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Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham's Halftime Report
2nd Half Games I Don't Want to See Ignored
1Ys Seven
2Cthulhu Saves the World
3Valkyria Chronicles 2
4Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City
5Arc Rise Fantasia

There are lots of RPGs to look forward to for the rest of the year, but what about those that might not be in the spotlight? Here are my top five games that I'm interested in, whether anyone else is or not.

#1 · Ys Seven

Ys Seven was sadly overlooked by many of my colleagues during this year's voting. For someone who typically is uninterested in action RPGs, that fact that XSEED's next offering has caught my eye is something of note. More than just a single character hack-n-slash, Ys Seven offers multiple party members to jump between on the fly, a save anywhere system, and next to no loading times. The thing that has really sold me on this Falcom title is how fast-paced and just plain fun it looks. I love my PSP and this game gives me yet another reason to cherish it.

#2 · Cthulhu Saves the World

When Zeboyd Games first approached us earlier in the year with news of their upcoming RPG Breath of Death VII: The Beginning, I was more than a little skeptical. Having trying many RPG Maker games for PC and having been left wanting, I was really shocked when I tried out BoD and really enjoyed it. Now with Cthulhu Saves the World coming closely behind it and promising the ability to save anywhere along with the solid gameplay of the first, I have no qualms dishing out the extra $2 this game will cost.

#3 · Valkyria Chronicles 2

I really enjoyed the original Valkyria Chronicles and I fear for the fate of Valkyria Chronicles 2. Not that I personally have anything against the PSP, just the opposite, but I don't think the rest of the world shares my love of Sony's little handheld. While I enjoyed the story of the first game while well, the gameplay is what really stood out for me, and I see no reason that this portable edition won't have the same appeal.

#4 · Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City

I've yet to actually dive into an Etrian Odyssey game, but I can totally see the appeal. When Atlus announced that Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City would be sailing across the ocean to North America, it immediately shot up near the top of my most wanted list. I hope that this might just be the one that will break me into the series that I've been eyeing for years now. For many gamers, it might be too scary to not only play this hardcore game, but many might be afraid of having not played the other two.

#5 · Arc Rise Fantasia

I've been looking forward to Arc Rise Fantasia since I first saw a footage of it as Project Ray a couple years back. It's since been jumping publishers, but has finally found a home and will be released later in July. The game met with lukewarm impressions in Japan, stating that it was a decent turn-based RPG, but nothing outstanding. In the North American trailers, the voice acting has been the subject of many complaints. I think these issues could turn off many, but those people should still keep an eye out for what could be a fairly solid, if traditional, RPG from Japan. Time will tell if it was worth the wait.

Games We Need to Hear More About
1Xenoblade
2The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
3Growlanser PSP
4Final Fantasy Agito XIII
5Arc Rise Fantasia

Here are five RPGs that I just want to hear more about. Some are out in Japan, some aren't. Some are scheduled for release here, others might never see the light of day, but regardless here are a handful of RPGs that I really would like to get my hands on in the future.

#1 · Xenoblade

Xenoblade was just recently released in Japan, but North American RPGamer first got a look at this title when Nintendo quietly posted a trailer of it in the media for E3 2009 as Monado: The Beginning of the World. The publisher said nothing about the game, but didn't acknowledge the game at all. A year later and Nintendo of America still has said nothing about this title, despite it being the top selling game the week it was released in Japan. Will we see this or will it go the way of Archaic Sealed Heat? For those who want to hold onto hope for it, Nintendo does still have Monado listed in their upcoming Wii game list. Let's hope the company is just keeping quiet until closer to release.

#2 · The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

It's not been very long since XSEED Games announced a partnership with Falcom to release a trio of Ys titles and the The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky trilogy. The first of these three games is planned for a release in early 2011, as the amount of text to translate for these three games is astounding. Many RPGamers, especially those familar with Falcom, are looking forward to these titles. The trilogy Namco Bandai released was a less than stellar, non-Falcom touched port of three of the company's older PC titles, but the Trails in the Sky trio are all completely developed by Falcom from the ground up. I wish XSEED the best for a speedy localization of these titles while the PSP is still in the limelight.

#3 · Growlanser PSP

Unlike the other titles on this list, this is one game I don't really think even stands a chance any longer. Growlanser PSP is a portable remake of the first game in the series. To date, North America has only seen Growlanser 1 & 2 as included in Growlanser Generations from Working Designs and the fourth title in the series, Growlanser: Heritage of War. Neither of those PlayStation 2 titles tore up the charts, but despite that fact, the series has always been interesting to me personally and it would have been nice to have gotten to try out the one that started it all, in portable form, no less. It's been over a year since it hit in Japan, selling around 50,000 units, 10,000 more than expected. Since then, Atlus USA has released other games that have come and gone since it launched, leaving us to believe there is no hope left for this one. I can still hope though, right?

#4 · Final Fantasy Agito XIII

With all of the PSP games on this list, it might seem like I'm trying to overtake Kevin Butler or his child pal Marcus Rivers has a Sony spokesperson, but I assure you, that's not the case. I've just found that a lot of the RPGs that I've enjoyed this year and am looking forward to are on the PSP. Final Fantasy Agito XIII is also one of those games. Originally announced as a cell phone title, it made the jump to PSP in 2008 and quickly jumped onto my radar. Seeming to take the development team from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, all the way to one of my newly favored composers Takeharu Ishimoto, this game has been more appealing to me that either of the other two Fabula Nova Crystallis titles. While some of pegged this to be a Monster Hunter style RPG based on its multiplayer focus, I see this one as a game built like Crisis Core, but featuring a party of characters instead of just one. That's enough to sell me... well that and Ishimoto's involvement. Seriously, have you listened to his work?

#5 · Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie seems almost like the black sheep of the Dragon Quest family. This game was announced as part of the Zenithia trilogy and has had a placeholder on the official North American website since 2008, but it seems to have been released in an odd schedule. This one came out in Japan after the massively successful Dragon Quest IX, a game that's just now about to see a release in North America, and might not hit until later in the year or early 2011. Square Enix has been quiet about this game in North America. Whether that is due to having many other IPs to focus on or the fact that DQIV and DQV met with low sales here is to be seen. Regardless, let's hope that we actually get to play Dragon Quest VI, the last game in the series to make it over.

Sorry, I just had a hard time picking five outstanding RPGs from the 1st half of 2010, though I did enjoy Mass Effect 2, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony, Breath of Death VII, and Alpha Protocol. I just had to go with games I'm looking forward to, because I didn't feel like looking back.
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