The GameCube has often suffered in the past from a lack of solid games,
especially in the RPG department. 2004, however, kicked that premise square
in the shin with a delicious serving of more than a dozen games for the
RPGamers crying for a quality title on the system. With so many to choose
from, it must have been difficult for the readers to narrow it down to a top 3
in their minds. However, a trio did emerge in the end and their qualities
easily shine through. Namco was certainly listening to those crying for
superior quality when they released their game, Tales of Symphonia.
Rarely do we see a Tales game released in North America, and so their releases
are highly anticipated with many waiting with bated breath. It seemed to be a
good choice to release this particular one, and readers gave it two
enthusiastic thumbs up, voting it first place in the GameCube category.
Tales of Symphonia has many strong points going for it. It has an engaging
storyline, which while filled with clichés, still manages to entrance many
who pick up the game.
It also has a unique style of action-packed battles that keep the player
involved in a way that a simple menu system can't. With many different
characters from a variety of lifestyles and geographical locations, there is
generally at least one each RPGamer can relate to as the game unfolds.
Beautiful graphics and stunning musical scores will be appreciated even by the
pickiest of gamers, and Tale stands out in many ways. It's not much of a
surprise that it ended up as the top choice for the reader category.
For their second choice, the readers voted up the fun-filled Paper Mario: The
Thousand Year Door. The sequel to the Paper Mario game that was so overlooked
at the tail end of the N64's life, this particular Paper Mario comes in at a
good time for the GameCube and is a positive addition to the system's lineup.
With crazy battle mechanics, including an interactive audience and stage, it's
hard not to laugh through most of the game at the crazy antics of Mario and
his new crew of friends. The storyline, however, starts out very slowly and
doesn't pick up until halfway through the game. In addition, there were many
people who felt the graphics did not live up to the GameCube's potential. All
in all, though, Paper Mario 2 is certainly deserving of its silver placing for
Next on the reader's side is Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.
Long subtitles aside, Baten Kaitos is a fascinating game with gorgeous
graphics and a soundtrack that makes audiophiles simply squeal in delight.
The biggest drawback of Baten Kaitos is its dragging storyline, and the idea
of a card-based battle system leaves people shuddering. Those RPGamers that
braved the idea, though, soon found a novel battle system that works
exceptionally well and sets the game apart as card battles done right. With
the potential for up to 60 hours of gameplay, it's not hard to see why readers
enjoyed it as much as they did, and it definitely stands out as one of the top
three games for the GameCube this year for the readers.
by Anna Marie Whitehead