Staff Editorials

The RPGs of 2008: Handhelds leading
Posted: 12.08.2008 12:34 by DakotaG Comments: 2
The role-playing genre has seen its ups and downs the past few years, but 2008 has paved way for a few clear cut answers to what the future holds for fans of the genre.

Beginning with the start of 2008, it’s evident to see that the RPG genre has heavily moved over to the handhelds. The Nintendo DS alone has seen close to 20 RPGs release on its platform and by the end of the year the count could be up to 35-40 RPGs. Overall, the Nintendo DS looks to be receiving more RPG support than it did in 2007 when it had a count close to 30 by the year’s end.

Along with the Nintendo DS, the Playstation Portable has received quite a bit of support from developers on the RPG front. Square-Enix alone has made the PSP a handheld worth owning as it has released Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII back in March. Square-Enix continues to make the PSP a legitimate platform for RPGs with future releases of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and more of the Final Fantasy franchise.

With developers looking to the handhelds for the homes of their beloved RPGs, the consoles seem to be losing support – well with the exclusion of the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 has seen four RPGs release this year and have close to ten more releasing by the year’s end. The Xbox 360 has more than the Playstation 3 and Wii combined in terms of quantity. It’s safe to say that if you are a console gamer and need your RPG fix, the Xbox 360 is where it is at this current moment.

Even looking outside the consoles and handhelds, the PC has continually lost RPG support in favor of developers going the route of an MMO. That isn’t to say there aren’t quality RPGs releasing on the PC, but the quantity of them is surely decreasing with only a handful having been released in 2008 so far.

So with the Nintendo DS taking charge as the platform to get all your RPG goods, let’s take a look at the best games of 2008 that have released and what’s still to come.

Nintendo DS:
Having already released four titles on the Nintendo DS, it’s quite apparent that Square-Enix loves the Nintendo DS. One of the first signs that Square-Enix favored the Nintendo DS was when they opted to develop Dragon Quest IX for the platform over any console. Sega has even decided to step up their support of the Nintendo DS with hiring Bioware to develop Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. So let’s take a gander at what 2008 has delivered for the Nintendo DS and what we can look forward to.

Best of 2008 so far:
Final Fantasy IV (Square-Enix)
The World Ends With You (Square-Enix / Jupiter)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (Square-Enix)
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (Square-Enix)
Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard (Atlus)

Upcoming DS Titles:

September 16 – Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (Square-Enix)
September 23 – Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 (Tomy Corporation)
September 30 – Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (Bioware)
October 21 – Master of the Monster Lair (Global A Entertainment)
Winter 2008 – Chrono Trigger DS (Square-Enix)
Winter 2008 – ASH (Mistwalker Studios)
TBA 2008 – Dissidia: Final Fantasy (Square-Enix)
TBA 2008 – Kingdom Hearts 358/2 (Square-Enix / h.a.n.d.)

Xbox 360
The highlight of 2008 for the Xbox 360 has to be the release of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s second title, Lost Odyssey. It marks the commitment Microsoft has taken to providing gamers with traditional role-playing games for their console. Microsoft will need to continue expanding on their publishing of RPGs in hopes to inspire other publishers and developers to support the console. Without further ado, here are the must haves of 2008 so far on the 360 and the best of what’s to come.

Best of 2008 so far:
Lost Odyssey (Mistwalker Studios)
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (Blueside)

Upcoming 360 Titles:
August 26 – Tales of Vesperia (Namco Tales Studio)
August 29 – Too Human (Silicon Knights)
September 2 – Infinite Undiscovery (tri-Ace)
October 7 – Fallout 3 (Bethesda Game Studios)
October 21 – Fable 2 (Lionhead Studios)
November 30 – The Last Remnant (Square-Enix)

Nintendo Wii
While the Nintendo Wii isn’t receiving a steady amount of RPGs to its console, it does have a few significant titles in the cooker. One has to wonder when Nintendo themselves will start committing themselves to releasing more first-party RPGs to their own platform since they have a few in their backpocket (Advance Wars, Pokemon, Golden Sun, etc.) Here’s a look what you must own if you are a Wii gamer and need RPGs to fulfill your life.

Best of 2008 so far:
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon (Square Enix / h.a.n.d.)
Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors (Square Enix / 8ing / Genius Sonority)

Upcoming Wii Titles:
November 18 - Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Namco Tales Studio)
December - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers (Square-Enix)

PlayStation 3:
The PS3 is in the same boat as the Wii – it doesn’t have much to offer RPG gamers. But that’s about to change in late August. There’ll be at least five RPGs released on the PS3 by the end of the holidays for those gamers who feel left out of the RPG goodness that are available on other platforms. With no RPGs having been released on the PS3 in 2008, let’s take a look at the five games you can expect before the end of the year.

Upcoming PS3 Titles:
August 26 - Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice (Nippon Ichi)
September 1 – Rise of the Argonauts (Liquid Entertainment)
October 7 – Fallout 3 (Bethesda Games Studio)
November 4 – Eternal Sonata (tri-Crescendo)
November 11 – Valkyria Chronicles (WOW Entertainment)

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect of picking up the PSP nowadays is the chance to play through Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. This should be one of the PSP’s main selling points for RPG fanatics who want their favorite genre on the go. But let’s not stop there; the PSP has some quality titles coming out this fall to win over PSP owners.

Best of 2008 so far:
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (Square-Enix)
Wild Arms XF (Media Vision)

Upcoming PSP Titles:
September 16 – Yggdra Union (Sting)
September 23 – Valhalla Knights 2 (K2)
October 21 – Star Ocean: First Departure (Square-Enix)

Although the amount of RPGs releasing on the PC has significantly dropped, the quality hasn’t. Mass Effect was successfully ported to the PC and Legend: Hand of God is turning out to be a great game as I quest through the campaign, so where have all the traditional PC RPGs gone? Well, the blame could be put on MMO market as it is booming and many developers are trying their best to create the next epic MMO for the PC. But alas, there are upcoming RPGs that show lots of promise to fill up months upon months of questing.

Best of 2008 so far:
Mass Effect (Bioware)
Legend: Hand of God (DTP)

Upcoming PC Titles:
August 22 – Space Siege (Gas Powered Games)
September 1 – Rise of the Argonauts (Liquid Entertainment)
September 16- Witcher: Enhanced Edition (CD Projekt RED STUDIO)
September 23 – King’s Bounty: The Legend (Katauri Interactive)
October 7 – Fallout 3 (Bethesda Games Studio)

PlayStation 2
Lastly, the PS2 is still churning out RPGs that demand time from their fanatics. This year gamers will have seen have the second title released within the Persona franchise. The only problem is that Persona 4 is the only game to watch out for when winter finally rolls on in.

Best of 2008 so far:
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (Atlus)

Upcoming PS2 Titles:
December 9 – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (Atlus)

If you happen to find that 2008 is weak in terms of RPGs, then 2009 is shaping up to be an even better year with releases such as: Final Fantasy XIII, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Fusion, Alpha Protocol, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, White Knight Chronicles, Dungeon Lords 2, Dragon Age: Origins, and much more. Stay tuned for more of our coverage on the latest and greatest RPGs.
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By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 12, 2008
My List: Fable 2, Fallout 3, Rise of the Argonauts, Too Human, Mass Effect 2, SW: KOTOR 3, and The Best of 'em all: Diablo III!:D
By Hawkthalas (I just got here) on Aug 17, 2008
Awesome review dude!

Many thx.