Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition|
When FromSoftware was releasing their King's Field games, most people didn't pay attention - maybe because early 3D graphics and slow gameplay wasn't fashionable during the multimedia revolution. Now, fed up with linear, overly cinematic, hand-holding games, RPG lovers have opened their hearts to the phenomenon that is Dark Souls. This is a no-nonsense, hardcore game for people who like exploring vast, magnificently designed and darkly atmospheric interconnected worlds, fight very challenging enemies, and gradually build up a character out of a million options available. Dark Souls is the real deal, a game that boldly goes against modern design conventions, a game to be played and studied by everyone. And with a few tweaks, even the weird PC port is perfectly playable!
Jun 13, 2013, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
Pool of Radiance
Pool of Radiance enjoys an almost legendary status with those familiar with the name. Among the right audience, it will still be brought up with the same reverence that NES owners talk about Super Mario Bros 3 or arcade fanatics mention Street Fighter II. It wasn't just another RPG or a good RPG, it was the RPG that defined the late 80s and the first successful implementation of the D&D license on computers. Its engine (the “Gold Box” engine) spawned fourteen games in total, including auspicious titles like Champions of Krynn and the original Neverwinter Nights. Pool of Radiance itself was released in some form on half a dozen platforms. A decade later, it was mentioned by name as being one of the direct inspirations for Baldur's Gate. Very few titles have ever reached this level of proliferation and long lasting influence.
Apr 15, 2013, submitted by Scribblemacher (89)
The mid to late 90s saw an ailing RPG genre, as production costs skyrocketed and development cycles grew from months to years. It seemed that role-playing games on the PC would soon become a thing of the past.
Baldur's Gate is one of the major titles credited with saving the "western" RPG from extinction. It did this with a near flawless combination of gameplay, story and atmosphere. Not only was Baldur's Gate everything RPG makers from the previous era had dreamed of doing, it also helped reshape the genre and bring it back to the forefront of gaming.
It's Infinity Engine would power several other remarkable role-playing games, including a sequel, and would be the basis for the Aurora powered Neverwinter Nights.
Apr 01, 2013, submitted by Giu's Brain (470)
The Spirit Engine II
You may dismiss the game as simply a freeware side scroller made by some guy, but you'd be the one missing out, as the care and attention to detail poured into this title put a fair number of well known games to shame. The art style sets each area apart, the enemies are incredibly varied, most boss fights are memorable, the calculations used for skills may make your head hurt, the equipment is so varied that you may be hard pressed to find an item that's a direct upgrade of another, and the story touches on some very important issues.
Mar 18, 2013, submitted by Cavalary (4535)
|Zis the Adventure|
You never know where you might find talent and creativity. This beyond-obscure platformer was made by four people from the Korean Ablex team, and I couldn't put it down since the moment I took a look at it. Zis the Adventure is brimming with ideas and diversity, and it doesn't get boring for a second. Unique power-ups, setpieces like shoot-em-up or dolphin-riding stage, and so many little touches and details make this game a true hidden gem. Perfect balance and difficulty level complement the picture. I played it through the end even though I can't stand games without a proper save feature, and that's saying something. Zis the Adventure is also one of the cutest and most charming games I've ever seen; if you like colorful platformers, you can't allow yourself to miss this one.
Mar 04, 2013, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
Tidalis manages to do something quite extraordinary: make a puzzle-game about chain reactions fun to play!
The game uses coloured blocks and streams to connect them, and adds to that dozens of different modes and special conditions and blocks to keep things interesting for hours on end.
Unusually enough to be mentioned, the game comes with a story mode with increasingly difficult puzzles to solve, and also a free-play mode where you can choose your own rules, whether you just want to relax for a minute by having a casual play, or ask for a real test of your brainpower and/or twitch reflexes.
Mar 04, 2013, submitted by Narushima (114)
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
So many installments in popular game series drew the rage of fans because they did something different. Perhaps the most famous historical example is the second Zelda. While other games in the series are consistently adored, this one is getting regularly bashed for being extremely difficult and... well... side-scrolling. Maybe there are other people out there who, like me, prefer role-playing over top-down action and may therefore appreciate this Zelda more than the others. The only true Zelda RPG is also a grandiose piece of work ahead of its time, with unique combat challenges, expansive world, and effective, addictive RPG gameplay. Don't miss it because it's different.
Feb 18, 2013, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
Everybody talk about Japanese console games, but Japanese computer games are sadly much less known to Western audiences. Zeliard is an outstanding action RPG from 1987, and one of the few Japanese computer games that saw a Western release three years later. For its time, it was a revolutionary title on par with Ys and Zelda II, but with rich platforming, lovely graphics, and all those little touches that made it even more engrossing: storing money in banks, breakable shields, cool one-use items, exchanging monster souls for cash, etc. We are lucky that this game saw an international release, and should honor it as one of the defining action RPG-platformer hybrids.
Feb 04, 2013, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
Decidedly one of the most original and unusual Japan-made RPGs, Vagrant Story stands in such a stark contrast to its brethren that I wouldn't even call it a "Japanese-style RPG"; nearly all that remains from the genre in it are some (not very fitting) anime aesthetics. But in all other aspects, this almost Shakespearean, grim medieval drama (by the way, superbly translated into English!) defies sub-categorization with its real-time combat, refined weapon customization and a myriad of touches that make it unlike anything else out there. If anything, its system can get too deep and complex to the point of becoming confusing. But once you overcome the steep learning curve, you'll be rewarded with an outstanding experience. Square outdid and transcended itself with this remarkable title.
Jan 21, 2013, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
Seen by many as the high point of the Wonder Boy series, Dragon's Curse (I call it by its TurboGrafx 16 name because that's the game's best version) is a remarkable example of "Metroidvania" platformer. It has a large interconnected world full of secrets, which is a joy to explore. In a RPG-like fashion, you can buy and equip various weapons and armor, as well as find secondary weapons of limited use. But the game's coolest feature are its transformation abilities. What other game lets you become a tiger-man, a piranha-man, and a hawk-man, among others, and explore the vast world in a variety of exciting ways? Dragon's Curse is as rich and as rewarding as a platform game can only be. Be sure not to miss it if you like the genre.
Jan 07, 2013, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
The Japanese-only Sharp X68000 was primarily known for its high-quality arcade conversions. But it also had a few outstanding exclusive games. Aquales is one of them. Predating Cybernator (and, if you ask me, surpassing it), it is a mecha platformer with everything you would expect from a great representative of this sub-genre. Controls are never frustrating, stages are large, graphics are beautiful, and the varied weapons work like a charm. Interesting original features include a grappling hook that is needed to access many areas, and a light RPG angle: there isn't much customization, but defeating enemies nets you experience points and you can gain a few levels. All in all, Aquales is just too cool in every aspect, and a must for those who like navigating bulky robots through platform stages.
Dec 31, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162560)
Die Bahnwelt is a sadly unknown, obscure top-down "run and gun" shooter exclusively released for the Japanese Sharp X68000 computer. It was made by Glodia, the (again) sadly (again) unknown creator of excellent RPGs originating on computers, such as Emerald Dragon. Die Bahnwelt has no RPG elements, but it is story-driven and at times feels like an RPG. Everything works in this game - exploration of vast mazes, intense shoot-outs with robotic enemies, side-kick system (you can even give orders to your companion), varied weapons, challenging boss battles, unmistakable anime vibe. And last but not least: you can save anywhere. I hope there is someone out there for whom this is as important as it is to me.
Look at it this way: I'm not a fan of the genre, and yet I really enjoyed playing this game. Nowadays, when Sharp X68000 emulation is painless and easily accessible, you have no excuse for not trying this game, unless you absolutely cannot stand fast-paced shooter action.
Dec 17, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162560)