If you haven’t played a role-playing game lately, you may be holding on to some old perceptions about this ever-changing genre. There was a time when it seemed like all RPGs featured leading men with impossibly-styled hair and belly shirts, were set in fantasy worlds, and followed a classic formula of story intertwined with turn-based fighting. However, 2008 has shown us that RPGs aren’t so traditional anymore. While remakes like Chrono Trigger allowed a new generation to fall in love with an old classic, The World Ends With You and Persona 4 showed that RPGs can take place in a modern setting with relatable characters and still be engaging. Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice used silly, self-referential humor to enhance an addictive battle system for a solid SRPG experience. Action RPGs Fable II and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII ignored turn-based fighting entirely, while Valkyria Chronicles seamlessly blended RPG elements with those of strategy games and third-person shooters. Proving that traditional doesn’t mean bad, Lost Odyssey hit the 360 with a unique spin on turn-based fighting and a storyline worthy of the genre.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best years for role-playing games ever, but only one can be the Best Role-Playing Game Ever for 2008. A winner approaches. Command?