What is the best RPG of this generation? Does the Real-Time battle system in Tales of Symphonia beat out the classic style of Final Fantasy X? Does Suikoden 3’s innovative turn on a classic system beat out the never-ending thrills of Disgaea’s tactics?
Truly, it all depends on your personal preference. I may love Phantasy Star Online and hate Breath of Fire V, but for you it could be the other way around. Suddenly you realize that all of these games are so different, they could be broken up into entire different genres. Five minutes later you’ve come up with this:
Real-Time Battles: Tales of Symphonia, Star Ocean 3
Tactical RPGs: Disgaea, Advanced Wars
Turn-Based RPGs: Final Fantasy X, Suikoden 3
ATB Based RPGs: Final Fantasy X-2
Free-Roaming RPGs: Jade Empire, Fable
MMORPGs: Phantasy Star Online, Final Fantasy 11
Action RPGs: Full Metal Alchemist, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
And then you find all these slight differences within the categories. Full Metal Alchemist is linear while Final Fantasy CC is more open ended; Suikoden 3 has pairs while Final Fantasy X uses individuals. Advanced wars uses military troops while Disgaea is just insane.
Taken to its extreme, you have categories like "Real time battles with random encounters where running out of TP makes you die: Star Ocean 3", and so on.
So now we are left with 3 choices. We can either group all these games into one or a few big categories at the risk of confusion, divide them into a ton of ridiculously small categories that or impossible to remember, or just accept the fact that all games are unique and do not easily fit into one category.
So, what is the best RPG of this generation? You can pick whichever one you want, and that may be your personal favorite, but because the games are just so different, there can never be a definite best RPG of this generation, or any generation. In my personal opinion, it’s better this way. Gaming would get dull pretty fast if all games were so easily pigeonholed.