In the ever expanding quest for content we’re always shopping around new ideas for posts here on Doomkick,and in that category we have a brand new feature! Top Ten Tuesday is where we run down the top 10 things in a particular category. Today I’m talking my top 10 RPG’s in no particular order.
#1 Super Mario RPG:Legend of the seven stars (SNES)
First released in 1996 at the tail end of the SNES lifecycle Super Mario RPG was the perfect marriage of Final Fantasy and The Mushroom Kingdom. Nintendo made a great play enlisting Square (the King of RPG’s at the time) for their first Mario RPG, and the game has yet to be matched in my opinion of the many Mario RPG’s in the near twenty year history of making them. Everything about this game blew my mind at the time..the graphics are stunning, the combat was fun, the story delved deep into the mythos of the Mushroom Kingdom (and a few areas we had never seen before, or have been seen again), and the characters were amazing. Mallow the “tadpole” (aka Prince of the clouds), Geno the Elf doll/Fallen star were a couple of party members who have basically disappeared (likely due to being owned by Square and not the big N), but it was Bowser who really stood out to me.I’m not 100% sure this is the first time Bowser was playing for the good side, but it is definitely my first recollection of King Koopa doing good things WITH Mario (even if it was self serving in getting his castle back) as a team. The game takes you all over The Mushroom Kingdom, and I always thought it was cool to see the world beyond just the levels we had been playing in the normal SMB games in the years previous. Super Mario RPG was cool enough to make us all put down our Playstations for a while, and was the perfect swan song for the much beloved SNES.
#2 Final Fantasy 3 (SNES)
Originally released in Japan as FF6 us pig dog americans had only gotten two previous translations of Final Fantasy over here so the game was renamed Final Fantasy 3… which always causes trouble trying to talk about the game in certain circles, but I digress FF3 was a huge success. As the first 16bit Final fantasy game it really hit home with a ton of amazing stuff. From the 14 members you could choose from for your party, to the amazing graphics, to the score that is still beloved today this was the consummate RPG for quite some time. Scenes like the Opera are still talked about today, and the level of customization present puts even some modern games to shame. This game stood as a giant monolith of things to do, and I spent hundreds of hours with it plugged into my SNES over the years. RPG fans had been playing Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior (Quest nowadays and in Japan) for years, but the beauty of FF3 was what brought a whole slew of new fans to the genre, and in my opinion this is one of the best games in the series closely followed by…
#3 Final Fantasy 9 (PSX)
Final Fantasy 7 was huge success, and FF8 was too (if you like a dash of 90210 in your RPG…), but these games leaned towards the futuristic/ more realistic settings and themes and veered off from the medieval fantasy I loved in an RPG. Then the gods delivered us Final Fantasy 9, and it was good. We got brought back into a more fanciful world with Dragoon Knights, Moogles, Black Mages (Much love to the boy Vivi), and more. This game felt like classic FF to me, and that was VERY welcome after the recent games. Beyond the visuals the story itself its quite good, and full of plenty of twists and turns befitting the franchise. Spanning four discs this game is packed with memorable characters and settings that stay with you long after the game ends.
#4 The Elder Scrolls 3:Morrowind (PC/Xbox)
I’ve talked about Morrowind here before, and truth be told Morrowind is probably my favorite game of all time. There is just so much depth here with the huge map, and hundreds of quests. You can wear a cloak over your armor! You can be whatever you want, and handle the game however you want. The Spell and enchanted item creation allows you to make things so powerful you can break the game. Morrowind is truly a game from a different time (even though it was only a few generations ago) that features none of the hand holding or ease that modern games have…you need to walk almost everywhere, and at times you’re left with no idea what to do next, but its this sense of being left to your own devices that makes the game so unique. Oblivion and Skyrim were both great games, but they can’t hold a candle to Morrowind in its depth. Beyond the systems of the game there is just so much to experience here with the guilds/Houses, and all the lore you can easily lose yourself in Morrowind for thousands of hours.
#5 Suikoden II (PSX)
The original playstation was host to a lot of RPG’s, but one of the shining stars was the Suikoden series, and Suikoden II was one of the best of the series. Featuring one of the largest casts in any RPG, massive battles, one on one duels, and a great story Suikoden II is like everything you love aboutt an RPG, but pumped up to super size. Great graphics also help the case for this game. Limited print runs of the original game kept a lot of people form enjoying this game back in the day, but players that were lucky enough to pick it up were treated to a great adventure, and luckily with the advent of re releases and remasters there is plenty of ways to check out this great game today.
#6 Earthbound (SNES)
Another game I’ve talked about here before, Earthbound is another SNES RPG that resides in my top games of all time list. Featuring a modern day setting that was pretty unusual for a RPG back then, and a great art style combined with quirky humor made this game really hard to forget. Saving the world with Ness and co. was a real treat, and the enemy designs made you want to see what would pop up next. Earthbound really took the weird and ran with it, and the fact the game came in a giant box packaged with the strategy guide made walking by it in a store without being at least intrigued by it a near impossibility. Earthbound manages to be wholly entertaining the entire time you’re playing it, and coming out on a system with ample other RPG’s stands out even years later. Now if we could just get a new game in the series after all this time…please.
#7 Star Wars Galaxies (PC)
Man oh man Galaxies was such an amazing game in so many aspects. In my opinion one of the most addicting MMORPG’s to ever come out. Galaxies had it all… tons of planets with LOTS of space, player driven economy, player built cities, and just so much fun to be had living out a life in the Star Wars universe. Even a late in the game mechanics change didn’t do too much to really hamper the game for me as there was so much fun to be had. There has yet to be a Star Wars game that really brings you into the world like this. Multiple races (Mon Cal for life!) ,and professions meant that even if you didn’t want to fight you could still drop about five hundred hours into just being a merchant or Dancer. Galaxies was an amazing MMO, a wonderful RPG, and a great Star Wars game all in one which is a rare treat.
#8 Dragon Quest 8:Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
Dragon Quest 8 was actually the first game in the series to not be called Dragon Warrior here in the US, but the name of the series had little meaning when it was presented with such sweet visuals. Dragon Quest 8 was like a cartoon brought to life at the time, and it was very cool seeing all the classic Dragon Warrior enemies looking great on the then new hotness PS2. The characters were all very likable and well designed, and the game played like a dream. The music and battle animations were great callback to the old games, and walking around the Dragon Quest world in stunning 3D never got boring. Hopefully soon we will get a new main entry in the Dragon quest franchise (though DQ Heroes was AWESOME, and DQ Builders is finally coming out here as well!) on modern consoles.
#9 The Elder Scrolls 4:Oblivion (PC/Xbox360/PS3)
While Oblivion was a bit less deep than Morrowind it made up for its shortcomings with a living breathing world (something that progressed even further on both ends in Skyrim) that was very impressive at the time. People went about their day to activities, the weather and day to night cycles shifted, and everything was effected by physics while also looking amazing. Riding a horse trough the world was something that felt almost like magic when you first played this game. Something I feel doesn’t get enough play when talking about Oblivion is the DLC. In addition to some great new content to play through Bethesda also delivered several houses that all came with various benefits which really went a long way towards helping you craft a themed character with a house for every base class, but the true joy was owning them all and being the most powerful person in Cyrodil. The story and the voice acting (Sheogorath!!!) stand out as highlights to me as well from my 400+ hours in the game (which is still far less than I put in Morrowind) as well as the joys discovering everything the map had to offer.
#10 Shining in the Darkness (Genesis)
Shining in the Darkenss took the Wizardry formal and combined it with such a great tone and art style it was hard not to fall in love with it back in the day when it came out. Walking around in first person fighting monsters was always fun, but Shining in the Darkness stands out for the detail and care put into nearly every aspect of the game. It is one of the few early console RPG’s mimicking the PC style of games that actually succeeds them in my opinion, but I am a sucker for a good cartoony style.
So there you have it my top 10 RPG’s of all time! Join us next week to see another top ten…what will it be? What are your favorite Role Playing Games? Let us know in the comments below!