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Top 5 JRPG Franchises That You May Never See Again

Just to clarify: when I say these are JRPG names you may never see again, I'm taling about full-budget console iterations. Finding these titles on portable devices still isn't impossible...at least, I hope it isn't.

But the chances of seeing any of these games on the PS3 (or PS4) seem to be dwindling fast. In the case of one series - Star Ocean - we have seen one entry this generation but in fact, it could very well be the last. Looking at the lay of the land, JRPGs seem to be perishing when placed against Western heavy hitters (which is part of the reason they're being relegated to handhelds).

Anyway, being a fan of the PS1 era of JRPGs that continued into the PS2 era, I'm sad to see the following go:

5. Xenogears/Xenosaga

The first was one of several Squaresoft titles in the PS1 era to become an instant timeless classic and to this day, RPG buffs will often place Xenogears in their top five of all time. The Xenosaga series was an off-shoot but I really enjoyed these titles, especially the first one. Featuring a slick sci-fi presentation and one of the coolest characters in RPG history, IMO (KOS-MOS), Xenosaga was heavy on story and theme. The turn-based combat - a staple of all these franchises, as you'll see - was also deep and engaging throughout. The ending to the first Xenosaga was great.

4. Wild ARMs

The first was an early PS1 title and to this day, I remember why I loved it: it gave you the chance to meet and become familiar with three well developed characters, and those characters were with you throughout your adventure. No constantly switching parties, which I always hated. It also had a fantastic magic system, if I remember correctly, which consisted of Crests and a bunch of different elements. A traditional RPG in every sense of the word, it was another series that thrived on story and presentation. Wild ARMs 3 adopted an interesting Western theme on the PS2 and it was great. But after that, the series went downhill.

3. Shadow Hearts

You won't find a game with a better turn-based mechanic: the Judgment Ring in Shadow Hearts: Covenant and Shadow Hearts: From the New World was absolutely amazing; it combined strategy with reflexes and offered a more in-depth and urgent style that is more often found in hack 'n slash styles. Plus, the dark environment, great characters, and a totally unparalleled atmosphere made both adventures memorable. You wanted to do everything, see everything, and revel in the twists and turns. Although I thought I'd hate the Judgment Ring on first glance, I was very, very wrong... I got really addicted to the combat.

2. Legaia

It annoys me that these two games - Legend of Legaia on the PS1 and Legaia 2: Duel Saga on the PS2 - didn't receive more appreciation from critics and gamers. It was turn-based and it allowed you to input fighting game-like commands (high, low, left and right strikes), the combination of which would result in either a simple series of attacks or one bad-ass combination. I still remember cheating and looking up the Miracle Arts on GameFAQs...heh. I particularly liked the characters and the worlds we traversed in these games; they just never got boring. Neither title got anywhere near enough love; no chance we'll see Legaia again.

1. Suikoden

It just isn't fair. Bar-none the second-best RPG franchise of all time next to Final Fantasy in my opinion, and it was going strong in the PS2 generation. Most agreed that the fourth installment wasn't up to snuff, but it was a strong return to form with Suikoden V. The first three titles are all amazing and not just three of my favorite RPGs, but three of my favorite games of all time. Recruiting the 108 Stars of Destiny could become an obsession if you weren't careful, and the combat and storytelling (especially the branching character plots of Suikoden III) were just so damn absorbing.

By the way, free hint for those reliving the classics and playing the original Suikoden: if you're going for 108 Stars, NO name on that stone tablet can be grayed out...not even Gremio's. Yes, he has to die as part of the storyline, but... ;)

Tags: jrpgs, japanese rpgs, role-playing games, gaming culture

2/12/2012 9:04:50 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (65 posts)

cLoudou
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 9:54:28 PM
Reply

When I saw this I just wanted to cry and its all I can do since I can't get into current RPGs, the WRPGs.

A new Suikoden is or is going to be on the PSP but I don't know if it will be localised.

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allDFlavors
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 10:16:39 PM
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Can't believe Legend of Dragoon didn't make the list! Although, I guess one game does not a full franchise make

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 12:26:11 AM

Dragoon isn't a franchise. There was only one game. :)

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Neurotoxiny
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 10:18:54 PM
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I agree with Legend of Dragoon... such a good game :'(

And the Suikoden games were awsum to da max! :P

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Oyashiro
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 10:20:38 PM
Reply

Now I'm sad, Thanks a lot Ben.

Time to get drunk and look up cute kitten videos on Youtube to cheer myself up.

I want a new Legaia dammit...

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Nlayer
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 10:37:07 PM
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Never seeing the return of Legaia is a very depressing thing to think of. I remember getting that game when it launched and how many hours me AND my family each put into it. My brother, myself, and my father all beat the game after playing so much! Some of the best memories I'll ever have are with Legaia. It's actually a title I'm hoping to eventually replay on my Vita through remote-play and Wi-fi.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 11:08:21 PM
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Suikoden is the saddest loss of all, Konami probably figured it wasn't worth the cost because everyone decided to kill the JRPG.

Just think what would happen if someone made a full scale, next gen JRPG with an intriguing turn based style. It could re-energize the genre and the fans of it. Instead we get these half-conceived action hybrids.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 2/12/2012 11:09:35 PM

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Ignitus
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 11:19:32 PM

It was done in 2008's Lost Odyssey to no success.

Mistwalker next JRPG: Cry On got cancelled basically because it wasn't finantially viable.

I think that was the last serious attempt at an epic, next gen, turn based JRPG.

Sad times indeed. I miss the PS1 JRPG era.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 12:03:12 AM

Lost Odyssey came out before there was a full on assault against JRPG mechanics and was aimed at the wrong market, very few JRPG lovers transferred from their PS2 to an Xbox 360 for that purpose.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 2/13/2012 12:03:40 AM

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Underdog15
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:33:31 AM

XBOX360 is recognized for certain things, but one of those things isn't jRPG's. I really don't think PS2 players even considered switching to 360 for a jRPG. I love jRPG's, and even when I had a 360, I wasn't even LOOKING for a jRPG with it. I hadn't even considered it a possibility!

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BigBoss4ever
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 11:19:57 PM
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While JRPG are fading on PS3, it is not fading on other consoles, i.e. Wii.

I am going to get a used Wii just to play Xenoblade and The Last Story, probably two of the best JRPGs this generations -- without too much focusing on graphics, developers actually managed to focus its effort on making them with a deep and fascinating story, deep emotional music and well thought battle system -- that is all a JRPG is about, if graphics are ok, I will be quite satisfied.

p.s. the list of five above formed part of my best memories with ps2.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/12/2012 11:22:37 PM

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Ignitus
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 11:27:06 PM

Yeah, the other console makers at least tried to satisfy the true JRPG's gamers hunger. Too bad there weren't that many to buy enough copies to justify more JRPG's.

I would really love a Lost Odysey 2.

By the way, I'm also considering to get a used wii to play the Last Story from Sakaguchi-San.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 12:27:04 AM

The Wii is HARDLY an RPG substitute or successor to the godliness of the PS1 and PS2.

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Excelsior1
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 7:07:45 AM

I have considered getting a Wii just to play The Last Story because I really loved The Lost Odyssey. Forgot about Xenoblade which is another highly rated game.

It's a shame one must own multiple platforms just to get their JRPG fix and even if you do own all 3 systems the selection of JRPG material out there is pretty thin. Weird that the PS3 actually had the least amount of JRPG material for most of this gen and that it lacks a truely elite JRPG. Did not see that coming.

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Underdog15
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:40:35 AM

I would argue that the Lost Odyssey is the only truly critically acclaimed title, and even that isn't a throwback to the PS1/PS2 era, imo.

As for PS3 not having jRPG's, I think it has a few pretty decent ones, but again, nothing that is an appropriate throwback to the PS1/PS2 era. (Loved Atelier Totori and WKC/WKC2 and although it's not nearly as good as Totori, I'm currently enjoying Atelier Rorona.)

With the future addition of Ni No Kuni, I have hopes still, as well. The PS2 had some pretty awesome jRPG's at the end of the PS2 era. I don't see why we won't see any now.

Still... on the whole, this generation has been a jRPG failure for all systems.

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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:12:45 AM

Ar Tonelico Qoga was pretty decent, and Neptunia 2 has promise, as does Atelier Meruru.

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Underdog15
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:18:45 AM

If the jump in improvement from Atelier Totori to Atelier Memeru is as large as the jump from Atelier Rorona to Atelier Totori, then I think we're in for a mega-treat.

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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:31:21 AM

Since I've yet to play Totori with any depth, I can tell I'm already in for a treat. Still waiting to see Fetch again....

Last edited by Highlander on 2/13/2012 10:31:47 AM

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Nagi
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 5:00:43 PM

@Ben: Considering the high development costs and the niche appeal of the RPG genre, no current home console is, but some gamers are going to take what they can get.

@BigBoss and whoever else is looking to get a Wii, pending on your tastes of what RPG's your into, there might be a few you might be interested in. I'll admit now, their is nothing that may not have any mainstream appeal. But like I said it depends on your tastes and what you are looking for.

My current favorite is Monster Hunter Tri, great game but be advised, that it is a title that doesn't take the liberty of holding your hand. Steep learning curve, and an array of complex features awaits.

There is also Fire Emblem, Rune Factory, and a re-release of Phantom Brave, if you haven't played the PS2 iteration. Nothing major, but nevertheless, games that are worth checking out, if you make the crossover.

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Mr Bitey
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:14:25 PM

You guys should dust off your PSPs. There's been a ton of JRPGs released, and most of them have been received really well.

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Nagi
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:04:45 PM

@ Mr. Bitey: Of course there has, as well as the DS. I'm very fond of the RPG lineup that can be found on portable consoles, I just hate playing games on them, in this case, it's not the content that puts me off, rather than the form of delivery.

I feel a lot more comfortable with a couch, controller, and TV.

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Ludakriss
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 3:29:25 AM

Nagi, I completely agree with you.

It's a pitty that in a way all this becomes is a matter of principles. But I too am disapointed that there's so much hype on the Blue ray this and Next Gen that and we have yet to see a decent RPG.

Bring back Dark Cloud, damn it!...AND Legend of Dragoon!!!

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Underdog15
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 8:44:31 AM

I agree with you fellas as well. I love my games on my PSP. And I get a lot in when I'm traveling. Occasionally, my wife will have some of her girlfriends over to watch some chick flick, and I'll play it then, but let's face it... most of the time I want to play is when I'm home. And when I'm home, why would I play on a little itty-bitty screen, when I've got a big ol' HDTV, a couch, and a beer holder?

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Pandacastro
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 11:23:59 PM
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Hey do any of these end in cliffhangers? I'll buy them when they re-release them on psn except those where the story isn't finish. Don't wan't another shenmue experienced.

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cLoudou
Sunday, February 12, 2012 @ 11:31:12 PM

Only Xenosaga, I believe, which is 2 parts. I can't say for Wild Arms or Shadow Hearts.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 12:04:54 AM

I thought Xenosaga had 3 parts. Anyway, most of these games are self contained.

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Underdog15
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:41:08 AM

There's a third Xenosaga, yes.

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cLoudou
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:42:54 AM

I guess I wasn't sure for Xenosaga either. I've only played episode 1, but not 2 to realise there was a third.

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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:15:54 AM

Xenosaga 3 rocks, if you only played 1 & 2, you owe it to yourself to play the third part, it's *way* better than Episode 2. The ending of 3 is somewhat open ended. There is room for a sequel with KOS-MOS' closing words....I'll avoid spoilers and leave it at that.

But, if you liked Xenosaga 1, and were disappointed by comparison with Episode 2, play episode 3, it brings things back almost to the standard of Ep 1. That said, nothing beats episode 1.

Still, an Episode 4 would be possible, and Xenosaga fans would leap on it, not sure if anyone else would though.

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shadowscorpio
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 3:19:53 PM

Agreed, I believe there is room to continue the Xenosaga series after witnessing the end of episode 3.

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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 4:07:11 PM

It's a moving ending to the series of 3 games, isn't it?

Last edited by Highlander on 2/13/2012 4:07:22 PM

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shadowscorpio
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 4:15:25 PM

I'd say so. I'm kinda getting the urge to hook up my PS2 and play the entire series from the beginning to end. Such a strong, moving, emotional, intriguing concept.

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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 5:53:33 PM

If you replay, consider Kevin and Shion's relationship in the full knowledge of what he did and knew when she was a child, and then again later when he arranged for her to work with him and formed a relationship with her. She didn't remember him from her childhood. Considering the trauma and emotional scarring, that's not surprising. But, the intriguing part is that psychologically, Shion as a child experienced such extreme trauma that she is almost certain to have entered a dissociative identity state. It brings a whole new perspective on the way Kevin manipulates events and emotions in her later life and during the third game.

You might end up liking Shion a lot more and loathing Kevin more than ever.

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Ludakriss
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 3:32:50 AM

You people thouwing some seriously strong descrptives on Xeno games.

Could you enlighten me what is the console it's originally on and is it going to cost an arm because of it's age?

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Underdog15
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 8:48:23 AM

Xenogears was an excellent one for the PS1. To get a hard copy will cost you a fair bit, I think, but it's available on the PSN for PS3 or PSP for $9.99. I would recommend it for your PSP, as the graphics, while cool 3D at the time, is pretty ancient and crappy looking on a big ol' HDTV now. (Came out the same year as FF7!!)

Xenosaga 1 2 and 3 are all on the PS2. Prices vary, but they aren't anything like getting an original copy of Earthbound or Crono Trigger. They should be respectable prices now.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/14/2012 8:48:56 AM

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Beamboom
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 12:52:40 AM
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Cloudou, Ben, High & co:
If I may take a cross reference over to the discussion at the forums nowadays: Games like *these* is what I probably talk about in the Kingdoms Of Amalur thread.

I don't know any of these at all. Now, if I had known them and played them back then when they were king my theory is that I too would have "learnt to like the Japanese style games". They seem to have been "good teachers". :)


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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 1:05:10 PM

I don't think you can learn to like a genre of game, you either like it or you don't. I don't think you can acquire a taste for a particular genre by enduring it for long enough.

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___________
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 1:07:18 AM
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na na na na.
na na na na.
hey hey hey goodbye!
i wish for next gen companies would bring mod support to consoles that way fans can re create their favourite franchises to replay on their systems.
i screamed like a little girl when i heard the original crash bandicoot is being remade in CE1, then my heart broke when it was put on hold.
:(
same with DN 3D

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Russell Burrows
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 1:11:11 AM
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I regret that Final Fantasy Tactics never had iterations or sequels on the PS3.

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ValentinoGB
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 1:29:28 AM
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Hopefully someday Chrono, Mana and Valkyrie Profile series will make a comeback. For now wait for Ni No Kuni

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:59:50 AM

Absolutely. That game is the brand new classic jrpg we want in these older ones if they were revived.

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shadowscorpio
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 3:22:37 PM

Ni No Kuni and Tales of Graces F are the 2 jrps that I'm most excited for right now.

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berserk
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 7:37:39 AM
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Really ??? no love for Breath Of fire and only one mention of chrono trigger .

Not a fan of # 2 but i would really love to see another one done like the first one .

Also like someone said , i m still waiting on a ff tactic 2 on console .

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:41:35 AM

Never really thought BoF was all that great, and there were only two Chrono games, one of which was back on the SNES.

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berserk
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 5:10:44 PM

Yeah , i remember you saying at one point that you did nt like the BOF series much .

My comment was about no mention of it on comments about you re article .

Really glad you mentioned Legaia , both were really fun and deserve more love.

I really need to finish the first xenosaga so i can play xenosaga 2 that sit in a corner waiting for i ts turn .

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duomaxwell007
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:16:31 AM
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Ummm Ben you DO know a new Suikoden game has been announced right?

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Underdog15
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:41:37 AM

For which main console?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:41:56 AM

Um, you DO know I mentioned in the beginning that I'm referring to consoles, right?

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Underdog15
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:23:24 AM

Oh, ok so there isn't one. I didn't mean anything snide by my original reply. I seriously thought maybe Duo knew something I didn't.

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duomaxwell007
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 1:12:50 PM

well considering I only read the list of games and what you had to say about each... i completely missed that "console iteration" part lol

also since were speaking only of console iterations then in that case you might as well list EVERY JRPG franchise that ISNT final fantasy on that list... and maybe 2 other exceptions

Last edited by duomaxwell007 on 2/13/2012 1:15:13 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 6:18:10 PM

No, this is the top 5 in my opinion. Why would I list all of them?

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coverton341
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:21:22 AM
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I want more entries into the "Mana" series, Legends of Mana, Secret of Mana were both fabulous games. I would also love to see more Dark Cloud.

Actually, just writing Dark Cloud makes my chest hurt that I probably won't be seeing any of those again. Yeah, WKC was the spiritual successor but it just didn't do it for me the same way as the Dark games.


Or Grandia!!! Dammit, now I just feel like crap that the games I loved the most are dead and buried. Or what about the Lunar series? Bah, I'm done, going to go wallow now.

Last edited by coverton341 on 2/13/2012 9:23:34 AM

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 9:57:56 AM

Don't be sad over Dark Cloud. It isn't dead. Level 5 have saim many times that it really is just a matter of time and said that the more outcry there is for it, the faster it's made.

Same applies to Rogue Galaxy.

Seek Ni No Kuni when it arrives, it looks better than any Level 5 game yet.

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Highlander
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:17:28 AM

WKC comes alive online. The story is almost like a prelude. The biggest issue with WKC online is the slow pace at which the supplemental content is enabled.

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:00:52 AM
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I think i only played Suikoden lV. I enjoyed that to say it wasn't received very well.

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djbool
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 1:10:34 PM
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Oh KOS-MOS and Junior aka Rubedo :(

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Highlander
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 11:40:03 AM

Don't forget Albedo...what a poor, unfortunate mis-understood character he is. Doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons so that he can ultimately do the right thing for everyone - especially his brother.

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trumpetmon65
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 2:39:18 PM
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don't worry, there'll be a rebirth eventually. jrps have character and great music. I'm already finding a small resurgence every now and then. if you haven't played breath of death vii or cthulu saves the world, then you haven't been paying attention. I've also found a few jrpg type games on my kindle fire. try them out and get developers to see the sales and then put more money into those sales. Yeah, I went off on a tangent there, but it was worth it.

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Teddie9
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 8:47:48 PM
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tear...where are our videogame gods...

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Milonakis
Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 10:59:40 PM
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Add real Final Fantasy to the list

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Underdog15
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 8:44:45 AM

lol

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LowKey
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 8:58:31 PM
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My heart is breaking, knowing I may never see another Shadow hearts. I loved 2 and 3. Need to see another LoD and maybe a new Breath of fire.

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MrAnonymity
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 5:21:42 PM
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Suikoden and Star Ocean are my absolute favorite RPGs of all time. As such, seeing Suikoden on this list - though I suspected I would - only makes me saddened so deeply. I hope so much that they give Suikoden at least ONE more shot, only in next-gen limelight, before giving up on the series. Alas, with the original team behind the games being broken up... Time will only tell.

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Araknai
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 8:05:27 PM
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Couldn't agree more! Legend of LEgaia and Wild Arms 2 are my top 2 favorites of the PS1.

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SS4
Friday, February 17, 2012 @ 4:55:40 PM
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I'm glad Phantasy Star is not part of that list as they are still making new games. I just love this franchise and the new Phantasy Star Online 2 that is coming out will hopefully boost the franchise again as its superior to Final Fantasy (Especially with the last few titles that arent really FF anymore if u ask me...)

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