5 – Pokemon Crystal
Developer: Game Freak
Initial Release Date: July 29, 2001
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: Why Pokemon Crystal? I’ve always found it strange that few people mention the game that represents the absolute best of the Pokemon franchise. Sure, Pokemon Gold and Silver laid the groundwork for Crystal, but Crystal fleshed them out, filling in their few cracks and perfecting the best generation the franchise has seen. Two explorable regions, 252 catchable Pokemon (not too many, not too few), a day/night cycle with time-based and day-based events, the addition of Pokemon breeding and genders, and so, so much more made the second generation successful. Crystal added a new character and subplot with Eusine and Suicune, animated Pokemon sprites, several other quality of life updates, and my personal favorite: a female protagonist option. Rest in peace, Kris; the chick with the poofy hat just isn’t the same.
Pokemon Crystal and its lesser counterparts of Pokemon’s second generation fulfilled our Poke-dreams in a way that Gamefreak just hasn’t accomplished yet. For the first and one of the only times, there was content all the way up to level 100, including the most epic boss battle in Pokemon history against yourself from the previous generation. There’s a reason we keep asking for multiple regions in future Pokemon games. The possibilities they open up are keys to perfection.
Next: 4 - The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim