|It's a great time to be in
the gaming industry. The PlayStation 2 just rocked the nation and the Dreamcast
is still holding its own in a bull market. With all the RPGs released this year, we've
seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. We've seen the launch of SegaNet and a flock of
online games in its wake. So, is the fun just getting started? Of course! Think of all the
things we have to look forward to in the coming year, including the release of Nintendo's
Gamecube and Game Boy Advance, as well as Microsoft's Xbox. How can we not be excited about
all the possibilities, all the wonders, and all the experiences we'll have from the RPGs of 2001?
Then again how can we look forward without looking back at all the great games that came out this
It's come down to this, RPGFan editors have all voted for their top 5
favorite RPGs and a few honorable mentions that also includes non-RPGs. Not only is this to voice
our own opinions, but you can also use this as a buyer's guide or a historical reference. Okay,
maybe not a historical reference. :). Keep in mind that not all the editors have played all RPGs
so don't be surprised if you don't see your favorite RPG on one of our editor's list. It could
simply be because he didn't get to play this game yet and as such, couldn't put it on his list.
Also, don't forget to check out the overall RPGFan Top 10 RPGs of 2000.
"Rudo" Farand's Top Picks
of Arcadia - This is my pick for best RPG of 2000. Everything about this game spells
quality. I can't remember the last time that I was REALLY into an RPG. Over the years, I
guess I've kinda lost some of my passion for "playing" RPGs but Skies of Arcadia
pulled me back in. The original setting for the game, the great characters, the music, the
graphics, the story. This game has it all and it is executed perfectly. Even the
translation is top notch. I was disappointed at first when I heard that the Phantasy Star
team was making a "new" RPG instead of a new Phantasy Star title but now that
I've played it, I'm glad that they did!
2) Grandia II - The sequel to one of my
favorite RPG comes in at second place this year. Just like Skies of Arcadia, Grandia II
has it all but SOA manages to edge out Grandia II. I can't explain why but there was just
something with Skies of Arcadia that got to me. However, Grandia II is definitely a great
RPG with probably the best battle engine you can find in an RPG. Add to that, the great
graphics, great music, TONS of dialogue and wonderful voice acting and you've got yourself
one hell of a quality RPG.
3) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - This remake of one of my favorite RPG of all time
would have easily gotten the number one spot if it hadn't been for that other GameArts
masterpiece (Grandia II) and the amazing Skies of Arcadia. The fact that I've already
played the game many times on Sega CD and that the game isn't exactly cutting edge anymore
puts it lower on the list than it should be. Lunar 2 still remains one of my favorite RPG
of all time with great characters, a great storyline, an awesome soundtrack and the best
anime cut-scenes you can find in an RPG.
4) Chrono Cross - Personally, I have never been a fan of SquareSoft (actually,
mostly Final Fantasy games). There is just something with Square RPGs that always turns me
off... probably the over-dramatization, the feeling I get that the developers are trying
to FORCE emotions on you instead of letting things flow naturally and the tendency to make
RPGs with a darker mood and main characters who are basically assholes who don't give a
damn about anything (I'm a fan of the happy adventure light-hearted RPG style of Lunar,
Grandia and SOA). However, Chrono Cross is one of the exceptions for me (Xenogears being
the only other one I loved). With a good storyline, great graphics, inspiring soundtrack
and an innovative magic system, Chrono Cross makes my list at No.4.
5) Legend of Mana - Light-hearted action RPG, gorgeous 2D hand-drawn
backgrounds, good music, 'nuff said.
Space Channel 5
Ken "Commodore Wheeler" Chu's Top Picks
|1) Grandia II
- In a year where an unprecedented number of elite-quality RPGs were released, it takes a
truly special game to earn the game-of-the-year distinction. That game is Game Arts'
Grandia II. Featuring near-flawless execution, a stunning presentation, memorable and
charismatic characters, a storyline of unprecedented emotional complexity and subtlety,
and the finest battle system ever conceived in a traditional RPG, Grandia II is perhaps
the best of its genre ever released.
2) Skies of
Arcadia - In any other year, Skies of Arcadia would have easily captured
game-of-the-year accolades, but in 2000, it finishes a very close second. Skies of Arcadia
stands out on the strength of its unique sky-based premise, world-class execution, an
exciting event-based plot, and those wonderful, wonderful airship battles. The newest game
from the creators of Phantasy Star is perhaps the second-best traditional RPG ever
3) Tales of Eternia (Import) - Tales of Eternia
turns out to be a bit of a surprise pick, because while I liked its predecessors, Tales of
Phantasia and Tales of Destiny, neither of them appealed to me enough for me to consider
them elite RPGs. The final game in the Tales series, however, clearly is. With one of the
most humorous and charming storylines seen recently in an RPG, beautiful 2D visuals, and
surprisingly smooth execution, Tales of Eternia is another RPG that truly stands out, and
it's another one that could have taken best game accolades in another year.
4) Chrono Cross - The long-awaited sequel to
Square's previous crowning achievement finally hit US shores, and aside from some annoying
character name changes, it made it over from Japan intact. Featuring a revolutionary new
battle system, a haunting Yasunori Mitsuda-composed soundtrack, and an exciting
event-based plot, Chrono Cross is undoubtedly Square's finest Playstation achievement yet.
5) Persona 2: Eternal Punishment - Straying from
the well worn fantasy-setting path of most traditional RPGs, Eternal Punishment impresses
not only with its unique modern-day setting, but with extremely smooth execution that
leaves its US predecessor in the dust. Add in a driving dance-influenced soundtrack, some
excellent voice acting (including the only decent English battle cries I've ever heard in
a US-released RPG other than the first Persona), and some refreshing non-combative enemy
interaction, and you've got a game that truly can't be missed.
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
Final Fantasy IX
Steve "Stahnmahn" Robinson's Top Picks
|1) Skies of
Arcadia - Sega and Overworks put the epic feel back into RPGs with a vast
overworld to explore by airship, a colorful cast of characters, a compelling story, and a
fun battle engine. This is shining example of what a "next generation" RPG
should look, sound, and play like.
2) Final Fantasy
IX - This Final Fantasy hasn't broken any new ground, but rather brought the
traditional RPG experience to near perfection. I greatly admire innovation, but I also
appreciate a beautiful story told through some of the finest graphics on PlayStation and
clearly the most impressive CG videos ever presented in a videogame.
3) Grandia II - I never was all that impressed
with the original Grandia, but I always saw great potential in the series. Now, I know
what that potential could bring with the power of Dreamcast. The colorfully detailed
graphics provide the best visual experience in any RPG thus far. Aside from graphical
excellence, the impressive fluidity and functionality of the battle engine makes fighting
fun! Due to this title making it out so late in the year, I cannot comment much on
long-term story elements. But so far, the translation is excellent, the voice acting is
commendable, and I look forward to playing all the way through.
4) Valkyrie Profile - This tri-Ace gem brought
more innovation to the RPG genre than I ever thought possible. The battle system itself is
so refreshingly different, that it never lost my interest through the duration of the
game. Its side-scrolling exploration and interesting story premise add to the enjoyment
5) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - While dated in
some graphics and gameplay elements, few games can match its ability to present an epic,
yet light-hearted story with so much emotion. The careful use of anime cinemas and voice
acting augment the experience even further. Working Designs also deserves credit for
removing obnoxious bugs like the music slowdown and recompressing the movies. These things
and more actually make the American localization the superior version of the game.
Wild ARMs 2
Legend of Mana
Jason "Parn" Walton's Top Picks
|1) Skies of
Arcadia - As I said in my review, easily the best RPG I've ever played in my
life. The presentation of the entire story with the graphics, sound, music, gameplay, and
text itself is near flawless. A game that has much to offer, you'll spend between 40-60
hours depending on your gaming style. Lots of dialogue, a cast of cheerful, optimistic
heroes, and some of the most impressive real-time graphic events on a console system,
taking place in huge environments, Skies of Arcadia is a shining example of how to take
advantage of a system's abilities.
2) Baldur's Gate
II: Shadows of Amn - A long time follower of the AD&D games, Baldur's Gate II
is definitely one of the best RPGs to come out on the PC, staying almost perfectly in line
with the mixture of the 2nd and 3rd Edition AD&D rules. You even have the ability to
modify the difficulty to not follow the core rules, and there is a ton of dialogue, and
lots of side quests to keep you occupied. There are even high level spells that I haven't
used since AD&D: The Dark Queen of Krynn, one of the old Dragonlance PC games from
back in the early 90s, which take advantage of 3D graphics acceleration if your video card
supports it. The collector's edition has some good stuff for only $10 more too. Remarkable
3) Grandia II - The sequel to a game that took
full of advantage of the power in Sega and Sony's 32-bit systems, Grandia II uses the same
game engine, and delivers even more. Graphical presentation is almost unmatched, the voice
acting is good, and the music is easily my favorite score of all time. Though the story is
hardly an original concept, the characters within are lovable, and make the gaming
experience enjoyable. Even after hiring professional voice actors, Ubi Soft took the
initiative of adding in a bonus music CD and a FULL COLOR manual, and released it at the
standard Dreamcast game price! Two thumbs up from me, Ubi Soft.
Michael "The Chronologist" Salbato's Top Picks
Cross - As I played the game I waited so long for, I felt it to be the best RPG I
had ever played. Looking back, I realize it wasn't better than its predecessor, but with
its stunning graphics and soundtrack, and fun battle system, along with the immense
variety of 45 characters, Chrono Cross is definitely near the top for me, and easily
number 1 for 2000.
2) Final Fantasy IX -
With all the old-school references, and medieval themes, FFIX harkened back to the good
old days of Final Fantasy. Though unfortunately it doesn't surpass the sixth and seventh
games in the series for me, FFIX is, dare I say, a masterpiece, surpassed only by Chrono
3) Grandia II - When Grandia II was first
announced and shown years ago, it instantly became my most wanted Dreamcast RPG. It
vanished for awhile, then came back looking better than ever. And after having finally
gotten the chance to play it, it lived up to my expectations. If this is the
next-generation of RPG, I can't wait to see what's next.
4) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - Lunar 2 barely
made it out in time for this special, and I'm glad it did. One of my favorite things about
Lunar SSS was how likable the characters were. By the end of the game, you felt as if you
really knew them, which is something we see less and less in RPGs these days. Lunar 2
carries on that same tradition, and even though some may not be fond of the... at time
inappropriate humor, the excellent translation overall easily makes up for that. And that
pendant the game comes with is just too cool.
5) Skies of Arcadia - Though I never had a chance
to play the Phantasy Star games, I am well aware of their following, which of course has
its reasons. When I read the PS team was developing a Dreamcast RPG, I instantly become
interested. And as I expected, the team delivered a solid game with fantastic music,
awe-inspiring visuals, and great gameplay. This one may be hard to top...
Chrono Cross: Millennium Collection
Mega Man Legends
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Nicole "Sumire Kanzaki" Kirk's Top Picks
|1) Persona 2:
Eternal Punishment - Following up to Innocent Sin, this game deserves number one
for breaking the RPG mold. Eternal Punishment's modern story of demons among us matches
its slick, stylish visuals perfectly. Add to this an ecstasy-inducing techno soundtrack
and an innovative combat system, Eternal Punishment is, sadly, one of the most overlooked
RPGs this season. Forget Final Fantasy IX, Breath of Fire IV, and Lunar 2: Persona 2 is
true RPG enjoyment.
2) Sakura Taisen \ Sakura Taisen
2 (Re-releases) - My favorite series gets all spiffed up for its debut on the
Dreamcast, in anticipation of the third installment, due out this spring. Have you got
3) Valkyrie Profile - Yet another innovative RPG,
Valkyrie Profile platform action with traditional turn-based battles, with an interesting
Norse mythology premise to boot. Gameplay is great, though VP lacks a strong, epic story.
4) Final Fantasy IX - Although, at least in this
editor's opinion, the Final Fantasy series took a dive in the story department during its
reign on the PlayStation, Final Fantasy IX at least tries to console some of us old school
FF fans. While it doesn't quite succeed, Final Fantasy IX does provide an enjoyable story,
while it lasts, and fun gameplay...except for Chocobo Hot & Cold, which is the most
damnably frustrating thing ever.
5) Dragon Quest VII - Just because the damn thing
finally came out after five years of development. Hopefully it won't take Enix that long
to publish it here.
Skies of Arcadia
Breath of Fire IV
Damian "Sensei Phoenix" Thomas's Top Picks
Cross - Definitely the best RPG I've played all year, redeming Square, and most
of the other RPG companies, from their year of great sadness (1999). The graphics are
incredible for the PlayStation, most of the tracks are instant classics, the storyline
links directly to Chrono Trigger, and blows most other RPGs out of the water, there are
tons of characters to play as and multiple endings! If the magic system had been a bit
better I would have to consider Chrono Cross the best RPG of all time, but it's definitely
my number one game of 2000.
2) Skies of Arcadia
- The first decent RPG on Dreamcast in my oppinion. A beautiful musical score, interesting
plot, great characters, and in game graphics that make you ask "what cutscenes?"
combine to make this one of the finest RPG experiences of 2000. Now if only I could get my
VMU to work outside of my controller.
3) Deus Ex - Mix a first person shooter and an RPG
and you get Deus Ex, one of the most enjoyable PC RPGs ever. Great graphics and sound,
mixed with super level design and an interesting plot make this one number three for me...
that and the burning NSF guys (I LOVE that).
4) Final Fantasy IX - A return to an enjoyable
"system" and medieval theme, GREAT CG movies and character development. Though
hampered by a less than stellar soundtrack and seriously bland plot, the game pulled
through with great gameplay. A good end to the series on PlayStation.
5) Wild ARMs 2 - Solid gameplay, nice
graphics, and good music combined to overshadow the shoddy translation of the story to
make this the number 5 RPG of the year for me.
Legend of Mana
Resident Evil Code: Veronica
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Michael "The ArchAngel" Hanley's Top Picks
Fantasy IX - A truly amazing experience, I don't quite know what else to say. I
felt the emotions of every character, especially Vivi's emotions in his quest to find out
his background and why he's different from the other black mages. The game features
several cinemas that amplify the experience and add to the game's light-hearted aura. An
unlikely hero, an amazing storyline, and a blooming romance ensure a gaming experience you
won't soon forget.
2) Vanguard Bandits -
Working Designs did a fantastic job with the localization of Vanguard Bandits. The game's
intense battle system is used throughout 56 missions. The storyline consists of three
branches; follow the Imperial cause, fight against the Empire, or conquer the world. It
all depends on what you feel like doing with Ultragunner, the world's most feared fighting
3) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - If you rated a
game on packaging, Lunar 2 would win. With tons of extras in the packaging, the $70 price
tag shouldn't be too much for any fan of the series. Humorous content aside, the game
builds unique characters and takes the protagonist through a wide range of emotions to the
incredible climax of the story. Lunar 2 is a must buy, even if you didn't play the first
4) SaGa Frontier 2 - Everything else aside, the
watercolor artwork is fabulous. The story takes you from the birth of a child, the
ascension of his empire, and the chaotic fall of a kingdom. Viewing the story from several
perspectives, you can select different events during the past to change the components of
your party 500 years in the future. This game will immerse you in the history of the
Knight's family and leave you begging for more.
5) Diablo II - I've been a fan of Action/RPGs
since the first Diablo, but never have I fallen so deeply into an Action/RPG's plot. Your
quest is to hunt down the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo. To do so, you must travel
through dungeons, deserts, marshes, forests, tombs, and pyramids to keep the forces of
Hell at bay. With it's online features and versatile selection of weapons and items,
Diablo II has a great replay value and will certainly make you a fan of multiplayer
Rainbow Six: Covert Ops
WooJin Lee's Top Picks
|1) Grandia II
- I've always been a big fan of Game Arts ever since I got hooked by the Lunar series, so
it was with great pleasure when I found their newest game to be...kick ass :) Seriously,
2000 saw the release of MANY great games, that I had a really hard time making up this
list, but Grandia stands out in my mind the most, with a great story, art, music,
characters, and a fun battle engine to boot! From what I hear, the domestic version of the
game is solid as well. If you don't have a DC yet, you now have a reason to get one. Get a
2) Super Robot Wars Alpha -
Ok, if you know me, you knew that this game would turn up here somewhere...and here it is.
It's been so long since Banpresto made a major overhaul to the game engine of the SRW
series after the dismal failure of Neo SRW, but they got it right this time. You finally
get a good story, full 16-bit color, and A LOT more animation than the last games. The
scenarios are challenging and with the multiple story paths, you're looking at about 100
hours of actual game play. Any Anime mecha fan is sure to eat this game up, esp. with the
inclusion of both Macross and Evangelion.
3) Valkyrie Profile - I missed the chance to play
this game on time to mention for last year's awards, but it really is too good of a game
to ignore. It has a gameplay system that plays out quite differently from most RPGs, and
the storyline itself is structured quite differently as well. With that and three possible
endings, you're in for an experience quite different from the standard fare...
4) Final Fantasy IX - I admit it. FF VIII was a
major let down. It had strong production values(probably a no-brainer when it comes to
Square nowadays), but it felt like a game where only 2 characters existed and everyone
else was just there for the ride. FF IX is nod back to FF's roots while still keeping a
firm grip on the present. The magic/skills system is nowhere near the hassle it was back
in FF VIII, and the characters actually quite likable. Anyone who got disenchanted with
Square RPGs should give them another shot with this excellent RPG.
5) Tales of Eternia - Yet another close call
inclusion game (ToE came out early december), but I got hooked the moment I got the chance
to play it. MUCH better than Tales of Destiny, ToE incorporates a lot of voice acting and
animation to help the story along. The Tales series has always been about "Feeling
the existance of your follow adventurers", and with the various dialogues that people
have during the game, you really get to feel that they are more than people you can fight
with. The Linear Battle System is back to its 2D goodness, and the storyline has a
nostalgic feel to it. Since it doesn't look like this game will ever hit state-side,
import bluffs should eat this game up.
Mobile Suit Gundam:Giren's Ambition ~Blood of Zeon~
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
Dragon Quest VII
Patrick "Ramza" Gann's Top Picks
Fantasy IX - I have played very little of this game, actually, but it already
makes #1 by "returning" to previous FFs by way of music, game setup (4
characters in battle!), and overall environment. Amen to this one.
2) Shenmue - This is the only Dreamcast game I've played
more than one hour of, and even though it isn't traditional, it is VERY VERY Addictive! I
could play this game non-stop! And after you've beaten it, there is enough want to play it
again to find all those little things to say that there is replay value in this game!
3) Chrono Cross - I haven't even finished this
one, but I know the storyline to it and how it ends and WOW, that is some neat stuff! The
many characters make it a great game too!
4) Vagrant Story - A very addictive game, with
good storyline. The only problem is that when there isn't much storyline going on, the
wandering through dungeons can become boring. Still, a great game with 1000
weapons/armor/items that can be created by combining others in workshops is what this
5) Wild ARMs 2 - This sequel was very different
from the first in many ways, but I enjoyed it at least as much as the first one. Plus, the
soundtrack was awesome. Would've made it higher, but Sony decided to take the Japanese
vocals out of the anime cutscenes and use a trumpet solo instead (BOO!).
Legend of Mana
Breath of Fire IV
Skies of Arcadia
Ryan "Shiguma" Mattich's Top Picks
Profile - Created by none other than the wizards at Enix and Tri-Ace, also known
for their production of Star Ocean: The Second Story, Valkyrie Profile is truly an amazing
Action-RPG of epic proportions. It blends an incredibly engaging battle system, non-linear
gameplay, multiple paths, three endings, variable difficulty levels, and a poignant,
touching storyline based on Norse mythology in one fantastic package worthy of the gods
themselves. Toss in a brilliant soundtrack composed by musical genius Motoi Sakuraba and
you have my number one vote for the best game of 2000.
2: Eternal Blue Complete - Although released late in the year, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete has
finally arrived. Working Designs did a remarkable job assembling a package filled with
extras that was truly worth the wait. Set on the Silver Star, only 1000 years after the
quest of Dragonmaster Alex, Hiro and his entourage embark on a grand adventure that is
just as memorable as its predecessor. With a strong, character-driven storyline, Lunar 2's
position as a must-play RPG of the year is well earned.
3) Final Fantasy IX - Final Fantasy VII and VIII
were criticized by many fans of the series for their departure from the beloved and
traditional swords and sorcery fantasy setting that had previously been known as one of
the series' trademarks. Final Fantasy IX returns to these original roots of the series,
however, and brings the PlayStation installments of the series to a close with style.
Zidane and his friends are key players in this deeply emotional tale of love, courage, and
the fate of a world.
4) Chrono Cross - For many years, fans of the
original Chrono Trigger had yearned for a continuation to what is widely regarded as being
one of Square's finest games. As Chrono Cross emerged, thousands of speculative fanfics
were silenced and RPG gamers everywhere rejoiced at the appearance of this popular sequel.
Inspired by the Japanese text game Radical Dreamers, Chrono Cross features an innovative
battle system through the management of elements, the ability to forge equipment, and a
solid storyline that has strong ties to the original game itself.
5) Legend of Mana - Square's fourth installment in
the popular Seiken Densetsu series was welcomed warmly by fans of the original Secret of
Mana. Its non-linear Landmake System allowed the player to actually create the world
around them by the placement of magic artifacts on the world map. Featuring classic
action-oriented gameplay that two players could engage in cooperatively, Legend of Mana
was quite a fun and enjoyable RPG.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Alan "TSG" Knight's Top Picks
Fantasy IX - Well. After hearing the very sudden announcement and most optimistic
release date ever, I seriously expected this game to be a turkey, a fast cash in, but boy
was I proved wrong. Enthralling with possibly the cleanest FF system, the story of Zidane
and Garnet and Vivi and co held me to the very end. Excellent, and quite a surprise.
2) Baldur's Gate 2 - Despite using an engine used three
times before with no major improvements, BG2 destroys any of the other three games with
it's plot and it's atmosphere, as Irenicus submits your character to horror after horror.
Excellent game, easily the best PC RPG out there right now.
3) Deus Ex - Wow. Never before have I nearly had a
heart attack while playing a game, but Deus Ex combined the creepy, dangerous feel of MGS
and the style of the Quake games. Together with RPG elements, these provide a surprisingly
rich storyline for a first-person shooter and a feeling of danger throughout the game.
4) Valkyrie Profile - This game stands out in
terms of originality, with both a plotline and an innovative battle system never before
seen. One of the only things that could improve this game would be a more coherent plot as
opposed to many fragmented character stories.
5) Wild Arms 2: Second Ignition - Though far too
easy, the faintly cutesy character style and the new and improved Force system won me
over, while the antics of ARMS as they wander over the planet are frequently
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore
Cameron "Tortolia" Hamm's Top Picks
|1) Deus Ex
- It's everything I expected, and more. It's balanced well, it's incredibly fun, there's
wonderful replay value, it's got one of the coolest plots I've ever experienced...it has
it all. The only knock against the game is the extreme system requirements - but it's all
2) Chrono Cross - I never
expected a follow up to Chrono Trigger to be so good - and I've been proven pleasantly
wrong yet again by Square. A complex and rewarding plot, wonderful graphics, one of the
best soundtracks in ages, and an innovative battle system make this arguably one of
Square's best games ever.
3) Baldur's Gate 2 - The best use of the Infinity
Engine yet, Baldur's Gate 2 is challenging, has a great plot, memorable characters,
hundreds of quests, and is overall a terrific romp through the Forgotten Realms. Well
worth it to any fans of PC RPGs.
4) Skies of Arcadia - I barely got into Skies of
Arcadia before 2000 ended, having only recieved my Dreamcast days before. I'm not done with
the game yet, having logged about a dozen hours, but I'm having a blast. It's got great
graphics, fun characters, a variety of interesting battles, and a plot that lets you enjoy
yourself as you go. Definately a reason to be interested in Sega's machine..
5) Diablo 2 - Yes, it's repetitive. Yes, it's
buggy. Yes, it's unbalanced. It's also the game that devoured my entire summer. Play it,
but be prepared to be sucked into the most addictive game in years.
Eric "Citan Uzuki" Malenfant's Top Picks
|1) Grandia II
- With all around greatness, Grandia II blows away all other RPGs this year. Containing an
awesome cast of characters, an interesting storyline, and great graphics, Grandia II just
hooks you right from the start. Never in an RPG have I ever been so "involved"
and interested in playing.
2) Skies of Arcadia
- Great RPG by Sega which was one of my two reasons for getting a Dreamcast this year (the
other being Grandia II)! With an interesting story, great graphics, and gameplay that will
knock your socks off, Skies of Arcadia is just about even with Grandia II, only the fact
that I haven't finished it yet keeps it from either being tied, or stealing the number one
spot from Grandia II.
3) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - A great game improved
with an excellent translation, and cool goodies! Lunar 2 is shaping up to be on my list of
all time top RPGs (next to SoA and Grandia II and Xengears). This year just blew me away
with excellent RPGs.
4) Breath of Fire IV - An EXCELLENT addition to a
mediocore series, Breath of Fire IV improves from Capcom's previous mistakes and makes an
interesting and introducing RPG. The visualizations in the game pulled me in and the
gameplay just kept me going. If you hated the third then you'll love the fourth!
5) Persona 2: Eternal Punishment - An RPG I don't
even own yet, but from the looks of it, it'll be an excellent game. I can't wait to play
Final Fantasy IX
Andrew "Dancin' Homer" DeMario's Top Picks
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - That's right. I'm giving an N64 game the #1
position. Anybody have a problem with that? I thought not.
Diablo 2 - Alright, so the plot wasn't grade-A material. Big deal. Show
me another game that lets you turn an enemy's body into a totem pole while hacking whole
armies to pieces at the same time and then we'll talk.
3) Vagrant Story - Not only did this game contain
an extraordinary plot and an interesting battle system, but it also had some of the most
language in it since we first set our eyes on Final Fantasy 7. If only Ashley would change
4) Chrono Cross - In my opinion, the first game
was far better, but CC really stood out in the crowd this year. While I didn't appreciate
the pathetic difficulty level, I just couldn't get over the huge army of characters you
recieved. Throw in a little more development for them and I might just give this the #2
5) Parasite Eve 2 - Although the game clearly had
a few bugs in it, PE2 was one of the few games this year that I was really interested in.
Also, it's hard to find more freaks in a Square game anywhere else.
Legend of Mana
Brian "The Catalyst" Cavner's Top Picks
|1) Chrono Cross - It's rare to find a game that has mastery of
every aspect of the game all wrapped up in a clean, polished shell. Chrono Cross was all
this and more, which in my opinion earns it so much more than just #1. Not only do I find
it to be the best game of the year, but I believe it may even be the best RPG I've every
played. Having an innovative battle system that kept me much more entertained than simply
pressing "attack" every time, and an element system that was a welcome relief to
the traditional magic system, Chrono Cross seemed to have it all. It was a great game that
was able to take every aspect of older RPGs that I loved and mix them in with creative and
well thought-out new features. Way to go Square! 2) Skies of Arcadia - In a close second, Skies of
Arcadia seemed to have a grasp over each aspect of what makes an RPG truly great. I felt a
close relation to each of the characters and felt each emotion they endured. The music was
quite pleasing, and left me begging for the soundtrack. The graphics were well designed,
and the story really pulled me in. If you enjoyed the Phantasy Star series as much as I
did, this game is for you.
3) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - It's
easy for a remake to fall short of other games due to it's 8 or 16-bit graphics and below
par music, but Lunar 2 certainly avoided this. While it's not as remarkable as it was in
it's time, Eternal Blue easily makes my list at number 3. The other aspects don't seem to
matter when you're dealing with a game that has simple, clean fun. Lunar captured this
essence of fun so perfectly that it quickly became one of my favorite games of the year.
4) Baldur's Gate 2 - Baldur's Gate is easily the
best PC RPG I've ever played. I'm a big fan of the non-linear story where you can wander
around and live life as you actually would. At least it would be a life you'd lead
assuming you were a sword swinging, magic brandishing, monster zapping kinda guy. While
not quite as good as some of the console games I've played this year, Baldur's Gate 2
certainly earns it's spot at number 4.
5) Grandia II - Great battle engine, a load of
dialogue, and superb voice acting, not to mention the quality graphics and music, Grandia
II is one of my favorite RPGs this year. This is one great RPG and holds a number 5 spot.
Chris "Zone Pharaoh" Reed's Top Picks
|1) Grandia II - I love all the new characters, I love the
graphical innovation in battles, I love the clarity of the visuals that Game Arts have
produced. I love the songs that are central to the game's warmth and cinematic charm. I
love the return of the battle system that mixes the virtues of both realtime action and
turn-based strategy. I love the dungeon designs, and the cool CG, and the soundtrack...
The first Grandia was a little better in some ways though.
Skies of Arcadia - Much of this game reminds me of the superb Panzer
Dragoon Saga. Probably no coincidence, as both games use a combination of exploring on
foot and in the sky, as well as both being ambitious in-house Sega titles. The cinematics
are realtime but are extremely impressive too. My mind isn't made up about certain
elements like the story and battle system just yet, due to not being very far into the
game. It'll be my most played title over the Christmas holiday though!
3) 3D Adventure Construction Dreamstudio - Make
your own cute, medieval fantasy RPG to whatever levels of excellence you desire! Or
perhaps not, as the whole thing has to be saved onto a Visual Memory. This is a very
polished product, with a huge range of people, monsters, buildings, trees, and other props
that can be thrown into a detailed 3D landscape. The music available to use is quite good
too! Although the pre-made game is very inventive and funny, the opportunity to make a
personal RPG featuring even more surreal scenarios is open to the player!
4) Chrono Cross - Much has been said about this
title already. My perspective on this game is - it's just so pretty! Great music and
really solid gameplay too. Despite the classic status of the SNES prequel I prefer this,
especially in terms of the character designs. I know Square are making a movie in Final
Fantasy's name already, but can't they do something with Chrono Cross, like an OVA CG
5) Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete - This could be
considered an exercise in retro gaming. All the same, the characters, well handled plot
twists and music are exceptional even now. To see the characters and other design elements
in fluid motion with help from digital animation specialist Gonzo makes this a very
Feena's Top Picks
|1) Final Fantasy IX - Though it did not become my favorite
Final Fantasy, FFIX was a really good surprise, and the first PlayStation FF that I really
loved. A game that managed to combine the series' early fantasy elements and endearing
characters, with the PlayStation's technical achievements. The praise the game's getting
is justified, if you ask me.
2) Grandia II
- Of course, the sequel to one of my favorite games had to be on this list. While Grandia
II conveys a rather different atmosphere from the original, it certainly lives up to the
reputation of the series. We want a Grandia III!
3) Sakura Taisen \ Sakura Taisen 2 (Re-releases) -
When one my all-time favorite series is remade for the Dreamcast, you can bet I'm not
going to miss it. Even if the enhancements are minor, the games still feel as good as they
did on the Saturn, and they're definitely worth any Import DC owner's money.
4) Valkyrie Profile - Although I have not actually
played the domestic version, I had to list VP somewhere. Its excellent graphics, amazing
music, and deep story made it one of the most interesting games released this year in
North America. Don't miss this one!
5) Chrono Cross - Great story, great characters,
great graphics. What more do you need to make an excellent RPG?
Dance Dance Revolution
Chu Chu Rocket
Samba De Amigo