4LOG Likes: RPG Hidden Gems
Hey guys, welcome to the very first installment of a new feature on the site called “4LOG Likes”, a monthly segment where the 4LOG crew highlight some of their favorite hidden gems from a particular genre or console. Today, we’re going to suggest some of our favorite RPGs that we think you’d really enjoy:
Garrett: Live-A-Live (1994, Squaresoft, SNES, JPN Only)
It’s hard to deny that Squaresoft dominated the RPG market in the 90′s, giving us great SNES classics like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Super Mario RPG. However, many US gamers may not know of a particular gem that never made it overseas called Live-A-Live. The game’s main hook was that it allowed you to choose one of several different scenarios taking place in different time periods. You could play through a dialogue-free scenario as a caveman battling dinosaurs, or a pro-wrestler who learns new moves from his enemies, or an anime inspired near-future scenario involving psychic youths who pilot giant mechas, just to name a few. Each story was really unique and had different ways of playing through them, with just a very tiny bit of continuity that tied the stories together. Near the end of the game, a really cool plot twist happens that brings all of the previous heroes together to fight a common foe. Unfortunately the entire game is in Japanese, that is, unless you choose to download an English-patched rom. Totally worth it, in my opinion. Don’t miss out on this one.
Cory: Hybrid Heaven ( Nintendo 64)
I was very late to the RPG market. I had titles like Final Fantasy at my disposal, but I played them because I thought the whole turn based game play was dumb when I was younger. Not to mention the look of those games didn’t appeal to me since I grew up on titles like DOOM, Unreal Tournmaent and Alien Vs Predator for the PC. When I had to think of an RPG Hidden Gem only one title came to mind. Hybrid Heaven was a game that I knew nothing about, but when a friend of mine brought it over and was suplexing his enemies I was curious. Hybrid heaven mixes things I love like platforming, with a turn based fighting system that is basic and easy to understand. Simplicity is a thing that I love in video games, and this title just hooked me from the first encounter. If you want a super elaborate story with a battle system that takes days to master, then this is not that game for you. If you are like me and just enjoy kicking the crap out of enemies grab a copy of this off ebay for super cheap.
During my recent stint in Final Fantasy Tactics I remembered a game that was very dear to me during my time with the Playstation 2. That game is Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. Very similar to FFT but more story driven, Twilight of the Spirits is the 4th installment in a series that began on the original Playstation. Developed by a group called Cattle Call and released in 2003 by Sony. Arc the Lad is a tactical, turn-based RPG, much like its predecessors. Twilight of Spirits introduces some major changes to the series; besides having a 3-dimensional environment, battles run in real time, and freedom from standard grids makes this game stand out among its chessboard competitors. The story involves the two feuding races of the land: humans and Deimos. Deimos are basically the demonic and scaly version of humans with whom they feud with over the scarce supply of Spirit Stones, which both sides require in order to survive. Along the way you encounter dozens of characters from either faction which you can unlock to use in battle. For those that appreciate a long and immersive experience, Arc the Lad contains many side missions with hours, upon hours, of gameplay. It wasn’t received as well as it should have been in its time, but I found it to be a great game and I believe it can still be a great experience today. You can find this gem, and its sequel, for around 15$ online.
We hope that you liked this feature on RPG hidden gems. Let us know some of your favorite lesser known titles in the comments section. And stay tuned next month for another round of 4LOG Likes!