|Overall Top 20||Editors' Picks|
John P. Hussey
Abraham Ashton Liu
Kyle E. Miller
|The Hall of Shame|
|#8 - Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast/GameCube)|
What's more exciting than sailing the open skies with a bunch of fun-loving pirates? Not much. Skies of Arcadia, released all the way back in 2000, is a reminder of how amazing it is to explore a huge world full of mystery and excitement. The massive world is divided into many nations, each represented by a different moon. The story centers around a young, heroic sky pirate named Vyse, his best friend Aika, and a mysterious girl from the forgotten Empire of the Silver Moon named Fina. Fina has arrived in order to recover a number of special moon stones used to summon mighty creatures of destruction (known as Gigas) to prevent the greedy Valuan Empire controlling them. Thus the three of them set out on an epic adventure with plenty of twists, turns, and excitement.
As you fly the skies and explore the dungeons, you will have no choice but to fight off a wide variety of enemies. Battles are turn-based, and there are magic abilities available that relate to all six moons. Each character also has a number of special abilities to learn. But most exciting of all, there are airship battles! You can command your ship in the skies to fight off enemy gunships and even the mighty Gigas! There are heaps of discoveries and hidden locations to find in the world, too. Spending fifty or more hours on this game would be easy. More than anything, Skies of Arcadia simply has an undeniable magic and charm that makes it one of the best games of the decade.
|#7 - Chrono Cross (PSone)|
Chrono Cross is an exceptionally divisive game, which should be no surprise, given that it comes as a sequel to one of the most beloved classics of all time, Chrono Trigger. Some of what causes the strong feelings about Cross is undoubtedly due to the fact it is something of a departure from its predecessor. While still a plot-heavy, traditional turn-based RPG with multiple endings and outstanding graphics and music, Chrono Cross differed from its forebear in several ways, one of the most contentious being its vastly larger cast of characters (from Trigger's 8 to over 44) and its few references to the original game's characters. However, it also offered an oustanding story that drew from the events in Chrono Trigger without being reliant on them, making it more of a companion or gaiden title than an extension of the original. The plot focused almost entirely on a new part of the world and new characters, exploring the nature and consequences of the actions of the Trigger heroes, as well as the actions of the new heroes throughout their journey. It offered a powerful story, one of the greatest soundtracks ever composed, a very strong graphical showing, and some outstanding new gameplay ideas in its combat system and leveling systems. So while it definitely didn't please every fan of the original game (though, how could it, being a sequel to Chrono Trigger?), as a stand-alone title and as a sequel, it was undoubtedly a labor of love for its developers, and truly one of the best games of the past decade.
|#6 - Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)|
With tremendous voice acting, beautiful character designs, a dramatic world map, and an aggressive but fair difficulty, Dragon Quest VIII perfected the JRPG. Years after its release, gamers still can remember Yangus, with his Cockney accent and his ability to get into trouble; the silent Hero, with his pure heart and colorful past; Jessica, a sexy yet powerful mage; Dhoulmagus, the annoying jester who occupies most of the game's villany; and even, the Cursed King – a whiny yet important protagonist to the game's action. While Dragon Quest VIII did not reinvented the genre with license boards, occult stories, or blitzball, it remains as the paragon of "old school" gaming and its legendary status has been cemented in the annals of RPG lore.
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