RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  

   Fun Value
   Battle System



Games can be aethetically gorgeous, perfectly delivered with a great storyline, and it can have the best music made, however nothing can ruin a game like not having any fun. After all, that is what games are -- to sit back for a few hours and have a laugh at a silly story, a cry when your favorite character meets their end, or even disgust at the ultimate villain. Without these kinds of feelings games cannot be truly fun to play, and without some sense of having fun all you have is a really expensive coaster.

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

Taking the gold for the staff this year is Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. The recipient of many staff awards as well as a number of reader nods as well this year, it's no surprise this game won out for most fun for the staff members. With the ability to summon many demons to vote on "important" matters such as 'Better Monsters' and 'More Expensive Items', it's not too surprising you can even bribe these "councils" in a game where being naughty will get you far. Perhaps it's because the more you get hurt and need to heal, the more you'll receive prizes from the hospital that amused us so greatly. It's also possible it could be the battle system that includes an 'Item World', where souls can be unlocked from an item and transferred into new items. It could even be the much-lauded script, which flawlessly brings the player deep into a world of hilarity. It could just be the game is plain fun. Whatever the reason, RPGamer staff loves it..

Final Fantasy XI

In second place comes a name known for it's fun, time devouring, in-depth games. Second only to the name if it's creator, Square Enix's Final Fantasy XI was released on the PC world amid soaring expectations and cries of yearning from PlayStation 2 players; in the mind of RPGamer staff members the world of Vana'diel certainly lives up to the hype. With a full range of races to choose from, and classes to assign your race, the ability to choose your path through the world of Vana'diel is completely your choice. Along with all this variety comes an open-ended, possibly never-ending storyline chock full of quests and missions to undertake means tons of replay value. Wandering a vast and culturally rich world for days ends up being just plain addictive, and for a game to be able to capture our attention so thoroughly, it definitely has to be a lot of fun.

Final Fantasy X-2

In third place this year is a name we've all grown to know very well: Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy X-2 threw us a curve, being the first true sequel to a Final Fantasy game, and with so much to do it comes as no surprise why staffers voted for it as a very fun title to sink some time into. With a full selection of unique and interesting mini-games, a character for every personality and taste, and a sometimes side-splitting dialogue, very few games can top the fun found in Yuna's continuing adventures in the world of Spira. If you thought that was all the fun to be had, you would be mighty wrong as there is mountains of customization, tons of replay value, and even the return of a classic game in the much-loved (or much-hated, depending whom you asked) Blitzball and the new-comer coin game known as Sphere Break, which definitely stretched the minds and the patience of our staffers.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

With the GameCube not exactly overflowing with RPGs, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker definitely stood out, and the staff enjoyed it enough to grace it with a fourth place result this year. Perhaps it's because of the graphics that makes us smile a little bit wider, but more than likely the enjoyment is rooted in everything equally. Much of the game, like its previous installments, is full of exploration, although each dungeon must be tackled in order to obtain the required items for Link to move forward. At sea, anything can happen from diving for hidden treasure, to jumping aboard abandoned submarines to plunder for booty. Not to mention the enemy boats just waiting for a chance to fire their cannons at you, throwing poor Link into the drink. With the ability to summon Tingle at will with a GameBoy Advance, two players can team up to enjoy the game even more, so it's no wonder that our staff enjoyed Wind Waker to its fullest potential.

Breath of Fire V

Finishing up the list of the most fun games of 2003 was a game that wasn't all that fun in the eyes of RPGamer readers, but to our staff members the Breath of Fire series is a sure winner with the latest incarnation of the dragon-centric game, Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter. With an in-depth plot revolving around the grunt worker Ryu and his friends, no other game managed to be as unique in setting as Dragon Quarter. Fully set in the lower layers of the planet, Dragon Quarter was full of dark, murky, and metallic surroundings on the seemingly-impossible trek to the surface. With elmination of random battles, a unique way to smartly avoid battles with various monster traps, and a compelling storyline, Dragon Quarter may not have been considered that great by readers, but to our staffers it snuck in and was a surefire winner.

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