15 RPGs That Truly Made the World a Better Place
By Matthew Walden on
1. Mother 3
Not only an amazingly fun game, but also one of the most ambitious artistic statements the medium has ever produced. A personal vision that’s also a blast to play.
2. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Fans of Dragon Age need to jump on this for their next sword and sorcery fix. With several side-quests more fascinating than most games’ main campaigns, Baldur’s Gate II deserves its worldwide critical acclaim.
3. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
While Skyrim warrants a nod for convincing everyone and their neighbor to pour hundreds of hours into a medieval-fantasy game, Morrowind laid the groundwork for the open-ended, player-driven modern RPG. A revelation in its day.
4. Mass Effect 2
While technically light in its RPG mechanics, this second installment of BioWare’s space-opera epic excelled at creating dynamic relationships between you and your crew. For a story-driven genre, Mass Effect 2 turns the plot screws with exemplary skill.
5. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
The game that ignited plenty of message board controversy also boasts a creepy murder story reminiscent of Videodrome. Fusing personas and maxing social links becomes a lovely lifestyle if you let it.
6. Planescape: Torment
In Planescape: Torment, you can join a death-worshipping cult, or even convince the final boss to off himself. You’ll also enjoy some of the most intriguing design elements to ever grace a video game, along with true freedom of choice.
7. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Easily the most important game based in the Star Wars universe, critics also frequently cite KOTOR as one of the finest games ever made. With a killer plot twist, and the ability to chart a yellow-eyed course toward the dark side, KOTOR has pure pazaak!
8. Fallout 2
If you like your games to have pitch black humor and nihilistic world views, Fallout 2 will feel like manna from heaven. While Fallout 3 and New Vegas gained huge popularity, Fallout 2 is the series’ apex.
9. Xenoblade Chronicles
After the convoluted story bloat of the previous Xeno- titles, Xenoblade wowed everyone with its fresh take on JRPG systems and a gigantic, gorgeous world to explore. It took an internet fan campaign to release it, but it was worth all the effort.
10. Dragon Quest III
The notorious game that led to mass truancy arrests of Japanese schoolchildren also serves as the bedrock for the franchise that brought us spells, slayers and slimes. If you pray diligently to the goddess, we may finally get DQ VII on the 3DS.
11. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
All of Nintendo’s charm and inventive scene setting flourish in this perfection of the Paper Mario formula. The best active battle system combined with the premiere of evil Princess Peach … what more could a Mario fan desire?
12. Skies of Arcadia
Whether you were building your own pirate base, or exploring the skies in a gigantic airship, Sega let you live the life of a swashbuckling steam punk with unprecedented charm and grace. What happened to our HD port?
13. Final Fantasy VI
It’s a tough split between FFVI and FFVII for the most important game in the storied series, but FFVI edges out a win with its pure craftsmanship and attention to detail. It’s also the pinnacle of the traditional JRPG form, sadly vanished to the winds of time.
14. Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
A title everyone mentions as a touchstone, but few actually experience. If you value Role playing with a capital R, this game’s character development remains unparalleled. A largely unexplored branch in the RPG tree that still feels fresh today.
15. Chrono Trigger
It’s the Day of Lavos! Everyone gushes about this game, and rightfully so. It’s the perfect talent combo of Final Fantasy’s Sakaguchi and Dragon Quest’s Horii. The charming time travel elements and multiple endings earned it a permanent fixture on best of lists.