Role playing video games have been around since the early days of Wizardry, Ultima, and Final Fantasy. Most of these original games were set in nebulous, undefined worlds filled with fantasy elements. It wasn’t until much later that RPGs started to emerge set on Earth. Over the years Earth has become a popular setting for role playing video games, often with alternate histories or in some dystopian future. The following are the top five best role playing video games set on Earth.
5. Front Mission 3 – This PS1 classic is a tactical role playing game set about 100 years in the future. The world has changed greatly in those years, with nations combining into super nations and wars being primarily fought by mechanized infantry units called Wanzers. You control a small force of Wanzers and engage in hundreds of battles while moving through a story filled with complex political struggles. The game is a rather traditional tactical RPG allowing modest customization of your units. The best feature of Front Mission 3 is that after you complete the game you can play a second time and engage in an entirely different campaign with a different story and character interactions.
4. Dragon Warrior III – This old NES game is one of the earliest examples of a game set on Earth. The story starts you with four generic characters that embark on an increasingly odd quest. As you travel across the world, you start to notice a familiar shape to it and when you finally gain a ship, you can see that it is unquestionably Earth, though obviously in a much earlier time period and magic is present. This seems odd since the previous two games in the series were not set on Earth. All is explained in the final section of the game when you are transported to another world and discover that one of your characters is actually the hero of legend, Erdrick, from the original game. It is a brilliant ending that really makes the time put into the game worthwhile.
3. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne – This is, by far, the hardest game on this list. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has a retro feel in many ways. This PS2 game uses turn based battles and there are sudden difficulty spikes that require grinding to pass. Despite that, the game has an amazing dark fantasy feel to it, despite being set in modern day Tokyo. It is the kind of game most likely to appeal to anime fans, both due to graphics and story. If you are a fan of older RPGs or anime, this is a great game, but if you prefer modern RPGs, you should probably avoid this game.
2. Shadow Hearts: Covenant – This game is set in WWII in an alternate timeline Earth where terrifying creatures like vampires and demons exist. The game has a very dark tone, having both a war theme and a Cthulhu style theme. In fact, the horror theme is so prevalent that each character has sanity points and can go insane during battle. The incredibly rich story is supported by stylish European imagery, from locations to how characters dress and speak. From start to end the story simply draws you in and has you wanting more after it is over.
1. Fallout – War… war never changes. These words started a series that has continually awed with nearly every release. The original Fallout is set somewhere in the middle of the United States many years after a nuclear war has decimated the world. The war occurred during a time when white picket fences and perfect families were considered the norm, which means those that survived in giant vaults cut off from the world still have a naïve understanding of life. This creates many beautiful moment of irony as your character interacts with the hardened survivors who have lived in the blasted wasteland for years. More than almost any other RPG, this one lets you play the game the way you want, truly living up to the tabletop roots of the genre.