Best Games for Your (Small) Budget - Sony
Following up on our Microsoftarticle from yesterday, we will now delve into the Sony platforms (PS3 and PSP) and see what is available to people living within a small budget!
If you are anything like me, very rarely are you the kind of the person willing to, say, rush out to the midnight launch of a game to spend that $50/$60 to get the newest game on the block. Rather, I like to wait until months later when the game has dropped at least below half-off mark to make that dive. Nowadays, that moment seems to be happening a lot sooner even for the best titles -- even titles like Mass Effect 2 and Final Fantasy XIII dropped to "budget" status rather quickly after everyone who was planning on picking up a copy already did. Stores are starting to be far more competitive with some games even being offered huge gift cards for pre-ordering (for example, you can get a free $20 gaming credit at Amazon for picking up Fable 3).
Even if you don't consider yourself frugal, it doesn't hurt to be mindful of one's budget in this type of economy. For that reason, I would like to offer you my own personal list of the best games available now at some really incredible prices. The only rule I followed was that all of these games had to be sold at these prices brand new. You may be able to find a lot of these games at even lower prices pre-owned at a store like GameStop, but those can be rather hit and miss in terms of inventory and bundled materials. Just another heads up that any multiplatform games on this list can be found at a comparable price (and sometimes even for cheaper) on the other systems as they tend to stay in line with one another. Please enjoy!
It didn't take too long for Final Fantasy XIII to reach that Under $30 mark, but that shouldn't discourage you. For all of its controversy, this is still an incredible game that offers a remarkable adventure, with the series once again raising the benchmark for how a Japanese RPG should be constructed to stand up against anything the West can muster. This game demonstrates its biggest strengths through Sony's PS3 hardware, which is why we put it under this category. For more information, you can read our review here.
I am sure by now you have already heard a lot about Demon's Souls and what a monumental game it really is. To me, it was the penultimate RPG of recent memory. Gratification was finally brought to the front and center. The game creates a lot of memorable moments, such as sprinting across a bridge away from a dragon that is swooping down to torch the enemies and objects around you, or getting locked in a small tunnel with dogs running chasing the player into a dead end, or falling inside a pit and becoming surrounded by skeletons. It's easy to see that Demon's Souls will remain one of the best games on the PS3, which is why we awarded it our RPG of the Year 2009.
We gave Resonance of Fate an 82% in our review back when the game first came out, and for good reason. The mechanics are fascinating, the genre-mixing oozing with coolness, . It can get pretty complicated convoluted at times, with confusion setting in for those faint of heart, but for the dedicated bunch that didn't give this game a try the first time around, at a sub-$30 price point it is definitely worth a purchase.
Think Pokemon but with a nightmarish atmosphere and a heavy emphasis on the occult. Folklore is a fantastic RPG that came out around the launch of the PS3. It didn't show up on too many people's radars, but this is a very solid game with an engrossing storyline and a unique combat system. During battle, after a character weakens an enemy, they must work the SixAxis controls (whipping the controller back, forward, up and down like a fishing rod) to absorb that demon and utilize its abilities. These abilities range from a powerful strike to a healing spell. Demons are bound to the four face buttons on the controller (Triangle, Square, X, Circle) to allow a deep emphasis on strategy for each battle.
There isn't a whole lot more that I can elaborate on this game that I have not already done on my review. However, now that the game finds itself under the $30 mark (and in some places on special for under $20), White Knight Chronicles certainly deserves at least some attention for Level 5's first foray into the next-generation of consoles. GeoNet will always be a very impressive feature that allows for a more robust experience than what current games do for their multiplayer mode (and in most cases, a lack thereof). It depends on whether or not you should really pick this game up, though, considering the fact that White Knight Chronicles 2 has already been confirmed to contain the original game on its disk, offering substantial value. For you budget gamers, though, you really can't go wrong with this pretty entertaining jaunt that offers just enough to warrant your open wallet.
What an overload of greatness! Valkyria Chronicles goes to show that Sega can still create some of the best games in the industry. This heavily-polished game employs a heavy dose of tactical strategy, calling upon the player to use their environment to the utmost advantage. The environments range from deserts with a huge No Man's Land between each hiding spot, a city covered in a heap of rubble, and a mountain with many slopes and ridges. Tanks can be used to knock down walls, scouts can hide in the foliage to surprise the enemy, snipers can perch themselves on rooftops to take pot shots on soldiers below. It goes without saying that Valkyria Chronicles offers a highly robust experience that warrants multiple playthroughs, with its use of a watercolor art style being the main highlight here and one of the biggest reasons for its widespread acclaim. We gave the game a 92%, so if you own a PS3, what are you waiting for?
Eternal Sonata has to be one of my favorite RPGs of all time. The game harbors an incredible story, telling the narrative on the life of Frederic Chopin, one of the greatest composers and pianists that ever lived, wrapped inside a beautifully-crafted world that is easy to get lost in. To help keep the theme rolling, each character is named after musical terms (Allegretto, Polka, Crescendo, and so on). The combat is also highly original, with the elements of light and darkness playing a huge role in the player's tactics in the environment, along with a timer and action gauge to keep the fight fast and furious. The best part of the game, though, is the music, a world filled mostly with Chopin's works recreated, along with breaks in the story telling the player where the composition originated, providing a deeper emotional emphasis on an already fascinating person. With the addition of new playable characters, a costume-change system, and new dungeons to fight in, Eternal Sonata offers the best experience on the PS3 and comes highly recommended.
Well, let's see here... on the PSN, you have your pick of Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Wild Arms, Wild Arms 2, Suikoden, Grandia, and Final Fantasy Tactics, all available on the Playstation Network, and all for under $10 each. So... what are you waiting for? You are looking at some of the best RPGs ever at an incredible price. If you'd just spend your money on all of these games and nothing else, you'd be set until the Playstation 4 comes out! (or at least, Final Fantasy XV)
The PSN also includes some great downloadable games that range in price, including Castle Crashers and DeathSpank. These games also offer dozens of hours of gameplay, so we recommend you checking these out as well.
We will go a little lower for this one, considering that the wealth of PSP games sell at MSRP for $30 or higher. Even when PSP games start to creep under the $20, I find that frugal people still tend to be rather uneasy about spending that kind of money on a handheld game. When the amount starts to get closer to $10, however, they start to open their wallets more and more and finally make that leap into a happy customer. For that reason, we will cap the amount at $15 and below.
Kefka against Sephiroth. Jecht against Terra. Squall against Kain. All this and more when you buy Dissidia, a clash of the Final Fantasy titans for the ages! Packed with plenty of references to the series and fresh redesigns of every character, Dissidia is mind-numbing joygasm for fans that cleverly blends RPG elements with fighting action. This and more at the coliseum! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!
Crisis Core finally lets players experience the story of Final Fantasy VII through the eyes of Zack Fair, the fabled hero from the original game who had his identity (and credit card) stolen through fate. A young member of SOLDIER, the paramilitary organization created by the SHINRA Corporation, the story includes famous locales such as Midgar and Nibelheim, as well as telling the events that led up to the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. Every aspect of this game is masterfully crafted by the titan producers at Square-Enix who thankfully learned how to fix their mistakes with Dirge of Cerberus and create a game that is pound for pound one of the best on the PSP. At close to $10, if you haven't picked up Crisis Core yet, you may need to reconsider. If anything, it is a showcase for what the PSP can accomplish pound for pound. Then afterwards, you can buy Final Fantasy VII on the PSN Store for $10 and keep the adventure rolling!
Although it was one of the last games ever released for the Super Nintendo, Star Ocean holds up as one of the best RPGs on the system even if no one outside of Japan got to play it until only a few years ago, due in no small part to the monumental task of trying to crack the game's S-DD1 chip (one of only two games that actually used this architecture) that had maxed out what the SNES's cartridge was capable of. The game was also one of the first on a console to feature voiced dialogue in and out of battle, along with a real-time battle system (which has obviously carried on to the other games in the series) and one hell of an epic story. This enhanced remake of the original included enhancements such as pre-rendered backgrounds, animated cutscenes, new playable characters, and tons of new fully-voiced dialogue.
A remastered edition of the beloved classic Final Fantasy Tactics, War of the Lions is more than just some port. Featuring some actual voice acting, full motion video with a cell-shaded design, a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, an online multiplayer mode, and new players, character classes, and cutscenes. All of this brings a whole new lease on life for this great strategy RPG. There is a lot to love about this game that provides hundreds of hours of greatness.
Some honorable mentions include Brave Story (based off the book and anime movie) and Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth.
For one of my first reviews on RPGSite, I needed a game that I didn't play too much of but knew I wanted to delve deeply in to. Here was what my sum up of the game was taken straight out of the review: As you can see, I enjoyed Riviera quite a lot. The compelling (and mature) story elements are a rarity in the handheld RPG genre, a break away from all the other hero-saves-the-world stories that have been a staple for the market. Although the action can be pretty linear for the most part, the strong execution of the art design combat, and lengthy play time make up for that in spades. If you are still able to find Riviera at your local gaming outlet, do yourself a favor and pick this title up!
Like the port for Star Ocean: First Departure, Second Evolution is a fantastic port of Star Ocean: The Second Story that originated on the Playstation 1, featuring a much larger amount of spoken dialogue and animated cutscenes. Well regarded as one of the best RPGs the system had to offer, Second Story had a lot of great features that made it stand out from the rest. It was one of the first games to feature private interactions with other characters; a more robust skill system featuring Specialty abilities unlocked by performing tasks such as reading books, cooking food, and crafting items; and the return of the real-time combat system where players can use the environment to an even larger degree by flanking enemies or by using objects like speeding rail carts and falling boulders. To me, Second Story will always be one of my favorite games especially due to its strong cast of characters - the interactions between Claude, Rena, and Dias are especially noteworthy. Well worth the purchase, especially at the low price. Just a note: you do not need to have any knowledge of the first game to enjoy the "sequel".
Any Original PSOne RPG on the PSN
The same PSOne games available on the PS3 can also be downloaded to your PSP and enjoyed on the go. Just don't forget to get off the bus at your stop when you become engrossed in Final Fantasy VII. Sephiroth can be defeated some other time.
Obviously, I have not listed every RPG that is available at these pricepoints. There are plenty other games out there. If you don't see it on this list, please feel free to post the deals you have found below in the comments section!
Stay tuned! Tomorrow we will finish up by covering the Nintendo Wii and the overcrowded Nintendo DS platforms!
Released: 11 November, 2006
Boasting the power of the custom-designed Cell Processor, high capacity Blu-ray discs and online connectivity, Sony makes a compelling case for the future of PlayStation with their third home console.