An Ode to my Favorite RPG’s

I’m very picky when it comes to role-playing games. There are very few that really catch my eye and spark my interest. I’m not quite sure what it is about most RPG’s that turns me off, but I know that I don’t typically care for the genre in general. Anything that is too heavy on the RPG elements is unappealing to me, so is pretty much any Japanese RPG. There are a handful that I have played and enjoyed though, prompting me to create this list in their honor.

These seven RPG’s stand out as some of the best games in their genre, to me. When the “what’s your favorite RPG?” debates take place I always bring up the following games due to their ability to entertain me and hold a place in my mind as quality games. To kick of this list, which is in no particular order, I am choosing one of my all time favorite video games…

Dark Cloud:

DarkCloud

Dark Cloud is an action RPG that was released exclusively on the PlayStation 2 back in 2001. It’s set in a fantasy world in which the player assumes control of a young boy who is trying to restore the world and stop and evil genie. The coolest part of this game was collecting Atla, orbs which reside in dungeons which contain parts of the areas around the game, and rebuilding the villages. You could technically place this stuff anywhere around the town if you wanted, but each villager needed to be placed in a certain area or next to a specific landmark for the area to be completed, which created a very neat in-game dynamic. It was a really cool concept as far as story and game mechanics went. Gameplay-wise it was a dungeon-crawler/hack-and-slash, the main character uses swords but as you progress through the game side characters with other types of weapons are picked up and may be controlled in the dungeons. One of the more memorable features was having to watch the ‘health’ of your weapons, the more they were used the more worn they would get, if they broke then they were gone forever. If you had a high damage sword with lots of upgrades and it breaks, you were basically out of luck. No joke.

Fable 2:

Fable2

While I also enjoyed Fable 3 more than most people did, I think Fable 2 was the better game of the three main games in the Fable series. Fable 2 was a sequel to Fable and was released in 2008 as an Xbox 360 exclusive. One of my favorite things about this game was the ability to be good or evil, morally. It was one of the first games I had ever played where I could make choices like that and they actually impacted the game for better or worse. I found the storyline to be particularly enticing, as well. I really loved the introduction in which you play as the main character, but when they were a child. Living in poverty with you sister you have to collect enough coins to buy a “magical box” from a man selling trinkets on the street. After acquiring the box and wishing that they could live in a castle, they are awakened in the night and escorted to Castle Fairfax. After some intense stuff, the game begins with the main character as an adult. The gameplay was also another key point to this game, the mixture of gun and sword play was brilliant and with a little magic here and there, the game was downright entertaining.

Mass Effect Series:

ME3-1

I hope this choice didn’t surprise any of you at this point. The first Mass Effect game was released back in 2007 (on my birthday, oddly enough) as an Xbox 360 exclusive. It has since become available on the PC and the PlayStation 3. Each game is the epitome of action RPG and from the first game to the third and final game the series grew and evolved, becoming more perfected with each release. Following  Commander Shepard on his or her journey to stop the Reapers, players meet and interact with a plethora of unique and interesting characters, form relationships and bonds, make game altering choices, and kick a whole lot of Reaper ass along the way. One of the main things about the Mass Effect series that makes it so great is that you make the game uniquely yours. You and another person can play the same game at the same time and still be taken in very different directions. There are tons of options and choices to make, each affecting the game series as a whole and individualizing each player’s experience. The gameplay is also very enjoyable, the introduction of biotic and tech powers that are unique to the series make the gameplay more than just a point and shoot experience. Everything about these games make them great, it’s pretty simple.

Pokemon Red/Blue:

PokemonRB

Pokemon Red and Blue were the first installments in the Pokemon video game series, released in North America in 1998 for the Gameboy. I purchased a Gameboy for these games alone and don’t recall ever playing much else on the handheld system. The Pokemon games feature a classic RPG system that is, for the most part, still a part of the series today. You take on the role of a new Pokemon trainer as he starts his journey to be the very best, like no one ever was. His ultimate goal is to catch all the Pokemon (this was back in the days when there were only 151 to catch) and make his way to the top by beating every Pokemon trainer. You must train your Pokemon and establish an efficient team, which makes the game a little tricky. As you know, each Pokemon type has a strength and a weakness so you have to keep a good team with you to be an effective trainer. The Pokemon series kicked off with two of the best video games out there, and to me these are the only two video games that matter in the Pokemon video game series.

Final Fantasy VII:

FF7-1

Ah the memories. Final Fantasy VII is the only game in the Final Fantasy Series that I like and is also the only JRPG that I enjoy. It was originally released back in 1997 as a PlayStation exclusive. It was also released later on the PC as well and is available as a “PS Classic” title on the PlayStation 3. Final Fantasy VII features classic turn based gameplay and vast exploration. Taking up four discs on the original PlayStation version, it was pretty massive game for it’s time. One of my personal favorite things about this game is the characters and setting. It was one of the first games I ever played in which I really cared about the characters and their stories, and Sephiroth is still my all time favorite video game enemy. I suppose that is what sets it apart from the other games in the series for me, since I honestly don’t care much for turn based combat on average. A lot of what I love about this game is nostalgia, as well. We all have those games that we grew up playing that hold a special place in our hearts, Final Fantasy VII is one of those games.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning:

KoAReckoning

Despite all the issues surrounding this game, I enjoyed it. Kingdoms of Amalur (KoA) was released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in 2012 and falls into the action RPG and hack-and-slash genres. Allowing you to create your own character and carve your own path, KoA had a great base and featured many entertaining elements. The gameplay was very cool, you could choose the type of weapons and armor you use and wear, respectively, as well as use magical powers in combat. The more interesting part was the upgrade system, as it was rather in-depth. First of all you can choose your fate which offers up extra powers and abilities. Ability/weapon upgrading allows you to have a more personal control over your play style, for instance you can spec combat prowess and magical skill to become a battlemage or focus on stealth to be a rogue. The three main paths (combat, stealth, and magic) can be mixed together or focused on alone, and combination has special perks and upgrades of their own. It’s a really fun game that features enjoyable gameplay and memorable characters, the storyline is also really cool and can last for quite sometime if sidequests are included.

The Elder Scrolls Series:

TES

Like with the Mass Effect series, it’s difficult to choose just one game in The Elder Scrolls series as my favorite. Albeit the only two I have played are Oblivion and Skyrim, but regardless it’s hard to choose. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was the first game that I played in the series, releasing in 2006 on the Xbox 360 and PC then later on the PlayStation 3. Something about it drew me in and I ended spending massive amounts of time playing it resulting in my very first “100% achievement score” on the Xbox 360. The combat as well as the setting and storyline are probably the key factors of it’s appeal to me. Skyrim was released later on in 2011 on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Skyrim is another great installment in The Elder Scrolls series for similar reasons, including setting, storyline, and combat. Plus, how can you not like a game in which you fight and kill dragons? As far as Bethesda RPG’s go, I’m all about The Elder Scrolls and not some much into the Fallout series. The detail put into making such expansive world and unique races and characters gives these games an edge and earns them a place on list of best RPG’s.

~~~~~

Well those are my favorite RPG’s, and the only RPG’s I truly enjoy. What are some of yours? I’m sure that some of you are really into RPG’s since it’s a popular genre, so which do you consider to be your favorites?

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15 thoughts on “An Ode to my Favorite RPG’s”

  1. I posted a nice comment, but my puter conked out on me. Aaargh. I have to do this again… so lame.
    Anyway, I will play Datk Cloud. Your description of the game seems to be similar to my all time fav… Persona 3 FES, a turn -based game that I first found boring, then turned into my most loved game , ever. ( It’s also 2007’s Game of the Year ) I shed buckets of tears when I finshed the game.

    1. Aw, darn computer. They are supposed to be our faithful servants!

      You really should play Dark Cloud if you get the chance. It’s one of my all time favorite games. The second one is good too, but not as memorable as the first. I’ve never really tried a Persona game but I always hear good things about them. I may just give it one a shot some day 😀

      1. Oh, please do ! ! I’m just warning you, the graphics looks like a Japanese anime, and you need to take down notes, ha ha ha ( and maybe a calculator, he he, yep, it’s that kind of game ) . Check ot out on YouTube… the music is fantastic, too. I have a cd of that . let me know if you’re already playing it and I’ll give you some hints… just hints mind you( just a few things that you shouldn’t take for granted or ignore, because there’s no way you can defeat the main boss. )

  2. Mass Effect is high up on my list for favorite RPG along with Dragon Age: Origins. I’m still playing through Kingdoms of Amalur, so I can’t decide if I would consider it a favorite. I do like the ability to explore the world at my leisure and the combat system, but the story so far is average at best. It’s really hard to get into too many of the characters you meet.

    1. KoA is a different kind of game, I think. For people like us who are into the Bioware franchises it’s difficult to get used to something like that, you know? I had a little difficulty at first, it was a little overwhelming (especially since I don’t play many open world RPG’s) but I ended up really enjoying it!

  3. I also enjoyed all three Fables games and Fable 2 was also my favorite of the three. I just wish that they would finally port the game to PC! I have the other two on Steam, but I had to buy Fable 2 for 360 and borrow my little brother’s console to play it.

    I obviously love Mass Effect, as well. Definitely my favorite game series, regardless of genre.

    Pokemon Red and Blue were awesome, but my favorite was Pokemon Yellow. I still play that
    one with an emulated Game Boy.

    I also love The Elder Scrolls games. I’ve also only played Oblivion and Skyrim, but I’ll be playing through the first three soon! I’m excited, especially for Morrowind.

    The ones that I would add to my list would be: Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic I and II, and Fallout 3.

    If you want to go really old school, my first and favorite RPG to play as a kid was on SNES: Super Mario RPG. I loved that game!

    1. I have actually never played Fable myself, just 2 and 3, but I love both of those. I need to get around to playing the first one. Pokemon Yellow was a great game, I had that one as well. It was pretty on par with Red/Blue. I plan on getting that new Elder Scrolls anthology set when it comes out which will allow me to play the other ES games too 😀

      I have been trying for awhile but can’t seem to get into DA: Origins. I recently bought DA2 though, in hopes that it inspires me to push through the first one at some point. The third game looks pretty cool, from what they have shown. I’ve heard tales of Super Mario RPG but never played it. Maybe one day haha.

      1. You should definitely check the first Fable out someday when you get a chance. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fun start to the series.

        Elder Scrolls Anthology looks awesome. I’d probably be interested if I didn’t have them all, already.

        While I love both Dragon Age games, I’m one of the rare few who actually slightly prefers Dragon Age 2 to Dragon Age Origins. Something that might help make it more fun for you would be a lower difficulty setting. I usually play games on normal, but it was driving me crazy how hard it was. I kept dying and the autosave isn’t great on that one. After I changed the setting to easy, I had a much better experience.

  4. If you’re looking for something to play sometime you should really check out Morrowind. It’s just different enough from Oblivion and Skyrim to be unique but not so different that you will feel like it’s taking a huge step backwards from everything offered in the later games

    1. I actually have yet to play too much KOTOR. I got it on a steam sale awhile back and have yet to play more than an hour or two of it. I really should get back to that!

  5. I love that you included Dark Cloud, such a great game, but one that never really gets any of the spotlight. Another game like this was called Azure Dreams, it was an origional Playstation game, basically you have to climb all the way to the top of a mystical tower in search of your father. As you progress through the game you evolve the town around the tower and grow your relationship with the various townsfolk. The whole goal of the game is to climb your way higher and higher in the tower, getting various equipment upgrades and finding monster eggs, wich hatch and fight for you pokemon style. Of course, like so many people though, FF7 is my all time favorite rpg.

    1. It is indeed disappointing that Dark Cloud is still widely unknown. It was so great! I’ve never heard of Azure Dreams, but it sounds really cool! Final Fantasy VII was one of the first RPG’s I ever played that grabbed me. It will always hold a place in my heart 😀

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