So I just took my normal Top 10 games list and filtered out the 4 non-RPGs (If you're wondering, it's Portal 2, Zelda: The Wind Waker, Zelda: Majora's Mask, and Zelda: A Link to the Past) and ended up with 10 favorite RPGs (The math behind it is too complex to explain). The list is in descending order so that the farther it is from the bottom the less I like it.
10) Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
I'm going to say this right now: I absolutely HATE this game. The battles were the most repetitive, annoying, and broken thing I've ever played t completion and exploring each world wasn't much better. But the story is perfect in my opinion. It followed up the first Kingdom Hearts wonderfully and bridged into the next game (which also happens to be one of my least favorite games) perfectly. The story kept me going long past when the gameplay got stale. I have to take a hat off to any game that can convince me to keep playing when I just can't stand playing it.
9) Eternal Sonata
For a game with a wonderful battle system, beautiful aesthetic, even better music, and a phenomenal story that had me shaking at the end this was not a well done game. The only reason this game hasn't cracked into my top 3 is because each battle starts to feel the same really quickly and they don't stop being the same until a boss comes along and shakes things up. Then it's all the same again.
8) Dragon Quest IX
I feel horrible for putting this all the way back here. It's the first game in my top 10 that was great in all areas, but it just never clicked with me all the way. I may have 50 hours (and counting) on it, but I just can't seem to say that I enjoyed it more than so many other games. Fun Fact: You can replace this title with Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light and it would still be the same explanation.
7) Kingdom Hearts
We return to the rough games now. This game had some great audiovisual elements going for it and it even had a pretty good story to boot (I'm a sucker for stories about the power of friendship), but the way each world was built didn't feel too professional. It seemed like it was trying to trick you into believing that these small levels were actually very large with lots of hidden items (there really weren't many hidden items) and that just kind of killed the maps for me. What made it worse was the enemy placement. Sometimes it was great, but a lot of the time I just had to pause the game for a few minutes and wonder who thought it was a good idea to put a flying enemy immune to magic next to a staircase with no railings. I still liked this more than all the other Kingdom Hearts games though. It managed to bring all of its elements (good ad bad) together into one package that was fun and touching.
6) Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
Being the only non-Persona SMT title I've played to (near) completion, this game holds a special place in my heart. The long, maze-like dungeons that use themselves as puzzles are what dragged me into the experience, the bizarre story is what kept me going, the battles kept me on my toes, and the sidequests fleshed out the world in unique ways. It's obvious that it was dumbed down for the DS, but the elements that have made people love SMT games for so long are what keep this game great.
5) Knights in the Nightmare
I fell in love with the story of Riviera: The Promised Land and found the battles in Yggdra Union: We'll Never Fight Alone to be some of the best a SRPG has presented to me, but Knights in the Nightmare managed to bring the elements that made me love both together into one game. The game had a wonderful story that wove many layers of politics and deception together with the supernatural to create something unique out of what had been done many times before. The battles may come off as too complex for their own good to some, but the combination of turn-based strategy, real-time strategy, and bullet hell made for an exhilarating experience that really stretched my ability to think strategically in a way I never would have before. The bosses usually were too difficult for their own good, but all the small (and large) blips in the game don't really damage a unique and fun game.
4) Radiant Historia
Radiant Historia may not be a very unique game, but it takes what's been done before and makes it better. The time travel plot is done differently than most other stories and it really makes you wonder just how thin the walls between worlds are. The battles play like an updated version of FFX's, but the ability to change the turn order by whim and the 3x3 grid the enemies stand on make each battle a strategic showdown between you and the many monsters you will be facing. Even if many of the things it does has been done before, the way Radiant Historia does it makes you care more about the world, the characters, and the battles.
This is one game I can't defend against people who hate it. It has a magnificent story with the best OST I've ever heard, but the actual gameplay is little more than mediocre. It tries to do so much and usually fails to do anything but make you feel. The story and music combine to make a very moving experience, but the gameplay mars it down at a number 5 on this list.
2) Persona 4
This game managed to take what I loved most about Strange Journey (large dungeons to crawl in; fun battles that take a simple idea and make something complex with it) and many of the other games on this list (a story that has been done many times before in other ways, but manages to be unique with its own merits) and put it together in one game that seemed perfectly made for a teenager without all the angst usually coupled with such a story (I'm looking at you, Kingdom Hearts 2). What really set it apart for me is the believable way in which each character overcomes their own problems to try and become a better person by the end of the game.
1) The World Ends With You
This game has managed to leave an imprint on me that won't leave. The story, the characters, and the so-close-to-familiar-but-just-a-bit-off setting left me wanting more after each and every day in the game and all of the little things this game does to make battles fun really make it something that has yet to be replicated by any other game. Here's to hoping for a sequel sometime soon!
And those are Jubby's 10 favorite RPGs. I'm sure this list will be completely different next semester when I start my indie game spree.