I think you didn’t play enough games :P. This was a pretty interesting year for RPGs. The Last Remnant is a disaster. It is like taking Infinite Undiscovery and turning it into a slide show instead of a video game. When I first saw that TLR got worse reviews than IU, I couldn’t believe it because I felt IU was one of the worst games I had played in YEARS. These were disastrous for the genre. SE redeemed itself with the highly atypical The World Ends with You which was without a doubt one of the best and most original games I have played in years.
In terms classical RPG, Tales of Vesperia without a doubt destroys all competition. I am not a big tales fan, but this one blew me away. The sheer quality of this game and the attention given to all the details was mindblowing. The graphics were great, the music was good, the voice acting was some of the best of any RPG made to date and the characterization was on the spot. The sheer quality of this game is symbolized by the fact that it caused a complete sell out of all Xboxes in Japan and made the Xbox outsell the PS3 for months afterwards. I don’t think anyone ever anticipated this to ever happen.
Fallout 3 was a good open world game but it had its flaws. I’ve given my thoughts on the subject before, and basically it is summarized by how Bethesda does what its good at and doesn’t realize what its not good at. They sacrifice the quality of their pacing and the depth of their characterization for their setting The setting and gameplay are great and they make for a good game. The achievement of what they did can’t be denied but considering how long they took to make this, they should’ve planned a little better. Nevertheless a great game. In the same vein, Fable II came out and I got it for Christmas. I haven’t played it yet though. Reviews agree that it is a good game.
I’m not sure that we should be talking about games like Baroque because Baroque and Etrian Odyssey and the many other games like it. These games are roguelikes and are analogous to Nethack.
Another RPG that came out was Tales of Symphonia 2 but this was a disapointment and I knew it was going to be because it was obvious there were cost and timing issues when they announced they were cutting the overworld. It was a bizarre tales game , its just a shame that it didn’t exploit more what it had to make it a Tales classic like ToS 1.
PS3 wise I regret not being able to play Valkyria Chronicles, what is supposed to be an incredible strategy RPG. I think Luminous Arc 2 is out, or at least it came out in Japan. An average, but surely entertaining RPG that undoubtedly follows in the footsteps of its predecessor.
Other RPGs came out throughout the year, a few of them remakes: Chrono Trigger, FFIV DS remade and DQIV DS remade. These were also all excellent titles. I was surprised to completed my first pass through Chrono Trigger in under 17 hours. Another remake for DS was Disgaea 1. For PC was a re-release of Mass Effect which was also an excellent RPG and re-release of the Witcher, which is also supposed to be very good.
So overall, I have to say this was a good year for RPGs, with more quality RPGs released in 1 year than in the past few. I’m sure I’m missing a few titles right now. This was definitely one of the best years in all of gaming, as so many other great games came out that weren’t RPGs: GTAIV, Ninja Gaiden II, Braid, Castle Crashers, Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Ninjatown, Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead and so many more good titles. MMO players even got a WoW expansion. The sheer volume of titles that came out since October is unprecedented and I actually hope it never happens again because this is not good for the industry as seen with some poor sales on otherwise good titles. In all this, I can’t even address other games I haven’t had the chance to play like MGS4 and the Persona titles.