BEST OF THE BEST: Part 9 (10/30)

In 2003, we only had a single award for RPG. It was aptly titled, “RPG of the Year.” In 2004, we broke it out into 3 awards: Turn-based, Action, and Tactical. This was done mainly because the majority of the games we reviewed were RPG’s and it was also the genre readers indicated they cared most about. Is it too many? Yeah, probably. Maybe for 2007, we’ll consolidate back down. For now, let’s look back at the Action and Turn Based awards that we started in 2004. SRPG will be saved for a later date, as the original Best RPG award was won by Disgaea, an SRPG. No shock there, eh?

22. Best Action RPG
Award Winner in 2004: Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2
Publisher: Interplay
Developer: Black Isle Studios
Release Date: 01/20/2004
System Released On: Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation 2

Award Winner in 2005: X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven Software
Release Date: 09/20/2005
System Released On: Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube, Nokia N-Gage, PC, Sony Playstation 2, Sony Playstation Portable

Award Winner in 2006: Pokemon Ranger
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: HAL Labs
Release Date: 10/30/2006 (Holy crap! Happy first birthday Pokemon Ranger!)
System Released On: Nintendo DS.

One thing I can say for certainty about all three games, is that they haven’t aged well. I still enjoy Pokemon Ranger and DA2, but I don’t think they’d score as high as they did as when I first reviewed them. 2004 was a pretty crap year for gaming, and DA2 blew us all away by comparison. We had some pretty fanatically devoted people to that game. X-Men Legends 2 was fun, but again, it pales compared to Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Pokemon Ranger is still fun, but it can get monotonous and a little too hard for the target audience. I think it might just be part of the action RPG genre as a whole.

One final note of interest: DA 2 came out at the very beginning of the year and held our attention for 12 months. If you go back and look at the rest of the feature, you’ll notice nearly every game that won came out at the end of the year. That’s a rarity regardless of the publication doing awards, but then if you read my review, I was pretty “ecstatic” about the game.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 (Lucard)
X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse (Tom N.)
Pokemon Ranger (Lucard)

23. Best Turn Based RPG

Award Winner in 2004: Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Release Date: 10/11/2004
System Released On: Nintendo Game Cube

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

Award Winner in 2006: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Chunsoft
Release Date: 09/18/2006
Systems Released On: Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS

The third of Digital Devil Saga’s SIX appearances. Did any other games come out in 2005? If you still haven’t picked it up, why not? It’s that good!

I haven’t played the GC version of Paper Mario, but I do own SUPER Paper Mario, so hurrah there. I never got into any of the Mario RPG’s. It’s probably because I’ve never liked the Mario franchise and Super Mario RPG was Mario + Squaresoft creating an instant disdain.

Unlike the action RPG’s I feel these games still stand the test of time. Digital Devil Saga 1 still remains the best RPG on the PS2/Xbox/Game Cube generation of RPG’s. PMD is either crazy good or boring as hell depending on how you view Dungeon crawls. Again, I can’t comment on Paper Mario for the GCN. I do find it interesting though that Nintendo is not a company I think of for quality RPG’s, yet they have 3 of the six RPG’s than won awards in today’s feature. Crazy.

No Review for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, but I could swear someone did one.
Digital Devil Saga (Lucard)
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (Lucard)

That’s it for today. Tomorrow is Halloween, and as befits the holiday, Part 10 of this feature (we’re about halfway done as of today. God damn we give out too many awards) appropriately looks at another dead award, as well as the best horror game. See you then!