RPG of the Year – 2008

I have to apologize in advance. I don’t own a PS3 or iPod, so there are a few titles here I can’t play that I’m sure you guys are going to dislodge your jaws wondering about. I’m sure Valkyria Chronicles is awesome. There, I said it…but I don’t know personally, so I can’t put it in my top 5. Not fair, but there it is. There are 35 games, so let’s do it!

#5 – Crisis Core – Final Fantasy 7 (PSP)

Crisis Core deserves praise for two reasons. One, yes, it contains the atmosphere of Final Fantasy 7, but it’s not all over Cloud’s penis, it’s its own story, and it’s actually a pretty damn good prequel, which I never thought would happen in relation to Final Fantasy 7. Two, it’s actually a good game. Now, that might not seem like much, but let’s really analyze this for a second.

Final Fantasy X-2 was completely unnecessary and while it did have a FEW good qualities, it was basically the FFX graphics engine with tweaks, a new shitty character, and that’s about it. They didn’t do enough new to really make it shine and it showed. Dirge of Cerberus was TERRIBLE and how dare you make me remember that abomination. Crisis Core isn’t just okay, it’s actually pretty damn good…if a little repetitive.

Really, that’s it’s major flaw. I’m sure some may consider it a flaw to even be connected to FF7 as some may try to compare it, but I was quick to NOT do that because it wasn’t trying to be FF7 and I was appreciative as such. So for those looking for another romp through Midgar with better graphics and different characters, check it out.

#4 – World Ends With You (DS)

There are so many good and bad things I want to say about this one it’s just unreal. For starters, having to control two separate characters in battle AT THE SAME TIME ON SEPARATE SCREENS is no easy task. However, it is very fun and as a result, challenging. The way food is consumed and time passes is equally interesting as it operates in REAL TIME.

This is something to keep in mind constantly, but it’s also an interesting gimmick that allows you to customize characters in a very different, progressive way. And if anything, that’s the key word for this game: progressive. Everything from the story to art style to music…it’s all very new and unique. It’s likely a game you will never forget.

#3 – Fable 2 (360)

Yes yes, another “it’s over before it begins” title. Go on, get it out. I won’t even bother talking about the DLC because again, a game should be able to stand on its own two legs first before we can even begin with expansions. The dog? Unnecessary. The aiming? Way oversimplified. No game overs? Are you shitting me?! And yet…it’s an incredibly addictive, engrossing experience.

The two major flaws, I believe, are the fact you top out too quickly as far as leveling up (though the easy to acquire potions don’t help) and the fact that Molyneux never really seems to plan beyond a 10 hour experience. And yet…this is a game I was still coming back to and having fun with all the way up to acquiring the third Fable…and still came back to every so often anyway.

It’s like The Sims. You just play it. You don’t know why, you just do. And suddenly half of your fucking day is gone.

#2 – Lost Odyssey (360)

I strongly considered putting this one in the #1 position, but there are two reasons I didn’t. One, it’s a VERY slow starter and has slow pacing overall. It seriously took me two years to finish the first disc because I would often get bored and go do something else. I mean, I acknowledged the 1000 years of dreams was an awesome concept and could tell they were leading to something big, but not enough happens quickly enough, combat is slow, and there’s a necessity to grind.

And yet…it’s one of the few games I’ve played in my entire life that’s actually made me cry. As I’ve stated before, usually a game tries too hard, not hard enough, or there are translation issues. With Lost Odyssey they made it seem so easy. It’s an excellent game with an excellent story. To anyone who’s played this, but almost immediately gets bored…you need to beat the first disc.

If you aren’t motivated to finish after that point, there’s something fucking wrong with you. But anyway, the second reason this didn’t make #1?

#1 – Fallout 3 (Multi)

Ayup. Fallout 3. The game every oldschool PC nerd was SURE Bethesda was going to fuck up. Sure, the story’s pretty damn short, but again, the massive amount of landscape, side missions, and whatever else more than make up for that. And of course, I won’t even get started on the DLC, but trust me when I say that opens up an entirely new dimension to it.

Fallout 3 was easily one of the most addictive experiences I’ve ever had and it still deserves kudos to this day.

Runner Ups

Once again, I’m terribly sorry there were just certain games I couldn’t rate. I’m CERTAIN VC deserves a place on this list, but without playing it, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. There are a lot of great runner ups this year worth checking out and if you’re wondering what #6 was, because trust me it was between it and #5 for a while, it was FES.

7.62 (PC)
Avernum 5 (PC)
Chaos Wars (PS2)
Disgaea 3 – Absence of Justice (PS3)
Dragonquest Swords – The Masked Queen and The Tower of Mirrors (Wii)
Drone Tactics (DS)
Eternal Poison (PS2)
Etrian Odyssey 2 – Heroes of Lagaard (DS)
Falling Stars (PS2)
Fate – Undiscovered Realms (PC)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles – My Life as a King (Wii)
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 – Grimoire of the Rift (DS)
King’s Bounty – The Legend (PC)
Infinite Undiscovery (360)
Legend – Hand of God (PC)
Luminous Arc 2 (DS)
Mana Khemia – Alchemists of Al-Revis (PS2)
Operation Darkness (360)
Opoona (Wii)
Rondo of Swords (DS)
Sacred 2 – Fallen Angel (PC)
Shin Megami Tensei – Persona 3 FES (PS2)
Song Summoner – The Unsung Heroes (iPod)
Spectral Force 3 – Innocent Rage (360)
Star Ocean – The First Departure (PSP)
Summon Night – Twin Age (DS)
Tales of Symphonia – Dawn of the New World (Wii)
Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)
Wild ARMs XF (PSP)
Zoids Assault (360)

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