10 Forgotten RPGs That Should've Been Instant Classics

Andrew Kelly


10 Forgotten RPGs That Should've Been Instant Classics

One of the biggest video game genres worldwide is role-playing games. Given the constant release of numerous video games in this genre, it's understandable that many are easily overlooked while a select few gain all the attention. While many will be familiar with renowned classics such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, many other titles deserve to be acknowledged.

The wide variety of titles offered by this genre of video games allows interesting proposals to emerge from time to time. While they may not have all the budget or quality of the more famous games, several of these games offer incredible experiences that many more fans of the genre should try. From stunning futuristic settings to age-altering mechanics, these lesser-known games fully deserve to be considered instant classics.

Blue Dragon Reunited The Dream Team For A Last RPG Classic

game heroes Blue Dragon

Any fan of classic role-playing games will recognize the “Dream Team,” the legendary team composed of Hironobu Sakaguchi, Nobuo Uematsu, and Akira Toriyama. While many players will remember the masterpiece they created with Chrono Trigger, it was not the only one. In 2007, they came together again to create the Xbox 360 exclusive, Blue Dragon. This time they developed an adventure story with all the elements of the SNES classics and with the look and feel of a seventh-generation console.

Interestingly, this game was created to appeal to Japanese audiences and increase Xbox sales in this region. Despite only achieving moderate success, its true significance lies in its transformation into a hidden gem cherished by enthusiasts of the classic RPG style. It has a pretty solid combat style that accompanies a story that, even without having many novelties, is still entertaining. This is the kind of game that stands out as time goes by.

Disgaea Takes Goofiness And Mischief To Another Level

Disgaea art

When it comes to doing things quirky and stylish, few games do it like Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Originally released for PlayStation 2, this game is one of the most entertaining and unique experiences in tactical role-playing games. This time, the player must accompany Laharl, the son of the lord of the underworld, after waking up from a 2-year nap during which his father died. He now must put an end to all those who want to seize power in order to reclaim his throne and restore order.

The cartoony style coupled with a rather exaggerated humor make Disgaea one of the most memorable games of the genre. Moreover, this style can be felt from the dialogue segments to the battles themselves. In this aspect, the best are the special attacks, as they become over-the-top animations that completely highlight the style of each of the characters. No wonder it was the beginning of a series that continues to have new releases even today.

Eternal Sonata Brings Existentialism To A Fascinating Crescendo

Eternal Sonata game screen

What if Frederic Chopin was an anime character in a dream inside his mind while on his deathbed? Although unexpected, it would make a pretty nice game as that is what Eternal Sonata is all about. In this magical story full of musical references, players follow the journey of the famed Polish composer through a dreamlike world that gradually transforms into his new reality. The most memorable elements of this title are undoubtedly the visual style, the music, and, above all, the story.

The dialogue can indeed sound a bit cheesy at times, but the main message is still very compelling. Elaborating a fantastic story from a real person can be quite a risky task, but the game's proposal ends up being very interesting to the extent that it mixes real details of Chopin's life with a philosophical critique of the sense of ideas such as duty, destiny, and escapism.

Fragile Dreams Explores The Humanity Behind A Ghost-Filled World

Fragile Dreams logo

The Wii was a console full of unique games that were difficult to replicate on other platforms, especially if they made good use of the Wiimote and its respective nunchuck. For this reason, you can find many interesting games stuck on this console without any port or alternative version. Among these interesting games is Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, a melancholic action role-playing game that mixes elements of survival horror in an exceptional way.

Fragile Dreams presents a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by Seto, a 15-year-old boy in search of other survivors. The adventure is filled with ghosts of deceased humans and remnants of civilization before a strange cataclysm. Objects, traces, and conversations with other characters become the narrative vehicle to find out in detail what has happened.

Project X Zone Is The Dream For Any Video Game Crossover Fan

Project X Zone logo

When it comes to crossover games, none comes close to Project X Zone (read as project “cross” zone). This 3DS exclusive mixes the most iconic characters from Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Sega, in an ambitious tactical role-playing game. This is a treat for fans of game series like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Sakura Wars, not to mention many more.

While it is true that the story is not its forte, much of the dialogue is designed to cause more than a smile to those fans of the games included. Likewise, the beautiful Sprite art of all the characters, mixed with the entertaining cutscenes for each of the special attacks in battle, end up making this game and its sequel one of the most entertaining love letters to video games of the genre.

Zanki Zero Showcases An Upbeat Yet Disturbing Post-Apocalypse

Zanki Zero art

Now and then, there appears a game that's equally odd and intriguing. Zanki Zero: Last Beginning feels quite weird, yet some of its points will hold a grasp on anyone who plays it. It's quite noticeable that it was developed in part by the same team behind Danganronpa, and it has that kind of quirky black humor that characterizes it. Here too, several visual novel-like segments are used to tell the story, but they are interspersed with parts of first-person dungeon exploration and turn-based combat.

The story of this game may be a hit-or-miss for many, as in segments it seems to promise more than it delivers. However, the concept of a group of surviving clones at the end of time is quite interesting. Also, the mechanics of aging in combat, adds a very entertaining and even somewhat bizarre strategic element. Any gamer who prefers games that stand out for their weirdness and unique style should add this interesting title to their list.

Solatorobo Explores An Intriguing World Hiding A Deep Dark Secret

Solatorobo logotype

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is the second installment in the Little Tail Bronx series, which also features Tail Concerto and Fuga: Melodies of Steel. This action RPG transports players to a steampunk universe teeming with anthropomorphic cats and dogs. The game's narrative centers around Red Savarin, an amnesiac mech pilot who, upon rescuing the enigmatic Elh Melizeé, embarks on a journey that unravels the hidden truths of their world.

The best thing about this game is its artistic style combined with its music, both of which help to convey an interesting and fun world to explore. As for mechanics, at first glance, they may seem quite simple, but this creates an interesting challenge when it comes to combat and solving puzzles. On the other hand, the story may feel simple at first but gradually reveals that many things in this world are much deeper and more serious than they seem.

Valkyria Chronicles Is A Memorable Mix Of Strategy And Shooting Games

Valkyria Chronicles game heroes

This is a must-play for strategy RPG fans. Set in a fantasy version of Europe in the middle of a war, Valkyria Chronicles explores a very entertaining battle system that mixes elements of strategic turn-based combat with first-person shooting. On the other hand, the story doesn't need to be very complicated to be entertaining enough. However, the game stands out mainly for other details.

What possibly stands out the most about the game is its visual style. From the beginning, the game is presented as a story within a storybook and the graphics engine reinforces this idea by presenting everything as if it were pencil illustrations. This is one of those games that will surely remain in the memory of everyone who tries it.

Resonance Of Fate Innovates The Genre With Stylish And Unique Ideas

Resonance Of Fate gameplay


Few games get to exude as much style as Resonance of Fate. This RPG explores different ideas and nails many of them. Placed on a future steampunk version of the Earth, it follows the story of three mercenaries living on a huge tower-like structure where each level also reflects its inhabitants' social status as they slowly discover a plot involving the high elite. Although its gameplay may initially appear troublesome and complex, with some practice, it becomes very engaging as the style shines through.

The exploration segments are a bit quirky, divided between traditional fixed camera third-person movement and a tile-based overworld. But the true cherry on top is the battles. Each character uses a selection of firearms as their main weapons instead of traditional swords and staffs. It also keeps a turn-based battle system in which the player can plan out the movements across the area and even flourish the attacks with chained combos and aerial maneuvers that showcase the game’s action-filled nature.

Radiant Historia Is The Perfect Example Of What An Instant Classic Should Be

Radiant Historia logo

Once in a while, a video game comes along that is a gem in its entirety and encapsulates all the best that the RPG genre has to offer. That's the case with Radiant Historia. This adventure originally released for the Nintendo DS presents an incredible experience in which time travel is a crucial mechanic. Fans of Chrono Trigger will find quite a similar or even better experience, as there are endless paths to follow and an intriguing story to discover. In addition, the remastered version for 3DS includes even more content.

The writing is very good, with a perfect dose of drama, action, and mystery. As for the visuals, its 2D HD style is a delight for the eyes, so exploring the different environments ends up being a prize in itself. Likewise, Yoko Shimomura's music highlights the fantastic tone of each of the points in the story. Radiant Historia has become one of the recent definitive classics of RPGs.