Roll the List #15: 10 Worst Fantasy Video Games, Dalton’s Take
It was actually pretty easy for me to come up with most of this list. Unfortunately for any readers I have, the list is composed of mostly admired RPGs. There are several titles out there that I personally just didn’t enjoy and I’m not afraid to tell you exactly how I feel. I actually have a respect for most titles on this list, I just was honest on how I felt about them when I played them (however briefly for some).
10. Shin Megami Tensei – Okay, I’ll admit, I ran out of RPG games that I absolutely hate, so I decided to make a shout-out to one of my favorite RPGs that is significantly underrated and tossed to the side. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga is one of my favorite RPGs. I loved the style, I loved the characters, I loved the monsters, I loved the game play, I loved the mechanics, I loved the leveling system. I loved everything about it, however flawed it may have been in some areas. And this title in the popular franchise is often overlooked by the primary storyline. That really bugs me, as I think the artistic qualities in the DDS title was superior to all other titles. DDS wouldn’t exist without Shin Megami Tensei, but I wouldn’t know or care about that franchise if not for DDS.
9. Final Fantasy IX – A repetitive theme on this list for me is not that the game actually sucked, but that the game sucked by comparison to the other games in its franchise. Such is the case with FFIX. I was one of those FFVII bandwagoners. I loved that game, so I got FFVIII. That title really divided fans. Some loved the change in style, both in design and mechanics, while others hated it. The polarizing game led to the production of FFIX, which was an attempt to go back to Final Fantasy‘s roots. In style it succeeded, but in mechanics it failed, at least in enticing me into playing. Even though I loved FFVIII (and it is my favorite in the series), I wasn’t a huge fan of characters leaving and coming back. This is a common theme in FF titles, but none took it to quite the extreme of FFIX. I was getting so frustrated trying to keep up with all the characters I would lose for portions of the game. Plus, I thought it really sucked that the game was so heavily centralized on summons, but it took everything you had to summon once (recalled from memory, but I remember being frustrated with the lack of ability to summon). This will frustrate some, but I just thought this title was lacking.
8. Elder Scrolls: Morrowind – I always thought that I just wasn’t patient enough for the Elder Scroll games. I just wasn’t willing to let the game build up and I definitely wasn’t patient enough for the stamina with armor. I felt it was all my fault. Then Skyrim came out. And then I realized, it’s not me, it’s just all the other Elder Scroll games suck. Not really, but Skyrim‘s perfection of all the previous games’ qualities really makes me look back on this game realizing how flawed it was. Sure, it was a ground-breaker and great in its own way, but by comparison…
7. Diablo 3 – This game suffered from what I call the “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” effect. This game wasn’t necessarily bad, it just wasn’t able to live up to its unbelievably awesome predecessor. It really is unfair to hold a game to such a high standard, but when a game clearly drops the ball on what is publicly applauded from the predecessor, it can make a pretty good game appear as a failure. The creators of MvC3 failed in a lot of ways, but primarily at the lack of characters, the style, and the pace of the predecessor. Diablo 3 failed in lack of classes, the expansion of those classes, and a comparatively plain leveling system. The loot system was expanded in ways and I liked the emphasis of class-specific items, but the leveling system took a backseat, when such a game should have made advancements in all aspects.
6. Fable – I beat it in a day. You shouldn’t beat an RPG in a day. I enjoyed it enough to play it all the way through, but when I realized that I got to the end, I was wondering aloud, “Was that it? Was that really it?” I never reached a challenge, I never felt I truly accomplished anything, I didn’t feel engaged, and it was fast. Too fast. It was marketed as an in-depth story where your decisions effect your character. Yes, technically, but the true consequences of your actions were more-so an illusion than an actual change. I kill people, I look evil. I help people, I look good. Nice.
5. Kingdom Hearts – Since we’re on the topic and this is MY list, I’ll go ahead and list one of the most beloved and respected RPGs in recent memory that I just couldn’t get in to. I get that it has great writing. I get that the RPG elements are great and the game play had a forgiving, addicting curve. But I have zero interest in fighting evil with Disney characters. Perhaps this perception is in itself immature because I refused my inner child, but I felt like a little kid fighting alongside Donald Duck and Goofy. It didn’t work for me. I appreciate Disney. I love RPGs. I just couldn’t handle the two combined.
4. Final Fantasy XI Online – Overall it was a sloppy attempt at the MMO craze that was too early for its time. Square would later straighten out the edges in FFXIV, but FFXI is well-regarded by those fans of the franchise that are unwilling to remove their blinders. At least some lessons were learned, and I do appreciate the brave attempt at something new.
3. Dark Souls – Screw Dark Souls. Why do you have to be so hard? I am jaded by countless titles that lack true difficulty that I can’t appreciate this game for what it is. It’s a great game, but I lost patience early. It says more about me than the game.
2. Super Mario RPG – He belongs in side-scrolling adventure games. I don’t understand why game companies feel its necessary to take franchises outside of their comfort zone. Sure, sometimes it pans out, but more often than not it dilutes the product and makes you want to go play the original. In this case, that was the effect for me.
1, Drakengard – As is the case with several of the games on this list, the problem is with what I expected/wanted from the game. In the case of Drakengard, I couldn’t avoid my desire for an awesome RPG that is dragon-based. I’ve always wanted to fly a dragon around, while enhancing my abilities through RPG elements. Instead, what I got was a Dynasty Warriors rip-off that has you repetitively grind to unlock new dragons and dragon enhancements. I actually lost interest half-way through because of the actual game play, but it retained my time so I could unlock everything. I was almost angry at the game for making my love for dragons fuel my interest in a game that frankly put nothing into the mechanics or system. I don’t know how this game got sequels.
OVERLAP: No overlap, which I am surprised. I haven’t played many of the titles Kyle brought up, but I haven’t played some of them because of the reasons Kyle mentions. His shout-out against FFVIII did make me cry.