Role playing games are a popular genre among video games. From the nearly 10 million people who play World of Warcraft to the uncounted millions that have played the various Final Fantasy games, the genre has shown great success almost since the first video games were released. Fans of role playing games tend to be relatively independent when it comes to preferences, but games still get fan bases and it isn’t uncommon for a game to get overrated, due to lineage or a strong cult following. The following are the top five overrated role playing video games ever released.
5. Diablo – The original Diablo pretty much created a subgenre of the role playing game genre. Despite this historical significance, the game itself is actually quite unremarkable. It almost exclusively uses classic fantasy tropes both for game play and to tell the story. The game play is incredibly linear and odd difficulty spikes showcased the difficulty the designers had balancing the game. The sequel corrected nearly every major problem with this game and deserves all the praise it receives, but the original deserves much less praise.
4. Tactics Ogre – When fans of the genre list the best tactical role playing games, Tactics Ogre inevitably makes the list. In terms of plot, especially for its times, it was actually rather strong. But the game play was absolutely awful. All battles in the game were always scaled to your main character, which meant that if your main character outleveled your other characters, battles became impossible hard. This was actually very likely to happen since you were required to include your main character in every battle. Diehard fans will argue that you just need to grind the other characters to a higher level than your main character and that solved the problem. But any game that requires unnecessary grinding, and punishes you for advancing your character, has a major flaw.
3. Xenogears – If you only ever played the first disc of this game, you can be forgiven for thinking this game deserves to be in the running for best RPG ever made. But, if you actually finished the game, you would realize that it is highly overrated. Xenogears stands out for a very unique style of game play and the ability to fight as both a mechanized robot and an oriental warrior. It also has a rather intricate plot. Unfortunately, the designers ran out of time when writing the game and the second disc is basically just a series of boss battles with only talking heads and no game play in between. That is a rather horrible way to end a game that shines so brightly for the first 20 hours.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics – Arguably, no role playing game has ever had a more intricate and well crafted story than Final Fantasy Tactics. In that category, this game deserves every honor it has ever received. And, while the mechanics of the game are easily subject ridiculous abuse in order to remove all meaningful challenge, there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing players to be all powerful, if that is what they want. The problem with this game is that the proponents of this game willfully ignore the design flaws that potentially force you to start over from scratch when you encounter an impossible battle. The game basically assumes a good degree of system mastery on the part of the player and ramps up difficulty at points to an unreasonable degree. And, those difficulty ramps sometimes come in a place where you can’t possibly do anything to strengthen your characters if they aren’t strong enough to deal with it. You are stuck and if you just saved, often your only choice is to start over from the beginning of the game. It is a huge design flaw that should not be ignored.
1. Secret of Mana – Secret of Mana came out for the SNES at roughly the same time that Chrono Trigger came out. Oddly, both games received almost equal hype, though there was a massive difference in quality. On its face, Secret of Mana seems like a huge jump in game play from older similar games. It allowed you to use up to eight different weapons, a similar variety of magic, and even let you play cooperatively with a second player. As good as this sounds, it looks better on paper than in play. Even with a lot of different weapons to use, battles were awkward due to only being able to attack every few seconds and you were pretty much forced to use specific weapons at specific points in the game. Furthermore, while the game had a sprawling storyline, every section of the game had almost exactly the same pattern, which made it feel like you were doing the same thing over and over again. Additionally, the AI was good enough that you gained little benefit from cooperative game play. It was an above average action RPG, but didn’t deserve the high praise it received.