The Top 100 Greatest RPGs Of All Time: - The Best Ones Ever Made!

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Sep 9, 2006 (Updated Sep 15, 2013)


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The Bottom Line The Greatest Role Playing Games of All Time: Have Fun With These Awesome RPGs.

I've been long considering writing out a list of the top 100 RPGs of all time, and today, I've decided to go for it. I have 18 years of experience with the genre, and it's easily my favorite type of game. With my background out of the way it's time! Presenting to you, the 100 greatest RPGs ever!

Note: I know, I know. I've already done a top 15 and top 50 RPG list for this site, but I love writing about RPGs so much that I just couldn't stop myself from doing a top 100. Not only will you find that this list is very different from the other two (mostly due to changed opinions), but there's also much more content here.

One more thing. The term RPG is not clearly defined. There are several subgenres to it; action RPG, strategy RPG, etc. I've included these on the list because I still consider them RPGs. Plus, having an 'adventure' genre is complete BS. These adventure games are basically RPGs, and they need no further classification beyond. Either way, I'm sorry for holding you down, it's now time to cut forward to the list! Enjoy! 

#100. - Infinite Undiscovery
Platform:
Xbox 360
Year:
2008
Infinite Undiscovery Full Review

Widely hated but surprisingly enjoyable; Infinite Undiscovery is a rather polarizing affair. As far as I can tell the only thing it really need more of is polish - the story of a meek flute player thrust into a war of good and evil is a rather charming one. The real time action battle system introduces some good ideas but many weren't seen to their full potential. Either way, this is one of the best RPGs of this generation and should be given a chance.

#99. - Beyond Oasis
Platform:
Sega Genesis
Year: 1994

While some consider this to be more of a Zelda clone, it feels to me like the developers didn't intend it to be. Beyond Oasis is a cartoony action RPG in which you play as a prince turned treasure hunter who stumbles upon an amulet with infinite powers. It turns out that there's another of these out there, and it just happens to be the enemy who possesses it. I might be cheating a little by including this one on the list because it's much more action oriented than role playing, but if it's wrong than I don't want to be right.

#98. - Dragon Warrior Monsters II
Platform:
Gameboy Color
Year: 2001

DWM is sort of like Pokemon in that you capture and train ferocious creatures, except this is set to the Dragon Quest world. Although Dragon Warrior Monsters II doesn't quite add up to the legendary Pokemon, it's still a fantastic game in it's own right. It even released in two versions. If you are one of the many fans who've always wondered which would win in a fight; a spotted slime or a drakky, then this is your game.

#97. - Final Fantasy II
Platform:
 Playstation
Year: 2003

Originally released for the Famicom console in Japan, our first taste of this game was when Squaresoft remade it for Sony's Playstation console. While it looks and plays like your typical early FF game this release takes a lot of flack for its unique leveling up system. This aspect is based around how you battle. If you take a lot of damage your defense and HP increases, whereas, if you use powerful moves all the time then your attack power only will go up. This game has a cool little storyline and is a lot of fun - I recommend it.

#96. - Zelda II: The Adventures of Link
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1988

Yet another black sheep entry on the list; Zelda II is often hated because it's so radically different from the original game. This is because Nintendo threw out the old gameplay, and replaced it with randomly encountered side scrolling areas. Sounds weird, and it's a bit difficult to get used to, but once you do you'll find this game has the depth and diversity of the Zelda we've all come to love. If you passed this one up I think you should reconsider.

#95. - Fable
Platform:
Microsoft Xbox
Year: 2004
Fable Full Review

As the self proclaimed "Greatest RPG of All Time" Fable fails miserably to live up to what the developers were claiming it would be. That's okay, because Fable is actually a very fun action RPG where you work for a guild, go on missions, and can choose between being good or evil. You can even get married in the game to multiple lives. Polygamy, that's where it's at. Fable is also the only game I know of where your character can be homosexual, if you so choose him to be. The game gives you hundreds of choices, and it's fun to discover all the little quirks of Albion.

#94. - Chrono Cross
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 2000
Chrono Cross Full Review

As the sequel to the legendary Chrono Trigger, Cross doesn't hold up in any regards except graphics and sound. When you forget all of your Trigger nostalgia, you'll realize that Chrono Cross is actually a very fun game. The game boasts one of the deepest storylines ever, along with a cast of over 40 useable characters. What breaks the game though is the element system, paired with the weird battle engine. Either way, it's still a pretty fun game that fans of Chrono Trigger should check out.

#93. - Shining Wisdom
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1995

This is yet another game that gets shamelessly dissed, and for little reason. I admit that the art style is a bit duressing, but besides that, this is a solid action RPG. It's also the first time that the Shining series veered off in the direction of more action oriented rather than turn based combat. The gameplay is fun, and heavily Zelda oriented, but the storyline is better than you'd expect.

#92. - Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2005

Atelier Iris pays perfect homage to classic RPGs with it's 2-D presentation, simplistic battle system, and it's loveable crew of characters. It's actually one of the better RPGs that can be found on the Playstation 2. In this game you take control of a young alchemist named Klein as you embark on a journey to stop an evil power from returning to the world. It sure as heck sounds derivative, and while it's not exactly original, Atelier Iris is still a solid RPG.

#91. - Final Fantasy VIII
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1999
Final Fantasy VIII Full Review

Following up Final Fantasy VII was going to be a tough act, and it seems that Squaresoft realized this and subsequently didn't even try. Final Fantasy VIII is still a fun RPG, but it does have some serious problems. The gameplay shines through enough that you can get past these with a little work. This is actually the least fantasy related of all the Final Fantasy games, as the development team took a more industrial futuristic direction than they did with FFVII even. Final Fantasy VIII, although it's far from the best FF game, definitely deserves placement on this list.

#90. - Ys III: Wanderers From Ys
Platform:
Turbografx-CD
Year: 1991

The Ys series is an obscure set of action RPGs from a little known developer called Falcom. Part III is the Zelda II of this series. It took the overhead action RPG formula of the original games, and transformed it into a more 2-D sidescroller form while retaining much of the charm and fun the series is known for. Although this game was also released on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, the Turbografx CD version is still the best.

#89. - Lost Odyssey
Platform:
 Xbox 360 
Year: 2008
Lost Odyssey Full Review

Designed by legendary game designer Hironobu Sakaguchi (the man who created Final Fantasy) Lost Odyssey is simply one of the best games of this generation. In an age where FF has long deviated from its roots this game returns to them and introduces many new and original concepts. This is what modern Final Fantasy SHOULD be like!

#88. - Crusader of Centy
Platform:
Sega Genesis
Year: 1994

Every console needs a good Zelda clone, and this is Sega's. You can tell from many small details that the idea behind this game is a bit shameless, but imitation is the best form of flattery I guess, and Sega brought enough new things to the action RPG world that it's more than forgiveable. What's especially unique about this game is that you can gain the help of animals in the course of your journey. The real difference between this game and other Zelda clones is that this one is done right.

#87. - Suikoden IV
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2005
Suikoden IV Full Review

Admittedly, I was more than a little mean toward this game when I first played it. I've since simmered down, and come to realize that this is a fun quest, even despite the sailing. For this RPG you assume the role of a teenager outcast from his own kingdom because of several misunderstandings involving a cursed Rune he bears; the Rune of Punishment. The hero's destiny involves him leading 108 heroes against an enemy nation bent on destruction. Ignore the bad rep this game gets because it's substantially better than Suikoden III.

#86. - Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Platform:
Gameboy Advance
Year: 2005

Fire Emblem is Nintendo's own strategy RPG series that they've been releasing games for ever since their original NES console. The problem is that none of these had been released outside of Japan, until the Gameboy Advance came around. The Sacred Stones is the second of these games to be released in the US, and with it's awesome gameplay and fun battle system, it's also one of the greatest RPGs the handheld has known.

#85. - Final Fantasy X-2
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2003
Final Fantasy X-2 Full Review

The first true sequel to a Final Fantasy game, and what's more is that it plays much better than it's prequel. Although it takes place in the polished world of FFX, X-2 brings back the job system with style, and also marks a return to the classic experience points level up system. Basically what I'm trying to say is that where Final Fantasy X messed up big time, X-2 manages to deliver. Okay maybe it is just a little bit girly, but it's still a ton of fun.

#84. - Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga
Platform:
Gameboy Advance
Year: 2003

When I first saw this game in action I really didn't know what to think. Although I would have much preferred this to be a return to the classic Super Mario RPG formula, Superstar Saga is a fantastic alternative style RPG. The name of the game here is timed button presses. Battles are composed of jumping on enemies, and jumping to dodge their attacks. This is one of the few RPGs that can make me laugh everytime I play it, and the battle system is definititely an oddity, but a goody nonetheless. 
 
#83. - Sakura Wars: So Long My Love
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Year: 2009
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love Review

Sakura Wars is a long running series released for Sega platforms in Japan. This Wii game (along with a PS2 port) is the very first time the games have been officially released in English, and let me tell you, if this is any indication than we have been missing out! As a turn based semi real-time strategy game you guide a team of teens who pilot colorful mech robots into battle in completely 3D environments. The real twist is in the relationships system where you 'date' the girls and become closer thus enhancing your abilities. Definitely a game to check out.

#82. - Grandia III
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2006
Grandia III Full Review

As one of the few RPGs of this generation that's actually worth playing, Grandia III makes use of the old innovative Grandia formula, but tells a different story this time. Taking lighthearted elements from the original, and dark ones from part II, Grandia III tells of a young man who wants more than anything to be a pilot. He soon meets up with a mysterious girl with the power to save the world. Now you've got an adventure on your hands, and with Grandia's trademark battle system, you'll be hard pressed to find a dull moment.

#81. - Shining the Holy Ark 
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1997

A departure from what people think of when they hear 'Sega' and 'Shining' series, Shining the Holy Ark is a first person dungeon crawler RPG. The game's biggest problem was releasing amidst all the hype for Final Fantasy VII and because of this it was all but forgotten. Being available exclusively for the Saturn certainly didn't help either. The game makes use of a very strategic battle system and excellent dungeon design. If you've got an old Saturn collecting dust this one is worth a try.

#80. - Pokemon Gold / Silver / Crystal Versions
Platform:
Gameboy Color
Year: 2000 / 01
Pokemon Silver Full Review 

This is it, the first sequel to the fantastically open and deep Pokemon games. This sequel expanded on the original in almost every way, from offering two different continents to explore (one being the landmass from the original games) and 100 more Pokemon to collect, train, and battle! Don't let the cute style get to you; Pokemon is deeper than almost any other RPG out there.

#79. - Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Platform:
Gameboy Advance
Year: 2003

Many people were amazed at the original Golden Sun, and while I will admit that I was one of these, I later realized that the game sucks. It sucks big time. The sequel however, is a fantastic piece of work. Golden Sun: The Lost Age picks up exactly where the original left off. You can even carry over your stats and equipment from the original using a password system, but that's beside the point. For this quest you'll play as Jenna's brother Felix as you try to save the world.

#78. - Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes
Platform:
Turbografx-CD
Year: 1991

Although the CD revolution was passed up for the most part until the Saturn and Playstation hit the scene, there are a few select RPGs that absolutely rocked the CD format early on. Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes' only problem was that it was released on a dead add-on console. It's a shame too, especially when you consider this game's fantastic storyline, charming storytelling, awesome cinematics and soundtrack, and it's fun battle system. More people should know about this game.

#77. - Landstalker
Platform:
Sega Genesis
Year: 1992

Landstalker is often described as a Zelda clone, only isometric. That's pretty accurate by me. Landstalker is an unorthodox action RPG in which you take control of a treasure seeking elf named Nigel. He one day meets a fairy (named Friday, awesomely enough) who claims to know the whereabout of a long sought out treasure. From here Nigel goes on a sword swiping, platform jumping quest that's sure to please even the most jaded of 16-bit gamers.

#76. - Shining Force CD
Platform:
Sega CD
Year: 1994

Few people actually know that Shining Force branched itself out on to the Sega CD add-on, which is surprising because this is a top notch title. Shining Force CD is a remake of the two SForce games that appeared on the Game Gear. As such, it's divided into two different sections. The first is a direct sequel to the first Shining Force, and the second continues this storyline even further. Although it's terribly more linear than the original games, Shining Force CD is still a fantastic strategy RPG.

#75. - Vay
Platform:
Sega CD
Year: 1994

Here's yet another Sega CD RPG that few have heard of. Vay is a heavily traditional turn based RPG with a few added CD perks; anime cut scenes and voice overs. This game is also translated by the legendary Working Designs. Vay tells the tale of a Prince who sets out to get revenge after his medievel kingdom is levelled to the ground by mechanized robots. Fans of the more traditional RPGs should be on the lookout for this classic, but keep in mind that the difficulty is completely unbalanced later on.

#74. - Ys Book I & II
Platform:
Turbografx CD
Year: 1989
Ys Book I & II Full Review

This was touted as the premiere Turbo Duo title when it was first released, and with good reason. This action RPG contains both the first and second Ys games, only remade with better graphics, CD quality music, and even the occasional anime sequence or voice over. Dungeon crawler fans get your engines ready; the final dungeon on book I alone took me three hours, and things only get more hectic once you reach the second book!

#73. - Pokemon Red / Blue / Yellow Versions
Platform:
Gameboy Color
year: 1998 / 99

This is where the Pokemon phenomenon originally began, and it was my entry into the series. I find that generally the people who don't understand Pokemon are the ones that have never played it. Pokemon RBY offers up the original quest for 150 Pokemon, intense battles against other trainers and Pokemon in the wild, and some staggeringly awesome link-up options for those with Pokemaniac friends. If you've got a Gameboy Color laying around, then you need one of these games. Better yet, if you have a GBA you can pick up the remakes.

#72. - Breath of Fire
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1994

Most good developers have at least one good RPG series, and this is Capcom's. In Breath of Fire you command a party of up to four people, and although it seems like a completely traditional non-innovative RPG it's got one catch. In the later parts of the game you gain the ability to transform into fantastic varieties of dragons. This was innovative in it's time, and it's still one of the key features of the series.

#71. - Cosmic Fantasy 2
Platform:
Turbografx CD
Year: 1992
Cosmic Fantasy II Full Review

Full blown anime cinematics, voice overs, and a plot involving space pirates. Does that sound like an RPG from 1992? Cosmic Fantasy 2 was before it's time, but by today's standards it's archaic. Cosmic Fantasy 2 didn't really do anything new for the genre, but it's simple turn based formula paired with a loveable cast of characters and excellent translation make it worth more than a passing glance. Those unfamiliar with the classics be warned; the random encounter rate here is staggering.

#70. - Magic Knight Rayearth
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1998
Magic Knight Rayearth Full Review

An anime licensed RPG that's actually good? Yep, that's precisely what you get with Magic Knight Rayearth. It's a pretty rare Saturn game, and believe you me, I had to pay a pretty penny to get it. This game follows the anime series pretty closely, and so if you enjoyed the show you'll absolutely love this game. While not quite Sega's answer to Zelda, this is one of the better Saturn action RPGs.

#69. - Kingdom Hearts II
Platform:
Playstation 2
Year: 2006
Kingdom Hearts II Full Review

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years you should have a pretty good idea already of what Kingdom Hearts is about. Think Final Fantasy meets Disney, with a healthy side helping of action RPG. This sequel doesn't quite live up to the original game, but it's still a pretty good action RPG. Let's just hope that we get a chance to play Kingdom Hearts III before 2010!

#68. - Dragon Warrior II
Platform:
Gameboy Color
Year: 1997
Dragon Warrior II Full Review

This is a direct sequel to the original Dragon Warrior game. In this installment you play as the descendants of the hero from the original game as they journey to stop an ill-defined antagonist from throwing the world back into the darkness which once consumed it. The fact that you can actually have more than one character in your party is a step-up, but now the enemies can also come in packs. If you loved the original game than you'll undoubtedly enjoy this one.

#67. - The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Platform:
Gameboy Advance
Year: 2005
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Full Review

The most striking thing about this game is when you see it in motion; it's simply beautiful. Minish Cap treats us to classic Zelda action, but with a few twists. First off, Link's hat can speak and help the elven boy out on his quest. Secondly, one of the major gameplay mechanics involves shrinking Link down to a mere inch or two in height. This allows for some pretty unique puzzles, and a fun yet short quest.

#66. - Fire Emblem
Platform:
Gameboy Advance
Year: 2003
Fire Emblem Full Review

Don't be fooled; this is actually the 6th Fire Emblem game. It just happens to be the first one that's actually been released outside of Japan, but that's okay, because it's supposedly the best. I disagree, but Fire Emblem is still fantastic. Making use of the Advance Wars style gameplay, Fire Emblem is a strategy RPG title which moves you from battle to battle. Each battlefield is set up in classic grid fashion, which you'll move around on while battling the enemy. This one is a lot of fun, and no fan of strategy RPGs should go without giving this one a shot.

#65. - Phantasy Star Online
Platform:
Sega Dreamcast
Year: 2001
Phantasy Star Online Full Review

While I try to avoid putting entries on here just based on pure nostalgia, I couldn't resist here. Phantasy Star Online was my first online RPG of any kind, and it's still the best one I've played. It's different from massively multiplayer role playing games because PSO is a much more simple system where you don't have to spend weeks trying to level up your character just once or twice. To this day, I still play Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst on the PC even in the face of deeper online experiences. That should tell you something about how well put together this game was.

#64. - Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean
Platform:
Nintendo Gamecube
Year: 2004
Baten Kaitos Full Review

Baten Kaitos is made by the Namco team behind Xenosaga; Monolith Soft. This is that team's only good RPG thus far, and it's quite a doozy. Before considering it further you should know one thing; this is a card RPG. It's not along the lines of Yu-Gi-Oh though, it's a semi-traditional RPG where you use cards for attacking and defense. Although it sounds lame this system translates to a lot of fun. Baten Kaitos stands as one of the best RPGs of this generation, and of all time (as if you couldn't tell that by the fact that it made this list).

#63. - Alundra
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1997

At first glance I wasn't too impressed with this game. After playing through a few times Alundra has grown on me. This is a cool little Zelda-esque action RPG in which you play as a character capable of entering people's dreams. This is especially helpful to a village our hero wakes up in after surviving a shipwreck. You see, this town is having a problem with nightmares, could it be the work of an almighty demon? Nah, there's no way...

#62. - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Platform:
Nintendo 64
Year: 2000
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Full Review

I personally was shocked to see Nintendo's new take on the Ocarina of Time engine, but it took no time at all to fall in love with the world of Termina. The most charming part of this game are the returning elements from Ocarina of Time; if you've played it than you can jump right into Majora's Mask with little problem. It's just too bad that this one came out so late in the N64's lifespan. 

#61. - StarTropics
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1990

Yet another Zelda clone. Are you tired of them yet? I'm certainly not, but you could probably already tell that. This one puts you in the role of a teenager who visits a tropical paradise. Intent on meeting up with his uncle, the youth is devastated to hear that he's gone missing. From here, alien sub-plots and yo-yo slinging action ensue. It's a bit bizarre, and the tropical Island theme doesn't quite settle right, but StarTropics is a game all of it's own.

#60. - Shining Force
Platform:
Sega Genesis
Year: 1992
Shining Force Full Review

Shining Force is one of Sega's many series that was once good, but is now being drug through the mud. The original game was an epic strategy RPG in which you command a small army against an dastardly evil general. Of course, it expands to much more later on as you might suspect. As far as strategy RPGs go, the Shining Force series spits in the face of the competition (I'm looking in your direction, FF Tactics).

#59. - Robotrek
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1994

It's really odd but I hadn't even heard of this game until fairly recently when I was reading a review for it here at this fine site. Robotrek is an RPG where you assemble robots and they do your battling for you. Besides this aspect, it's a traditional RPG, and a very fun one at that. There's a lot of customization here, and Robotrek will keep you busy for a while.

#58. - Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Platform:
Nintendo Gamecube
Year: 2005

This is in my opinion, the best Fire Emblem game that has been released in English. This game takes place in a world where humans can transform into animals. You play as the leader of a mercenary army. The strategy RPG mechanics here are more interesting than I've seen in any other game of this type. Transforming into animals and beasts adds an extra layer of strategy to this game.

#57. - Phantasy Star
Platform:
Sega Master System
Year: 1988
Phantasy Star Full Review 

Sega was eager to jump on the RPG bandwagon, only they decided to take a more science fiction oriented path for their offering. Phantasy Star is turn based and traditional, but you have the ability to travel across three separate planets! What's also cool is that the dungeons are all rendered in 3-D, and though they're confusing at times, it's fun to trudge through them unlike in many other role playing games.

#56. - Pokemon Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald Versions
Platform:
Gameboy Advance
Year: 2003 / 05
Pokemon Emerald Full Review

This marked the first time a true Pokemon game had seen the light of day on anything other than the original Gameboy. The jump was well worth it; the game features 100 new Pokemon and a brand new world to discover. This game also added more depth to the formula with Pokemon beauty contests, Pokemon personality natures, and more. This is the definitive Pokemon release as of now, and you really can't go wrong with any of the three versions.

#55. - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Platform:
Gameboy
Year: 1993

I can still remember when I first saw this game on display on those old Wal-Mart kiosks. I was so envious that I didn't own a Gameboy, but even when I finally got one, I couldn't find Link's Awakening. It wasn't until the game was re-released that I could dive in. Although it's much in the style of Link to the Past, Link's Awakening feels completely different and is more of a side-quest in the series. This game takes place in a dream world, and so far, is the only Zelda game to do that. If you're digging portable Zelda than you can do no wrong with this title.

#54. - Dragon Quest VI
Platform:
Nintendo DS
Year: 2011

Unreleased in our part of the world until just last year, Dragon Quest VI is another of those titles we've been missing out on. The story in this title involves the quest to fight off a Dragon King who threatens both the light and dark world. You'll travel to both, and along the way you'll recruit a myriad of characters. This game also marks the return of the job system, and you can even recruit monsters into your party!

#53. - Tales of Vesperia 
Platform:
Xbox 360
Year: 2008
Tales of Vesperia Full Review

Tales of Vesperia is the first full Tales game to be released on a console other than Sony or Nintendo and it's also one of the best. Developed by Team Symphonia, Vesperia has all the usual Tales of trappings but with one of the more interesting protagonists in the series history. Also cool is the fast real-time combat which is a big part of why these games are so well renowned. This is the best RPG on the system bar none.

#52. - Tales of Eternia
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 2001
Tales of Eternia Full Review

Known as Tales of Destiny II here in the US, Tales of Eternia tells the story of two worlds thrown into chaos, and a group of unlikely heroes that are out to save them. Eternia makes use of the awesome real-time combat system the series is so well known for, and it's probably the best version of it that you'll find in 2-D. Tales of Eternia rocks, plain and simple.

#51. - Shining Force III
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1998

Shining Force III was one of Sega's last tributes to it's fans when the Saturn was almost dead. It's also one of the best RPGs of all time, and so obviously Sega knew what they were doing. This game is the only Shining Force title to successfully take the strategy RPG formula into 3-D. The only thing that sucks about this game is that there are two additional scenarios for it that were released in Japan, but we only got the original.

#50. - Final Fantasy III
Platform:
 Nintendo DS 
Year: 2005
Final Fantasy III Full Review

This is a very competent remake of the previously Japan-only RPG from Squaresoft. This game is where the job system was invented and represented a huge step forward in RPG strategy and planning when it was originally released. This remake is a great throwback to the original and even for those who never played it will incite nostalgia based on the simple yet difficult design. This is one of the best RPGs available for the Nintendo DS system.

#49. - Grandia II
Platform:
Sega Dreamcast
Year: 2000
Grandia II Full Review

Grandia II was my very first RPG on the Sega Dreamcast, but it certainly wasn't the last. This game takes the gameplay mechanics from the original Grandia and overhauls them. You'll find an enhanced version of the battle system, along with a terribly dark story that's both involving and surprising. Although it's not as exciting or adventurous as the original, Grandia II is still the second best RPG you'll find on the Dreamcast.

#48. - Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1992
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest Full Review

This seems to be the one universally hated Final Fantasy title because it's from the American branch of Squaresoft, and because it's touted as a 'beginner's RPG'. Well it just happens to be the best beginner's role playing game I've ever played. This game makes use of a brand new battle system where your party consists of two members. The dungeons are mostly puzzle oriented, and you'll find a myriad of tools to help in progression. Ignore the haters, this is actually a great game.

#47. - Dragon Warrior VII
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 2001
Dragon Warrior VII Full Review

Dragon Warrior VII marked the series' return to English speaking audiences after almost a decade of being away. Personally I was quite shocked to see that the series mechanics remained intact. In DWVII you play as the son of a fisherman who discovers a set of ruins which have the ability to send him through time. It is in the past that he must solve the mysteries to several land masses which vanished, in order to preserve them for the future. This is a very charming game, and it's also one of the longest I've ever played.

#46. - Popful Mail
Platform:
Sega CD
Year: 1994

It doesn't really sound like a side scrolling RPG would work well, does it? Popful Mail proves that this combination is a winning one with a combination of jumping and hacking. You can even play as three separate characters, who, thanks to Working Designs' fantastic translation, are hilarious and charming at the same time.

#45. - Dragon Warrior III
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1992
Dragon Warrior III Full Review

Although technically the third in the series, Dragon Warrior III is a prequel to the original two games. For this story you play as the legendary hero Erdrick who gets transported to an alternate dimension. This new world is shrouded in darkness, and he's the only one who can save it! Build and manage your own party and have a blast with this one. DWIII is the final game in the Loto trilogy.

#44. - The Legend of Zelda
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1987

I'm still not sure if Nintendo fully expected Zelda to be so popular, but nonetheless, it has become one of the legendary games in time. Zelda has you assume the role of Link as he sets out to assemble the triforce of wisdom so that he can battle the evil Ganondorf. There's a magical quality about the world of Hyrule, and I think this title is the best Zelda to convey it.

#43. - Final Fantasy Legend III
Platform:
Gameboy
Year: 1993

Remember earlier when I said that there was only one good SaGa game? Well I lied. I know, I know, this says Final Fantasy, but it's actually a SaGa game with a different name. Either way, Legend III allows you to travel through time to three different eras, offers you a host of vehichles to use in your travels, and presents a pretty unique class system. This is the pinnacle of RPGs on the Gameboy.

#42. - Final Fantasy
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1990
Final Fantasy Full Review

Squaresoft was a developer who was struggling to stay in the market in the late 80s. This is when they decided to make one final game; Final Fantasy. Of course we all know the game instantly took off and has spawned 11 sequels, but how could we have known it would do so well. This isn't for the modern RPG fans though; Final Fantasy is a truly challenging game which will test your nerves along with your brain. It's probably the most frustrating, yet rewarding RPG I've ever played.

#41. - Kingdom Hearts
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2002
Kingdom Hearts Full Review

The world was shocked when Squaresoft first announced it was making a joint RPG featuring both it's own Final Fantasy characters matched with those of Disney. It turned out to be a raving success, and I'm not just referring to sales numbers. Kingdom Hearts is a very surreal and dark look at evil. It also has the most epic boss fights I've ever seen in any game ever. If you can get past the Disney elements you'll find a deeply rewarding experience.

#40. - Crystalis
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1990

This was the first game by SNK that I had ever played. It's ANOTHER Zelda clone, but you can't have too much of a good thing, right? This one puts you in the role of a sealed warrior who is one day released to save the world. You gain the ability to use magic and even psychic powers. I hope that they one day make a sequel to this one.

#39. - Breath of Fire II
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1995

Without a doubt in my mind Breath of Fire II is the best entry in the entire series. Not only does it have the most interesting characters, but it also features a much better story than the others, but with the same old classic combat system. Come on, I mean, the main character's best friend is a human sized dog. What's not to like? Check this one out if you haven't already.

#38. - Dragon Warrior
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1989
Dragon Warrior Full Review

This was another of my first RPGs. I remember being completely envious of a friend who owned it, and I spent many a weekend over at his house as we trudged through dungeon after dungeon, killed slime after slime, and eventually put Dracolord to rest. This one doesn't hold up especially well, but it's still the second best 8-bit RPG you'll find.

#37. - Lufia and the Fortress of Doom
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1993

In the first Lufia game you play as a descendant of a brave hero that once saved the land by purging it of the evil entities known as the Sinistrals. It definitely sounds contrived, and for the most part Lufia isn't an original game. It's a lot of fun though, with creative dungeon designs and a pretty decent story. The battle system, while a bit simple, is also awesome.

#36. - Secret of Mana
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1993

This is actually part II in the Seiken Densetsu series, but it's the fan favorite of the bunch. Secret of Mana offers up a meaty quest that begins when the main character pulls a rusty sword from that beckons him. From here, he's banished from his village. Probably the most interesting gameplay element this game brings to the table is the weapon meter, which affects how much damage is dealt to each enemy.

#35. - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Platform:
Nintendo Gamecube
Year: 2003
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Full Review

Everyone was initially disappointed when they first saw The Wind Waker in all it's cel-shaded glory. With that said, this game turned out to have more character and personality than all of the other Zelda games combined. What's more is that it also felt significantly more like an RPG than it's bretherin. Sailing across Hyrule does eventually get old, but everything else is absolutely fantastic.

#34. - Tales of Destiny
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1998

This was the first 'Tales of' game to ever be released in North America, and it gave us a taste of what we had been missing. The battle system is in real-time, but one of the biggest misconceptions is that it's similar to a fighting game. It's actually radically different than this, and it still feels like an RPG. Either way, it's got an excellent story, charming graphics, and a very fun battle system. Sadly enough this one went mostly ignored, which is why you should go out and find your copy today!

#33. - Panzer Dragoon Saga
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1998

This was supposed to be Sega's answer to Final Fantasy VII. Sales fell flat on their face, and that's why there aren't a lot of copies floating around. Panzer Dragoon Saga is the first time that Sega turned their shooter series into an RPG. They did so with much success, and although it's tough to get used to, the battle system is what really makes this game special.

#32. - Tales of Phantasia
Platform:
 Gameboy Advance 
Year: 2004
Tales of Phantasia Full Review

Tales of Phantasia sadly did not see release in the United States, that is, until recently on the GBA with an updated remake of sorts. This was the invention of the real-time Tales fighting system. It's a bit less polished than in the other games, but it's still completely playable. The soundtrack to this game is considered legendary amongst it's fans, and I gotta agree with them.

#31. - Phantasy Star IV
Platform:
Sega Genesis
Year: 1993

I imagine that when Sega first revealed this would be the last game in the series there was outcry amongst the fans. In my opinion, this is the best Phantasy Star game ever released. The first thing that really jumped out at me in this game are the small anime stills used for cut-scenes. While it may not seem like it, they actually do a fantastic job of telling the game's story. Will there never be another true Phantasy Star game? Only time will tell, but I hope Sega's wrong.

#30. - Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1999
Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete Full Review

Though it loses much of the magic of the original, Lunar Silver Star Story Complete is a fantastic whimsical RPG. In an era where RPGs were getting more and more edgy, it was just happy being a charming love story. This game makes use of an absolutely fantastic battle system, and has a wonderful musical score to boot. Did I mention how charming it is? Oh and it's awesome too, by the way.

#29. - Final Fantasy V
Platform:
 Gameboy Advance 
Year: 2004
Final Fantasy V Full Review

This installment in the series wasn't actually released here until it came out on Final Fantasy Anthology on the Playstation, and then eventually the updated port to the Gameboy Advance which is the version I've chosen to list. FFV marks the return of the classic job system from FFIII, but it's much more polished and intuitive here. You've got two worlds to explore and save, and the classic FF crystals play a big part in this story. Will the evil being Ex-Death destroy the world? Maybe, maybe not...

#28. - Dragon Warrior IV
Platform:
Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1992
Dragon Warrior IV Full Review

As the final Dragon Warrior game to be released on the NES, IV is also the start of the Heaven trilogy. This game ecompasses the storylines of four different groups of characters who meet up in the end to do battle with the forces of evil. It almost feels like four different games in one. This is yet another overlooked RPG that deserves much more credit.

#27. - Legend of the Dragoon
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 2000
Legend of the Dragoon Full Review

Sony gave an honest effort to provide the masses with an epic RPG akin to the later Final Fantasy games, and it succeeded in my eyes. Legend of Dragoon plays very similarly to your standard FF game except for one fact; you can transform into almighty dragoons in the heat of a battle. The game also makes use of a timing system for attacks and combos. While it's certainly not the greatest system, it still manages to shake things up.

#26. - Final Fantasy VI
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1994
Final Fantasy VI Full Review

FFVI is the first game I ever bought for full price ($70 !!!). With that said, I still find this game to be a bit overblown and overrated. The greatest element here is that the cast is composed of about 12 characters, which was amazing and innovative for it's time. The storyline is fairly interesting, but it falls apart in the later half. Still, it makes use of the classic FF battle system, and it's still fun in this day and age.

#25. - Suikoden
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1996
Suikoden Full Review

The Suikoden series doesn't look particularly interesting through screenshots, but the gameplay is top notch. What you've got here is a fantastic traditional RPG that features three different types of battles, a huge militaristic/fantasy storyline, and 108 recruitable characters! What more is there to say, plain and simple, Suikoden will rock your socks off.

#24. - Illusion of Gaia
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1994
Illusion of Gaia Full Review

This is the second in Enix's trilogy of action RPGs, all of which have only been released on the SNES. This game in particular involves a youth with the power of telekinesis. After his father disappears on an expedition of the legendary tower of Babel, Will sets out on a journey with his friends after becoming involved with a bratty Princess. They're on the run from the kingdom's soldiers while exploring ancient ruins, discovering civilizations, and much more. Illusion of Gaia does not disappoint.

#23. - Tales of Symphonia
Platform:
Nintendo Gamecube
Year: 2004
Tales of Symphonia Full Review

This game came out of nowhere and became my favorite Tales game just like that. Tales of Symphonia offers a new 3-D take on the tried and true series specific battle system, and with dazzling results. The storyline is heavily derived and a bit corny, but it's still interesting enough throughout. Evidence suggests that this may even be a psuedo sequel to Tales of Phantasia. This is easily one of the top 3 RPGs from this generation.

#22. - Star Ocean: The Second Story
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1999
Star Ocean: The Second Story Full Review

Boasting an incredible 100 amount of endings and a real-time combat system, I just couldn't stay away. I'm glad I didn't, even if the game only actually has 1 real ending. The battle system and story really make this game memorable, with a completely free roaming mode of combat for every battle. The storyline is also a classic, telling the tale of a futuristic teen transported to an uncivilized planet. Awesome stuff here, for sure.

#21. - Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2005
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Full Review

Very few times have I seen graphics so polished as they are here in Dragon Quest VIII. This installment is a perfect update of what works, along with a lot of new stuff. This is also the most story oriented Dragon Quest game that's been released so far. Besides that, this is the perfect tribute to classic RPGs. Everything works here, and although it loses much of the classic Dragon Quest feel, this is still a AAA quality RPG title, and one of the best available on the PS2. Expect to log excess of 70 hours into this baby, but keep in mind that you'll have to do quite a bit of levelling up in order to stand a chance.

#20. - Final Fantasy IX
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 2000
Final Fantasy IX Full Review

Finally! A return to true form, and if current trends hold true, this may be the last FF game worth playing. Final Fantasy IX added in all the classic RPG elements we loved, but I was most happy with the four person party. Even though it pays most homage to classic Final Fantasy, it still has the depth and story quality of the more modern games. That's a winning combination if you ask me.

#19. - Shining Force II
Platform:
Sega Genesis
Year: 1994

This is the definitive Shining Force game, and also the second greatest strategy RPG ever created! That may sound like I'm being lenient on the game, but in truth, it's just that good. It takes everything that worked in the original, and improves upon it. The storyline is even much better, and the music is actually decent this time around. Don't even get me started on how much of an improvement gameplay is.

#18. - Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1995

Lufia II is actually a prequel to the original game. This entry puts you in control of the hero Maxim and his host of friends as they rid the world of the sinistrals. Dungeon design is where this game really and truly shines. There are some very interesting puzzles to be found here, and each dungeon is crafted intricately. The battle system is classic style and does nothing new for the genre, but it works perfectly to carry the game along. Quality shines through and through from this one.

#17. - Terranigma
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1996

This is the third and final entry in Enix's action RPG trilogy, but oddly this one was never released in the US. Terranigma however, did see release in Europe and is available in English through that version. This is what action RPGs are all about, only Terranigma is heavily polished, and features some of the best graphics the SNES has ever pumped out. Did I forget to mention that gameplay is deep and varied, and the system menu is, oddly enough, innovative? No fan of action RPGs should consider themselves hardcore without first playing this game.

#16. - Suikoden V
Platform:
Sony Playstation 2
Year: 2006
Suikoden V Full Review

Do the words best RPG of this generation mean anything to you? Well they would if you had bothered playing this diamond in the rough. Suikoden V is a return to form for the series; it boasts everything that made the first two great, while adding a level of polish never before seen in this line of games. Raising an army of 108 has never been so much fun, and the storyline here is an absolute pleasure to follow. You can also manage a party of up to six characters at once! Come on, you know you want to give it a chance.

#15. - Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1996
Super Mario RPG Full Review

Mario's first RPG outing is also by far his best. This game was the first RPG I ever played which featured a battle system based on timed attacks. Along with that you've got the colorful Mario world, and a suprisingly easy to follow story. Platforming elements also mark one of the innovations in this game, as you can still jump while you explore the mushroom kingdom. Nintendo needs Squaresoft to come back BAD to make a true sequel to this game.

#14. - Dragon Force
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1996
Dragon Force Full Review

Here she is, the greatest strategy RPG of all time. It's also one of the least known about games from last generation. What a shame too, considering that this one knocks the pants off the rather overrated Final Fantasy Tactics. In Dragon Force you assume the role of the Monarch of your choice in Kingdoms. From here, you must conquer the entire continent of Legendra through a series of bloody battles. Each of your generals can manage an army of up to 100 troops, each of different types. The action is all real-time here, and you'll be hard pressed to find a dull moment, even when micro-managing your units.

#13. - Dragon Quest V
Platform:
 Nintendo DS 
Year: 2009
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride Full Review

This is the definitive Dragon Quest game, in my opinion. It takes the classic battle system of the old, and mixes it in with a fresh new story, a terrific soundtrack, and an all new world. What you've got here is nothing short of amazing. The game's story takes place over several years, wherein the main character gets married, and even has children which join your party later on! How cool is that? Thankfully Square-Enix has become a lot more careful with this series and actually released this remake for us English speakers.

#12. - Chrono Trigger
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1995
Chrono Trigger Full Review

Although other RPGs made use of time travel before, none did so thoroughly as Chrono Trigger. You could travel back to prehistoric times for god sakes, if that isn't the best thing since sliced bread, I don't know what is. Along with the ability to time travel you've got a decent battle system which is made awesome by characters' abilities to combine attacks with one another. Chrono Trigger is often considered to be the greatest RPG of all time, and in all honesty, I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking so.

#11. - Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean
Platform:
Sega Saturn
Year: 1997
Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean Full Review

While everyone else was off playing heavily cinematic RPGs on their Playstation, a select few Sega Saturn owners were enjoying this charming gem instead. I personally don't blame them; Albert Odyssey is the stuff legends are made of. Albert Odyssey is about a teen who was raised by harpies after his mother and father were slain by monsters. Raised to believe he is a harpy, Pike soon sets off on a quest to the human's side of the world to find a cure for his sister who was turned to stone. What entails is a tremendously charming, and complex story made better by Working Designs' fantastic translation.

#10. - The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
Platform:
Nintendo 64
Year: 1998
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time Full Review

This may just be the most hyped game of all time. Nintendo spent years on this title, and with each passing day it looked better and better. Finally Ocarina of Time was released, and for about a month, it was all that I ever thought about. This was the series' jump into the world of 3-D, and it came with fantastic results. The classic Zelda feel is perfectly retained here, but there's enough new stuff (such as the ocarina, for example) to keep old Zelda fans happy.

#9. - Grandia
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1999
Grandia Full Review

Grandia was once supposed to be the Saturn's FFVII, but after a few rather unintelligent moves they never allowed it to be brought to the US. Sony however, was much kinder to us English speakers when they brought it over personally on the Playstation. Grandia makes use of an absolutely amazing battle system which requires fantastic amounts of strategy while remaining diverse and fresh throughout the entire quest. The sense of adventure here, and the lighthearted quest add a tremendous amount of charm to the story. You can do no wrong with Grandia.

#8. - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1992
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Full Review

A recent playthrough has re-invigorated my love for this game. In the past I would have given Ocarina of Time higher placement, but now I realize how nearly perfect this title is. A Link to the Past is the perfect example of a good update from 8-bit to 16-bit. The game features a huge Hyrulean overworld, a mirrored dark world, and some of the most inventive dungeons ever. Also cool is the huge arsenal of items at Link's disposal. This is one of the few games in which I can be entertained by simply wandering around and taking in the sights.

#7. - Lunar: The Silver Star
Platform:
Sega CD
Year: 1993
Lunar: The Silver Star Full Review

This version of Lunar is different enough than the PSX one to warrant a separate listing on this list. The original Sega CD game is better than it's remake in every single area except graphics. This game tells the tale of a teen who dreams of going on fantastic adventures, just like his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne. Alex's first mini-adventure leads him to the cave of the white dragon. The events set forth from here grow to involve the destiny of his secret love Luna, and even the fate of the entire world. Never will you find a more touching love story in the world of RPGs, or even movies for that matter.

#6. - Skies of Arcadia
Platform:
Sega Dreamcast
Year: 2000
Skies of Arcadia Full Review

Skies of Arcadia is an absolutely amazing game, and just when I thought RPGs were fine the way they were it came and blew me away. Using an innovative system for travel, the entire world of Arcadia is composed of floating islands. You have to use your airship to get everywhere here, and you even start the game with one in your possession, which is radically different from other RPGs. The sense of adventure here is unrivaled, and the storyline is very unorthodox in that it's truly lighthearted through and through. If you're looking for a truly magical experience, don't settle for a second rate RPG, shoot for the skies!

#5. - Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 2000
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete Full Review

Although most will agree, I find this remake for Lunar 2 to be the best of the entire series. The story follows young Hiro who, upon discovering a mysterious and magical blue haired vixen in an ancient tower, devotes himself to helping her locate the goddess Althena to complete her mission. What ensues here is one of the greatest Fantasy stories ever told. Eternal Blue takes place 1,000 years after The Silver Star, but the world of Lunar still oozes with charm, magic, and mystery. They sure don't make 'em like they used to.

#4. - Final Fantasy VII
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1997
Final Fantasy VII Full Review

I was once obsessed with this game, but after a recent playthrough, I've come to realize that it's just not quite as good as I remembered it being. That's okay, because FFVII is still absolutely amazing. This is where the series hit it's peak in cinematics, and it's also the point where Final Fantasy become truly mainstream. The materia system, storyline, cinematics, soundtrack, and battle engine all rock my world, and it probably already has yours too. If you haven't played Final Fantasy VII yet then you obviously aren't interested in RPGs at all.

#3. - Soul Blazer
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1992
Soul Blazer Full Review

This entry will probably raise the most controversy of them all. Soul Blazer is the first in Enix's trilogy of action RPGs, and it's also by far the best of them. You play the role of a servant of god sent down to Earth in order to free the captive souls of the world. In order to do so, you'll have to venture forth into many dungeons and destroy monster lairs. Rebuilding whole towns by restoring it's citizens is an incredibly fun thing, and you really get to see the world come alive as you progress. Soul Blazer also features an intuitive item system which allows for diversity in gameplay. This game also features one of the very few RPG endings that made me get all teary eyed.

#2. - Suikoden II
Platform:
Sony Playstation
Year: 1999
Suikoden II Full Review

There's a good reason why this game sells for upwards of $150 used on ebay; it's one of the greatest RPGs of all time. The second best to be exact, but that's just by my opinion. Suikoden II picks up shortly after where the original did. Now the story takes place up North in the City States of Jowston as the corrupt Kingdom of Highland begins their invasion. The only one who can stop them is a silent youth (the main character) who has the power to bring people's hearts together. You'll be able to recruit 108 characters just like in the other Suikoden games, but they are much more interesting in this installment. Fans of the original will also be glad to see many a familiar face returning for this legendary installment.

•••And Here We Have It! The Greatest RPG of All Time Is...•••

#1. - Final Fantasy IV
Platform:
Super Nintendo
Year: 1991
Final Fantasy IV Full Review

Anyone who knows me saw this one coming from a mile away. Final Fantasy IV is RPG perfection with a captivating story, fantastic soundtrack, fun battle system, interesting fantasy based world, and of course, an awesome cast of characters. This was one of my first RPGs, and even without looking through nostalgia goggles I still can't see any other role playing title more deserving of this crown. This is what originally set the world on fire. Ask anyone who played it when it first came out, you'll probably get the same general response as I'm giving here; Final Fantasy IV simply rocks. I know others will disagree, but I would have felt downright guilty for putting anything else at the top of the list.

Final Words
Agree? Disagree? Please leave a comment in my comment section! I also really appreciate RPG recommendations; I'm always trying to find something to satisfy my need to role play. Err, that came out wrong. Either way, that's the end of this piece, until next time... (or maybe the next update?)

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