The lights are on
These role-playing games may have not been the flashiest, and their budgets probably weren’t bursting with dollar signs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t special. We searched far and wide to find a variety of games with RPG elements to feature. Some are purely strategy, others are more action-based, and we even found one with dating sim elements. The following games never achieved the level of recognition they deserved, but maybe one of these diamonds in the rough is just the RPG experience you’ve been craving.
Nier (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)
In 2010, many blockbuster RPGs hit, such as Mass Effect, Fallout New Vegas, and Final Fantasy XIII, but Nier provided a completely unique experience. Nier brings a missing simplicity to the RPG genre. The graphics aren’t flashy and the combat is easy, but Nier still leaves a lasting impression with its well-written characters and story accompanied by a memorable soundtrack. Nier isn’t about a petty adventure; the story centers on a father’s desperate journey to find a cure for his dying daughter. In these heavy moments, Nier has the perfect companions – the feisty Kaine and sarcastic Grimoire Weiss (yes, a book), who both provide banter and genuine friendship. Their humorous dialogue also provides perfect balance throughout Nier’s emotional plight. With characters and a world to overtake you, Nier is easy to get lost in.
Jeanne D’Arc (PlayStation Portable)
Jeanne D’Arc was an experiment for Level-5. Action battle systems had always been their forte, but they weren’t afraid to test the waters with a strategy RPG. It worked in their favor. Jeanne D’ Arc meshes history and fantasy in a thrilling tale, while also providing deep tactical warfare. Even more exciting is being cast in the role of the infamous Joan of Arc with a fantasy-styled France’s future in your hands during the Hundred Years’ War. After all, bringing demons and magic into history only makes things more interesting.
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PlayStation Portable)
When Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky was released in 2011, it quickly climbed its way to fan favorite status. No surprise really, as Nihon Falcom (creators of the Ys series) is the mastermind behind it. But instead of just honing in on the battle system, the developers created charming characters along with witty dialogue leagues above other RPGs. How many games are so detailed that NPCs feel like people and not signposts? Where exploration has the potential to unlock a hidden secret or funny dialogue sequence? Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky put in the extra effort, and it shines through in every town and dungeon.
Radiant Historia (Nintendo DS)
Two words: time travel. Most RPG fans might think of Chrono Trigger, but Radiant Historia proves you can build off what works and make it new again by tweaking the rules. In Radiant Historia, you can travel forward and backward in time, but the game succeeds by allowing you to repeat events and shift between two timelines. Did an event not go the way you expect? Replay the moment again and learn from the other timeline to ultimately forge the right path through the story. Radiant features multiple endings based on your choices. Radiant Historia feels like a classic RPG from the '90s, surged back into the limelight.
Valkyria Chronicles (PlayStation 3)
Strategy RPGs are fun, but few rarely shake up the formula. Thank fully, Valkyria Chronicles wasn’t afraid to alter its systems to make the genre feel new and exciting again. Valkyria Chronicles shifts the standard Strategy RPG gameplay in a big way by giving you real-time control of your characters as they traverse the map. Yes, you're still constrained by strategy standbys of action points and a limited move range, but the real-time combat is incredibly engaging. That's not to say that it's a run-and-gun, since your position and stats take precedence over twitch skills. In an era where SRPGs aren’t ruling the pack, Valkyria Chronicles shows they still can.
[Next Up: a dating sim meets mech warfare and a homage to Zelda....]
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Well, the problem with Nier was that you guys gave it a pretty scathing 6.5. I wanted to get into with it, but with that review, I stayed away. I think that was the problem with that, it was so critically panned hardly anyone played it.
I'm glad Jeanne d'Arc was mentioned... I loved that game
You didn't mention Nier's 4 endings. Every time you beat the game it expands the ending.
I've played through Nier 3 times and it is amazing. One of my favorite games in fact. Gameinformer did a great injustice by giving it a 6.5 (the same rating as Duke Nukem Forever). Nier is also an great example of how to do a dark story and ending right, along with difficult choices.
I'm depressed because I've only played Radiant Historia - but it's a game I recommend, if you can track it down.
These games bring a much different look simply because of their lack of budget...
3d Dot game Heroes is amazing. I still need to find time to finish it but it is a great game.
i like how most if not all are on sony systems :D
Brave Story <3
Good list, should definitely check the ones on the PS3 out. The others look cool to. Too bad I don't have the other systems. They all look pretty cool.
I'm playing through Radiant Historia right now! Almost done in fact
Well, I plan to buy a PSP in the future, so this list definitely helps me out. :D
oh, man, these games are awesome. I haven't played all of these, but now i have something to look for to keep my RPG itch scratched. And i always wanted to play Sakura wars. I wish Brave Story: New Traveler was still available to download on the PSN. it was taken off one day with no warning. It was a great game, and the first RPG i beat on that system. while the tale grew a little cliched (in my opinion) the battles were awesome, and despite the rolling of my eyes at a point or two, i came to care for the characters. Valkyria Chronicles 2 was also amazing. Which makes me burn knowing that Sega will never bring out Valkyria Chronicles 3 in America.
rpgs are changing from how they used to. back then u have big open worlds with lots of exploration now its more decision making and customization. if they had all that in tha mix kinda like lost odyssey were u actually see tha items ur putting on it would make them so much better. but still i luv all rpgs anyway even sum bad ones like last remnant
I'm glad to have another JRPG nut along with Joe on the GI team. I feel like we don't usually get a whole bunch of content focusing on the genre on the site. Lately I've been seeing a lot, though. :)
And not a single one of them for PC. No wonder they're relatively unheard of.
1 Xbox game on the list. That makes it easy next time i go to gamestop.
Love Anime Good Story Picture and read