by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Friends, let us eat, drink, and be salty! – Someone, probably.
I try to be a pretty positive guy, but the most enjoyable articles for me, are ones where I criticize things that frankly disappointed me through the years. So we’re going to flip the script from the earlier list and talk about the most disappointing RPGs in the modern era. You’re not going to agree with all of them I imagine, but that’s the point! These are games that I personally did not enjoy, for one reason or another. There are games I wanted to put on here but did not for a host of reasons. Mass Effect 3, for example. This is mostly for the ending, but it did feel like it removed a lot of the charm and the RPG feel of the previous two games. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is another that almost made the cut. It felt like a bargain-bin, would-be Chrono Trigger. I enjoyed the combat of the first two Final Fantasy XIII games, but there were so many things that frankly I couldn’t stand about them. That would probably be an article all on its own. But which games let me down the most? Let’s find out!
5. Dragon Quest VII: Let’s start with one of my all-time favorite franchises, Dragon Quest! I don’t have too many bad things to say about the franchise as a whole, but Dragon Quest VII on the Playstation made my blood boil with frustration. The story felt kind of unnecessarily depressing (or that’s how I remember it, anyway), but what I truly detested was that god. damn. map. I absolutely loathed filling out that map. It made the game drag far more than it should have, but it wasn’t a terrible game. It was trying something new but it was not a hit with me. The deeper you go into the game, the most depressing it gets. It’s just blow after crippling blow, and it’s not fun. It’s edgy for edginess’ sake. It didn’t feel like any of my accomplishments as a hero mattered or were even important, which is honestly, sort of an interesting take on being a hero. But Dragon Quest VII is easily, without any doubt my least favorite part of my favorite series.
4. Final Fantasy – Any Mobile Port: They’re all a bit rubbish, aren’t they? I wanted to pick V and VI as a tie, but honestly, I can’t think of a Final Fantasy mobile port that’s gone anywhere that I didn’t think was absolutely awful. But I’m going to focus on VI, because that one was the balls-worst. Can this just be “Square Enix mobile ports”? Because Chrono Trigger was awful too. That one got fixed, at least. My main gripe with Final Fantasy VI was the absolutely dreadful character sprites. Then there was the font. This could become a list very fast all on its own. It looked terrible, it sounded awful, and it played like a miserable piece of junk. I love Final Fantasy V and VI, okay? They’re among my all-time favorites, but I will not pretend that a mobile port that both looks and sounds hideous are worth my time or money. I heard there was a fixed, SNES-style ROM hidden in the code of Final Fantasy VI on Steam. Why couldn’t they have just released that edition? Wouldn’t that be better? A not ugly version of a classic RPG? Square-Enix make incredible games, but they make some pretty lousy ports.
3. Enchanted Arms: Enchanted Arms was probably the second most disappointing RPG on the Xbox 360. When surrounded by games like Tales of Vesperia, The Last Remnant, Lost Odyssey and Eternal Sonata? This game just let me down, but gratefully, I bought it used. It had a fairly boring, uninspired combat system, characters that felt flat and uninteresting, and a dub that was pretty grating on the ears. I didn’t enjoy how it looked, or how it sounded. The intro was awfully tedious, and that’s probably the nicest thing I could say about it. The gameplay wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t interesting. I didn’t feel vested in the trials and tribulations of the world at all. Enchanted Arms is a game that wasn’t bad, but it definitely trailed behind just about every other RPG alive at the time. But there was one that was significantly worse, don’t worry.
2. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness: This is the most modern game on this list, I believe. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness greatest crime is being possibly the weakest Star Ocean game overall. Other Star Ocean games have terrible endings, or garbage crafting systems, but are still solid games overall. The seamless battle system was neat but becomes incredibly frustrating a little deeper into the games. The cast of characters felt bland, and traversing the world was quite frankly, boring. It was marred by some pretty serious flaws but ultimately still, not a bad game. I keep coming back to that because that’s the concept. Most of these games aren’t upsetting, just… disappointing. Suddenly going from a dead sprint to a slow RP walk just because an important character is near? That made me want to pull my beard out.
1. Two Worlds: How. Did. This. Game. Get. Made?! Nothing in Two Worlds worked. This is probably my least favorite RPG of all time. I owned this game, and I didn’t play half as much as my former roommate did. He was obsessed with it, and played it all the time, no matter how bad it was. I’d watch with mirth as he tried to ride a horse, fight bad guys, or even walk from Point A to Point B. This was the developers first RPG, and their first console game apparently, and it shows that something went wrong. The dub and writing was less than a B-Movie quality. I can’t think of a single thing in Two Worlds that worked as intended. It was absolutely damn dreadful on every metric. Somehow it got a sequel though! TWO WORLDS II. Is it a cult hit or something, and I missed it? I played it when it was released, and it made me laugh more than anything. There is nothing more upsetting than Two Worlds, except maybe E.T.
What about you? What are your most disappointing modern RPGs? I’d love to hear the salt!