The 50 Best RPGs Of All Time

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6 – Xenogears

Developer: Square

Initial Release Date: October 20, 1998

Why it’s one of the best RPGs: Xenogears is excellent overall, but is known especially for two things: its improvements on the ATB system that’s gotten so much love from this list as a staple of RPG combat, and its story. The ATB improvements included AP, which would later see another iteration in Chrono Cross. Attacks could use one, two, or three AP based on how strong they were, with each character having a limit on how much AP they could spend at a time, and that limit increasing throughout the game. Later on, saving AP up allows for devastating combo attacks, adding a new layer of strategy and planning to each fight. Oh yeah, and there’s giant robot combat, too. You can’t go wrong with giant robots.

The main character of Xenogears, Fei, has retrograde amnesia from the time of his arrival in his village three years ago. Accidentally destroying his own village early in the story sends him off on a journey to discover who he is and where he comes from. His journey reflects some serious, and often overt, Freudian themes, and has been lauded for its excellent handling of philosophy and psychology to craft both an inner journey and an outer journey surrounding Fei. By the end of Xenogears, you might be scratching your head a bit, but you’ll have no doubt you’ve been led on a thought-provoking, meaningful adventure.

Next: 5 - Pokemon Crystal