Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Japanese RPGs
December 7, 2010 | Follow comments
If you know anything about me through my articles, by now, perhaps, you have figured out that I kind of love RPG-related things—especially Japanese ones. Granted, I’ve played many of them, but definitely not all of the good ones out there (ie: I’ve heard good things about Fantasy Star, Star Ocean, and Xenosaga, but I’ve sadly never played them.) If your favorite isn’t on this list, feel free to speak up on the comments, and let me know what you think should have made the list! Here are the standings:
10. Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life for the GameCube
This game, and the series, is very different from most JRPGs in that it doesn’t have a terribly complicated plot-line full of different places you need to travel to in order to accomplish your mission. It’s kind of like The Sims, only in the countryside on a farm. I really liked this game, one, because this version made the main character a female protagonist, and, two, because it was an interesting concept placed on a game, yet still somewhat challenging to keep your farm running throughout the game.
9. Pokemon: Silver Version for the Game Boy Color
One of the longest running JRPG-series, one of these games had to make the list somewhere, otherwise something would definitely be wrong with me as a gamer. Not only was this probably the best combination of Pokemon generations in one game, but it also never got old for me. I can still come back to playing it somewhere down the line and have a good time with it; it’s just timeless fun.
I really loved the colors, worlds, and story behind this game. The characters were well-developed as well, but unfortunately, this was one of those underrated games. Interestingly enough, this game had more of a card-based attack system, although the cards more or less served as giving the player random chances to do normal physical attacks. Other than that, it wasn’t like cards themselves actually had a major role in the game, but it made battling a fun and unique way to fight.
7. Chrono Cross for the Playstation
I’ll admit that I’m still working on this game, but it is very well done, complete with well-developing characters, good plot-twists, and a fun battle-system. One of the main things that I really appreciate about this game is that your actions really can affect some major things in the game despite it being fairly linear with the story-line, as most of these games are. However, depending on the player’s choices, they can end up casting off certain characters permanently from the party as well as changing parts of the story to lead to different endings. Although this has been done in other games as well, the changes were so subtly done that it makes for some interesting gameplay.
Why not the first Kingdom Hearts? For starters, it takes the player through most of the same Disney adventures, and then some, in this game, but only a little bit better story-wise and even battle-wise. It also offers a bit more in the way of the Kingdom Hearts exclusive storyline. As for the game itself, the game-play is fun for Disney-movie nostalgia, and the mixing between these characters, Final Fantasy characters, and some original ones never ceases to keep me enjoyed with the game.
5. Illusion of Gaia for the Super Nintendo
The 16-bit era came out with a variety of pretty good JRPGs, and this was one of them. For the time, the graphics and dungeons were crafted well, and although the main protagonist was the only playable character, the non-playable characters are part of the driving force in the story and dialogue since the protagonist is pretty much a mute. It takes a Zelda-like route with that, but the story is captivating in its own way and is definitely worth a play-through.
Say what you want about this game and its love story, but I ate it up. Although the weapon upgrades are no fun to deal with, the story, of course, is what I’m after with this one. Despite that, there were other interesting plot-twists as well that made it fun to play. Honestly, I love playing most RPGs for the story, but especially ones from this series. This was one of my favorite stories.
3. Tales of Symphonia for the GameCube
Talk about plot-twists, this game had them. It was chock-full of plot with two disks and about eighty hours of game-play. It’s lengthy, but even now, some of these characters remain among my favorite video game characters. Thankfully, for an anime-style RPG, the game itself was highly enjoyable. The artwork from the cut scenes and the in-game graphics were beautiful. It was definitely my favorite game at the time and even has some good re-play value for alternate endings.
2. Super Mario RPG for the Super Nintendo
This was such a strange turn for any Mario game to have taken, but I absolutely loved it. It’s still one of my favorite Mario games, and I wish that Geno and Mallow would have appeared again in later games, but it looks like fans are still waiting to see if that will ever happen. The story took twists that had Bowser and the Princess in your fighting party for the sake of the greater-good. It was interesting to have, especially, Bowser on the teams, but aside from that, I loved the various map layouts throughout the game. For the 16-bit era, the graphics were done phenomenally well.
1. Final Fantasy X for the Playstation 2
Of all the RPGs I’ve ever played, I was completely entranced with the story and graphics of this game. The cut scenes are still beautiful even by today’s standards, and it’s roughly a decade old now. Despite Tidus, the main protagonist, being a bit whiney, the character’s all had unique and well-developed personalities. I can honestly say that when the ending of this game played out, the water works turned on the entire time. I connected with the characters of this game almost better than any other I have played, and perhaps that is why I still feel such a strong connection with this game.