If the title has not already lend you a clue, I love RPG’s (Role Playing Games). For me they are the best genre in gaming. Story is the main focus as well as truly spending time and building up your characters through a series of battles and challenges that seem to mirror real-life. I guess that is one of the reason why I love them so much, you actually have to work for your reward and victory in the game. A lot of times the challenges of the characters and their stories even seem to emulate our own minus the fantasy worlds and outlandish battles.
I have a lot of RPG’s that I love, and this time I am going to share five that I five which are some of my favorites. The games I could play over and over and always seem to find something new to explore or think about. In these games grinding is not a chore but an honor, and the characters are not just visuals on a screen but moving art which show a wide range of emotions. This is an ode to my five favorite RPG’s.
5. Odin Sphere
Odin Sphere’s Opening Theme by Hitoshi Sakimoto
Fun facts about Odin Sphere:
- The game is entirely in 2D, whereas nearly all games are now 3D
- Was awarded a perfect 10 / 10 by Play Magazine
- The game’s feel is rooted in Shakespearean themes
- During the localization process, text fonts had to be resized for English
- It has received an average score of 82% from the gaming media
This one is a blend of action and role-playing which has it’s fair share of battles that are fast paced and furious as you hack and slash your way to victory. But that is only a small portion of the fun of it all. On one side of the spectrum you have a game which satiates your need to bludgeon things to a fine dust and on the other hand you have a deep customization system which emphasizes not endless battles but food requirements to level up.
That is right, I said food. In Odin Sphere you level up by eating certain foods that you personally grow yourself on the field. The plants grow anything from something as simple and usual as grapes to a plant that actually grows sheep! All items have their curative as well as stat boosting properties.
One of the most fun aspects of the game is that if certain foodstuffs are collected along with their respective recipes, you can take them to a restaurant which will make you a dish that is rich in experience points. These recipes can be found as you beat enemies, alongside the alchemy system which by combining one item with something that is called material creates an item that can be used in battle. This leads to such helpful items such as napalm and an item that can turn your enemy into a frog. The possibilities are endless in item customization in Odin Sphere that this facet alone makes it a joy to play.
The battle system is typical hack and slash action-role playing game, but it never presents itself in a dull way, also the enemies are challenging but not cheap. This makes Odin Sphere a rewarding game with some great side-scrolling action. What holds the game together as well as truly give it it’s role playing badge of honor is the story.
Mostly drawing from Western mythology riddled with fairies, dwarfs, dragons, talking animals and other typical fantasy fare, Odin Sphere is more along the lines of a Shakespearean play than it is, say, a World of Warcraft game. Odin Sphere follows five different characters all with their own distinct personalities and struggles that intertwine within the overall story that revolves around a dangerous prophecy. Betrayal, forbidden love, and all-out war are just some of the story lines that are packed in the tale of Odin Sphere.
To move the story along gracefully, the art of Odin Sphere is superb with exquisite two dimensional art that is as fantastical as the story that it tells. Every Character is rendered and boss fights literally take up the whole screen evoking a lager-than-life ambiance. The music is also grand in it’s own right with epic musical scores as well as whimsical waltz-like works, every musical piece fits perfectly with the overall scope of Odin Sphere.
The game can be found on it’s distributors website, Atlus.com, for a mere twenty dollars. It is worth every penny and I highly recommend picking this gem up.
4. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Intro
Fun facts about Disgaea:
- Has been released on the PS2, Nintendo DS, and PSP
- Was voted IGN’s “Best Game No One Has Played” award
- Gamespy awarded it as “Strategy Game of the Year” for 2003
- The game has spawned a manga, spin-offs, and other media
- It has received an average score of 85% from the gaming media
If there is one thing that I want for my RPG games, it would have to be length. This is what makes and RPG an RPG. It’s a labor of love to play an game that is long and innumerable hours shall be spent grinding levels, obtaining items, and beefing up your team to create a crew of indomitable warriors to stand against any foe. What better game to signify these wonderful attributes in the realm of Role Playing than the first game in the Disgaea saga? I literally have spent countless hours committing myself to conquering the wacky underworld of Disgaea. The series delighted it’s fans for the last eight years spanning three sequels and a plethora of spin-off games.
This is one of those games where the story itself is enough to keep you hooked. The plot is humorous enough for newcomers with plenty of funny gags all throughout the game, while self-referential enough in it’s spoofs for already established fans of Japanese pop-culture. The story revolves around Laharl, the prince of the netherworld who has heard the news of his fathers death.
But instead of mourning his fathers death, being the little devil that he is (literally) he views it as a challenge to obtain the title of overlord. Now, with the help of his less than reputable right-hand-woman Etna along with his rag-tag-crew of demons, Laharl must fight his way along the dark depths of the netherworld.
The character building capabilities are a perpetual but rewarding task, with the amount that characters can be beefed up. Most RPG’s allow you to level up your characters to levels as high as ninety-nine, but in the world of Disgaea it is not uncommon to see a character that is in the digits of the thousands. The hall of ordeals is an ideal place to create a team of super characters that will destroy the competition, that is if you can survive it of course.
Characters here have the opportunity to obtain unheard amounts of experience here. The item world is also a unique addition to this game allowing the player the ability to level up items to insane amounts as well. This gives every character in your team a chance to create either a weapon of pure destruction, or a curative item of great benevolence.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness brings such creative game play endeavors such as the dark council which gives it a political edge. New worlds, items, incentives and twisted laws of the underworld can be passed here all at the price of your hard earned mana (MP). All laws can be passed through bribery of items that members of the netherworld senate want, and if that does not work they can be beaten into submission. New characters can also be created here from scratch and customized as well through the use of mana depending on the desired stats that the player sees fit.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkess has something for everyone. Whether it’s the funny plot line, the joy of character creation, or the deep customization of items and characters. Disgaea has what it takes to give players the countless hours of fun they crave.