For us RPG fans, it's been a good year. We've had Lost Odyssey and just recently we've had Infinite Undiscovery. PSP owners have been treated to a remake of the wonderful Disgaea, and DS owners have had an overload of Square-Enix RPGs, including remakes of 2D classics Final Fantasy IV and Dragon Quest IV, amongst other, all new RPGs for the handheld.
After such a strong year, one might imagine that the fun for RPG fans would now be over until 2009, but it's not! As gaming hurtles headlong into yet another fantastic Christmas period, many of gaming's biggest publishers and studios have even more RPGs lined up for almost every console, ensuring that us RPG fans are in for one hell of a winter.
It's the perfect time for us at RPGSite to round up what our ones to watch for the latter end of 2008 are, then. This is the first of our series of "RPGs to Watch" for the end of the year -- and we're starting with our top three 360 RPGs from now 'til year's end.
Set to launch this October, Lionhead Studios plans to take gamers back to the world Albion, the world originally explored in the fun-but-disappointing Fable. Following the number of promises left broken from the original release of Fable, Lionhead honcho Peter Molyneux made the wise decision to keep many of the details about Fable II's plot and gameplay 100% secret so that there are no mass disappointments as with the first title in the series.
The first Fable title was overall a very strong Western RPG, and one of the stronger RPGs on the original Xbox. Unfortunately, throughout it's development many overblown promises were made that couldn't be met in the final version -- and the game performed worse than it should have because of this.
We're excited for Fable II because from what we've seen of the game, it seems to fix many of the issues with the original game and actually goes as far as to fulfil many of the promises left over from the hype of the original game. Add in an all new revolutionary drop-in cooperative mode -- something more RPGs should support -- hundreds of hours of content and beautiful graphics, Fable II is definitely a must-have for RPG gamers this year.
Breaking away from 2008's tradition of fourth iterations (Soul Calibur IV, GTA IV, FF4, Dragon Quest 4) is Fallout 3, the latest iteration in Bethesda's Fallout series, which over the years has gained even more of a cult following than their other baby, Elder Scrolls.
Launching this October - a whopping ten years after the last title in the series, Fallout 3 is set to rewrite the series rulebook, with gameplay closer to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in a modern world. RPG fans should note that this game will be a refreshing change of a pace to castles, knights and swords -- Fallout 3 is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, and sees the player trying to survive and forge a life in the nuclear wasteland that is Washington DC.
We're excited for Fallout 3 because we absolutely loved Oblivion, and have been yearning for more ever since our adventures in the Shivering Isles came to an end. Add in an intriguing environment, modern weapons, and a very fresh and different setting for an RPG, and Fallout 3 practically has us foaming at the mouth. Another must-own? This winter could get expensive.
The Last Remnant
As if one exclusive Square-Enix RPG wasn't enough in Infinite Undiscovery, Xbox 360 owners are in for another role-playing treat later this year when The Last Remnant hits as a timed exclusive, with a PS3 version to follow at some point in 2009. The Last Remnant follows the story of Rush, whose peaceful existence is ruined by soldiers who attack his hometown.
The game features large scale wars and a real-time battle system, with huge summon monsters, combos and traditional RPG gameplay all mixed in, with a major draw of the game being the size of the battlefields -- instead of you against a few other people, your characters will often be part of a larger army on a huge battlefield, working towards an objective together.
We're excited for The Last Remnant because it's the next in an increasingly long line of Xbox 360 centred RPGs from Square-Enix. Coming after Infinite Undiscovery and before Star Ocean 4, The Last Remnant is said to be a very important new IP for Square, and one they wish to grow to Final Fantasy proportions if given the chance. Did we mention it's by the SaGa team? Sold.
That's the end of our top three, but that's not all for you 360 RPG fans! Also out before this year is through on the 360 -- Sacred II: Fallen Angel , Elveon, and Rise of the Argonauts. If that's not enough for you, why don't you catch up on some of the 360 RPGs you missed out on? A few quick RPGSite recommendations point you to Infinite Undiscovery, Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata.
360 certainly is one hell of a machine for RPG owners. Next up: PS3 RPGs to Watch. Check back tomorrow for that story.