RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  

   Fun Value
   Battle System



RPGs can have many forms of entertainment for many types of people. Some of us enjoy a complex story, while others choose to enjoy the musical score. In the end, however, RPGs can only be truly enjoyable if they have a fun, inticing, and complete amounts of gameplay value. Be it the interface, or the enjoyable characters, or even the battle system; there are many ways to enjoy the overall gameplay of any title. You could almost say that Best Gameplay is the precursor for Best RPG, and just like the games listed in any other category these are the ones that RPGamer staff memebrs think are the top of the line.

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

Ranking in the golden first spot on the list for RPGamer staff members is a title that readers gave a lower rating, placing it fourth in their own results. Atlus' quirkly little Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is possibly one of the most surprising titles of 2003, garnering many staff awards this year. When screenshots of characters with four digit experience levels were released, RPGamers suspected they were in for a unique ride. With so many optional dungeons, multiple endings, and difficult side quests we were all glad to have 9999 levels because we could actually play long enough to get there! Then there's the laugh-until-it-hurts script, great battle system open to many changes, and addictive tactical fun. There's simply no reason for RPGamer staff not to notice this great game, and so they did, with a first place nod.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Taking the second place for both readers and staff members alike for Best Gameplay is none other than Nintendo's staple fantasy series, and its latest incarnation: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. In the eyes of many on the RPGamer staff, this game was possibly the best and most well-rounded titles available on the GameCube system this year, and stands above many RPGs on the other consoles to boot. With an in-depth battle system that encouraged us to both fight and flight (along with a little help, of course, from some feathered friends), a storyline that varied from the usual save-the-princess variety with an interesting twist of fate, and unusually beautiful cel-shaded graphics that originally put some people off playing, Wind Waker shaped up to be one of the most addictive games for 2003 for the RPGamer staffers and RPGamer readers alike.

Final Fantasy X-2

Coming in third for the staff members is a game that the readers ranked much higher, actually rewarding it with a gold medal in their voting. Made quite infamous by the fact it's the first sequel (in case we just hadn't mentioned it before...) to a Final Fantasy game, it came as no real surprise that Final Fantasy X-2 had more hype and criticisms before and after its release than it had skimpy outfits in the end. No matter if you were a reserved RPGamer who prefers "womanly" heroines, or simply someone who would rather play a game and enjoy it, Final Fantasy X-2 had something thrown in for you. With a slew of sidegames to unlock and then master completely, a fast-paced battle system, and a full range of classes with a diverse set of unique and useful abilities to choose from gameplay for this certain classic was unmatched.

Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter

Sliding into the fourth slot as one of the best this year according to our staff members is yet another game that did not grace the readers list in much besides letdown, but it's quite obvious that staff members enjoyed the fifth installment in the Breath of Fire series. Taking control of the grunt worker Ryu in the underground post-apocalyptic world isn't exactly the most compelling idea, but with Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter things became decidedly more interesting. Using the classic idea of non-random encounters, Dragon Quarter opts for a strategic fight-or-flight response, but if you choose to fight or to use traps too many times, things could get ugly. With a far different graphical look than the previous Breath of Fire games, staff took to it far greater than our readers did. This is just a couple reasons of the many RPGamer staffers give this great game the fourth place slot this year.

Mario & Luigi

Rounding out a great year and a fabulous list of thoroughly enjoyable RPGs this year is the franchise that, in its console roots, made video gaming widely popular. One of the most known names in the history of the video gaming industry doesn't hurt when it comes to great gaming, but with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga that name may have only helped. Who expected Mario to churn out a trio of must-have RPGs with his platformer roots? But with a storyline revolving once again on Peach's plight and Mario's never-fading heroic tendancies, this installment of the Mario game adds in a bit more depth to the Mario RPG line. Finally adding in Luigi do the delight of many of the fans of the less-known Mario brother along with a jump-and-hammer-centric plot and two-button, double character controls makes for one great game in the mind of RPGamer staff members.

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