Welcome to the start of our new series: Raptor Talks. How this works is every week we’ll be running a forum thread and inviting people to comment on a topic of the week. We will be doing game giveaways to those who do participate, as well as collecting the best responses in the weekly Raptor Talks articles like this.
We decided to start off with a big question – what is your favorite RPG? Here are some of the replies we got:
That’s kind of a tough question … especially as you have all these mixtures of what can technically be called an RPG (Borderlands comes to mind.) But I also don’t really like picking favorites as I throughly enjoy each and every game I play, including terrible ones. So I’ll go with what I think was underrated.
Which….still makes this a difficult question to answer. Hmmm, Risen is pretty underrated, IMO. The second one was alright and I started the series with that, but the first Risen was freaking amazing. It’s up there with Morrowind on how much I enjoyed exploring and playing through the world. And I didn’t have to deal with the ever obscuring fog, either.
This was kind of a weird one for me, because I never liked traditional RPG games. My best friend would play them constantly and really loved them, but all the turned based stuff from FF was a turn off for me and I never got into them at all.
The first RPG style game I found myself actually liking was Mass Effect 2. The odd thing was, I was bored to tears and never finished Mass Effect 1, but for some reason I played 2 and absolutely fell in love with the game and became completely engrossed by it.
Now, I know some people would call ME2 an Action-RPG and not a traditional RPG, but such is the face of gaming, always changing and evolving as time passes. The things I thought would be a huge turn off were the text trees and close up head shots of the characters as they droned on about some inane crap I didn’t care about in the slightest, but that wasn’t the case. The thing was, when I started playing ME2, it got its hooks in me somehow, and it really clicked for me and I kinda fell in love. The text trees chose your own adventure dialog thing seemed more interesting now than it had in the past and I found myself wanting to take chances and do things I normally wouldn’t to see how they played out.
Things that normally wouldn’t appeal to me game wise really hit that button in my brain and I got lost in the game for days at a time. Exploring worlds, going on missions, and all the other facets of the game seemed almost…meditative in a way. I would say that might be in large part to the score (which I liked quite a bit), but the whole atmosphere of the game in general seemed rich and interesting whereas games like FF (to me at least, calm your tits) had grating and contrived dialog that made me wanna punch stuff in real life.
Who knows, maybe things have changed and writing has gotten better than early RPGs and I might end up giving some a try at some point, but for now, I’m honestly okay playing through ME2 again for like the 5th time.
This is a really easy one for me. Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals (Snes).
I’m a platform with groundbreaking rpgs like FF6, Chrono Trigger, Terranigma, Illusion of Gaia and all, Lufia 2 is not the best looking or best written rpg. In fact it’s got quite a few hilarious bugs, including a notorious one in the US version that makes it almost unbeatable.
That being said, what it does right, it does exceptionally well. And propel it to the front of my favorite games list.
First and most importantly: puzzles.
In my opinion, the puzzles found in Lufia 2 are the highest quality in the genre. The turn based dungeon maps and specialized dungeon equipment allow for creative use of timing puzzles, platforming, and combat avoidance. The puzzles start extremely simple and eventually reach the point of almost frustrating difficulty. And the reset option to revert a screwup in your puzzle solving allows for more experimentation.
Combat was also a major location for experimentation. A standard turn based combat system that introduced ip (a sort of item based limit break) and capsule monsters (ai controlled evolving monsters you find throughout the world) add to what normally would’ve been considered a tired style of combat.
The ancient cave, a 99 floor procedurally generated dungeon is another feature that sets it apart from the rest of the content from that era. You go in with no items and no spells and you attempt to make it to the bottom. It’s excessively difficult, but can be immensely rewarding if you find one of the rare blue chests, providing an item that you can take out with you.
Now the storyline is an admittedly weak portion of the game and the romance between the two main characters is laughable at times, but the characters themselves are diverse, the villains are enjoyable if a bit Saturday morning cartoony, and the ending is one that sticks with you, especially if you never played the original game in the series.
All in all, i feel the game is greater than the sum of its parts, and while storyline falters, the gameplay, music, and ending more than make up for it.
Note: do not play the DS remake. It is bad and ruins the spirit of the original game.
Seeing a lot of games in here, but I’m afraid they’re all incorrect. “What’s the best RPG,” you ask? Shining Force for the Sega Genesis. Let me bullet point it for you:
- Tactical, meaning you can’t just mash A and win. You’ve gotta think like Sun Tzu and play like Patton.
- The story is about an ancient devil who is foiled by a band of heroes lead by an amnesiac ancient, brothers with another ancient who was controlled by this devil, and who ends up killing a three headed dragon god by stabbing it to the ground and hold it there until its castle sank and its power was sealed, sacrificing himself. If you don’t think that’s the coolest shit you’re wrong.
- Max, the hero, loses his voice after being blasted from some news. That’s right, we realism now. The first RPG to simulate personal trauma to a person’s mind.
- Max doesn’t get the girl at the end. It’s not about a princess and a hero that shouldn’t be together (looking at you, Shining Force II), it’s about a group of people who stop doing what they’re doing to fight evil.
- Think there’s no secrets? The first character you get after the first fight is Gong, who is only found if you take a side track. Musashi? Stand in a certain spot and search a letter. Hanzou? Look at a specific bush. Domingo you gotta hatch from an egg, and he’s a badass! Let’s not forget the bikini costumes, though.
- Everyone has their own reasons for fighting. Nobody just says “fuck yeah let’s risk my life with some strangers woohoo” like a lot of RPGs tend to be like.
- Who’s Jogurt? Jogurt is a hamster thing with a helmet that is the coolest shit ever. His stats are all 1, he can’t level up, and he dies in one hit to everything. Why is he cool? Just look at him.
And that’s why Shining Force is the best of all things.
My favorite RPG is and forever will be Final Fantasy 6 (known as Final Fantasy 3 on snes) I love every aspect of the game. the music is fantastic, the story while simple is still entertaining. the gameplay can feel grindy at times but by mid game it’s lessened by the strategy needed to win fights (there are monsters that can only be hurt by magic so always smashing the fight command will only end up wasting your time and your party’s HP.)
As a gamer I have loved this game for years. And now that i am stepping into the world of game development i am finding a whole new appreciation for this game. how detailed everything is for a 16 bit system. the number of things the devs were able to do despite their limitations. (the character sprites actually SHOW their emotions. rather than explain them through text.)
While I do enjoy other RPG’s (and games in general) Final Fantasy 6 holds the title of favorite RPG.
I guess if I have to choose, it would be Morrowind. It was the first open-world style game I played, and I can’t even figure out how many hours I dumped into that game during high school. I’m smiling at the nostalgia. Gunna have to play that again here soon.
There were a few other replies, and if you want to see them all or just talk about it some, you can go visit the thread and toss in your two cents.
For me, as the writer of this piece, I’m going to cheat and say that I don’t really think I have a single favorite, because RPGs are such a diverse lot. When it comes to action-rpgs I would go with Gothic II, which is a great game in my opinion, but forgotten. For tactics, I would go with Shining Force II, which I felt was an improvement on the original generally speaking, but both are absolutely great games that still have to fight with Suikoden 2. Open-World would be a toss up between Fallout 2, Morrowind, and Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magica Obscura, as all three are great at it – Fallout‘s great lore and antics, Morrwind‘s alien world, and Arcanum‘s attention to great detail and concept work. Planescape: Torment wins for story and featuring some of the best ever done in video games in my opinion. I’d be remiss not to mention Baldur’s Gate II: Shadow of Amn, which was a wonderful mixture of open world design, storytelling, and somewhat tactical combat—many games could learn from how it manages to mix storytelling with openness.
What? You guys aren’t going to let me cheat out?
Alright, if you really nailed me to it and forced me to answer, as someone who loves RPGs, I would go with Planescape: Torment as its setting, writing and characterization generally lap the field. It is the game that in my opinion sets the bar, and a large part of the reason I’m really interested in whatever Chris Avellone is doing next! I also may have a slight problem with turn of the millennium RPGs.