20. Fire Emblem
A series which grew a devout following in Japan, Fire Emblem was a fairly unknown game in the America’s until the introduction of Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Even though these two characters were not in the original Fire Emblem, they served as a launching point for Americans to become fans of the series. A game layered with well written characters, a medieval setting, and a turn based battle system, this Game Boy Advanced gem was guaranteed to consume countless hours from users.
While the gameplay itself was enjoyable, it was the interactions and story lines that tugged at our heart strings and added depth to the story. When a player lost a party member, the loss was permanent, something young players of the game weren’t prepared to deal with on their first play through. Such moments are what make RPGs exactly as enjoyable as they are, with each member’s loss having meaningful impact. Though the strategy format of gameplay is a departure from conventional role playing games, the series has held out through time as a go to game for RPG fans and strategy fans alike.
19. Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven
New World Computing’s Might and Magic VI was one of the first to blend the interactive storytelling experience with a large open world, and affectionately remains in the hearts of those who prefer the “traditional” role playing experience. A game that seems to be Dungeons and Dragons brought to life, you control a party of heroes that travel across this vast setting accomplishing a wide variety of quests. Fans were treated to incredibly detailed and varying story arcs throughout the game, a detailed open world, and character growth through the now traditional leveling experience of completing quests and slaying monsters.
Small details were heavily implemented; a fan favorite was often the shopkeepers in different towns, who would offer different dialogues depending on how many shops you had already wandered into without buying anything, and other minute details. One unique aspect of the game was the ability to switch between free time battles and turn based ones, making combat feel fresh and unique. The “Might and Magic” series, still around today, could easily be called one of the grandparent games of modern fantasy RPGs, and “The Mandate of Heaven” was the peak of this series.
18. Monster Hunter
Future Releases Monster Hunter series is another Japanese game with a huge following. The game that started what would turn into a 13 game series (which doesn’t include all of the spin offs) was first released in 2004 on the Playstation 2. The four player online RPG boasted everything a Monster Hunter could have asked for and more. Intense battles of hack and slash – against monsters, if you can believe it – with a huge amount of item collecting, weapon forging, and leveling up.
While Monster Hunter doesn’t boast an incredible story-driven experience like other RPGs may tend to focus on, the battles and addictive drive to find and fight the biggest, baddest monsters, all while earning the best loot to further customize yourself, has kept fans coming back over and over again.