In a year filled with so many AAA-budget RPGs, it was easy for some of the smaller titles to get overlooked. These are some of the best RPGs that too few people took the time to try out. We hope with this category, we give RPGamers everywhere a reason to hunt these down and try them out, because these are the best RPGs that too few played.
Twin waterfalls of tears! Have passionate hearts forgotten the true meaning of being a hero? Only the bravest of champions have rushed into randomly generated dungeons armed with naught but a carrot and a wok. Overlooked Ranger! Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman received a considerable amount of press for its lengthy name, but even its dashing heroes and strong reviews in most quarters failed to ignite a worldwide deluge of manly tears.
One possibility behind the game's overlooked status is Nippon Ichi's reputation for producing grindy grindfests, where the two main appeals are large numbers and bosoms. While Z.H.P. does feature numerous outlets for min-maxing, they rarely slow down the progression of the spirited central story. Nippon Ichi's gutsy fusion technique combined the familiar house style with classic roguelike elements to celebrate the best of both genres.
Another possibility is that the game looked too silly. NIS America's localization draws a lot of mileage from referential humor, but doesn't allow the otaku-pandering to overwhelm the characters. Even at the wackiest hour, their plights are able to shine through. The blend of quirky characters, idealistic life lessons, and contemporary sass is an unbalancing blend, but far from a forgettable one.
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale took us completely by surprise last year. With its overly cutesy graphics and catch phrases, you'll instantly fall in love with its charming atmosphere. Not only does the game sport addictive gameplay in running one's own shop, but the localization of this indie JRPG went above and beyond any expectations that one would have of a three person team. Recettear not only provides a fresh and unique experience, but it also adds new words to your daily vocabulary. How can someone not fall in love with a girl who says "Yepperonis" and "Yayifications?" Carpe Fulgur took a huge risk with Recettear, and they should be given so much praise for taking it and having it pay off. Capitalism, ho!
Released just a week after Final Fantasy XIII, Resonance of Fate may have been doomed to obscurity from the very beginning. Nonetheless, it is an underappreciated gem that deserves better. It has likeable characters, a unique setting, and even a sense of humor, but most of all it is a game with a great battle system. In a genre where swords and sorcery are the norm and those that do use guns tend to play like an FPS, Resonance of Fate bucks tradition with wild gunfights where shooting on the run is the best form of attack and juggling foes with a barrage of bullets earns bonus items. With a system that combines John Woo action with solid RPG mechanics, it is a shame that more people have not tried it.
by Zach Welhouse, Sam Marchello, Nathan Schlothan, Michael Cunningham