#10: Wild Arms (PS)
A revolutionary game, and while it was overpowered by FFVII during its release which hindered attraction toward it, Wild ARMS goes to places never before seen in a RPG. The old west theme, which is now a staple in the Wild ARMS series, automatically creates an unusual story which is paced evenly to allow the player to pretty much explore the unique world however he/she wishes. A first ever for the Playstation, Wild ARMS was released with fully rendered 3D battles, even before FFVII. You can compare Wild ARMS to be as revolutionary as Final Fantasy IV, maybe even more because both the gameplay and graphics engine influenced many new games which included 3D and/or puzzles in dungeons. Through the use of great gameplay, a great story, and character development, Wild ARMS revolutionary style marks it as number 10 on this list.
Let's see...I guess the best word to describe this game is originality. The Mana series has always been an odd one, because the games included really don't follow any set of orthodox rules regarding storytelling or chronology. But Legend of Mana, to me, is the best game in the series because it takes that unorthodoxy and originality to new heights, even more so than Secret of Mana. Yes, I know, Secret of Mana is supposed to be a gem, one that is considered in the top five RPGs of all time for any system. However, I recognize Secret of Mana for what it is, a good game that utilized repetitive schemes no different than Children of Mana (which was criticized for doing the exact same thing!). That's the fact of action-RPGs: you walk around and repeatedly hack away seemingly forever at enemies. But what Legend does differently is spaces out the repetitive gameplay and replaces a lot of that space with plenty of side-quests to accomplish which don't require you to fight. The idea that you create the world however you want once you obtain certain items only proves that it's originality is far superior and richer than those of standard RPGs, especially Secret of Mana. So, while Legend takes out a lot of the repetitive elements, it adds interesting ways to go about entertaining yourself without having to go through the same problems other action-RPGs have. And for that, I give Legend of Mana big props.
There's not much to say, since it's essentially the same exact game that was on the SNES, it's no wonder why it's on this list because it happened to be one of the best for the SNES. End of story.
Why are so many good games so depressing? Valkyrie Profile knows how to take the theme of death and transform it to create a lively game with some of the most unique characteristics a RPG has ever had. Within the battle system, which reminds me so much of an awesome arcade fighting game, there lies a tremendous amount of creativity and entertainment. Within the story, there lies important issues regarding one's ethics, which leads to many epic showdowns. There are so many factors why Valkyrie Profile deserves to be on this list, regardless of peoples' complaints about the difficulty or rushed time-limit to progress the story. It's hard to find a game more innovative than this one, but when you do, it'll be hard to forget this one.
Now I was too young to play it on the Sega CD, but thank goodness they created ports. While known for it's linear story, Lunar: SSS delivers in ways that trigger those emotions you want to feel when playing a great game. Mainly, that's due to its amazing soundtracks. And I'm big on a game having an amazing soundtrack; it makes or breaks the whole emotional experience. The developers definitely took the time to carefully reconstruct the game in which every scene would be fit with the perfect song. I don't know of a game that does it better. I am glad though that I experienced this game on the Playstation rather than on the Sega CD, as how everything was upgraded. The graphics, the soundtrack, and storyline (though not too much) were perfect during the time I first played it and I wouldn't want to change that experience. Lunar, however, shows that it's great to be old-school and spriteful when it was released in 1999 during a time when 3D graphics were changing the way gamers viewed games, and the end result was Lunar being a more solid RPG than many others. So even though it didn't offer much to add to replay value, based on the lack of sidequests and mini-games, Lunar still provides enough emotional impact through it's great storytelling and stellar soundtrack to leave one coming back for more.
Personally, this is my favorite Final Fantasy (tied with X; it's always a toss-up) and all I can say is Square just knows how to touch my heart. With the futuristic installments of FFVII and FVIII, the change to go back to the roots of Final Fantasy only brought a smile to my face. With that I got to see the super-deformed character designs, medieval madness, and that good ol' fashioned battle start theme. Not only that, but bringing the series back to its roots didn't mean the traditional Warriors of Light storyline, but instead FFIX was designed completely different with plot twists, plot twists, and more plot twists. Love it. The simple reason for FFIX to be number five on this list is because no matter how you look at it, it is a solid game with few flaws while synthesizing old ideas with new ones to make it a very memorable game.
#4: Wild ARMs 2 (PS)
What? No, it can't be! But wait, it is. The game that garnered mostly average to negative reviews, Wild ARMS II ranks on my list as the fourth greatest Playstation One RPG. But how? Well, maybe it's because this game is as deep, or maybe even deeper than most other RPGs. The symbolism involved and the use of implied connections between many of the characters bewilders you, and the character development can only astonish. This is typical in the Wild ARMS series, because not only are the story lines fresh and intriguing, but the gameplay by far serves as the driving force behind its popularity. Since Wild ARMS II is more-polished version of the first game, of course great things have been expected. The sadness involved with this game's low critic scores is due to the timing in which this game was released, which was in 2000 in North America. Because of this, the graphics were considered "dated," specifically the battle engine's, but the gameplay was noted as being a mere copy of the first with no originality. However, the lengthy quest, incredible cast, and at least for me, excellent gameplay, have projected this mammoth of a game to the top 5 on this list. The game does have a cult following, because those people were willing to accept that this game presented much more depth to the table and not only "rehashed" gameplay from its predecessor.
Arc the Lad II is a game not many people either: a) never heard about b) never gave a chance or c) both a and b which is probably the correct answer because this game is certainly not discussed on a regular basis. Never though have I experienced an exceptionally enthusiastic and incredibly moving storyline on the PS1, more so than others. The great thing that works so well in Arc the Lad II, is the perfect combination of both tactical-strategy and flawless pacing which never bogs down the game, and the side-quests only add to its magic of keeping you on your toes. And little do people know that this game was one of the first RPGs to be released on the PS1, with, mind you, fully orchestrated songs and full FMV. Really, this game along with its predecessor Arc the Lad I (which actually I consider to be in the same game as II since the story is continuous) greatly helped pave the way for other RPGs to follow, because of its innovation, epic situations, and edginess.
Addicting, mesmerizing, compelling. You can basically find any positive word and attribute it to Chrono Cross. An odd entry in a short, yet beloved series, Cross mixes everything RPG gamers love with new twists that only make one sign a petition to Square so they can start developing Chrono Break. The gameplay, the story, the outstanding dialog, but most of all the music is what vice-grips your hands to the controllers through both normal mode and new game+. But I consider this game to be the second greatest RPG for the PS1 mostly because of its originality and unorthodox storytelling, as it is certainly a game you will never forget. Square should most definitely be proud of this accomplishment, because the creation of Chrono Cross not only adds another perfect title to their long list, but also gives people the opportunity to add it to their own collection.
This is of no surprise, because whether people agree or not, Final Fantasy VII is the greatest Playstation One RPG of all time. It's not even my favorite, but this game has done so much more for the RPG world than any other game. Bringing RPGs to the mainstream for many non-RPG gamers to become interested in is quite a feat, and lets not mention the influence it had on many, MANY games after it's time. Lately I've been noticing a lot of hate towards "FFVII Fanboys," but really, can you blame those who are obsessed with it? A complex storyline with many emotional scenes (good old nostalgia), great character development, excellent graphics for it's time, a fluid battle system, and of course one of the most prolific villains of all time reign in FFVII. Square crafted a masterpiece at a perfect time in which not many other RPGs were getting widespread attention. Without Final Fantasy VII, the RPG realm as we know it today would not have achieved the greatness many of us have become associated with.
This is a pretty heavy list, considering it is for the second greatest system of all time (behind the PS2 of course, because of its backwards compatibility). I love all the games on this list, but yet some aren't even in my top 10 favorite, but because of how innovative they are and what they have done for the RPG world, then it is only right they deserve a spot on this list. Well, thanks for reading, hoped you enjoyed.
List by lostchildoftime (11/07/2007)
Discuss this list and others on the Top 10 Lists board.