2008 offered such a flood of great RPGs, that not every one of them could get the notice that they deserved. Some great games were overlooked as were some original and unique titles. Here are our awards for the Most Overlooked RPGs of 2008.
Whether the fault lie with the platform or the lack of promotion from Sega, the most overlooked RPG for 2008 is Valkyria Chronicles. Despite early and often recognition from RPGamer, the mainstream media never caught on until it was too late to build the hype. With a unique battle system, amazing artistic style, and powerful story, Valkryia Chronicles should be the next big name, but never made it to the level of recognition it rightfully deserved. Maybe if the PlayStation 3 can enter more homes, or the fans of the game spread the word, the game can earn some respect, but without the pre-release hype that many games enjoy, Valkryia Chronicles will always be a second tier RPG, which is a crying shame.
Rondo of Swords is one of the most unique tactical RPGs to be released in the past few years, not just in 2008. Sadly, its lack of polish caused many to overlook it or dismiss it as a Fire Emblem clone. Featuring a brand new tactical battle system where enemies are moved through on the field of battle in order to attack them, Rondo was far from ripping off any other tactical RPG. Those who quickly wrote this title off for that reason or due to its lack of graphical prowess missed out on one of the most challenging and innovative games in some time. Shame on those who missed out on this one, go pick it up now if you want something original in your tactical RPGs.
With the DS attempting to be a truly innovative system, only a small percentage of the titles released capitalize on the potential. The Pokémon Ranger series hosts a fresh new battle system that can only be accomplished on Nintendo's handheld, yet the series tends to be largely ignored or brushed off as "just another Pokémon spinoff". But not only did Shadows of Almia continue the original's battle innovations, but it added enough to make it into a legitimate RPG taking away much of the linear feel of the original. The story might be a little too cutesy for some, but it's a real shame that this title doesn't get the respect it deserves.
by Mikel Tidwell, Ethan Pipher, Michael Cunningham