This was another easy year. And yes, I’ll likely be annoying PC gamers, but before I do, consider this: all 5 of the titles selected were either PHENOMENAL or the best of their respective series. There is literally no reason they should be on the top 5 list and the only one I really feel bad about not including is Breath of Fire 2. There are 20 games in total, so let’s get started!
#5 – Phantasy Star 4
As a general recap, though the original PS was revolutionary for its time and PS2 even moreso, PS3 was just okay. It was still better than a lot of the other RPGs that came out that year, but it’s definitely a slow starter and you really have to stick with it to get anything out of it. PS4, however, is an incredible sci-fi RPG that is well deserving of its following.
Actually, this was one of the few reasons I really wanted a Sega Genesis back in the day. Sure, the virtual console, emulation, remakes, and whatever else have alleviated that need, but it was something that literally rivaled that of the Final Fantasy series at the time. Great anime cutscenes, humorous and good characters, and a great plot overall…PS4 has it all.
#4 – Earthbound
Earthbound is probably the strangest and most awesome RPG you’ll ever play. It combines elements from traditional console RPGs and throws in all sorts of wackiness. The only downside is the game is so bizarre at times that you really need some sort of walkthrough to know what you’re doing. Of course, if you bought the game brand new back in the day (and I did), you got a free strategy guide with it.
Bizarre, trippy, and hilarious, this is a charming RPG that everyone should try.
#3 – Lunar – Eternal Blue
Sometimes sequels don’t quite work out. Sure, you have games like the FF series that seem to get better over time (at least to a point), but there are so many games that just can’t trump the original. This is an example of both an incredible JRPG and also a brilliant sequel. Absolutely everything’s been improved and if you liked the original, you can’t possibly pass up this great sequel.
#2 – Ogre Battle
Take a good look at that box, because chances are you’ll never see it again. I recall Ogre Battle selling for over $100 in the Funcoland catalogs back in the day. Funcoland, as you probably know, then developed into Gamestop. This game was so rare it was fucking ridiculous, and for good reason. You could literally play the game 10 times in a row and end up with different results in terms of party members, ending, alliances, and so on.
It’s a strategy/RPG unlike any other that constantly changes depending on performance, choices, and so on. I’ve literally never played anything like it since, except other Ogre Battle titles, of course. There have been several remakes and ports, but nothing quite beats the original.
#1 – Chrono Trigger
If you really suspected anything could beat Chrono Trigger the year it came out, you were SORELY mistaken. Chrono Trigger was revolutionary for so many reasons I could literally write a novel about it. When I previously reviewed it, I gave this game a 10. Even today, I stand by that. The only negative thing I can think about this title is I’ve played through it so many times that I have no desire to do so again.
This is partially because of how many endings there are, but it’s also because I played it a FEW MORE TIMES after getting all those endings. I don’t think I played ANY other RPGs for a while because of this game. It is absolutely addicting and while I see traces of its brilliance on other titles, nothing quite shines like this gem did. This is literally one of Squaresoft’s finest products.
I look at this list and there are literally only 3 games I can’t recommend. This was an excellent year for RPGs and come to think of it, it seems like things can only get better. The top 5 are amazing titles that are easily accessible, but definitely give the runner ups a shot, too!
Breath of Fire 2
Dungeon Master 2
Exile – Escape from the Pit
Jagged Alliance – Deadly Games
Knights of Xentar
Ravenloft – Stone Prophet
Secret of Evermore
Secret of the Stars
Shining Force CD
World of Aden – Thunderscape