Here are five role playing games that were widely under-appreciated by the public. Each of these titles took up a large portion of my time, and I believe they deserve far more acclaim than they received.
#5 – Suikoden
The original Suikoden features the best war oriented storyline I have ever experienced. Konami's first hit in the RPG market, Suikoden was completely overshadowed by the release of Final Fantasy VII. One of the coolest features of this game is the ability to recruit over one hundred people to join your cause. As you progress, you obtain a castle and it is populated by all the people you have tagging along. The more you recruit, the more the castle expands. While the battle system is a little on the basic side, the sheer amount of usable characters (108 in total) and engrossing plot make it a title you shouldn't miss. Play this game, build up your army of rebels and take down the Empire!
#4 - Baten Kaitos – Eternal Wings and the Long Lost Ocean
Being GameCube exclusive, this already puts Baten Kaitos in the under-played list. The game has a unique battle system with cards called "Magnus". Winning battles nets you more Magnus, and when you collect enough you can create custom decks for each character. All Magnus have a number score (multiple numbers as you progress) which determines how you place it in a combo. Combos are done by using these numbers in succession or as a pattern (eg. 1,2,3,4 – 1,1,2,2) making for a very strategic and flexible battlefield. While the voice acting was low budget and rather sloppy, this title excels in virtually every other aspect. This could just be the best RPG you haven't played.
#3 – Valkyrie Profile
While now sometimes considered a cult classic, Valkyrie Profile didn't even receive a European release for the PSX. Valkyrie Profile is a Norse themed RPG with a battle system so unique that it changed the genre completely. Each of the four characters in your party are controlled by a different button, and the aim is to juggle your opponents in the air and chain them for massive damage. There are many characters in this title, all with distinct roles/abilities. Instead of buffing your team with the biggest and strongest allies of the same kind, this game encourages you to balance everything out. You need a warrior to knock enemies in the air, but a warrior isn't as good as a ranger once they're up there! Once you get started on this unique adventure, it's hard to stop!
#2 – Legend of Dragoon
To this day I can't understand how Gamespot gave this game a rating of 6.4/10. Legend of Dragoon is arguably my favorite game of all time, and should be played by any fan of RPGs. The graphics for it's time are stunning, featuring beautifully animated CGI cutscenes, and highly detailed environments. The battle system is turn based, but involves much more interaction than most other games of this type. The player must press the on-screen buttons during timed intervals to maximize damage against the enemy. As you progress, these combos get harder, keeping you on your toes during challenging boss fights! There is no real way to explain how great Legend of Dragoon truly is, check it out for yourself if you haven't already.
#1 – Too Human
Woah, all the other games on this list were developed in Japan, but Too Human comes out of nowhere and takes first place! Too Human was announced to be a trilogy exclusive to the Xbox 360. That announcement fast became void after release, once the game received unexpectedly low scores from gaming titans such as IGN and Gamespot. Believe me when I say those low scores are wrong. Too Human is an amazing game!
Too Human offers an Action-RPG experience like no other. Think Diablo II on steroids based around cybernetic Norse gods with guns/lasers. That alone should be enough to sell you, but if not, maybe the online multiplayer will. Personally, I think this game is played best with a friend. I was fortunate enough to have a buddy who loved the game as much as I did. While there are only a few levels, the replay value in this game is immense. Think hundreds of hours if you want to get the full sets for each class.
It's a shame that this game isn't going to be expanded into the promised trilogy. There is so much potential in this release that the sequels would of been amazing. If you haven't played this game solely based on negative reviews, I recommend you give it a try. Too Human was the most fun I've had in this generation of gaming.