Roundtable Reaction: Our favorite RPGs

Posted on Dec 28 2011 - 8:09am by Tatjana Vejnovic

The role-playing game genre has made great strides since its early days as a thinly veiled Dungeons & Dragons rip-off. Stories have grown increasingly complex, the music and graphics have greatly improved, and the battle systems have evolved into wonderfully varied schemes. There are many great RPGS, but which is the best of the bunch? A handful of 2D-X RPG-lovers offer their favorite RPGs of all time.

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Avion Foster-Jarvis, News Editor
The Final Fantasy sets the bar for RPGs, with Final Fantasy VII standing alone as the series’ groundbreaking masterpiece. Some will argue that FFVII isn’t the best, but without it where would we be? FFVII introduced us to some of the best heroes ever created (Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockheart, Vincent Valentine) and one of the best villains that has ever existed (Sephiroth). Back when multiple discs for a video game was a badge of honor, FFVII came out the door, guns blazing, with three discs.

Clearly, FFVII takes a lot of its mechanics from previous installments, but it improves on them as well. A more streamlined skill system through the use of Materia, a massive amount of summons and the return of “Desperation Attacks” which have been renamed “Limit Breaks.” FFVII was so amazing that its characters made cameos in several other video games (including the ever-popular Kingdom Hearts franchise) and some even went to spawn video games of their own (Vincent in Dirge of Cerebus). In fact, FFVII was so good that Square took the characters from the video game world to the film world with the critically acclaimed movie Final Fantasy: Advent Children. Final Fantasy VII is hands down the best RPG ever; how could it not be when it’s is known as “the game that sold the PlayStation”?

Neranjan Bissoon 2d x Roundtable Reaction: Our favorite RPGsNeranjan Bisson, Features Editor
My favorite RPG of all time is Final Fantasy Tactics. FF Tactics is a brilliant game that brought even casual gamers into the world of tactical role-playing. FF Tactics plays and feels like a game of chess with its Shakespearean story that involved the church, friendship, class war, and political strife.

One of the things that appealed to me about FF Tactics was its character class system which in a way can actually be utilized as a tool for learning delegation skills in ones real life. Bringing an army of Ninjas and Wizards that you developed on to the battlefield has a great level of satisfaction. FF Tactics is one of the games from the golden era of Square and was Yasumi Matsuno’s first game at the company. The quality game play offered with FF Tactics has lasted till this day and has been one of my favorite games on the go in both its PSP and iOS versions. A brilliant game that led me to my interest in the history of warfare, FF Tactics will forever be my favorite RPG.

Eric 225x300 Roundtable Reaction: Our favorite RPGsEric Guzman, News Editor
Xenogears is easily one of the most influential RPGs that I’ve ever played. Yeah, I know, its not as acclaimed as Final Fantasy VII or as legendary as Chrono Trigger, but what Xenogears did with its intricate plot, was change the way I looked at science and religion. It raised questions that I would have never thought about asking at such a young age, and did it in a sophisticated fashion.

The battle system was unlike anything at the time. Mixing buttons to create combos during battle was addictive, and discovering new abilities was extremely rewarding. What made this a complete package was the shiny beautifully destructive mechs called Gears (or, as I used to call them, “bootleg Gundams”). The soundtrack is outstanding, as with any composition the main theme (featured on our best video game songs) caused a stir of emotion that is missing from many modern games. I’ll admit that the second disk of the game isn’t the greatest, but you can’t blame the team for the time constraints that were placed on them. Still, Xenogears is one of the greatest RPG’s ever made, hands down.

alejandro Roundtable Reaction: Our favorite RPGsAlejandro K. Brown, Contributor
My pick for best RPG ever goes to the first RPG I ever beat: Phantasy Star II for the SEGA Genesis. It was not only was the first video game in my house (I had to go to friends’ houses to play the NES), but it was completely different from what I had seen up until that time. Phantasy Star II had faux 3D fields, a mix of static and motion battle sequences, a music score that changed from upbeat action to somber to fit the story, a story line that touches on quite a few social issues, and insane dungeon maps.

Yet, most shockingly for me, it was the first time I would experience a main party character being killed without any hint, warning or lead-up to the moment. I spent time and equipment on this character. I started to care about them as I did the rest of the team, and not only were they killed off, they decided to heroically sacrifice themselves in a battle to the death to save the rest of the team. To an impressionable kid amazed by video games, this was simultaneously awe-inspiring and devastating.

timspaceinvaders Roundtable Reaction: Our favorite RPGsTim Torres, Lead Reviewer
Chrono Trigger. Is it such a surprise? It’s the brilliant RPG from the masterminds of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest at the height of their game. It’s got the best character designs Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama has ever done. It continually pelts you with fresh scenery, new characters, and brilliant compositions from composer Yasunori Mitsuda at every turn. It introduced the New Game + feature that lets you revisit the adventure with all your stats, weapons and items from your first way through.

There are numerous branching paths and choices to make: How you assemble your specialized party members to when you defeat the final boss. Yet it remains an uncomplicated, lighthearted adventure about time travel and you can find everything it offers in just about 30 hours, a fraction of the time most other over-bloated RPGs take to complete. I can rattle off what makes Chrono Trigger great in my sleep. I think I have.

If you want to see what the big deal is I recommend the Virtual Console version on the Wii. It’s a perfect emulation of the original SNES version. The next best bet is the pricier version for the DS though it has superfluous anime cutscenes and an awful extra dungeon with a new ending that needlessly complicates things. Whatever you do, avoid the PSN version — load times and slowdown abounds. It breaks the game. It’s supposed to be breezy and fun. Think it’s too cliche? Well, Chrono Trigger gave birth to a good many of them. It’s one of the first games to get every single thing about it right. And it’s still the best.

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Gamer. Photographer. Internet superhero. Commander Shepard. Specializing in urban decay photography and being a gamer since she was two, Tatjana is one unique cookie. Not only does she climb fences and risk arrest for the perfect shot, she's also convinced that she's actually Commander Shepard.

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5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Irish Yort December 28, 2011 at 11:57 PM - Reply

    Fallout 3 or Skyrim are the best RPGs of all time, sorry. If you want to talk scope if land and detail, and immersion of oneself in the game, either of these two destroy the older games. The old ones while the stories were lengthy, too much time was invested in going back and forth doing mundane things that werent even fun.

    • Timekiller1991 January 17, 2012 at 1:47 AM - Reply

      ooo not a very good statement irish. FO and skyrim are two very nice games while also being very high up on the list, but not the best. FF7 would easily take one over each of those. 

  2. Anders December 29, 2011 at 3:24 AM - Reply

    clearly you havent played any Final Fatasy Irish.
    you cant go wrong with FF7,FF9,FFX,FF7 is legendary,Like what videogame can make you cry????
    the legendary scene when sephiroth kills Aeris and plays the epic music.And besides FF7 has the most badass villain of all in gaming,like who forgets that he walks through flames in Nibelheim.Skyrim cant beat that,and isnt fallout a shooting rpg?if so it doesnt even count you moron..
    Overall FF7 has 1 of the best storys to tell of any games.
    FF9 have also a pretty awesome story,group kidnaps garnet and on the way he meets vivi which gets to know that he is only a doll of destruction and Zidane that he is a clone.
    it has the most epic music in Pandemonium aswell,Your walking alone/terra while beeing stubborn about this is life and doesnt wanna involve any other person..

    FFX needs no explanation,got a kick ass story,awesome cast,alot to do,turn based system which skyrim or fallout doesnt have,it makes you think what your next move is,not just rapidly press 1 button kill a person…

    Ohh and I almost forgot Nier which came out in 2010.Im pissed since the game isnt in the list meet Yonah,Niers daughter which you come to adore,you meet emil with a kinda heart and he is awesome as in character,You meet Kainee which is a loudmouth but also have a big heart. And OMG,the story is probably 1 of the best in any games.The music in Nier is so epic,its a lot of soothing songs there.I could praise these games for 10hours
    But you know a great rpg game when you cry when playing a game,I have only done that in 3games in my entire gaming life,FF7(Aerith scene),FFX after killing end bosses and watching Yuna and Tidus says goodbye.

    The game Nier at the end when fighting to Shadowlords castle,like when Emil sacrifies himself to rescue rest of the group against their own will and when that epic music plays you know its a masterpiece..
    Kinda writing about Nier almost made a tear in my eye,the game IS that fack skyrim and fallout those doesnt count Irish Yort, You prolly havent even heard/played any of these games that Im writing about.

  3. Infinity January 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM - Reply

    Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy X are obviously the best.
    Pfft. Haters, they wouldn’t admit it :-)
    Final Fantasy VII had everything right, and Final Fantasy X, made me cry, almost. Hehe

  4. No March 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM - Reply


    best rpg of all time? Planescape:Torment. nothing even comes close.Sad that none of the people reviwing this seem to have ever experianced a truly good rpg story, as they have all listed JRPG themepark games.

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