If you play RPGs you’re probably looking at this list expecting the usual suspects like Chrono trigger and Diablo, however I’m sorry to disappoint; but the games on this list are of the more accessible variety, and when I say accessible I mean games that are easier to acquire as well as those that may be considered more appealing due to their mechanical or visuals.
So why make a list like this?
During my years as a gamer I’ve had the pleasure of playing numerous games in this genre and I’ve always tried to suggest the ones I liked to friends, even if they didn’t express interest in this genre. This has been met with some really mixed results and so I have put together a list of RPGs that are the top of their genre while also remaining totally accessible to anyone willing to invest the hours.
The games on this list are not only more accessible from a game-play point of view. They are also easy to find for modern platforms, so no need to bust out an emulator or surf eBay for a used NES console. I will include links to websites where you get the games so if you wish to acquire and play them then you can easily do so. Anywo lets get started. 😉
This beautiful piece of art called Eternal Sonata is the story about the polish romantic composer Frédéric Chopin who on his death bed ends up in a beautiful world through his dreams. The people that he meets on this journey all need his help in some way or the other and he needs them as well. This game is heavily influenced by music and its culture. So much so that the names of moves, weapons and other aspects of the game are named after different musical related things. At this point you may be assuming that this game is only for music buffs like my co-host of the BSP, Roger, but music is not the only thing that makes this a must play RPG. It’s just one of the perks. The game is very easy to pick up and play, while managing to be just the right amount of engaging to appeal to both RPG fans and those that are not. There is also a light and dark system that affects the monsters’ and your abilities as you fight. This system makes choosing where you fight on the battlefield just as important as the abilities and items you use in battle.
Eternal Sonata is also one of the most gorgeous games that I’ve ever played from a purely graphical point of view this is probably the second best looking game on this list. It has a very bright and colourful anime styled pallet that that continuously begs your eyes not to look away. As a reference point I’d like to mention that I played this game on the Xbox 360 and it looked amazing, so could you imagine what it would look like if it was ever ported to PS4, Xbox One or PC?
If I had to mention a flaw for this game it would be the story, as it is not the deepest most mind blowing, emotional story you’ll experience while playing an RPG.
This game is available for:
Xbox 360: link
Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch
(GASP) “ how could he put Ni No Kuni so high up the list”, I know many of you that have probably played this one are thinking those exact words, but please allow me to explain properly before you chastise me. First I’d like to direct you to the very first paragraph of this article. OK, now that we have that out of the way I can begin explaining. Ni No Kuni is one of the best RPGs ever made. It was developed by one of the best RPG developers in the industry; Level-5 along with one of the best animation studios, Studio Ghibli. By bringing together these two colossal giants it is to be expected that we would get a gem, and that is exactly what we got. If this was a list for just hard-core RPG fans this game would be so much higher up, but alas this is not that kind of list. You see, even though Ni No Kuni has the best looking world on this list and one of the most deep, emotional stories on here as well, it suffers from one aspect that would scare away those without the resolve to invest time grinding. Yep this is that kind of RPG. If one wants to taste the rainbow at the end of Ni No Kuni they better be prepared to grind a hard to get their monsters powerful enough to combat the tougher enemies that will arise. Ni No Kuni is a game that demands your time and that may scare away those that are not fans of RPGs, but I urge everyone of you to give this one the good old college try if you can, get it as its really worth it.
Ni No Kuni has a turn based battle system that those familiar with classic RPGs will be quite familiar with, but it may not be favourable with those that are not fans of this genre. From the feedback I have received from none RPG players, they dislike the slow pace that turn base usually offers. If I had to compare it to another game I’d compare it to either Final Fantasy’s battle system or Pokémon, because of the monster collection system.
This game’s only real flaw is the fact that it is a hard-core RPG coated in a sugar sweet graphical coating.
This game is available for:
Final Fantasy Main Series
The Final Fantasy series lands in 8th position, and I chose to mention the entire main series because different people have different favorites. This is because the FF series plays on different emotional strings and so there may be one that may get you to cry, while there may be another that will have you smiling all the way through. As we each have different emotions that we prefer when gaming it is only logical that we may have different favorites in the series. My personal Favs are FF 7, and 10, but then I have friends that prefer 3, and 4 more so the choice is really up to you. What I can say is that you should stay away from 11 and 14 as they are MMOs and not conventional RPGs.
The good thing about the FF series is that none of them are truly bad and so no matter the one you choose to play you should be able to have quite a lot of fun.
Like the Ni no Kuni the FF series are also a more hard-core RPGs and so you should be prepared to grind a bit. if that is something that bothers you then you may want to avoid these games.
These games are available for so many platforms these are the most accessible:
Tales Of series
The Tales of series is probably one of the top 2 RPG series I’ve ever played (heck I’m playing Tales of Hearts R around the same time as writing this article). The reason I hold these games in such high regard is because although the tales of games are not connected they all share a similarity or spiritual connection that no matter which ones you play you get that familiar feeling. This is helped by the beautiful graphical look of these game, which has a sort of 3D anime look, and the storytelling style that these games are famous for. Now don’t get me wrong the Tales of games are not going to be winning any awards for storytelling, but they do manage to deliver a warm easy to follow story by using different styles of storytelling such as anime cut scenes, popup heads, in engine cut scenes and text. Adding that to the fact that the Tales series uses a real time battle system makes it highly possible that it may appeal to anyone no matter if they like RPGs or not. The battle system for these games has also evolved from game to game, but it still manages to remain familiar no matter the gaming console it appears on or how much improvements have been added.
The only reason why the Tales series is not ranked higher on this list is because the tales they tell are not among the best you can experience in this genre, however this may be taken as a plus, because as mentioned before they make for very easy to follow stories. Another reason why it’s not higher on the list is because Namco Bandai have not kept the tales series on any particular console so you may be able to find some of the games on Nintendo systems, while others may only be available on Sony or Microsoft platforms.
These games are available for:
Xbox 360: link
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
So far this list has only had Japanese RPGs, but now it’s time to get a western RPG in the mix. KOA:R is a western RPG developed by Big Huge Games and 38 Studios. The game is a real time action styled RPG so those that play action games like God of War or DMC should find themselves at home. The combat system in this game is one of best I’ve encountered in any game. Along with the mechanics for crafting different items, magic and a perfect control scheme, it all comes together to give you the perfect game. Of all the games on this list I think this one is probably the easiest to recommend because it is easy to get into no matter your preference when it comes to genres.
KOA:R also boasts of a pretty good story, most of which is voiced by some pretty good voice work. When you first start the game you get to choose your protagonist’s race then customize them to your liking. As you progress through the game you will find more customization options via different types of armour.
If I had to say that this game had any flaws it would have to be the fact that the studios that developed it went bankrupt and so it’s up in the water if we will see a sequel to this gem. We can only hope that someone takes the IP under their wing and makes something good from it.
This game is available for:
Xbox 360: link