The present

Written in 2018


The previous eras were lasting only a few years, but this one lasted already 12 years at the time this text was written. Why is that?

In 2006, the times changed. Nintendo released its Wii console, and ever since, the Nintendo consoles are not as powerful as its competitors. Also, since the release of HD consoles, graphics gained more effects and backgrounds, but overall, the graphics race slowed down a bit.

During these years, some things also changed. Distribution of games switched over to online digital distribution which opened doors to the video game market to smaller companies. And some bigger companies completely quit their console rpg production, like Konami and Capcom.

You see, this is an interesting era we're talking about. And I have some interesting games for you. If you have any additions to this list - just contact me here.

Recommendations

Child of Light (Various consoles, 2012)

What happens when you combine Rayman with Grandia and spice it up with a great fairy tale like story? Something like Child of Light will be released. This game is really special, it was developed by Ubisoft and looks a lot like Rayman being a sidescrolling rpg.

Battles, however, are done in a battle system very similar to Grandia - I still wonder if Ubi paid any royalties to Game Arts or Gung-Ho since the basic battle system is identical to that of early Grandia, with the exception that no movement around the battlefield is possible.

Child of Light looks like a fairy tale, sounds like a fairy tale and is told like a fairy tale. It's also fairly easy, which means that you can increase the difficulty right from the start. I personally think this game won't ever age because it looks like a hand drawn painting.

Take this one if you're up for a fantastic story and a unique RPG.

Dark Souls 3 (Various consoles, 2015)

You died. No, seriously. You died. That's what you read the most when you're going to play Dark Souls 3. For the recommendations, I picked this installation because it is especially nice to look at and it really plays well.

The graphics are atmospheric, the soundtrack is incredible (you'd never guess it was the work of Motoi Sakuraba, at least in parts!) and gameplay is flawless. It's a hard game that's never unfair on the other hand if you realize how it has to be played and what strategies are the best ones.

This recommendation is somehow strange. Dark Souls will never appeal to a extremely broad audience but is rather a game for the pro gamers that do not feel frustrated easily and who like serious challenges. So I think the game itself will not age too much (it really looks great), but people who will try it in upcoming years will always be irritated.

Nevertheless, this Action RPG offers a lot. Gloomy scenery, hope, death and devastation spice up the atmosphere, the gameplay is smooth and great to control and if you can get into it, you'll find a really nice and friendly community that likes to help you. Or yell "GIT GUD" at you.

The only risk this game will face in the future is if the online services will be there for a long time. It's more fun to play it with a friend!

Eternal Sonata (Playstation 3 / XBox, 2008)

Eternal Sonata could have also appeard an era earlier. I played it in 2009, when I already quit working on rpg-o-mania and had a stressful job at that time, and it really brought me back into this rpg feeling of the mid 2000s. It's a nice game that still looks good today, even if it doesn't run as smooth and lacks some polygons here and there.

Sound-wise, the scores have been composed by Mr. Sakuraba, but he seemed to be a bit uninspired when composing for Eternal Sonata. The gameplay, however, is flawless and balanced. It plays a lot like a Tales Of game and has some extra stuff to offer even in the aftergame. That's a nice touch.

The story is interesting and, as far as I know, is still unique. It plays both in our real world and the dream world of Frederic Chopin, who was on the verge of death. Also, the game gives you information about Chopins life.

It is a great game that can be played today as if it was new, even if it is almost ten years old.

Fallout IV (Various consoles, 2015)

If I think about old rpg-o-mania, I think I'd never considered a "western" RPG like Fallout. But as the years passed by, I expanded the range of games I'm trying out, and after I made some good experiences with Dragon Age Inquisition, I thought I'd try out Fallout 4.

And to be honest, I don't know what part of this game could age badly. I personally like the story and how you can pursue it, the voice acting is superb - even your hero or heroine speaks all the dialogue, the graphics are incredible and the atmosphere is unique.

The game also offers a lot of variety for you. You can play it in first or third person view, the difficulty can be adjusted at any time and the VATS system allows for strategic combat even in the most stressful of times.

I chose this game over Skyrim (which I also liked), but I think Skyrim looks dated in the perspective that your hero only talks in written text instead of actual speech. I really recommend you that you try to feel your character and don't only succumb to the side stories but instead really try to think what your character would do. This really gives this game some atmosphere and great moments.

And I really like lockpicking in this game.

I am Setsuna (Various consoles, 2015)

A team was created just to make a RPG that's somehow like the old ones. This game, I am Setsuna is heavily inspired by Chrono Trigger. It also seems to a bit retro on the graphics side, since the visuals are very simple and don't really stress any of the consoles it was published on.

Yet, the graphics are nice enough to not look overly age. The sound quality is brilliant. The whole games's score consists of piano music, with subtle beat only added in some battle tracks. Gameplaywise, it's very classic and only adds some pieces of new elements to the Chrono Trigger gameplay.

I am Setsuna has an incredibly sad and melancholic feel to it. And it all plays in winter scenery, you won't see much grass or diversity here. For some people, this was a drawback, but this all-winter-game (which I played during a summer) is really special. And the developers managed to look so many scenes differently. It's fascinating.

This game is special and some people claim that it is a bit hard to get into, but it's really a funny and intense experience.

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