Underrated RPG GAMES!
There are loads of underrated RPG games out there, especially of the Japanese variety. Often publishers and mainstream news outlets love to heap bucket loads of praise onto Western RPGs whilst curse and scorn their Japanese cousins. This could be down to the clash in culture between Kawaii culture in Japan and more conservative culture in the west.
As I result I feel there are many games in the RPG genre that are overlooked. These underrated RPG games deserve much love too. It is the task of this article to shine a little light on these foreign gems and hopefully get a few more gamers enjoying their fantastic content.
1) Trails of Cold Steel I and II
I have recently completed the first two iterations of this fantastic series. No sooner had I finished the first. I proceeded to download the second. I would say this is the sign of any good game. What makes this game great is the characters and the story. JRPGs are distinguished for their story focus and strong characterisation. However I would also argue that the battle system on display here is surprisingly fun and well polished.
One drawback on the console, visuals are not as stunning as they should be despite great character design although this criticism is slightly negated by the PC version. As well as this, the dungeons can be monotonous and dull. These are minor inconveniences in an otherwise solid and well told RPG. I can’t wait for Trails of Cold Steel 3 coming September 2019.
Check out my review of Trails of Cold Steel 1.
2) GRANDIA II
Now I know, many of you Dreamcast enthusiasts may be irked this game is presented as underrated. However many Dreamcast success stories also went under with the Titanicesque console, so outside of such console communities, the acclaim of Grandia II is little known.
Once again, a great RPG with a solid story and an exciting premise. Definitely worth a look if you have a yearning for an old school RPG with decent mechanics.
3) YS VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
Speaking of underrated RPG games. YS VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA sneaks in there based on some pretty ropey Steam reviews following a pretty dyer porting experience to PC. These issues seem relatively resolved now.
Behind the technical issues on steam, however, is a detailed story that is not afraid to take risks. The story is well-paced, and despite a lot of cutscenes, events never seem to drag. Add fun and easy to pick up combat mechanics, and you have a winning combo. As a bonus, the music is intoxicating to behold and worth playing for that alone.
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet
It is justly criticised for its’ slow start and surprisingly short campaign, at least by JRPG standard anyway. There is still a good game at its’ heart. If you believe this game is going to turn you into a JRPG fanboy or girl. Then think again, it is a standard cheesy Japanese game that does not take itself too seriously. The game has also improved following the DLC content especially the Dissonance Of The Nexus Expansion. Worth a try if you are a fan of the genre and in need of something to play.
There are great underrated RPG games out there. Some of them need a chance. Western publishers love to champion western RPG games like Fallout and ElderScrolls. I often feel the critique garnered is the expectation of JRPGs to follow the same selling points as western RPGs. However, they have an entirely different strength set. The focus is primarily of story and embedded characterisation as opposed to blank canvasses and open world mechanics.