RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  

   Fun Value
   Battle System



Even though most of the categories for the 2003 awards are celebrating the best of multiple genres, this year wouldn't be complete without the return of the Biggest Letdown category. These are the games that aren't necessarily horrible but in the eyes of our staff 2003 they wasn't all flowers, fantasies, and happy puppies of replay value. Thankfully, staffers this year were a bit more responsible and sure of their choices, with almost every game on the list not being on any of the best lists.

Xenosaga Episode I

Ranking highest on the list of titles worse for wear after being looked over by our staffers is a game readers actually loved in comparison - but it's pretty obvious RPGamer staff members didn't seem too thrilled with the "cinematic RPG" experience. With a storyline told almost entirely in cutscenes and with little development otherwise, RPGamer staff didn't exactly think the experience was anything special in the end. To make matters worse, after wading through a mountain of cutscenes and FMVs, when the title finally came to the concluding hours, there wasn't even have an ending to enjoy. In fact, it was more like the story just stopped and to most RPGamer staffers that really isn't a good thing. In fact, that's such a bad thing that Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht runs away with the worst of the worst for 2003.

Star Wars Galaxies

Coming in second for the staff's two thumbs down is a game that actually won second as the best MMORPG game, showing how vastly different each of our staff members viewed the title. Although the LucasArts name, and the Star Wars brand was behind Star Wars Galaxies, not even the love of an entire genre could make RPGamer staff not notice how truly wretched it was. It's a tried and true method in MMORPG games never to release a game when it feels like it's still in beta mode but Galaxies went forward and the results made many an RPGamer staffer very unhappy. Throw in slow delivery of the Jedi class, and ridiculous bounties by LucasArts themselves against the Force-Sensitive and the excessive rarity of the class to begin with, and Galaxies just didn't measure up to much of the expectations many had for it, including the staffers.

Onimusha Tactics

The third place in letdown for 2003 comes from a name known well to followers of Action games on the PlayStation 2. The first showing of the Onimusha series in the RPG genre left many hoping for a solid title, but Onimusha Tactics had some high hopes to live up to, but managed to dash. With several other high-calibur tactical games hitting the GameBoy Advance this year, Onimusha Tactics managed little more than to fizzle in many categories others shined in, but one difference left a bad taste in the mouths of our staff members: the localization was downright horrible. With a disappointing translation weighing it down, no amount of positiveness could bring this title up to it's expectations. Mundane graphics, boring characters, and tedious gameplay all made up for a horrible experience, and Onimusha Tactics certainly was just that.


When you release a series of games over a period of time, people expect some degree of improvement or some sort of difference between them. However, Bandai managed to not only release a series of games under the .hack moniker, but with the second installment of the .hack game series, RPGamer staffers were just plain put to sleep. Only improving a few annoying aspects from the previous two installations, .hack//MUTATION left much of the gameplay alone and that isn't a good thing when you have monotonous music, outdated graphics, and a boring battle system choked by more menus than action. Add in a skyrocketing difficulty between .hack//INFECTION and MUTATION, and you have a sure success for failure. It serves as a message to all creators, if you want to release a series of games do not expect gamers to be pleased with the same game for $200, mini-anime series included or not.

Unlimited SaGa

Rounding out the list of flops this year was a game that readers and staff members could agree on, and both voted to say it's just that horrible. As another installment in the long SaGa series, Unlimited Saga had many expectations to live up to. Sadly, this SaGa game didn't quite measure up to anyone's expectations. With a battle system that took over an hour to even begin to understand, things weren't exactly simple; this was made worse by the endless amounts of battles -- sometimes running 2-3 hours of just fighting monsters. When you add a confusing world travel system things can only get worse. Travelling a world can often be tedious, but when that world is an unappealing game board interface that you move one space at a time, RPGamer staff members just weren't very pleased with it. With a hearty salute and a hope to never see it again, RPGamer staff members end this list of horrible RPGs of 2003.

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