Which Console Had The Best RPGs? (Part 3)

After the evolution from 2D sprites on the SNES to the limited 3D models on the PlayStation, RPGs on the PlayStation 2 finally featured fully 3D worlds to explore. The powerful hardware of the PS2 allowed RPGs to utilise more detailed character models and environments, exciting new battle systems and topped it all off with orchestral soundtracks and voice acting.

Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)  

Gone were the days of pre-rendered backgrounds, games were now using fully 3D models with the ability to move the camera around and view the world anyway you wanted. RPGs such as Final Fantasy XII enabled players to roam around its massive world seamlessly, going to places ahead of the story and even finding enemies that were way above their level.

Cut scenes were made more realistic with the use of voice acting and motion capture and games like Kingdom Hearts even had Hollywood actors leading their talents to help bring characters to life. Musical scores where now orchestral and composers could add more depth and instruments to their arrangements.  Even with the advancements in other aspects of the genre, RPGs still had memorable stories to tell such as the wonderful journey through Spira in Final Fantasy X or the 3 part Sci-fi epic of Xenosaga. The improved presentation of PS2 RPGs allowed developers to fully realise their visions on screen and create immersing worlds.

With the popularity of the PS2 and the RPG genre during these years many niche games where able to receive widespread recognition such as Persona 3 and 4, that merged the modern settings of high school classrooms with turn-based dungeon crawls. Not everything became more realistic and the use of cell-shaded graphics in titles such as Rouge Galaxy presented art styles that mesmerised players. Action RPGs became more plentiful and battle systems such as the one found in Star Ocean 3 provided intense action with full control over character movement.

RPGs on the PS2 had a tremendous amount of variety enabling all players to find a game that would satisfy their tastes. The Best RPGs found on the PS2 include: Final Fantasy X and XII, Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, Xenosaga Episode 1,2 and 3, Dragon Quest VIII, Star Ocean 3, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, Rouge Galaxy, Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle, Persona 3 and 4, Odin Sphere, Suikoden III, IV and V and many more.

So what is your favourite console for RPGs? The SNES, PS1, PS2 or do you think another console has a greater collection of games? Let me know what you think!

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10 Comments

Filed under Dragon Quest Series, Editorial, Final Fantasy Series, Kingdom Hearts Series, Persona, Rogue Galaxy, Xenosaga

10 responses to “Which Console Had The Best RPGs? (Part 3)

  1. Hmm, I think I’d have to say PS1. FF7-9, Vagrant Story, Xenogears…almost all of my favorite (and most nostalgic) RPGs are on that system. But PS2 is close.

  2. I have to agree with you, I still have my PS1 plugged in and never get bored of playing all the games you mentioned plus Final Fantasy Tactics and Chrono Cross. Definitely the best in my opinion! Thanks

  3. The PS2 is my favorite console for RPG’s. I have FFX, FFXII, and Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. KH2 is my favorite of those. The PS2 is also awesome because you can play PS1 games, as well, so it’s one of my top consoles ever.
    I was always going to places I wasn’t supposed to yet in FFXII and getting destroyed by the stronger enemies. Letting you go ahead to new areas is fun, but at the same time, it caused me to forget the story because I would spend so much time exploring new places, I’d forget what happened by the time I got to where I was supposed to go.

    • There were some fantastic RPGs on the PS2, I wish more modern RPGs followed their design styles. You should definitely check out Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King too. Thanks!

  4. twelve

    Tough question! it also depends on how you handle backwards compability, if you consider that the PS2 is probably hard to beat.
    If I count my total RPG-experience on any console I would rank PS2 and Dreamcast on a shared no.1.

    My first jrpg was actually Grandia 2 on the Dreamcast, it pretty much opened up a new genre to me. After that I played Skies of Arcadia and it was one of my best videogame experiences so far(I started out with the NES).

    Then I got PS2 and played arguably the pinnacle of JRPG, FFX. The freedom from earlier FF might have been compromised but the battle sytem is in my opinion the best ever, the production values are throuh the roof, the story is interesting, soundtrack and graphics are amazing.

    After these games I feel that the genre has been spiralling downwards and I havent really played a rpg that made me care since, except for some old classics like FFVIII and IV.

    • I have still yet to play any Dreamcast RPGs like Grandia 2 or Skies of Arcadia, so I’m jealous of you. I have heard they are fantastic.
      The battle system used in Final Fantasy X was great and I can’t believe Square didn’t stick with it for later games.
      I have also been playing some classics lately and they are definitely hard to beat! Thanks for your comment.

      • twelve

        Skies of Arcadia is also availible on Gamecube, and will be released on Xbox live. I hope you get to play it, its such an awesome game.

        Look forward to your review of Last Story btw, Ive heard its more like the good old games.

        • I will have to search for a copy of the Gamecube port, or hope for a PSN release. I am still working my way through The Last Story, so I should have a review up for it soon!

  5. That is an excellent question. NES, Genesis and SNES were all great for RPG’s and really gave me my start, but I’d have to say I found more great RPG’s on the PS1 than any other over the years.

    Having not seen your site before today, I will have to keep an eye on it going forward – I’ve always been a sucker for RPG titles, new and classic.

    • I’m with you on the PS1 being the best, so many great RPGs. Thanks for checking out the site, take some time to look at all the other articles and leave some comments. Hope to hear from you again! Thanks

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