While the PlayStation category still exists in conjunction with the PlayStation 2, it should be no surprise to anyone that Sony's latest console held all the spots for the best RPG. As the PlayStation 2 is well into its second and third-generation titles, both the RPGamer readers and staff agreed in their pick for the PSX/PS2 RPG of the Year for 2002: Kingdom Hearts.
Squaresoft and Disney's odd collaboration paid off as Kingdom Hearts became one of the most anticipated titles of 2002. Backed up by a vigorous advertising campaign and boosted by some excellent voice-acting (not to mention beautiful graphics and an adventure-style battle system), the game became a favorite of longtime RPG veterans, newbies, and critics alike.
RPGamers also had the chance to see many Final Fantasy series characters team up with some of Disney's most famous creations. Combined with an impressive score and some familiar areas, Kingdom Hearts got many people's attention and helped expand the RPG market to a wider audience.
Both the readers and staff agreed as well in their picks for 2nd and 3rd place, which went to Suikoden III and Wild ARMs 3, respectively. Both games were the first title for their respective series on the PlayStation 2, and came out within two weeks of each other last October.
Suikoden III won 2nd place for its unique battle system, enormous amounts of characters, and a captivating plot that highlighted the game's "Trinity System" - where RPGamers could experience the plot from three different perspectives before the dramatic conclusion. The game also allowed for character data to be used from Suikoden II, for the PlayStation - which helped introduce the series to a larger audience.
Wild ARMs 3, captured the 3rd place spot as one of the many cel-shaded titles that are slowly gaining popularity with console RPGamers. Combining a Trigun-esque setting in the frontier of Filgaia, Wild ARMs 3, may have been the third iteration of the series, but it was one of the first console RPGs in a long time to bring back the traditional world map, and it featured a unique cast of characters with great armaments, and a fantastic musical score to boot.