If there's one thing I've missed this generation, it's good, traditional console RPGs. I say traditional because the RPG moniker is being slapped onto pretty much anything these days. And I say console because the traditional RPGs seem to mainly appear on the DS. Say what you want about the DSi XL being for old people, I need that big screen for RPGs. All those stats and numbers and tiny little characters running around the screen. An old high school friend of mine celebrated his 30th birthday last week, and I'll have that same pleasure by the year's end. If being 30 makes me old, then I'm happy to be an old man who plays RPGs on his DSi XL.
In the meantime though, the hunt is on for console RPGs. I know you kids are playing Dragon Age these days and seem to love it. Let me fill you in on a little secret. Being old also means my mind is stubbornly set on the idea that RPGs have fluffy and often cheesy stories and are full of anime protagonists who have ambiguous genders. Dragon Age that ain't.
So on that topic! I will now talk to you about the goodness that is 2010 when one is a Wii-owning RPG dabbler.
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (http://fragile.namco-ch.net/)
I got a gift card for the Rogers store at our staff Christmas party (Rogers, for you non-Canucks, is a cable, mobile, internet and telephone provider up here. They also sell movies and games in their stores at overblown prices.) And so I dogeared that gift card for Fragile. A game I've been anticipating since Muramasa and Little King's Story were nothing but whispers and rumor.
Fragile, for you new kids, is an Action RPG (yes, I realize, non-traditional, shush you) about a boy who seems to be the last person alive on earth. He probably isn't, but who knows. There's a girl in the trailer, but maybe she's a figment of his lonely mind. You use the Wiimote as a flashlight (Silent Hill didn't do it first, this game game out in Aught 8 in Japan.) and you fight crows and creepy wall-arms that try to grab you and giant floating masks of evil. It looks great, I can't describe things.
Arc Rise Fantasia (http://www.arcrisefantasia.com/)
You want traditional? Take a gander at this, jack! The team behind Tales of Symphonia (not the sequel, which stunk like a block of cheese in a heating shaft, the original for the Gamecube. You know, the cult clsasic) and music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda (my favourite composer and the man behind the music from Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and Xenogears) and if this means anything to you, character designs by Kenichi Yoshida (I had to look that up, but he's a Studio Ghibli vet and did the designs for Eureka 7, in case anyone wants to wax nerdilly about anime with me.) And guess what else. It's a new IP! You kids are always like "Everything's always sequels, waa waa." Well here's a game that doesn't come with a number. It's new and it's got some serious talent behind it.
Oh and Fragile is new too. Just thought I'd point that out.
Monado Beginning of the World (Or Xenoblade, depends on who you ask) (http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/sx4j/index.html)
Granted this game has more of a been-there-done-that sort of vibe. But it's being created by the Xeno guy, hence the name Xenoblade (even though I think that's only it's name in Japan) and it's being made by Nintendo's newly acquired Monolith Soft. I like it when Nintendo makes RPGs. They're generally Mario RPGs, so seeing something like this is very encouraging. Funny thing though is how much it reminds me of Final Fantasy XII. The main character looks like a blond haired wimpy boy, like Vaan. And the battles seem to happen in real time, like in Final Fantasy XII. Let's just hope the game is more fun than Final Fantasy XII. (Oh snap, no he di'in't!)
Epic Mickey (http://gameinformer.com/mag/mickey.aspx)
He won't stop talking about it!
I was hesitant to put this on my list of RPGs, because it's not fluffy and ambiguous. But where does a game like this go? Until someone convinces me otherwise, I'm clumping it with the RPGs. Oswald the lucky rabbit demands so. But if you kids want to chide me about criticizing Dragon Age for not being fluffy and ambiguous and then featuring Epic Mickey in a list of true RPGs, well then please do so in the comments. I'll gladly consider having my secretary reply to them.
By the way, Epic Mickey appears to be websiteless. I used Game Informer, because the art is cool.
The Last Story (http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/slsj/index.html)
This one gets me really excited. The music is beautiful and I love that logo, the Final Fantasy creator turned Mistwalker founder, Hironobu Sakaguchi, is working on it, making it his sole focus, putting what sounds like a lot of heart into it. And then just recently, GoNintendo made a suggestion that made my ears perk up even more. It seems Sakaguchi is working on the game with someone he refers to as "Mr. M". They suggested that since The Last Story is being created with the help of Nintendo, that M could very possibly be Miyamoto. Which would turn this from Hironobu's Wii project, into the first collaboration between Final Fantasy's creator and Mario's.
It's all speculation. But damn!