This year the PlayStation 3 has still been slow on the RPG front, but that doesn't mean that the games on the system have been less than stellar. With a select few titles that really stood out this year, 2008 could be a year that PS3 owners were proud to own the system.
Many pundits in the game industry claim that the RPG has become stale over the years, but we here at RPGamer still love them to death. However, even among RPGamers, it's hard to dispute that the tactical subgenre has seen little evolution since its conception. Sega changed all that this year with Valkyria Chronicles, quite possibly the most unique and enjoyable tactical RPG to be released in years. With stylized graphics, an unusually high focus on story, and most significantly, real-time, World War II era gameplay, it's depressing to say that this game has only sold roughly thirty thousand copies to date in North America.
Ironically, Valkyria Chronicles' only real competition on the PlayStation 3 this year was the decidedly traditional Disgaea 3, and as such it was something of a shoe in for best PlayStation 3 game, but it is far from undeserving of the award. Valkyria Chronicles is a fantastic game that really has to be played to be appreciated, and should not be passed up by anyone with the means to play it.
Bethesda took a chance with Fallout 3 by completely changing how the game played when compared to earlier Fallout titles. Their risk ended up paying off with the widespread praise the game got. Fallout 3 is not just "Oblivion with guns," but an incredibly deep first-person RPG that honors the series' roots in every way. Being lost in Fallout 3's D.C. wasteland is not a bad thing, as the game is packed with secrets and quests to be found in every nook and cranny. The ability to choose good and evil paths has never been so in-depth as in Fallout 3, allowing players to be rewarded equally from both ends or to blur the line completely. Fallout 3 is a complete rebirth of the Fallout franchise that every RPGamer should experience.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice won't win over many new fans to the series. However, with a steady dose of what has made the series undeniable to those who love it, it goes to show that a game doesn't always have to break the mold to stand out. The story is laugh-out-loud funny, filled with a wide variety of characters with their own view of how the Netherworld should be run. With less grinding, Disgaea would be enjoyed by far more people, but then everyone would know why one should be careful with that Prinny, dood. What fun would that be?
by Mikel Tidwell, Adriaan den Ouden, Tom Goldman, Michael Cunningham