia you find out the church and the angels are trying to destroy the world for their own ends. And Abyss, I am still playing, but a kingdom has learned to use the powers of the world tree to distabilize the world and take control. I got kinda lost between the first and second acts so I am not completely sure who is fighting whom in the game.