Here they are: the best games of the last ten years, as decided by Snackbar staff. Each day this week, we’ll be revealing the next ten games in the list.
Chris Ingersoll: This game quite possibly set a record for number of useless playable characters, especially considering that you could only have three in your party at any given time. It could never hope to live up to the long, deep shadow cast by its predecessor, but on its own merits Chrono Cross a very solid RPG.
Shawn Vermette: Chrono Cross is the sequel to one of my favorite games of all time, Chrono Trigger. However, Square didn’t have any trouble creating a unique battle system and making sure Chrono Cross could stand on its own. With a storyline as unique and odd as the original, and a great and strategic battle system- Chrono Cross made its mark as a gem of an RPG.
Chris Ingersoll: I don’t think I have ever waited so long for a game. It was nearly two years after my wife first pre-ordered this as a Christmas present before I would actually be able to play the game — including one excruciating week where I owned the disc but not a Wii on which to play it! While not as revolutionary as Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess was every bit as epic and well worth the wait.
Eric Schabel: The most epic Zelda game yet, clocking in at around fifty hours of gameplay. Twilight Princess features the most well thought out storyline yet for the franchise, with numerous cutscenes and great music to back it up. The graphics, while not too impressive for the period, did a respectable job of updating the “realistic” style first used in the classic Ocarina of Time. While it isn’t my favorite Zelda game, I still absolutely loved it; I especially appreciated the length of the game and the size of the world. Also, you could transform into a wolf, which is always cool.
Graham Russell: This one took a few turns that I didn’t like, but it was still the charming, saccharine timesink that I knew and loved. I liked Super Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi games, but it’s a shame that this series seems to have been thrown aside.
Shawn Vermette: Mario’s adventure and platforming games have always been great, so it’s no wonder that Mario would make a great RPG protagonist also. The story is memorable and classic Mario, the gameplay is great, and the characters are characters, as usual.
Shawn Vermette: Star Wars has almost as sad a history with games as Star Trek does. I say almost because Knights of the Old Republic single-handedly saves Star Wars from the doldrums of game license tie-ins. With a great, original story set in Star Wars’ past, and a combat system that can be as real-time or turn-based as you want, Knights of the Old Republic is easily the best Star Wars game ever, and probably the best RPG the Xbox ever had.
Chris Rasco: KOTOR was my introduction into turn-based role playing games, even though it didn’t utilize a true turn-based system. The story was epic and showed that games were more just as good as movies at storytelling.
Chris Ingersoll: The number of innovations added by the second iteration of Pokemon over the originals was staggering. A day/night cycle, friendship evolutions, breeding, held items, two additional elemental types (one of which punishes the previously-overpowered Psychic type), and two whole regions to explore (more or less); it all combined to make Gold/Silver possibly the best version of the franchise yet. Since Diamond/Pearl is the other top contender in my eyes, I’m looking forward to seeing what changes the HeartGold/SoulSilver DS remakes will receive.
Graham Russell: Ah, I remember the days when catching ’em all was actually a reasonably attainable goal. Gold and Silver added just enough to make things interesting. It edges out the Zelda titles as the best the GBC had to offer.
Chris Ingersoll: I can never recommend this game enough. Even though it’s little more than a Zelda clone, the heart that went into creating it was apparent from the opening scene. BG&E has become the poster child for inept marketing and why not every title needs to be released at the end of Q4, which is a sad legacy to bear.
Eric Schabel: BG&E is a criminally overlooked game. Any fan of the Zelda franchise should do themselves a favor and play it; the characters, the setting, and the story are all of the highest quality. There is no doubt in my mind that BG&E is one of the best action adventure games to be released in the last ten years.
Shawn Vermette: Final Fantasy XII is a departure from the standard Final Fantasy formula, as Square Enix went with a real-time combat system rather than the standard turn-based battles. It’s a testament to the series that not only did Final Fantasy XII succeed, but it was arguably the best JRPG of its generation.
Graham Russell: Keeping in the spirit of the console, Mario Kart Wii had a host of new tracks, online play, retro throwbacks and just a touch of waggle. While the SNES original is still the king of 2-player, MK Wii absolutely outclassed its predecessors with larger groups.
Chris Ingersoll: I still prefer the GameCube’s Double Dash!!, but MK Wii deserves credit for its amazing online play as well as its crazy staying power on the sales charts. Playing with the Wii Wheel is a blast, once you get the hang of it.
Chris Ingersoll: Possibly my favorite of the Advance Wars series, Black Hole Rising upped the stakes from the original in just about every way. Being able to use all of Wars World’s commanders instead of just Orange Star’s was huge, and the Black Hole opposition was fierce.
Shawn Vermette: Advance Wars 2 took the balanced and strategic gameplay of Advance Wars and made it even better with the addition of even more COs and more units. With such addictive gameplay, multiplayer, and level editing added in, Advance Wars 2 is the best tactical strategy game of the decade.
Graham Russell: It’s a very simple concept: add decision-making into RPG plots. It didn’t quite reach the potential that idea had, but it was deep, compelling and full of eye candy. And it changed what I expected out of the genre.
Eric Schabel: Mass Effect is my favorite western RPG. Maybe that’s because playing Mass Effect doesn’t really feel like playing an RPG, thanks to the real time combat and the over-the-shoulder perspective. Couple the game’s great story and dialog with beautiful graphics, and you have a sci-fi treat that leaves you begging for more. The only gripe I have with Mass Effect is the planet exploration; most of the planets you can land on are absolutely barren and devoid of any truly rewarding gameplay experiences. I suppose all of that is forgiven, however, since you can do the nasty with a blue alien babe.