Hey guys Justin here and welcome to Project Nitsuj. As you can read I’m out of character today because I’m on vacation this week, taking some time off from work, relaxing and enjoying the holiday season with my family, and getting all set for the next holiday. But that doesn’t mean I can’t write a review so here’s a quick top 11 list just for you guys. If you don’t know by now I love RPG games whether they’re American or Japanese I love them so that’s why this week I’m naming my personal top 11 RPG games. Why top 11? Because just like someone else I too like to go one step beyond. Now before I begin this list I’m only looking at RPGs that I myself have played and I’m gonna give you one big spoiler right now. Mass Effect is not on the list. It is not RPG game. Yes, it has RPG elements but it is not an RPG game in my eyes. The game is more like an action/adventure game. Sort of like the Legend of Zelda or Metroid. Okay, with that said here are my top 11 RPG games.
#11. Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars
This is a game that came out for the 3DS and Vita back in 2013 and came to the West this past spring. In the game you’re a regular high school boy who lives in a world where demonic monsters are threatening the world. When you arrive at your new school that trains you to fight these monsters you discover that you have a special ability that allows you to traverse the dungeons of the monsters without losing your powers. You go into the dungeons with different girls who you meet at the school, befriend and they all have easy to spot characteristics. We have the next door neighbor girl, the shy girl with big breast, the childhood friend, the tsundere, the childish one, the cool teacher, and of course the popular but nice senpai. You go into a dungeon with one of them at a time along with your star children which are created by having spiritual/mental sex with the girls. This part of the game is probably the funniest part of the game but it’s also the part I do like the most. The star children are cute I like how they call you daddy and the other girls mommy. They also have a lot of various classes and team skills that help you out in the dungeons so it’s always cool to mix and match them plus the banter they have amongst themselves in the dungeons is cute and really does sound like something a kid would say. You can even name them. Other than this feature the game is pretty basic but at the same time fun to play. The story is basic and not really all that engaging and can be a bit repetitive at times, the main villain will be easy to spot, and there are a few cliché moments you see in RPGs. I know it sounds like I’m bashing this game but in truth despite the basic story, repetitive gameplay, and cliché moments I really did enjoy playing it. The animation is good, I did like the characters with Torri being my favorite, and as I said before the star children are cute and just a joy to see. The game also does a good job at being friendly and forgiving to gamers. The first dungeons are a walk in the park but after the third dungeon it starts to get hard and challenging and in the events with the heroines if you make the wrong choice you can easily fix the situation without worrying about any effects in your relationship with them. I know this game received a lot of mix review but I enjoyed it and thought it was fun to play. If you’re new to RPGs and looking for a game that’s not too hard to understand but will keep your attention I say play this game. It’s fun, has the right amount of challenge, funny concept, and welcoming for RPG newcomers.
#10. South Park: Stick of Truth
South Park is one of my favorite shows to watch. The characters, stories, writing, jokes, and the show’s excellent execution at poking fun at just about anything in the world is just great. However, video game wise the show suffers. The two games that I remember playing was that lame first-person shooter for the N64 where I had no idea what I was doing and stopped playing. The other was the show’s attempt at cashing in on the Mario Kart craze where they made their own racing game and once again it was poorly done and I didn’t like it. Stick of Truth on the other hand is where the show finally shined in the video game industry. At first I was skeptical about the game but after reading interviews, seeing footage, and actually playing the game for the first hour I fell in love with it. It was so much fun that I literally couldn’t stop playing. The story is funny and imaginative, the side quest were fun, and it was so much fun walking around the town of South Park seeing almost every character the show had to offer. I actually found myself doing side quest and just walking around town more than I did progressing the story. My favorite side quest was fighting Al Gore. He’s just a sad and silly guy just wanting attention and to finally get a chance to fight him is so satisfying especially when you fight him in his Man-Bear Pig outfit. I also enjoyed the 8-bit layout of Canada, I wish we could of done more up there. The game really does make you feel like a new character in the South Park universe, hell you feel as if you’re watching an entire season of South Park with you as the main character. The three downsides I have with this game are one, the game is short compared to a lot of other RPGs I’ve played (I only get to spend 3 days in South Park. Why not a week? I’m pretty sure I could of burn down half the country in that time), two, I wished the game would have made the party bigger instead of just giving us one party member at a time, I feel that we missed out a lot on funny dialog going on between the characters and three, your choices really don’t effect the story. I wish the choices we made had a much larger impact on the story. But despite these three problems the game is still a lot of fun and if you haven’t play it yet I recommend buying it. It’s fun for both fans of South Park and fans of RPGs.
#9. The Super Mario RPG games (except for Super Paper Mario and Paper Mario DS)
Mario has had a lot of spin-off games such as Mario Party, Mario Paint, Mario Typing, and Mario Kart the list goes on. But the one that I feel really showed everyone that Mario was Mr. Nintendo was the RPG games and when I say RPG games I’m talking about the Super Nintendo game and the first two Paper Mario games. Let’s talk about Super Mario RPG for the Super Nintendo first. This was a game I missed out on because at the time I didn’t own a SNES but thanks to the convenience of the Wii Shop I bought the game, played it, and really liked it. The story was good expanding on Mario’s world a little, the combat easy to use, and it provided us with a good spin on the Mario series, it actually sent the series into somewhat of a dark setting. Probably the biggest achievement of this game was introducing Geno, hands down the best character in the game. Why hasn’t this character made a comeback yet, he’s great, he deserves his own spin-off game. Let’s talk about the Paper Mario games. Now with these games I’m only gonna focus on the first game and Thousand Year Door. The reason why I’m not counting Super Paper Mario is because it’s not an RPG it’s a side-scrolling action/adventure game that puts a unique spin on the 2-D to 3-D aspect of video game and the reason why the 3DS game isn’t being counted is because I don’t have a 3DS so I’ve never played the game and since I’ve never played it I can’t really give my thoughts on it. I’ve heard it’s a good game by friends and I’m sure it is but still I gotta play it myself. Anyway Paper Mario. The first game was a unique spin on the Mario series with all the characters having paper forms which I liked, the side characters that they introduced were all good and I liked that the game had characters who were all enemies from previous Mario games be allies in the Paper Mario universe it actually shows us that not all the koopas, gombas, boos, and lakitus are all bad people. The first Paper Mario game was good but it was the Thousand Year Door where the series really took off. The animation was better, the story was a lot bigger and better paced than the previous game, the allies are a lot stronger and have more character than the last game, and it’s just nice to finally get out of the Mushroom Kingdom and go someplace else. I also like the crowd and stage in the Thousand Year Door that actually made me feel really good about myself. It’s really hard to say which game is my favorite of the three but if I really had to choose I would have to say Thousand Year Door is my favorite it takes full advantage of the RPG story, great characters and villains, and it expanded on the Mario world. Here’s hoping to see more Mario RPG games in the near future.
#8. Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow
It’s only natural that I put the Pokémon games on this list. When Pokémon came to U.S it was a big deal it was everywhere, everybody I knew (including myself) got swept into the Pokémon craze. We talked about it at lunch, traded with each other, played the card game, watched the show, held tournaments and everything. It was like going shopping on Black Friday. There are a lot of Pokémon out there so naturally they would have multiple games but for me nothing beats the original 3 games featuring the first 151 Pokémon. I started off with Pokémon Blue getting it for my birthday and then after telling (convincing) my parents that Red was a different game I was able to get Red about a month or so after my birthday and continued my conquest to capture all 150 Pokémon (around this time I didn’t know about Mew). The Pokémon games made every boy’s dream come true. Becoming a Pokémon trainer, getting our own Pokémon, and traveling the world unsupervised capturing other Pokémon and going on an adventure. It gave us a challenge and turned us into completionist. Now out of all the Pokémon games my favorite was always Yellow because the game actually made you feel like Ash only better. You got your own Pikachu that would follow you around everywhere, the game was in color which was a first for the series, and it’s the only game where you can get a Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle without having the need to trade with anyone. In the end the Pokémon games are great RPG games that are still going strong to this day challenging a whole new generation of gamers and turning them into completionist.
#7. Child of Light
Coming out earlier this year for the PS3 and PS4, Child of Light returns Square Enix to its roots reminding them and us just how good old school RPGs can be. The game is like one big fairytale book come to life and makes you feel like a kid again. The hero of this game is a little girl who through the course of the game matures from a frighten child to a mature adult ready to save the world. While the game is short (I think you can beat it in like 10 hours) and the use of Shakespearean sonnets in their talking can be a little forced at times, what really pulls you into the game are the various characters, the story, the turn base combat that requires you to think ahead of your opponents, and the story book animation. I mean it, the animation for this game is just beautiful, hand-drawn and painted feeling natural and real to the eye. There were times where I would honesty stop progressing in the game and just flew around the world seeing the various sceneries and just admiring them. Child of Light may be the youngest RPG game on the list but it’s a game that’s got heart and reminds us that maybe returning to old school RPGs might not be such a bad thing and that we can still learn from them.
#6. Valkyria Chronicles
Now if you’ve read my reviews of Valkyria Chronicles the animation and my side blogs about the games you would know that I love this series quite a bit so I’ll try to keep this one short. Valkyria Chronicles has one of the best RPG stories I’ve ever seen along with one of the best combat systems as well. The characters for the most part are well written and the stories touching, deep, meaningful, and even manage to bring you to tears at a few scenes. The games do a good job at tackling the hardships of war, prejudice, hope, and justice. With its excellent cel-shading animation combine with the attributes I’ve listed in my other reviews Valkyria Chronicles remains to be one of the best PS3 games and one of my all-time favorite RPGs of all time. I can’t stretch this enough folks, if you own a PS3 or PSP find VC1 or VC2 and play it you will love it.
#5. Chrono Trigger
Hands down one of the greatest RPGs of all time and one of the big game changers to RPGs. Chrono Trigger came out at a time when RPGs were young and not really focused on all that much. But thanks to this game, there was a huge shift and focus on RPGs and everybody wanted to get in on the action. The story was great, a group of characters from different timelines and eras all coming together to stop an alien from destroying their world in the future. This game also introduced to us the basic formula for RPG characters. We have the strong silent leader, the healer who has crush on the leader, the smart one, the muscle, the wise one who serves as a mentor and adult-figure to the other characters, the strange one, and most importantly the rogue. This was also the first game I saw at the time use moving animated cutscenes which was cool and well-animated. The character designs of the great Akari Toriyama was a great addition to the game and helped spark my interest in anime. The battling system was simple and basic so you really won’t feel out of place or confused when using it and as the game goes on you’ll quickly figure out how to beat just about all common enemies in 4 turns or less. When I originally started this list I was going to put Chrono Cross on here as well but after thinking about it I decided not to because I really didn’t like it all that much. The story was a bit confusing, the characters weren’t really all that interesting which is shocking considering how many there were in the game but that’s probably why the characters weren’t interesting. It’s as if the creators realized that they couldn’t make up interesting characters to hold the game up so instead they decided to add in a large number of one-shot characters and hope that the player would find at least one or two characters that we would like. Which isn’t a bad idea because it has worked in other games like Valkyria Chronicles but the reason it doesn’t work here is because they never really explore these characters. The animation was standard PS1 animation I daresay the animation was downgraded for this game and I didn’t like the combat system. Oh I learned how to use it but even then the combat system is still bad. The only thing I can say I really liked about the game was the soundtrack, the soundtrack is great in this game. So while I wasn’t a big fan of Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger was a huge hit for me that not only sparked my interest in anime but was also the spark that would help me develop a love for RPG games.
Here’s another great RPG game to come out on the PS1. It was tough deciding between this game and Chrono but I choose to put Grandia higher because in the end I had more fun playing this game. Coming out near the end of the PS1 era a lot of people (including myself) missed out on this game but thanks to the Playstation store I was able to play it and I really enjoyed it. The story is about a kid named Justin (great name) who wants to be an adventurer like his dad. After traveling to some ruins and unlocking a hologram message from his dad’s treasure, Justin leaves his town with his best friend Sue and another adventurer named Feena and set out east to reach the “End of the World” a large stone wall that leads to a new continent in the world all for the sake of uncovering what secret powers Justin’s treasure piece has. Along their adventure they discover new friends and a hidden secret their kingdom is hiding from them. The story is just grand and epic. It takes you on a journey around the world showing you everything, discovering new places and people, and different challenges for you to face. The real driving force of this game comes down to two things. One is Justin, he’s a great character and no I’m not just saying that because we both share the same name. He’s a realistic character, he has dreams and the soul of a true adventurer wanting to get out and discover the world not because he wants to follow in the footsteps of father (though that does play a factor) but because he wants to live out his dream of seeing the world and taking in everything it has to offer. He’s confident, optimistic, and never gives up on his dreams, himself, or his friends. He lives life the way he believes it should be lived and follows through with it. The second driving force of this game is the animation and soundtrack. The animation looks amazing for this game, I really can’t believe this game came out on the PS1 it’s really that good animation wise. Even the animated cutscenes look great like an actual anime was being played right in front of us. The soundtrack was epic especially the main theme of the game, it gets you pumped up and excited like nothing else (main theme here: //youtu.be/LGiNEaNxOxo). Another honorable mention driving force of this game was the combat system which in my opinion is probably the second best combat system I’ve ever played in an RPG game. The system combines turn-based combat with real time combat. The monsters on the field will wander around aimlessly until you give one of the characters a command to attack and depending on what command you give them the character will either get in close to attack the target or unleash a magic spell from a safe distance. You can even move your characters and keep them away from enemies when they get close to you to keep that character safe and come up with an effective strategy to defeat the enemy and for each attack you use your skill points with that attack will go up unlocking new attacks for you to use. Grandia was a grand and epic game which captured the heart, soul, and passion of an RPG game. If you haven’t played it yet and own a PS3 give this game a play, you won’t be disappointed.
#3. The Tales Series
The Tales games are games that I’ve known about for a long time but really didn’t get into until my senior year of college. Now I’m a huge fan of the Tales Series, the games so far that I’ve played have been Tales of Grace, both of the Symphonia games, both of the Xillia games, and I’m currently playing Heart for the Vita. Now while I’ve heard these aren’t the best games in the series I did enjoy playing these games a lot really liking the stories, the various characters, the animation, the real-time combat with various attacks and specials, the different locations we got to see with some being very cool and creative, and lastly the humor in each game. These games have my favorite style of combat real-time and it’s done excellently in all of the games I’ve played so far from the series, I honestly have no complains with this combat system. While the FF games kept going down quality, game, and character wise the Tales games either maintained the standards of all their aspects or they got better the games kept processing. While the games haven’t been revolutionary like Chrono or FF the games are fun to play and welcome both newcomers and veterans to RPG games. What else can I say, the Tales Series is awesome and I look forward to playing future installments.
- Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
By God do I love Ni No Kuni. Created through the combined teamwork of Level-5 and the famous Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni will go down in history as being one of the all-time greatest RPGs ever made. It almost feels like a beating dead horse. What can I say about this game that no else hasn’t said about it? For me Ni No Kuni was the best game to come out in 2013 both for the PS3 and the entire video game industry. Yeah I know everyone loved The Last of Us and don’t get me wrong The Last of Us is an amazing game worthy of all the praise and awards that it’s received but Ni No Kuni was a game that revived a struggling genre. This game came out around the time when RPGs were going downhill, we got some good games but none of them really made us say wow or this is amazing. Ni No Kuni did that, it reminded everyone including me why we love RPG games so much and what they’re about. The game is like a walk down nostalgia making you feel like a kid again bringing you back to the golden age of RPGs. The game is just so beautiful to look at and done in that wonderful Studio Ghibli animation that we all know and love. The main character isn’t some strong chosen one destined to vanquish evil he’s just a kid who’s respectful, kind, well-mannered, and just wants to do good things. While the game may not be all that challenging you won’t mind it on account of there’s so much to do and explore. The game puts no restrictions on where you can travel, you’re free to travel to every corner of the world and explore to your heart’s content all the while undertaking various request from residents of the world, battling against monsters, and or course collecting monsters giving you Pokémon fans out there a warm welcome. Combat wise the game is similar to the Tales Series, done in real time where you control your monsters and can switch out between monsters whenever one gets tired from battling. This game single-handedly restored my faith in RPGs reminding me that they can still be great and fun to play. I’m so glad I bought this game and still have it.
And my number one favorite RPG game is. . .
Ha, gotcha! I’m not going to reveal my favorite RPG game yet on account of I have big plans for it in the month of December. I’m afraid you guys will have to wait until next week to see my favorite RPG game but rest assured it is a game you’re all going to love and won’t be disappointed in it. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj where I’ll be back in character and reveal my favorite RPG game of all time. Happy holidays.
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