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 RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  
   Overall
   PS2
   Computer
   Online
   GameCube
   GBA
   Xbox

   Graphics
   Story
   Fun Value
   Battle System
   Music
   Gameplay
   Localization

   Letdown

Localization
Best...

One of the many facts of the role playing genre is that there will always be a hearty, beefy storyline with tons of text. However, sometimes the video game makers don't exactly manage to make the dialogue clear. Even worse is when the dialogue is translated poorly, and that is where localization comes in. Often one of the most misunderstood facets of the video game industry, localization is purely translation as well as suiting the game for the area of its release. Many different games managed to get the proverbial nod for good localization this year, but few ranked high for RPGamer readers in general. Also now for the presenting moment you have been all in the wait about....category of localize in 2003 year time!

1st
Final Fantasy X-2

Reflecting the choices in many other categories this year, RPGamer readers seemed to once again become entranced with Square Enix's latest release on the Playstation 2 Final Fantasy X-2. Coined as the first true sequel to a Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy X-2 had much hype to live up to not only aesthetically, but also in execution. In the eyes of our readers, it lived up to that expectation. Sporting a spotless translation is just one reason to applaud this newest installment. Along with its translation, Final Fantasy X-2 also had two localized tracks especially recorded by Jade from Sweetbox unheard of prior to playing the U.S. version. Rounding out the reasons to respect Final Fantasy X-2's translation comes from the battle dialogue which often hinges on hilarious with many U.S. culture references.

  2nd
Xenosaga Episode I

Capturing the silver slot in localization is Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht. It was a a daunting prospect with much potential for letdown: Xenosaga has literally hours of voice acting, in and out of FMV cutscenes, and enough text to drown even the sturdiest of bookworm. If Shion's quest for her missing memories was going to be successful, a powerful localization would be needed. However, it appears that the readers appreciated the time and attention to the small details put into the translation, as the votes clearly stood in favor of the game. Netting first place in story, it's no surprise to see the title on the localization awards as well. Vibrant personalities and an intriguing plot that sucks in a player can only truly shine with a great localization, and this seems to be exactly why so many readers vote for Xenosaga.

3rd
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

There's obviously a lot more to localization than simply translating text into something readable. There also has to be a feeling of belonging in a game and a drive to go on. The readers felt that The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker fulfilled their localization needs, giving it enough votes to steal away the bronze spot on the list amongst a competitive field of great games this year. Being one of the very few GameCube RPGs of the year, Wind Waker had to fulfill a lot of expectations. With catchy repartee between numerous characters and assorted NPCs with a variety of reactions to Link, it's obvious no detail was overlooked by Nintendo. Wind Waker also finally saw fruition of what the North American audience wanted for a long time in a localization: the same exciting preorder add-ins that Japanese players had been graced with for years while others looked on longingly.

  4th
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

Slightly lower in the voting but still deserving according to the many readers is Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, a quirky title brought over to North America by Atlus. It wasn't the only game this year brought over by the company involving demons and the hellish world they live in and squabble over, but it was certainly was the more popular, and much of the popularity was due to its great localization. With voice acting being such a touchy subject with many RPGamers, Disgaea does an excellent job implementing the many moods of each character as well as loveable personalities. With a vivid storyline unlike anything else available this year, focusing on being as evil and bad a demon as Laharl can possibly be, it stands out amongst the crowd of 'hero saves world' RPGs that usually flood the market.

5th
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Managing to squeak into the last spot on the localization list was a game that has received many awards in other categories, so it's not all that surprising to see that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance also made the localization list for the readers. Though Marche's story isn't as deep or intricate as many may have expected it to be considering the original Tactics convoluted storyline, Tactics Advance still impressed many with its thoughtful plot, centering around one boy's poignant dreams and wishes for a better world. With more than 300 missions, there's a lot of information to get across in a timely and effecient manner, so that the game momentum doesn't slow down; the localization job could very well have been much worse. Thankfully, it was well executed and the readers have definitely noticed that.

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