BEST OF THE BEST: Part 17 (11/09)

All right! It’s the end of another week and we are on the third to last part of this feature. Today we’re looking at Tactical/Strategic RPG’s and the “Best Story” award. With only five awards to look at, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness finally shows up today with two of the four awards it one. Guess that’s a spoiler, eh?

#38. Best Strategic RPG
Award Winner in 2003: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Release Date: 08/27/2003
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2

Award Winner in 2004: Shining Force: The Resurrection of Dark Dragon
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Amusement Vision
Release Date: 06/08/2004
System Released On: Nintendo Game Boy Advance

Award Winner in 2005: Advanced Wars Dual Strike
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Release Date: 08/22/2005
System Released On: Nintendo DS

Award Winner in 2006: Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Release Date: 08/29/2006
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2

Interesting that it all came full circle with this award. Disagea 1 was easily the best game of 2003 for the Games staff. The only people who didn’t foam at the mouth about the awesomeness of the game were people who just didn’t play RPG’s. Disagea 2 won the award in 2006, but to be honest, it was a step down in quality and it shone nowhere as brightly as the original. I mean, D2 got a 6.5 from me.

I haven’t played Advanced Wars: DS unfortunately. I never really liked the series. Military games aren’t my thing. Too close to realism I suppose. I will say 2005 was a hideous year for SRPG’s, with none of our nominees being quality games to us. Basically AW: DS was cream of the crap. Doubt me? Here’s what we had to go with for the big four nominations:

Advanced Wars DS
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Makai Kingdom
Stella Deus

Ouch. I think I gave Makai Kingdom a 7 or a 7.5. It was good, but far too much going on. 2006 wasn’t much better and 2007 has been pretty barren. I’m pretty sure that for the 2007 awards, we will be recombining all three RPG awards back into a single one. It wasn’t a good year for RPG’s across the board. Shame really.

Reviews:
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (Lee Baxley)
Shining Force (Lucard)
Advanced Wars Dual Strike – No Review Found
Disgaea 2 (Lucard)

#39 Best Story
Award Winner in 2003: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Release Date: 08/27/2003
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2
Genre: Strategy RPG

Award Winner in 2004: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Publisher: Rockstar
Developer: Rockstar North
Release Date: 10/26/2004
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2
Genre: Action

Award Winner in 2005: Digital Devil Saga 1
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Atlus Japan
Release Date: 04/05/2005
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2
Genre: Turn Based RPG

Award Winner in 2006: Rule of Rose
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Punchline/Shirogumi
Release Date: 9/12/2006
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2
Genre: Survival Horror

This is the first and only award the PS2 has had a clean sweep on. Not sure if it will happen in 2007, but with Persona 3 and Odin Sphere, odds are likely it’ll be five in a row for the only system from the last console war still standing. It’s also interesting to note that Atlus has three of the four awards here.

Blah blah blah Disgaea blah blah blah. It’s awesome. It’s funny. It’s well written. You should all know this instinctively by now without me saying why this game rules. Remember, it’s just been re-released on the PSP!

GTA I have a problem with winning this award, but I take solace in that this is the only award the GTA series has won from us and probably ever will. We’re not big Rockstar fans here. It’s not that they make crappy games. They’re just pretty unethical with business practices. Still, GTA: SA had a lot going on and an summer blockbuster plot. It won pretty easily, with the Suffering coming in second.

Digital Devil Saga 1 has one of the best plots in gaming. It’s intricate, subtle and so full of metaphor and simile. You can appreciate it on so many levels. It’s a shame the second one does pull it off as well, but man does DDS1 give you most of the most thought provoking and deep storylines in the history of gaming.

Rule of Rose is one of those games where the story is magnificent, but the rest of the game is total ass. Find someone who is good at the game and watch them beat it. It’s better to watch than to play. Seriously.

Reviews:
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (Lee Baxley)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Matt Yaeger)
Digital Devil Saga (Lucard)
Rule of Rose (Mark B)

That’s it for this week. We’ll be back Monday with the penultimate piece of the series. Join us then for the Best PS2 Game and System of the Year. See you then!