Best RPGs of 2008?

So, what did we all think of the past year in RPGs? Personally, I find it hard to say, cos I admittedly didn’t play some of the big-name RPGs (Fallout 3 and Persona 4), but I think this was a mostly depressing year for RPGs. A lot of okay games, but hardly any really awesome games.

For me, my favorite RPG of the year would easily be the homebrew RPG, Barkley: Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden, a quick 6-7 hour romp that hysterically mocks just about everything that’s stupid about the RPG genre.

If you won’t count homebrew stuff, then my vote would default to The World Ends With You, an RPG that shows that Square-Enix can still make RPGs that aren’t the same old cookie-cutter bullshit that they’ve been releasing lately. Although, it is frustating to see that they AREN’T doing this as much as they could.

Also, for me, the most underrated RPG of the year goes to Baroque. For anyone who thinks this shouldn’t count based on the fact that Baroque is a remake, then my vote would easily default to The Last Remnant, which, while not an AMAZING game, is still way, way, waaaaaaaaaay better than reviewers are saying. I’ll give the reviewers one thing, though: The Last Remnant sure is ugly. :confused:

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.

I’m gonna have to say the CT remake was the best RPG of '08. Hands Down. It was the only game I preordered in '08. But then I had to sell my DS to pay my cell phone bill due to the fact that I spent my money on beer

But if remakes don’t count, then my vote goes to GTAIV…Which I will maintain IS in fact an action RPG/criminal overlord sim. It has a fake internet, you can date women, all kinds of other things can be done in this too. I drained nearly two months of my life playing this at my brother’s house.

But if GTAIV doesn’t count… well fuck. I’ll go with Chaos Wars. I never got to finish it, but it was a GameStop exclusive SRPG for PS2 featuring characters from Growlanser, Shadow Hearts, Gungrave and a couple other titles.

and if an IP medley which had great gameplay with a somewhat clusterfucked story doesn’t count…then my vote will go to…I was kinda out of the loop this year as far as RPGs go. I was more into Madden and Tiger Woods this past year. As well as going to the internet cafe for my weekly C-Strike source fix before getting the internet. And as far as the forums go…I’m way out of the loop. I haven’t been active here for years.

Wait I just thought of something. Fable II. I briefly played it at a buddy’s house and I was hooked. Now I’m just waiting for it to drop on PC because I boycott Xbox 360.

Edit: Hey SG, where can I find Shut up and Jam Gaiden. It sounds pretty cool.

I dunno if I really agree with what you’ve said about The Last Remnant. The slowdown is pretty bad, but it doesn’t make the game unenjoyable by ANY means, and it’s not nearly as bad as the reviewers are crying about, especially if you install the game onto your HD. I’m about 5-8 hours in and I’m loving it - The combat system is cruel and unusual at first, but it’s AWESOME once you get the hang of it.

I didn’t try Tales of Vesperia for a ton of reasons. For one, I really am turned off by the combat system of Tales and Star Ocean games, and I’ve never liked a single one. For two, the stories always feel almost the exact same; even my best friend who faps off to this series agrees with me on this. Overall, it sounds like it’s probably the best iteration of the Tales series to date, but I’ve just never enjoyed them enough to finish any of them by myself. Also, Motoi Sakuraba’s music for me is like this magical trance that makes me wanna kill babies.

Roguelikes are pretty much always clumped in the same category as RPGs, much like how Diablo-style games are.

Valkyria Chronicles sounds really awesome, but I’ll probably never get a chance to play it :confused: Luminous Arc 2 didn’t sound like much of an improvement over the original game, which sounded mediocre through and through - I’m talking about BEST, here. Besides that, I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that I’m very skeptical of anything released by Atlus.

I tried not to include remakes in my answers. Even if I did, you know I didn’t like FF4 that much, lol. Dragon Quest 4 was good, for sure, but I would have trouble calling it one of the BEST RPGs of the year. I never liked Disgaea, and Chrono Trigger didn’t even get any really substantial changes - probably for the better.

And, by the way, I really think you owe it to yourself to take a weekend playng Barkley: Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden. Seriously, SUCH an awesome game. For anyone who’s interested, you can find it here:

I agree with you about the Tales series. I don’t fap to the series like your friend, so for me ToV was a surprise. Some aspects of the games are redundant in a few ways so I will agree to that. What surprised me about ToV was that they didn’t need to be original about their concepts to make a great game. They took what they had and they polished it more than any other RPG polished their game this year. Combat is a huge part of the game and if you don’t like it, I understand it will severely impact your experience. So I can see where you’re coming from. What I especially liked about it is that I could play it with my gf. I don’t mind the system so it all works out nicely. Sakuraba hasn’t been as bad in ToS and ToV as he was in previous games he’s made. I agree with you that classical Sakuraba is absolutely horrifying. There are certain themes that I like that he makes, like overworlds and town music and dungeon music (usually). Battle and tension music is on and off depending on how much meth he’s on and how high pitched the techno he makes it.

The two player aspect is definitely the only part of the game that made it really tolerable for me in the first place. Back when me and my best friend lived in the same town, we played through both of the PSX games together, and that was the only way I could be bothered to finish a game.

Also, I guess I’d need to hear new Sakuraba. For all of his stuff that I’m familiar with, I just can’t stand how hyperactive and bipolar all of his songs are, and how he basically would write the exact same soundtrack from game to game. :confused:

In any case, I think I’m more interested in trying it after this discussion than I was before. I know a lot of reviewers hit it hard on being unoriginal, but it almost felt like they did that just so that they’d have something to complain about. And, personally, I’m a really huge fan of when dev teams take an idea and refine it to perfection, instead of going “oop, we didn’t get that quite right, fuck it”. You probably know this, based on the way I’ve defended Street Fighter 2 recently :stuck_out_tongue: I sure as hell won’t BUY the game, but I think I’ll definitely try and rent it when I can.

I was slightly disappointed this year. I’ve been looking forward to Fable 2 for awhile, but they changed some of the things I really liked and put a lot more stuff in menus instead of keeping it flowing with the controls. It is a good game, but I just can’t get into it like I can Fable.

Fallout 3 is good, but not the game of the year that it is made out to be. It seems like Oblivion, but in the apocalypse.

The SquareEnix DS rpgs were all great though that I have a hard time deciding which one to play. I didn’t play a lot of RPGs this year though since I was in training.

I particularly love Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Persona 3: FES and Persona 4.

The only Sakuraba soundtrack I even really enjoy now is VP(or VP:Lenneth for those who have only played the NTSC-J or PSP[which is based on the NTSC-J] version(which IMHO is inferior to the NA version of the game anyway). Maybe it’s cause I’m a huge VP fan, or maybe it’s because every OST he’s put out after VP sounds like it’s trying to emulate the VP soundtrack(e.g. SO3, Baten Kaitos, pretty much anything after VP.) But I am digressing. That said Barkley:Shut Up and Jam :Gaiden is a sweet game, I watched the trailers while downloading it…I love this next quote

That’s the best warning for any game I’ve seen in years. Barkley:Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden For the epic win. I like it so much I’m sigging it


I agree with that as well. But that has a lot to do with it being developed/produced by Bethesda Softworks and published by 2KGames. who as some of us may or may not know, were the team behind ESIV: Oblivion.

Out of all the DS remakes, I enjoyed Chrono Trigger, perhaps even more so than FFIV or DQIV. There’s a couple bonus dungeons, but unlike the other two…CT remianed essentialy the same as the SNES version…with anime cutscenes. I did not play the FFIV remake, and though it was cool to see the DQIV remake…I would have rather seen DQVI or VII remade. but the FFIV(as well as last year’s FFIII) remake proved one thing. The DS is the most likely platform for an FFVII remake(if that is more than just mere rumors) based on how the FFIII and FFVI remakes looked alone(as well as Sony tanking in the JP market) as well as the new DS that is planned with an SD card slot(expected to hit the US late in 09). I’m gonna pick one up just so I can figure out how to homebrew on it.

Edit2: I did play the FFIII remake and the DQIV remake…fun stuff…but not quite as canon as CT.

Edit3: SG I’m sigging this quote too…even though I love VP…I agree with this

I’m not any good at retrospectives as I’m usually playing more older games than current stuff.
That said, I was quite surprised with The World Ends With You. It wasn’t a Square rehash, it had style (even though I initially disliked it), the combat system was fun and it kept me playing for more hours than I would have guessed.

I was glad to see a more interesting Castlevania after Portrait of Ruin. Order of Ecclesia practically eschewed a storyline and was quite linear, but the battle system and the more challenging bosses kept me paying attention. Truth be told, I don’t know what’s the original pacing of the game, as I kept notes for wiki. I still think they should have tried to use the DS’s controls after the excellent Sisters mode in the previous game.

Some DS remakes were quite fun too. I’m holding off on playing Fallout 3 as I want to have a social life.

Nothing really stood out this year for me. I heard Fable II was good, but I want something that sucks me in like the old RPGs. Everything in 2008 seemed so average and derivative. I didn’t play most of them, but you know how it is, when you can take one glance at a game and think “Yeah… it looks good… but I’ve just been here so many times before… Give me something fresh.” Playing another 3rd person, skill-boosting, item-farming, fetch-questing, level grinding Diablo clone is just… bleh. It’s like taking that 15th shot of the night and not even tasting it anymore. Fuck me.

I gotta say though, the new FFXIII trailers are dazzling.

Persona IV hands down. Although not good as its predecessor, that’s like saying, “Well, Gandhi didn’t heal lepers or anything.” I found the characters realistic, the plot intimite, and the battle system VASTLY improved from the previous Persona games. The only downside I thought was that the daily management of social links and stat increases was more poorly managed.

Of course, the only other RPGs released this year that I played included Fallout 3 and King’s Bounty (if you count that as an RPG). I doubt anybody has played King’s Bounty, but it’s basically Heroes of Might and Magic only without as much castle and resource magic; it’s concentrated mainly on maintaining your troops, battling, and questing. So I really like that, because I fucking HATED the stupid castle management stuff. Note that you can marry a frog and/or zombie in this game, as well.

The only original game I played this year was really TWEWY, which was awesome and unusual (though not something I’d want to play for 40 hours on end like some other RPGs). I don’t think I bought a single console game other than KH:Re:CoM, which admittedly was better than I expected after playing the GBA version.

Counting remakes, Star Ocean: First Departure and Chrono Trigger were really good. I seem to recall CT being more fun than it was though… a lot of battles were “mash A button”. 8-( I’ve done one of the new dungeons so far (the one in Prehistoria/Middle Ages) and it had some great ideas but ended up being amazingly boring because of all the back-and-forth you had to do. FF4 was OK but the original game doesn’t hold up so well to begin with, unfortunately.

I liked Crisis Core quite a bit, but whoever thought those 300 totally identical missions were a good idea should be shot.

That’s exactly what I wanted to say as well. o_o (maybe if I can get TLR for free, I’ll try it…)

My vote goes to Tales of Vesperia. Easily. I think I played this game for about 70-80 hours, then killed all the versions of the final boss 3 or 4 times to get the super rare weapon that only drops if you kill the second form with a special move (or something like that :D). I have yet to play a new game and beat the bonus dungeon, but I’ll get to it eventually. >.> And one great thing about this game is that all characters are lovable (even the ugly kid), which is pretty remarkable.

Ughh…You know, with all due respect to both of you, that’s such a crappy thing to say. The negative points of TLR are that the graphics and framerate are bad. The negative points of IU are that it sucks, and was made by a crappy dev team, that in my opinion frequently releases crappy games.

I’ve never heard of anyone giving a game a 5.3 because of graphical issues, and the framerate issues only occur in battle and do absolutely NOTHING to diminish your enjoyment of the game or make it harder to play - no, not even the timed button presses you may have read about, because the game gives you such an absurdly large margin of error for pressing the buttons on time, that you can’t rarely miss them unless you’re just not paying attention, nevermind that you can set them to work on AUTO.

Isn’t the whole point of a game to be FUN? Take another game that was produced by this guy - Legend of Mana. The combat system is broke as shit, because every enemy is retarded, every dangerous move is telegraphed and gives you like ten seconds to move out of the way, and you can perform an infinite combo on 99% of all enemies including bosses? Crappy aspect of the games? Yes. Fun game? Wouldn’t you know it - it’s still incredibly fun!

I’m not saying I’ve even made my final opinion about TLR, but christ that IGN ‘slideshow’ review is such a load of bullshit. While bad things like TLR’s flaws are important to note, and certainly shouldn’t be in a game, it’s absolutely retarded that these are the hardest points people hit on as evidence that the game is bad without even trying it to see “Oh, this really doesn’t matter that much.” I’ll say this - if I do wind up disliking TLR (at the moment, it doesn’t seem GREAT, but good at least), it sure as hell won’t be due to some overexaggerated flaw which is inconsequential to how fun the main attraction of the game - combat - truly is.

Browsing IGN is a recipe for disappointment. Its reviews moreso.

I’ve always held the belief that remakes don’t count when it comes to game of the year awards, so for me it’s Tales of Vesperia hands down. It’s one of the best RPGs I’ve played in years, and probably ranks among the best ever in my book.

Hmm…I thought it was a pretty good year for RPGs. Lots of them came out last year, and even more announced for this year.

As per what I would put my vote on, TWEWY is pretty well up there. I really had fun with the battle system and the post-game objectives. It’s a shame I totally got burned out on it with about 70+ hours on the cart. Also, it’s S-E doing something different for once (other than the upteenth remake of a old game).

Didn’t play a lot of the newer stuff, as I had been busy playing some old PSX RPGs in general. So I can’t comment on ToV, Fallout 3, TLR, and so on. Can’t comment on Persona 4 yet, because I just started playing it.

Another good game I played for a good couple of months was Soma Bringer, (which I swear to God will never see the light of day localized in the US for no good reason) because I got addicted to the whole Diablo/Secret of Mana style gameplay. It really is one of those nice treasures that’ll probably be stuck in Japan (much like DQ V and VI were for the longest time). Yay for ROM hacks at least. If you’ve never heard of it, go watch some vids on Youtube.

I never got around to playing Barkley: Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. I downloaded it and tried to start it, but I got distracted. But I heard lots of praise and good reviews for it, so I’ll definately get around to playing it. That and I’ve watched a few vids for it. :slight_smile:

Played plenty of RPGs for the DS, but I don’t really think they’re worthy of Best RPG for 2008 (due to remake or otherwise) aside to what I’ve mentioned above.

Of all these games, which ones have good stories?

Same question here.

Unfortunately, I didn’t play many games this year (playing the market and counting my losses is time-consuming to the max), so I am just taking notes here, and your (everyone posting on this thread) comments are appreciated.
I will definitely try Persona 4 – so many players give this game thumbs up, including my gf, I am almost compelled to join the crowd.