My Top 10 RPGs of Yesteryear

The role-playing games that I remember best, that will always have a place in my heart...

Final Fantasy Tactics

Still my favorite game of all time and yes, I do consider it separate from the main Final Fantasy franchise. That's because it's entirely different; it's a strategy/RPG and it plays nothing like any other entry. This is the game that got me through some tough times, the game that actually had me playing for 8, 9, 10 hours at a time, the game that made me want to master absolutely every facet of the production.

I'm happy to say I did, by the way.

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Final Fantasy Series

No way I can pick one. Impossible. The greatest role-playing franchise of all time, bar none, and it has given me more hours of entertainment (by many times over) than any other RPG series. I still say Final Fantasy VII is the best RPG ever and FFIV, FFVI, FFVIII, FFIX, FFX, and FFXII all rank high on my list. Singling out one seems blasphemous, so I just refuse to do it.


Star Ocean: The 2nd Story

A game I wasn't convinced I'd like and it eventually became one of my most beloved. It had an incredible quasi-turn-based/real-time battle system that just blew me away. Plus, the world was so huge (especially in those days), and the concept of speaking to characters at just the right time to bolster their relationships, recruiting some characters means passing on others; it was all light years ahead of its time. Yes, I did take down the Cave of Trials.


Suikoden

I almost wanted to cheat (like I did with FF) and just put the entire franchise in this one slot. But if I'm forced to pick, I'll take the original, even though follow-up efforts were indeed much deeper and more fully realized. I just think the first title had the most emotional story, and it got me hooked on getting all 108 Stars of Destiny! It wasn't long enough but I loved absolutely every second of it. Still play it today.

 


Heroes of Might and Magic 3

It's better classified as a strategy game, I suppose, but I maintain that Heroes was always a blend of role-playing and strategy. I played this game to death, and it was one of the first games I really enjoyed playing with others. I think it just really appealed to my meticulous nature, and I really adored experimenting with all the towns. Rampart FTW!


Shadow Hearts: Covenant

This is one of those games during the PS2 era that just never got enough love. Featuring one of the best combat mechanics ever (Judgment Ring), a great story, memorable characters, and a really engaging environment, Shadow Hearts: Covenant will always be one of my all-time favorites.


Secret of Mana

A true classic. Do I really need to say much? One of the first great RPGs in history, as far as I'm concerned, and one that really does withstand the test of time. Just played it again last year and I was surprised at just how much fun it still is. Definitely timeless.


Alundra

The Zelda of the original PlayStation, this one featured some of the toughest and most elaborate puzzles ever conceived. That is not an exaggeration; those who have played this will understand. The adventure elements worked in beautifully and the story was damn good, too. I just loved playing this one...taxed the brain, for one, and yeah, I did manage to get all 50 Gilded Falcons! ;)


Parasite Eve

Part real-time, part turn-based, Parasite Eve was a unique production for its time. I didn't think I'd like it at first, but it really gripped me right from the outset. Just loved the original combat system and the atmosphere was second-to-none. Aya was a great protagonist, too, and I got hooked on getting those 300 pieces of Junk! I built an unstoppable AK-47, thank you very much.


Legend of Legaia

Some might say Legend of Dragoon needs to be in this spot. I might agree (on some days). But Legaia just had that special something; specifically, the awesome combination of turn-based combat and combination moves commonly found in fighting games. I also loved that every character actually sported their equipment!


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Fathoms_4209
A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.