An often overlooked area of RPGs is how they play. It is a rather broad and sometimes vague area, but it is important nonetheless. Interaction can be a key aspect to a quality gaming experience, because if a game is not easy to play or doesn't offer a variety of options for gameplay, it will not likely be enjoyable for anyone. Here are 2007's best in interaction.
Playing a game doesn't get any easier than The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Want to walk somewhere? Touch the location. Want to attack an enemy? Tap it with the stylus. Trying to hit an object with the boomerang? Just draw a path for the boomerang to follow. It's extremely simple and an impressive example of quality interaction in an RPG.
Zelda's dungeons can be confusing mazes at times, but thanks to Phantom Hourglass, Link can now write on his map, notating locations of treasures, answers to puzzles, or traps to avoid. This title might not have been perfect, but it was a unique advance in interactive gameplay and this year's winner.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions scores marks in this area for the huge amount of options the game gives. Character customization is almost limitless with a grand selection of jobs available, each of which having many skills. Now take all of that and allow for mixing and matching of the large number of skills and the end result is an almost overwhelming experience. Customization doesn't get much deeper than Final Fantasy Tactics.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3's Social Links system is unique; it melded the core RPG mechanics the game with the side quest of making friends. In doing so, more power was granted in battle to charismatic individuals that knew what to say and when. With the scarcity of dating sims in America, Persona 3 provided an RPGs unlike anything most Americans had seen. The simulation elements melded with the standard RPG gameplay to create an excellent experience.
by Jake Miller, Michael Cunningham