10 – Kingdom Hearts
Initial Release Date: September 16, 2002
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: What the heck happened to the Kingdom Hearts series? We’re…how many games in now? Like eight, nine? And not a single one has managed to match the goodness of the original Kingdom Hearts. Perhaps it’s that the series has grown too complex over the years, slowly going off the rails with its weird plots over-dramatizing darkness and light. But the original was simple, beautiful fun.
By mashing up Final Fantasy characters and styles with Disney worlds, Square Enix managed to make an action RPG that awoke the child in all of us. Sora’s goal is simple: find his friends after a strange storm destroys their home world and scatters them across the universe. Along with Donald and Goofy, he’ll encounter plenty of new pals and powers along the way as he comes into his own as the keyblade master, slowly deposing various Disney villains engaged in a plot to capture the seven Princesses of Heart. The story is the only one of the Kingdom Hearts tales to touch on darkness and light in a way that felt meaningful to the player, meshing both childlike innocence and adult feeling. I don’t know if Kingdom Hearts III can redeem this series, but wouldn’t it be magical if it could?
Next: 9 - Dragon Age: Inquisition