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 games to get ignored, simply because they don’t belong to a specific series. The following are the top five underrated role playing video games ever released.
5. Bard’s Tale – This dark horse game is practically unknown, which is particularly a shame, since it means it is unlikely to ever get a sequel. It is a basic action role playing with game play similar to Diablo and a story stylistically similar to the original Bard’s Tale. Admittedly, while both game play and story were only slightly above average, at best, the game has some of the best humor of any role playing game ever released. By constantly breaking the fourth wall and referencing classic role playing game tropes, Bard’s Tale keeps you smiling for the duration of the quest. This is no small feat in a video game.
4. Heroes of Might and Magic 5 – According to the massive fan base, the biggest flaw with this game is that it isn’t Heroes of Might and Magic 3. And, that is a shame. Admittedly, the prequel set a high bar for the series, but rather than enjoy good games that don’t quite hit that bar, fans of the series tend to dismiss anything that came after. This is a particular shame for Heroes of Might and Magic 5. The game has a very intricate character growth system and a plethora of heroes, monsters, and magic items. The storyline is long and the interweaving of multiple stories is well done. The game is high quality and really shouldn’t be ignored simply because the series produced a better game in the past.
3. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – If there is any time you don’t want to release an action role playing game, this would be at roughly the same time that Skyrim was released. More than anything, this is what doomed this game to near obscurity. Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning clearly deserved better. It has a rather unique storyline that weaves together concepts like fate in way that is actually meaningful and tangible to the player. The story is downright epic and could easily take months to fully explore. Most importantly, the game play puts other action RPGs to shame, effectively introducing a fighter game style combo system to RPG combat. The game isn’t without flaw, the biggest being that it is so long you are likely to forget why you ever started in the first place. But, even with flaws, it is an excellent game that should be mentioned in the same breath as Skyrim, Dragon Age, or Mass Effect.
2. Septerra Core – This game is proof that JRPGs simply can’t thrive on the PC. Septerra Core tells a story about a strange planet that has seven different layers of continents. The story and game play are pure Japanese role playing game, in the most traditional ways, including what can only be described as a version of the active time battle system made famous by Square games. Unfortunately, it was released on the PC where it got absolutely no press or advertising. If it had been a console game, it would probably have multiple sequels by now. But as a PC game, it was a one-hit wonder that simply never got a following.
1. Final Fantasy X-2 – Admittedly, the story of Final Fantasy X-2 is absolutely atrocious. It basically negates everything you did in Final Fantasy X. And that wasn’t the only mistake that Square made. The new character Paine seemed entirely superfluous and really put a bad taste in the mouths of fans of the previous game. An all female cast probably didn’t help either, but if the last female had been Lulu and the plot had been a little less thin, the game probably wouldn’t have been as hated as it was. The sad thing is that, in terms of game play, this is one of the best RPGs in the Final Fantasy series. The dress sphere system is essentially the best version of the job system that the series ever released. The ability to change jobs in combat was brilliant and made for one of the most tactical battle systems ever. Mechanically, this is one of the best games Square ever released, and all that potential is ignored because of a poor story and a bad character. This is a game that Final Fantasy fans should play, despite the story.