Templates are boring. Even more so when a certain bossman puts a gun to your head threatening you with bodily harm for even thinking of deviating from it. Having said that, I think I’ve filled up enough lines that could constitute to an intro for one of the most underappreciated and overtly criticised genres, RPGs. Without wasting any more text for you trolls to sift through before you blindly flame the living daylights out of this article, here’s the lowdown on this year’s Awesomeness +1 RPGs.
The story is non-existent, the menus clunky and the combat simplistic enough for a senile cockroach to comprehend. So why is it even worthy of a mention? The key word is choice; and Fable II gives you a lot of it. Be it sacrificing buxom maidens at the Temple of Shadows or kicking chickens for fun, this is a game of cause and effect rather than your vanilla, linear RPG. Definitely worth a look-in even if you hate the genre.
Microsoft must be kicking themselves for letting this one slip and the fine folks at Bethesda are probably over the top for creating a game that is essentially, Oblivion with guns. Not that we’re complaining though; one part post-apocalyptic earth, one part 1950s Americana and a dash of that legendary Bethesda RPG touch (customization, skill system, VATS) and you have one of the more solid RPGs of the year.
Strategy RPGs are niche within a niche. It’s bad enough that there are enough gamers afflicted with ADD to fill an entire continent, that Sega have decided to focus on a sub-genre that requires concentration, and oodles of it. For those of you who can tolerate games that aren’t just about “shooting stuff” will be pleasantly surprised. This is one of those rare platform exclusives that truly deserve the hype and applause. From the unique cel shading and fantastic storyline to the truly epic score, this is one for keeps if you have the patience.
Hironobu Sakaguchi must’ve been smoking some mighty strong stuff to even consider doing a J-RPG for the Xbox 360 after the dismal flop that was Blue Dragon. However, it’s paid off; Lost Odyssey is definitely the best J-RPG out on next-gen platforms at the moment. What stand out are small stories that Kaim, the immortal protagonist, unlocks from his memory. Each tells a poignant tale more memorable and thought provoking than the complex storyline. Oh, and it’s got the best party member of the year – a philandering, drunken, cowardly, comedic mage called Jansen.
Persona 3 FES
While our American counterparts are enjoying the awesomeness of Persona 4, we’re still attending school at day, defeating the forces of darkness at night and making passes at school girls in the afternoon. You’d be stupid to throw away your PS2, what with the quality of titles Atlus is still making for the system. Even though Lost Odyssey might be winning the stakes on next-gen platforms, our hearts still belong to a game that runs on Sony’s last-gen box of joy.
“But what does the future hold?”, ask the one and a half readers who’ve actually made it this far rather than visit more interesting websites on the internet (you know, those with more “peekchurz” than these “wordz” thingies). Well, 2009 sees a host of killer titles making their way, such as White Knight Chronicles on the PS3, Dragon Age and Diablo 3 on the PC and of course, Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Tales of Vesperia on the Xbox 360. All in all, it’ll only get better with developers leveling up to the needs of next-gen formats. Yes, I ended with a pun, live with it.
The end. 100% more suckier and broken than any of the games on this list.
For more great RPGs, check out our IndianVideoGamer Year in Review: Handhelds