5) Fallout 3 (Xbox 360, PS3) - I honestly thought that I wouldnít get into Fallout 3, having never played the other games and was not a fan of the Elder Scroll series. I felt curious and impulsive one day to buy it, and hours into the game, I suddenly got hooked and enjoyed it. It is quite similar to Oblivion, yet felt a lot drawn into the world and its inhabitants. The main quest is rather short, but there are a ton of things to do to keep the player busy. The combat system, VATS, is also an interesting take on incorporating turn-based elements and gives the player freedom to decimate foes in their own way. A post-apocalyptic Washington DC certainly feels more engaging than a generic fantasy realm x.
4) Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS) - Level 5 departed from its grand RPG, and created a very fun, and challenging graphic adventure/puzzle game. There are many puzzles to solve, and a lot of them are cleverly done, keeping the player stumped and sometimes feels stupid on how simple the solution turns out. In addition to good puzzles, the story is also decent, providing some good twists. I hope to see more games from this interesting series.
3) The World Ends With You (DS) - This was my yearís biggest surprised and the most unique RPG Iíve played. It has a fresh and unique story along with trendy music and visuals to fit the hip, urban setting. It also has a unique combat system, enabling you a lot of different fighting styles with the use of the touch screen and some unique boss fights. It also has the most hateful protagonist ever, but even he grows on you and receives good development. Itís a very original game that received poor sales in Japan just for being so different. Itís a sad example of why there arenít many unique games like this these days.
2) Final Fantasy IV (DS) - Final Fantasy IV is special for being the first RPG Iíve played, and anticipated the remake for a while. The name and nostalgia factor alone would be enough for Square-Enix to make money with little effort, but they did not cheat the fans and made a great remake. It gave new life to the classic, keeping it faithful to the original while adding new content to enhance the overall experience. Augments are introduced to give customization to your party members, but they remain unique instead of being able to do everything. Itís a well-deserved remake and Iím glad that Square-Enix did not cheapen my childhood.
1) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2) - Atlus has done it again with another game of theirs being on the top of my list. Itís not a huge leap forward from the 3rd game, but it refined everything which made the previous installment good and left me with such a satisfying experience. Story is well-paced and leaves you hooked complemented by a strong cast. It looks stylish and the music provides more variety too. Very few RPGs are able to provide such enjoyment like Persona 4 can, and wouldnít even mind another game or two with this winning formula before changing things around.
Favorite RPG soundtrack of the year: Persona 4
Favorite non-RPG of the year: Mega Man 9