Role playing games are something that I do not play much. But when I do play them they have to grab my attention quickly or and keep it or else I will lose interest like most people would with any game. The following is a “Top Five” of my favorite RPGs that I have played throughout my 30 plus years of game playing.
Dragon Warrior was developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix of Japan for the Famicion system (NES in North America). Released on May 27, 1986, Dragon Warrior had players take control of a hero who has set out to save the Kingdom of Alefgard and rescuing the princess from the evil Dragonlord.
Gameplay was fairly linear and simple as compared to todays RPGs. Battles happened randomly as you were exploring the world and combat was turn based and happened via menu selections.
I played this game when it was first released so I was pretty young. I think what caught my eye was the dragon on the cover. But after I started playing, I thought that random battles were cool. I also liked grinding for more gold so I could afford the most powerful gear I could get my hands on. I did this mainly because I was sick and tired of getting killed by progressively harder versions of Slime.
Developed and published by Blizzard and released on June 29, 2000, Diablo 2 is a hack and slash roleplaying game that follows shortly after the events of the original Diablo. You are charged with following a character, known only as the “Dark Wanderer”, across the game’s world of Sanctuary before he can bring about the resurrection of the Lord of Terror, Diablo, after his defeat in the first game. You start your quest with choosing one of five character classes each having unique abilities and gameplay styles.
What I liked most about this game was the hack and slash gameplay along with how the loot system works. Everything that you find or is dropped in the game is randomly generated as far as its stats and abilities. That means you will be hard pressed to find or ever find the same thing twice. Even if you have never played the Diablo series at all you may have played Borderlands 1 or 2. If you have then you know how the loot system works and pretty much where it came from. Diablo.
Mass Effect series
This one is hard for me to pin on just one game in the series. The main reason for this being that I see the three games as a whole similar to how I see the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My reasoning for this is how the developer, Bioware, incorporated the ability to transfer your game saves from one game to another to make one big cohesive story.
The Mass Effect series consists of three main games, Mass Effect released on November 20, 2007, Mass Effect 2 released January 26, 2010 and Mass Effect 3 released on March 16, 2012. They were all developed by Bioware and was originally under the Microsoft Game Studios banner until the second game when it fell to Electronic Arts.
The story involves you character, referred to as Commander Shephard, and his/her journey across the galaxy to stop the systematic eradication of all life in the galaxy by beings known as Reapers. Along the way you will meet up with and recruit many characters who will join you in your fight. Many of these characters have their own story and subplot to tell and for you to help them through.
What I like most about this series as a whole is the plot and storytelling. As stated before, the ability to import your save data from one game to the next is something that as not been done before and makes for an extremely cohesive story. If, for example, you assisted an NPC character in Mass Effect and helped them accomplish a goal, they will most likely show up in Mass Effect 2 or 3 and either help you out in some way or have something else for you to help them with.
In accordance to this if, say, in Mass Effect you make a decision that results in one of your party getting killed, that character is dead for the rest of the series and the game adjusts the story and dialogue choices accordingly. I had so many separate play throughs of this series, each making different choices along the way, just to see how those choices affected the outcome. I have never played a game quite like that.
Final Fantasy 7
Released in North America on September 7, 1997 and developed by Squaresoft, Final Fantasy 7 was the first game in the Final Fantasy series that I had exposed myself to. You take control of Cloud Strife and his colleagues as they go on a journey to save “The Planet” from dying at the hands of the Shinra Corporation.
Battles were random encounters and the combat was a combination of turn base and real time with the combat being controlled via menus. There were mini games abound throughout the game. There was even one where you had to dress up Cloud as a girl to try to free one of your companions.
What I liked most about this game was the characters. They were cool, fun and had great, distinctive personalities, Vincent Valentine being my favorite. My least favorite being that whiny little beeotch Yuffie. She stole my Materia (magic) and I will hence never forgive her and harbor an extreme hatred of the girl. Also, for the time, the cinematics that forwarded the story, were absolutely stunning and I could not wait to watch the next one.
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Released on November 11, 2011 (11/11/11), Skyrim is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series originally started with Arena in 1994. Developed by Bethesda, Skyrim is an action RPG where your character is unwittingly freed from being executed by the return of dragons to the land of Skyrim. After you are freed from captivity you are free to play or approach the game any way you like and you are free to advance your character in any way you would like. This is also my all time favorite RPG.
This is what makes playing Skyrim a unique experience for everyone who plays and it is this freedom and openness that I enjoyed most about this game. After I was freed from my captors, I wandered around the insanely huge realm of Skyrim for 40 plus hours doing whatever I felt like doing without even touching any quest in the main story. To this day I think I have only put in 220 hours or so and only did three, maybe four main story quests.
You can also put this freedom of choice in your character. Between choosing your race, each with their own innate benefits, to choosing how you go about engaging in combat, if you find that something isn’t working quite the way you want or you are getting killed way to much, change the way you play. If, for example, you are trying your hand at being a mage but are getting bum rushed too much by melee attacking enemies, then switch your play style and work on using two-handed battle axes. The game doesn’t penalize you for switch nor are you stuck with being a mage unless you start over.
Well this is my personal “Top Five” list based on the RPGs that I have played in my life. If you have your own favorites, leave them in the comments so that they can be discussed unless I become vaklempt then you must talk among yourselves and discuss.