RPG of the Year – 1999

Yet another gigantic year for RPGs. There are 29 games! This will probably be the last year I do, at least for a while, so let’s not wait any longer and just hop right into it.

#5 – Star Ocean – The Second Story

Some people didn’t like this one or felt like it was overrated. Well, it is true the dialogue could’ve been better and the story wasn’t nearly as strong as a lot of other RPGs, but I especially liked the battle system and the private actions/affinity system was really cool, though at times there really wasn’t a “right” answer for some scenarios. The only thing I was disappointed with was the ending.

See, it was touted for having a “ridiculous” amount of endings, but really it amounted to just summing up what everyone was doing, depending on various affinities. So TECHNICALLY there were a ridiculous amount of endings, but in reality, it was copy/pasted together depending on the private actions, affinities, and whatever. Still a great game, but sadly, probably the best of the series.

#4 – Suikoden 2

If you ask me, both this and Suikoden 3 are the best of the series. The story is great, the characters are awesome, the graphics and music are much better than the original, and there are plenty of new mechanics added to this entry. The bottom line is if you liked the original, you will love this entry. Of course…that’s if you can find it. I sold my copy previously for almost $300, so good luck!

#3 – System Shock 2

I can’t say much about this one other than it feels very much like Deus Ex. Why? Because…it doesn’t work on my system. At all. I’ve futzed with it over and over and I can’t get past training because it constantly crashes. Therefore, there are two reasons this is on the list and while they may not seem fair, just hear me out. One, acclaim. While everyone usually immediately downloads/installs Deus Ex immediately upon hearing it, this one always seems to make peoples’ top 10 lists.

Second, from what I’ve seen on youtube and have actually (barely) played, it reminds me of Deus Ex. Now again, I don’t expect that to necessarily satisfy most people, but until I can get my copy actually working properly, there isn’t much more I can say.

#2 – Planescape – Torment

This game is essentially the same as what Morrowind is to me; it has a great story, characters, environment, concept, and much more, but the dialog ANNOYS THE SHIT OUT OF ME. It’s almost as if the writers were aware of how good their writing was, so they NEVER STOPPED. EVER. I always feel like when you ask a question in these games, there are often way too many questions you can ask that lead to encyclopedias of useless information and you’ll often get the same when you ask a question that really is supposed to help you.

“You want to know about the dragon that kidnapped the princess? Well, the dragon is apparently the reincarnation of the Evil King Damascus VII, former ruler of Disalbion, and he haunts both here and the Netherealms. It is said the dragon breathes fire up to 100 meters and is approximately 1000 degrees Fahrenheit! Further, the dragon scales are made of-” SHUT THE FUCK UP I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHERE HE IS AND HOW TO KILL HIM.

And again, it’s not that it isn’t well written, it’s that the writing NEVER STOPS and just goes on and on about ANYTHING, relevant or not. P-T is literally a game I’ve started no less than 10 times and yet I always manage to put it back down only a few hours later, never to pick it up again for months, at which point I start over again because I can’t remember what I was doing.

It really is a brilliant game and it could just be that I don’t fascinate myself with endless streams of dialog. I’d still give it a try, especially if you’re looking for something different.

#1 – Grandia (PS1)

PC gamers totally won’t agree with me here and I totally don’t care. Grandia is not a revolutionary RPG for its plot, but it should be praised for its characters, dialog, and ESPECIALLY awesome battle system. Instead of being purely turn-based, there’s a time bar and both heroes and enemies are on it. As time goes on, you can queue up commands, cancel enemy movements, cast spells, work on magic and weapon proficiencies, and much more in this interesting, semi-turn based combat system.

Actually, if I went on explaining it, it would either sound like the dreadful FF13 battle system or totally confusing. My recommendation? FUCKING PLAY IT. It’s an amazing game that’s totally addictive, full of bright and vibrant colors, has awesome music and sound effects, and there’s even good voice acting! You MUST play this game, period.

Runner Ups

And we finally come to a close (at least for now). There were a lot of great titles this year (and some not so great ones) and most are well worth checking out. But before I give you the full list of runner ups, some might be wondering why Final Fantasy 8 didn’t make this list. I HATE FF8. See, most people think people didn’t like FF8 because it came out after the immensely successful (and admittedly over-hyped) FF7.

Some people think FF7 succeeded in a futuristic RPG where FF8 failed, and mostly because the novelty was over. No. FF7 was still a traditional RPG and felt like FF, where FF8 feels almost like an anti-FF. You don’t buy new weapons; you upgrade them. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it was more like what Dark Cloud did, but instead you have to find obscure items that will either be tucked away in hidden chests somewhere or only stealable from certain monsters that like to run and/or are incredibly hard to steal from.

Triple Triad was annoying, overrated, and absolutely necessary if you wanted to get all the special stuff, so it became a pain in the ass. The story is chock full of glaring plot holes, I didn’t like the characters at all, the “romance” between Squall and Rinoa feels absolutely forced, and even the dialogue of the characters got on my nerves at times. By the time I reached the 4th disc, I just wanted it to be DONE, which is why the final dungeon especially pissed me off.

The only positive thing I can say about the title is the graphics and music were very well done, but that’s like saying people should shut up about FF13 because “OOOH, SPARKLY.” That said, I would still recommend checking out most of the OTHER games on the runner ups list, so there you go.

Blades of Exile
Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon 2
Darkstone
Dragon Warrior Monsters
Evolution – The World of Sacred Device
Final Fantasy 5 (PS1)
Final Fantasy 8
Guardian’s Crusade
Jade Cocoon
Jagged Alliance 2
Kagero – Deception 2
Lands of Lore 3
Legend of Legaia
Magic & Mayhem
Might and Magic 7
Monsterseed
Odium
Pokemon Yellow
Septerra Core
Shadow Madness
Shadow Tower
Thousand Arms
Ultima 9
Vandal Hearts 2

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Filed under GotY Series, PC, PS1, Retro, Sony, Videogames

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