There are plenty of great RPG’s that are wonderfully designed. These are my top 5 RPG experiences:
1. -Final Fantasy VII-
The combination of interesting characters and an intriguing narrative is what keeps this as my favourite game ever made. It has so many memorable scenes and dialogue that has kept me thinking about it long after I finished it. I also never get tired of playing it, with such a fun and intuitive battle system and variety in gameplay, from escaping Midgar on a motorcycle to snowboarding down the Great Glacier. The world feels alive with such distinct locations and atmosphere which is highlighted perfectly by the classic music. Final Fantasy VII is an experience I will never forget.
I first played this game over ten years after it was originally released. I was bored with modern RPG’s and so went back to play some of the classics from the 16-bit era. It is a testament to its ingenious design that I had more fun with it than any current day game. The characters and time-travelling plot are memorable, the music is some of the best of all time, but it’s the timeless gameplay and fun turn-based battle system that could keep me enjoying Chrono Trigger forever. The fantastic pacing and the art of simplicity in it’s design is what has been lost in the development of today’s games. Chrono Trigger represents what games used to be and what they will unfortunately never be again.
- -Chrono Cross-
Like Chrono Trigger I also played Chrono Cross years after it was first released. It reminded me that RPG’s made during this time period will always be my favourite. The art direction is wonderful and the use of pre-rendered backgrounds make you feel like you are living in this strange and beautiful world. The plot has always intrigued me with the concept of parallel worlds and the question of what if? Many of it’s design choices are unconventional, but it’s these risks that keep it original. The soundtrack is a masterpiece and again shows that music can create emotion in scenes that voice acting can’t seem to match. Chrono Cross is a work of art.
- -Final Fantasy Tactics-
Having never played a strategy RPG before, this was a new experience for me. At first I found it complex and difficult, but I was instantly hooked by the deep political plot of corruption and deception. Once I opened up the vast possibilities of the customisable battle system it gave me more control over the makeup of my characters than I had ever experienced. Final Fantasy Tactics’ story reached a level of maturity that made every epic battle feel like you were fighting for a purpose. The differing motives of the cast and the realism of Ramza’s character is what make this narrative one of my
- -Final Fantasy IX-
While originally a jarring experience after the more sci-fi settings of Final Fantasy VII and VIII, this game made me appreciate the wonder of a fantasy world. It returned the series to it’s roots, while keeping up with the progressions made in mechanics and presentation of the series and created a special journey mixing the old with the new. The gameplay is very consistent and conservative, but my favourite part about this game is the themes it portrays and the development of it’s characters. With a whimsical musical score and magical fantasy art, it takes you on an adventure of discovery of both it’s world and it’s characters.