You know what? Screw tradition. It’s time for Day Ten and the Ahrpguhz… better known as ARPGs or Action RPGs. The difference between today’s list of favs and yesterday’s is interesting, with most of the entries yesterday having been released prior to 2000 whereas today it’s precisely the reverse. ARPGs are the wave of the future and they have been since RPGs took a step in this direction with Square’s Active Time Battle system in Final Fantasy IV. Action RPGs, which often place emphasis on the former rather than the latter, mechanically, are a mark of the modern era and a testament to the power of modern engines to support extremely fast gameplay. More bombastic than their patient predecessors, ARPGs currently dominate the role-playing scene and they probably will for a good long AAA while!
Here are just a few of our favorites…
The Green Screen Mage
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2. I can’t say how many times I have run through this game. I love the light and dark side paths and the different characters you get to add to your party and get to know. Also, killing things with a lightsaber. Yeah, that’s fun.
The Black Humor Mage
There’s a lot of action RPGs out there, and it might be my favorite genre. It’s the best of both words, and while I love a lot of action RPGs, my favorite right now is Bloodborne. It’s an impressive game, and it blows my mind. It’s an absolutely brutal game and totally tested my will and skill. There’s great customization of clothing and weapons, and the gameplay is sturdy. And the design of the enemies and sprawling, yet interconnected environment were absolutely amazing. When I finished it, it felt like a real accomplishment. And it’s a PlayStation exclusive!
The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)
Dragon Age. This whole series is so incredible, if I had to rank them I would go Inquisition, Origins, & 2 from the top to bottom. It is hard to pick in this genre which is almost certainly my favorite type of games. The Legend of Zelda makes up my childhood just as I’m sure it does most of yours, and I have played every game from the Fable trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed each of them. I have as of yet only finished the first game in the Witcher series, but I loved it so much that it just might take my top spot when I am able to complete them.
The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)
Does Secret of Mana count? Because Secret of Mana. Another Square classic, with some of the best music you’ll hear in any video game. Also, many weapons. And elemental sprites. You also travel by canon.
The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)
NieR is such an underrated game. The lore is so amazing between the two versions and the Grimoire. Nothing could have prepared me for the second playthrough and the different perspective you had access to. Every characters backstory was so tragic and I was invested in each and every one of them. I found the combat fine albeit a little clunky at times. I have my fingers crossed that they will release an amazing remaster one day especially with Automata doing well!
The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)
Fallout 3. The game that made me realise that I needed to play more RPGs. One of the most memorable feelings I’ve had from gaming was the sheer wonder of being dumped in the Capitol Wastelands with nothing but a vault suit. I’d never played a Bethesda game before and had no idea what to do. Having to explore the Wastelands and learn how to survive was incredible. I honestly felt my character grew as the game when on… not just his stats, but the friends he made, weapons he discovered, settlements he rescued…
I traded Fallout 3 in for Fallout: New Vegas. Imagine how gutted I was when you were given weapons, clothes and tutorials from the beginning of New Vegas… The glee of killing that first raider and getting your first armour was sadly gone.
The Rage Mage
Okay… Rage Mage’s don’t cry… but I actually like something! How many shameless Zelda clones are there in the world? Innumerable but I got into Crystalis, this Miyazaki-esque NES ARPG, and it’s never let go…
The Well-Red Mage
When you walk away you won’t hear me say pleeeeeeeeeeease o-oh baybeeeee don’t go! Simple and clean is the way that my nomination for favorite ARPG concludes this post, because c’mon guys… Kingdom Hearts. I remember I was introduced to this game when I asked a cashier at a game shop what’s a good RPG I hadn’t played yet and he highly recommended KH. I scoffed off the Disney characters and he essentially said “don’t be such a narrow-minded snob, you platitudinous buffoon!” I’m glad I took his advice because this game is one of the hallmarks, the milestones, of my personal gaming history. This is one of the best games on the PlayStation 2 and Square/Disney’s lovechild will not fail to reach your inner heart of hearts, no matter what kind of gamer you are. Even non-gamers have enjoyed Kingdom Hearts. I know several people who’ve said “I haven’t ever played and finished a video game… except for Kingdom Hearts.” So for me, it’s really the only obvious choice. Well, that and I struggled to find a pick for this category. I really struggled. ARPGs, the modern ones, typically aren’t this mage’s thang.
So which ARPG gets your blood pumping? Do you prefer your RPGs more traditional or more hyperactive? Let us know and come back again tomorrow for Day Eleven. Just make sure to bring your thinking cap, because tomorrow’s genre will require some… strategy.