Ken Staples's Top RPGs Not on the Staff List
Top RPGs Not
on the Staff List
-Kingdom of Loathing
-Crisis Core
-The World Ends with You
-disgaea ds

How often have you found a game that not only holds your attention for literally years, but also undoubtedly shows you that the developers want you to play their game? While the graphics of this browser based RPG are little more than black and white line drawings, the constantly evolving gameplay, near-infinite replayability, and all-pervasive snarky humor have captivated me for the past three and a half years. Excepting Final Fantasy XI, Kingdom of Loathing is the game that has held my attention the longest... and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Spin-offs, especially in the Final Fantasy series, are usually hit or miss. There have been very few that have been successful additions to the Final Fantasy universe. Crisis Core seamlessly added an amazing backstory to Final Fantasy VII that not only gave fans better understanding of the game, but also of its ultimate antagonist, Sephiroth. With an outstanding story, updated materia system, and action-oriented battles, Crisis Core was definitely one of the best games of the past decade.

When The World Ends With You was released, I spent more time with it than almost any other DS game. While many DS games implement the handheld's touch screen and microphone capabilities as an unnecessary gimmick, TWEWY perfectly integrated the DS's unique features into its battle system. This not only helped to show what the DS was capable of, but also made for a wide variety of different actions required to be successful in battles. Add to that a great story, tons of character customization options, and loads of collection tasks and you have what is likely one of the best DS RPGs to date.

Let me be honest. I don't like tactical games. I'm usually horrible at them and don't enjoy moving units around. Disgaea DS has given me hope that there are tactical RPGs out there that I would actually enjoy. The over-the-top leveling system, insane character statistics, exhaustive equipment upgrading system, and amusing story all make for a great, portable DS tactical RPG. With loads of extra features, multiple endings, and new game plus capabilities, Disgaea DS is definitely worth a look for anyone hesitant to try out the sub-genre.

Of all the games that I've played during the past decade, Final Fantasy XI was probably the one that I loved to hate the most. While the time length between core story elements was often long, Final Fantasy XI offered a solid, and often entertaining, story. The job system allowed for a wide variety of different play styles and the occasional addition of more jobs and the merit system gave players something new to do. I often found myself frustrated while playing FFXI, but I also distinctly remember my heart racing during particularly tough mission bosses, my feeling of accomplishment after defeating Maat for the first time, and the sense of community and friendship I experienced.

- Ken Staples
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