Tag Archives: rpgs

The RPG Square’s 1st Birthday

The RPG Square has now been in operation for over a year, allowing me to share my thoughts and opinions about some of the greatest RPGs ever created.

I will continue to update with reviews, editorials, music reviews and top 5 lists of games I have played and loved. I have also decided to start adding some previews of upcoming RPGs that have caught my interest. If you have any other ideas, please add your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you for reading, commenting and reminiscing about all these stories and characters, that we have all experienced!

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Filed under Editorial

Which Console Had The Best RPGs? (Part 2)

While the Super Nintendo is home to some of the true classics of the genre, the original PlayStation offers a huge variety of RPGs with more mature storylines, deeper mechanics and the introduction of mesmerising FMVs. The PS1 allowed developers more freedom to enhance the way they could present their stories which provided many new features to the genre.

Sony PlayStation (PS1)

With the extra power provided by the PlayStation hardware, RPGs such as the magnificent Final Fantasy VII amazed players with Full Motion Videos (FMVs) that helped depict important moments in the game in a more impressive way. Coming from 2D sprites, to seeing worlds realised in 3D was exciting for players at the time. Watching an emotional scene or intense action in more detail was something to look forward too, rather than a chore as in many modern games.

Stories became more ambitious too, involving more mature and complex plotlines, as well as adding more depth to characters. PS1 RPGs delved into themes unexplored by video games at the time and games such as Xenogears featured memorable characters, dealing with real issues that players could relate to. While Final Fantasy Tactics offered a plot filled with political intrigue, murder and heresy. More detailed character models and environments added to the sense of atmosphere and made the narratives more compelling to the player.

Art design and game mechanics were diverse, resulting in RPGs that provided unique experiences. Valkyrie Profile was willing to innovate on traditional mechanics, while Vagrant Story included a battle system and complexity unlike any other RPG before it. Worlds were bigger and more captivating and with the use of pre-rendered backgrounds they were full of detail and life. Designers explored different settings ranging from futuristic and modern, to medieval and even outer space. Experimentation was at its highest and it rewarded players with some the greatest RPGs ever made.

With the use of CD as storage media, RPG music was of higher quality and even vocal pieces were utilised. With voice acting still not common place, music was imperative to the experience and soundtracks such as Chrono Cross featured some of the best orchestral music ever to grace a video game.

RPGs on the PS1 were philosophical and ambitious, leaving players with stories they would never forget. It has a massive number of titles with the best of the best including: Final Fantasy VII, VII and IX, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics, Legend of Mana, Parasite Eve, Valkyrie Profile, Grandia, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, The Legend of Dragoon, Suikoden 1 and 2, Wild Arms, Star Ocean: The Second Story and many more.

The next article will explore the great RPGs developed on the PlayStation 2.

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Filed under Chrono Series, Editorial, Final Fantasy Series, Mana Series, Parasite Eve Series, Vagrant Story, Xenogears

Which Console Had The Best RPGs? (Part 1)

Throughout the years there have been many video game consoles that were home to some fantastic RPG experiences. All of them told incredible stories featuring memorable characters, had fun game play mechanics and immersed you in their wonderful worlds. Now, while there are still great RPGs found on modern consoles and handhelds, there are three systems from the past that will always be remembered as the best.

The following articles will discuss why the Super Nintendo, PlayStation and PlayStation 2 are home to the greatest collection of RPGs. From the child-like innocence and fun from the SNES era, to the coming of age and philosophical PS1 games, to finally the mature and polished PS2 selection, RPGs have changed over the years but still managed to capture the imagination of players around the world.

The Super Nintendo (SNES)

The greatest attribute of RPGs on the SNES was the fact designers needed to use the full extent of their creativity to get around hardware limitations and as such the players were free to use their own imagination to heighten the experience. Designers were challenged, but never restricted and the result was some of the most simple and ingenious game design, such as Chrono Trigger.

The art style and use of sprites gave the RPGs of this era an endearing personality. They felt like whimsical storybooks, set in enchanting fantasy castles, steam punk cities or desolate futures. Look at the magical world created in Secret of Mana. Without the use of voice acting, characters personalities were shown through their actions, usually with comical exaggerated expressions, adding to the charm.

Without the need to create realistic graphics and presentation, more effort could be focused on making the game play deep and fun. Worlds were enormous and exploration was high, battle systems were intuitive and innovative and playing never felt like a chore. It allowed RPGs to be epic adventures in their purest form, without the need for convoluted extras.

Lastly, the music was built around strong melodies and was imperative to the experience. It was needed to add depth to the characters and enhance important scenes. This meant many soundtracks were full of creative arrangements, catchy melodies and memorable songs. Despite their simplistic nature, soundtracks such as Final Fantasy VI have yet to be surpassed.

RPGs on the SNES featured some of the most impressive and masterful adventures. The best of the best include: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV, V and VI, Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG, Terranigma, Star Ocean, Breath of Fire II, and many more.

There is more to come as the next articles will present the case for why the original PlayStation or PlayStation 2 was the king of RPGs.

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Filed under Chrono Series, Editorial, Final Fantasy Series, Mana Series, Terranigma

What Captivates Me About RPGs

We all play RPGs for different reasons. They provide wonderful stories, unforgettable characters, fantastical worlds and enjoyable game play mechanics. I find myself drawn to different aspects, but all my favourite games seem to balance these attributes to provide great experiences.

I am initially drawn to exploring new and exciting worlds and settings. I often daydream of getting lost in deep and magical adventures and the imaginary world in RPGs are an important escape from reality. I still remember the first time I stepped foot in the gritty Midgar, marvelled at the serene Opassa Beach or flew into Lindblum. The best RPGs use detailed art styles and present imaginative locales to appeal to our senses and hook us in to their strange inviting worlds.

Once the scene is set, intriguing and thrilling stories keep me on the edge of my seat, eager to experience the next plot twist or learn more about the world’s history. While I love stories, RPGs take it to another level allowing me to interact and feel more involved in the plot. Books can tell us great stories, but only RPGs can immerse us in them. Whether it’s travelling through time to save the future, or fighting against a corrupt empire, my favourite RPGs let me be a part of many memorable adventures.

The most important part of any story driven experience is ultimately the characters. Finding friends that you hold dear for years to come, or feeling hatred towards villains that perform unforgivable evil, RPGs have a wide variety of personas. Crono could capture our attention without saying a word and Kefka was someone to fear. Interesting characters help draw you into the experience and deep character development makes them seem real and human.

Video games still need to be fun to play and I’m drawn to the building up and customising of my party of characters and then battling against gigantic monsters and epic bosses. The other aspect I find I enjoy about classic RPGs is the variety in game play with the use of set pieces in the story or the implementation of mini-games.

There are so many other aspects of RPGs I love, such as whimsical music and hidden secrets that I am always on the look out for my next journey to unknown lands.

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Top 5 Songs From Final Fantasy VI

The soundtrack of Final Fantasy VI is monumental. Created at a time when music added as much depth to the game as the graphics, each track is unforgettable. Not only does the music perfectly convey the emotion of the story, but even includes an opera. These are my top 5 songs from Final Fantasy VI:

1. -Terra’s Theme-

The first thing that enters your head is the vision of marching. This theme fills you with a sense of courage and strength. It perfectly portrays Terra’s insecurities as well as her resolve. This may be the greatest ever musical track found in a video game.

2. -Aria di Mezzo Carattere-

The absolute highlight of the famous opera scene. Blending the beautiful melody found in Celes’ Theme and adding synthesised voice, it is striking and grandiose. It is songs like this that elevate Final Fantasy VI’s soundtrack above many other of it’s era.

3. -Dancing Mad-

If one track is more epic that the opera theme, then it is Dancing Mad. Played during the different stages of the final battle with Kefka, the arrangements are handled brilliantly. With the use of an organ played during certain parts, the track is both full of energy and suspense.

4. -The Decisive Battle-

The main battle theme of the game and once again highlights Uematsu’s ability to create such intense battle music. It starts out frantically and instantly conveys a sense of urgency. It is a great upbeat track that gets you ready to face anything.

5. -Magitek Research Facility-

This one of the many great songs in Final Fantasy VI that are used as background music for locations the heroes visit. This track is experimental, but the quirky melody compliments the mechanical setting perfectly.

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Filed under Final Fantasy Series, Music, Top 5 Lists