by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
There are several RPGs that frankly, didn’t get a fair shot at getting a series, or even a sequel! There is a lot to be said for being able to wrap up a story in one game, but what if we just want more of that universe? My first thought was “RPGs that needed good sequels”, but that was far too easy, and not quite defined enough. So today, we’re going to talk about RPGs that frankly needed/deserved some sequels for us to delve into. But first, of course, a few honorable mentions. Technically, 7th Saga had a sequel in Japan – Mystic Ark. I do not believe it was a direct sequel, in terms of continuing the story, but it was still a game we did not receive, so I wanted to mention it.
I also wanted to highlight Crystallis, one of the first major open-world style RPGs on the NES, and one that while I did not spend a lot of time playing as a kid, I know a few folks that have some mighty good/bad memories of this one. In the more modern front, The Last Remnant and Lost Odyssey are both two epic, sprawling games that could have done more with their worlds that were crafted. But man, was Lost Odyssey ever one of the most depressing stories I’ve ever played! I wish the Lufia franchise had received some truly great sequels, worthy of the first two games. Moving to the Gameboy was not the right call, friends. Had they waited until the GBA/DS? That would have been another matter entirely. The Lufia 2 remake on DS does not count.
5. Inindo: Way of the Ninja (SNES/PC): Now technically, there was another Inindo, Shinobido: Way of the Ninja, but I do not believe it is a true sequel. It was not published by the same company/publisher and came more than a decade later. Inindo: Way of the Ninja was a new direction for Koei at the time. It was still a strategy game, which by then they were known for, but instead, it was also an RPG. Players controlled an Iga ninja, whose goal was to assassinate Oda Nobunaga. However, you only had until 1601 to complete the task and the game begins in 1582. This game was so damn challenging and so fascinating. It’s a historical fiction assassin game, way before the Assassin’s Creed franchise came to be. I would have liked to see more in this series by Koei, where someone tries to change history and alter the course of events for various motives – love, revenge, greed. Visually it wasn’t the best, but there’s so much that could be done with the franchise now. It was incredibly challenging, deep, and was a new direction for Koei. I wish they would have kept up with it.
4. Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360/PS3): I understand that this is a sort of hard one to justify since Eternal Sonata was the fever dream of composer Chopin. As he died, so did this beautiful dream world, but what if that didn’t have to be the case? What if this world was a shared hallucination, or if it were real? This game had so many memorable characters and moments and was probably the first RPG on the Xbox 360/PS3 to get genuine emotion out of me. It was beautiful visually and musically, and while Chopin was no longer a part of the world, due to his death, I have to ask: What if this world were real? What if perhaps Chopin was just a visitor, and other people could get sucked into this fantasy world on their deathbed? That’s sort of dark, but it’s paired neatly with such a vibrant, colorful world. If you didn’t play this game, shame! This is one that deserves a Steam port.
3. Robotrek (SNES): Wait, Robotrek? Of course! The game is known as Slapstick in Japan but came to us as Robotrek. It was an RPG that was humorous and weird, in a time where most RPGs were pretty grimdark and serious. In Robotrek, you dealt with a group of hackers, where it was never really quite clear who the leader was. Hell, you even get the Leader Badget at one point. It was wacky, ridiculous, and you got to build your own robots, give them awesome programs, and fight frankly silly and stupid enemies. It still held a lot of charm and challenge, and with the aspect of traveling to other worlds, there’s a ton you could do with Robotrek. Seriously, this game was hilarious and awkward, but it deserved more, it deserved better.
2. Vagrant Story (PSX): The Playstation was apparently home to “Games that deserved more”, and enter the Squaresoft addition to this list, Vagrant Story! Vagrant Story was developed by the team that put together Final Fantasy Tactics, and it shows with the color palette and the storytelling. Vagrant Story stood out amongst its peers at the time and was an incredibly difficult puzzle/action RPG. The notion of the main character being a murderer, who couldn’t come to grips with the horrible things they’ve done? That’s beautiful. It was a risk, it was an amazing risk. You don’t really learn a whole lot about Ashley Riot (the main character) that I remember. But this is an incredible world that again, goes to waste by not using it further. It really feels like it could belong to the world of Ivalice (Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII) but as I understand, it is not. Vagrant Story does not get enough love as a timeless RPG and could see a great deal done with the world they built.
1. Legend of Dragoon (PSX): Legend of Dragoon was going to have a sequel, but it wound up being canceled because of reasons. But whenever I talk to someone about RPGs, invariably, this one comes up. Especially people who didn’t like Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest, they typically go “But what about LoD!? That was amazing!” and they aren’t wrong. Legend of Dragoon and it came right during the “Boom Period” of RPGs in the late 90s/early 2000s. It used an amazing turn-based combat system that also had real-time events, where you had to time your button presses just right to get the most out of battle. Then there were the awesome Dragoon forms, where characters had badass armor and wings. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia, but I think if Legend of Dragoon could have received a sequel, it would have done fairly well if for no other reason, the people nostalgic for the original. The timing of the combos was pretty frustrating, but I think that’s more of a hardware limitation more than anything. On the PS2/3/4, it could have been so much better. Legend of Dragoon is a true classic, and from a company not really known for ground-breaking RPGs. It didn’t have the most compelling story, but it was coming out around the same time as again, Final Fantasy IX, Diablo II, and Grandia II. There were so many series that were already established at that time, so it was hard to really give Legend of Dragoon a fair shake.
What games do you think deserved more of a shine? I’d love to hear about it below!