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Help me decide which "classic" and other RPGs to play


Fallen33

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Hey, new to the forum. Found it by checking out Pillars of Eternity (super excited to play this game). I have a confession to make though, I have hardly played any of the "classic" isometric RPGs out there! I have only played Fallout 1 and half finished Fallout 2 (I think I will come back to it with a new save). I have played newer first person RPGs (Elderscrolls mainly) and have rather enjoyed them; but I keep hearing about how these games are dumbed down and mainly for kids compared to the depth and storytelling of older games.
 
I have had a growing list of RPG's to play for a while now and I want your help to separate the crap from what's worth devoting time to. I am mainly looking for good storytelling, morally complex choices, interesting characters and dialogue, deep engrossing world, and interesting or unique gameplay mechanics. Not all of these are isometric btw and there is some JRPGs on there too. Just give me your opinion of these games and we shall see whether I remove or add them to my "Games to Play Before I Die" list. Please give me more suggestions to what I have listed here too! (as old or as new as you want, as RPG-heavy or RPG-lite as you want, I'm pretty open to trying anything)
 
 
Baldurs Gate 1 & 2
Planescape: Torment
Icewind Dale 1 & 2
Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2?
Arx Fatalis
Gothic series?
Dragon Age Series?
Mass Effect 2 & 3? (played 1, thought it was decent)
Chrono Cross?
Chrono Trigger?
KOTOR 1 & 2
Jade Empire?

Old school Ultima or Might and Magic?

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Play a few and then you'll be forming your own judgment about what you want to try next. 

 

Baldur's Gate 2 is very strong all-round rather than in one particular thing, so I always find it is recommendable to start with. 

 

 

 

Baldurs Gate 1 & 2
Planescape: Torment
Icewind Dale 1 & 2
Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2?
Arx Fatalis
Gothic series?
Dragon Age Series?
Mass Effect 2 & 3? (played 1, thought it was decent)
Chrono Cross?
Chrono Trigger?
KOTOR 1 & 2
Jade Empire?

Old school Ultima or Might and Magic?

 

BG, PST are must try. Gothic 1 / 2 are initially difficult to get into but well worthwhile. 

 

Proceed to IWD1/2 if you enjoyed the combat and art in BG. 

Proceed to Mask of the Betrayer (NWN2 xpack) and KOTOR2 if you enjoyed the writing in PST.

Deus Ex is a weird and unique creature but worth playing for anybody.

 

Don't bother with NWN1, Jade Empire, these are weaker games in the genre and not classics. 

 

Dragon Age / Mass Effect - you played ME1, so you can make up your own mind I suppose. These are made with a quite different spirit and design philosophy and aren't really in the same ballpark. 

 

BG / PST / Fallout represent in general the turn of the century golden age. If you want to try the older RPGs then Piccolo has noted many of the greats. Ultima VII has very weak combat but represents a good entry point with lots of exploring to do. 

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Try Jade Empire if you liked Mass Effect. They are very similar in style, and the setting is very unique for a western RPG. I had a lot of fun with it.

 

Chrono Trigger is a must if you like JRPGs, one of Square's best by far. Chrono Cross isn't bad, but doesn't even come close.

 

The best on the list Is BG2 and Planescape:Torment, but I've found they're hard to get into again if you're used to modern graphics. So if you have problems with them, try to stick it out until you get used to it. You won't regret it.

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Baldur's Gate is a solid starting point, but it might be best to BGT it or buy the EE(if you have plenty of $ and aren't concerned with mods besides tweaks). BG2 is widely considered to be a better experience, but doesn't have as good exploration.

 

PST is a good place to start if you're looking for less combat.

 

NWN2 is good, but I would play the OC only once or skip it entirely. IMO, it isn't that great.

 

I would avoid IWD until you've played BG and only play it if you really enjoyed BG's combat. IWD doesn't have much besides combat.

 

Dragon Age will be a bit controversial. I'd play it if you enjoyed KOTOR1 or 2, as it is sort of like a fantasy version of that.

 

Final Fantasy V needs to be added to that list.  It's the best jRPG ever made.

Fixed.

 

Also Fire Emblem Sealed Sword. You can find a emulator, if you're a naughty boy.

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Play a few and then you'll be forming your own judgment about what you want to try next. 

 

Baldur's Gate 2 is very strong all-round rather than in one particular thing, so I always find it is recommendable to start

 

BG, PST are must try. Gothic 1 / 2 are initially difficult to get into but well worthwhile. 

 

Proceed to IWD1/2 if you enjoyed the combat and art in BG. 

Proceed to Mask of the Betrayer (NWN2 xpack) and KOTOR2 if you enjoyed the writing in PST.

Deus Ex is a weird and unique creature but worth playing for anybody.

 

Don't bother with NWN1, Jade Empire, these are weaker games in the genre and not classics. 

 

Dragon Age / Mass Effect - you played ME1, so you can make up your own mind I suppose. These are made with a quite different spirit and design philosophy and aren't really in the same ballpark. 

 

BG / PST / Fallout represent in general the turn of the century golden age. If you want to try the older RPGs then Piccolo has noted many of the greats. Ultima VII has very weak combat but represents a good entry point with lots of exploring to do.

 

I'm in general agreement.

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You should go through BG1&2/IWD1&2/NWN2 and after you had your fill of those type of games go and try Torment, as it will be something new and maybe that will help you get through the abysmal gameplay.

 

But if you are looking for a benchmark that is representative of the "classic" games go for BG2 first.

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Deus Ex

System Shock 2

TES II & III (if you've only played the newer TES games)

Might & Magic VI and VII

Betrayal at Krondor

Realms of Arkania II

Wizardry 7 and 8

Darklands

Ultima VII

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

 

I played the heck out of Morrowind, modded and vanilla, and have made MODs for it myself. I actually plan on replaying it once http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/ is finished. Daggerfall is definitely on my list and not being taken off ;) Thats why I didn't list it.

 

I also played the first Vampire: The Masquerade, got halfway through and just completely lost interest. Is Bloodlines better? 

 

Play a few and then you'll be forming your own judgment about what you want to try next. 

 

Baldur's Gate 2 is very strong all-round rather than in one particular thing, so I always find it is recommendable to start with. 

 

 

 

Baldurs Gate 1 & 2
Planescape: Torment
Icewind Dale 1 & 2
Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2?
Arx Fatalis
Gothic series?
Dragon Age Series?
Mass Effect 2 & 3? (played 1, thought it was decent)
Chrono Cross?
Chrono Trigger?
KOTOR 1 & 2
Jade Empire?

Old school Ultima or Might and Magic?

 

BG, PST are must try. Gothic 1 / 2 are initially difficult to get into but well worthwhile. 

 

Proceed to IWD1/2 if you enjoyed the combat and art in BG. 

Proceed to Mask of the Betrayer (NWN2 xpack) and KOTOR2 if you enjoyed the writing in PST.

Deus Ex is a weird and unique creature but worth playing for anybody.

 

Don't bother with NWN1, Jade Empire, these are weaker games in the genre and not classics. 

 

Dragon Age / Mass Effect - you played ME1, so you can make up your own mind I suppose. These are made with a quite different spirit and design philosophy and aren't really in the same ballpark. 

 

BG / PST / Fallout represent in general the turn of the century golden age. If you want to try the older RPGs then Piccolo has noted many of the greats. Ultima VII has very weak combat but represents a good entry point with lots of exploring to do. 

 

Thanks for the insight, I have been interested in BG and PS:T for a while now and the general opinion is that they are must play. Are the Enhanced versions of BG 1 & 2 actually an improvement on the originals or do they just muck it up? I'm willing to pay extra for the better graphics and improved gameplay and tweaks. 

 

Also Neverwinter Nights, Jade Empire, and KOTOR are definitely low on my list, I only listed them for everyone's opinion and purely because Obsidian or Bioware made them. (They seem to be the go to companies for these type of games and are almost sister developers it seems)

 

Try Jade Empire if you liked Mass Effect. They are very similar in style, and the setting is very unique for a western RPG. I had a lot of fun with it.

 

Chrono Trigger is a must if you like JRPGs, one of Square's best by far. Chrono Cross isn't bad, but doesn't even come close.

 

The best on the list Is BG2 and Planescape:Torment, but I've found they're hard to get into again if you're used to modern graphics. So if you have problems with them, try to stick it out until you get used to it. You won't regret it.

 

I actually started out with JRPGs and haven't played any since FF9 (I also played 7. The series has seemed to go in a direction that I don't like, but I've been interested in the older games) I've always heard great things about Chrono Trigger not so much about Chrono Cross. 

 

I don't care too much about graphics, but if there is an updated version I would prefer to get that. (e.g. Enhanced Version of BG 1 & 2)

 

I would say Torment is one of the better ones to start with.

 

Noted.

 

No offense, but you might as well be asking which ethnic group to belong to. 

 

??? What?

 

Final Fantasy VI needs to be added to that list.  It's the best jRPG ever made.

 

Noted.

 

Baldur's Gate is a solid starting point, but it might be best to BGT it or buy the EE(if you have plenty of $ and aren't concerned with mods besides tweaks). BG2 is widely considered to be a better experience, but doesn't have as good exploration.

 

PST is a good place to start if you're looking for less combat.

 

NWN2 is good, but I would play the OC only once or skip it entirely. IMO, it isn't that great.

 

I would avoid IWD until you've played BG and only play it if you really enjoyed BG's combat. IWD doesn't have much besides combat.

 

Dragon Age will be a bit controversial. I'd play it if you enjoyed KOTOR1 or 2, as it is sort of like a fantasy version of that.

 

Final Fantasy V needs to be added to that list.  It's the best jRPG ever made.

Fixed.

 

Also Fire Emblem Sealed Sword. You can find a emulator, if you're a naughty boy.

 

 

I don't care about modding or tweaking. Too much of a time waster and if the game is that broken to need serious MODs or tweaks then I don't want to waste time fixing/playing it. (I'm probably a hypocrite for saying this but Morrowind was the unashamed exception to this rule) If the EE of the BGs is worth it I will definitely get them instead of the vanilla versions.

 

IWD, dungeon crawler version of BG, noted. If its pure hack-n-slash and no story or dialogue like Dungeon Siege was, then I'm not interested. Then again, DS' combat was horrible. If the combat is addicting I could probably dig it.

 

Ok FF5 and a GBA game. I heard that there was a lot of good JRPGs on the Game Boys. Will look into, thanks.

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Play a few and then you'll be forming your own judgment about what you want to try next. 

 

Baldur's Gate 2 is very strong all-round rather than in one particular thing, so I always find it is recommendable to start

 

BG, PST are must try. Gothic 1 / 2 are initially difficult to get into but well worthwhile. 

 

Proceed to IWD1/2 if you enjoyed the combat and art in BG. 

Proceed to Mask of the Betrayer (NWN2 xpack) and KOTOR2 if you enjoyed the writing in PST.

Deus Ex is a weird and unique creature but worth playing for anybody.

 

Don't bother with NWN1, Jade Empire, these are weaker games in the genre and not classics. 

 

Dragon Age / Mass Effect - you played ME1, so you can make up your own mind I suppose. These are made with a quite different spirit and design philosophy and aren't really in the same ballpark. 

 

BG / PST / Fallout represent in general the turn of the century golden age. If you want to try the older RPGs then Piccolo has noted many of the greats. Ultima VII has very weak combat but represents a good entry point with lots of exploring to do.

I'm in general agreement.

 

 

Cool, thanks.
 
 
Thanks everyone for your opinions! RPGs are my favorite genre of games and I truly believe that they have the most potential to elevate video games/interactive entertainment to true art. (at least to the general publics eye, I am already in the opinion that video games have been art for a long time already) I am actually in the process of writing/developing my own fictional/fantasy universe in the hopes of writing novels or developing/releasing games based in it. Just to give you guys a little background on why I want to play all of these games, in addition to reading fantasy/science fiction literature and historical/cultural folklore/myths/religions. I need source material and inspiration essentially.
 
I am very much enjoying the discussion so far and I am glad I have found a community (thanks Project Eternity!) with well rounded and less elitist opinions.
 
Keep the replies coming! 
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Final Fantasy VI needs to be added to that list.  It's the best jRPG ever made.

 

Or Final Fantasy IX, which is the best jRPG ever made in my humble and always correct opinion :p

 

From your list, Chrono Trigger, Jade Empire, Baldurs Gate 1+2 would be me first picks. Oh and Alpha Protocol, it is not a classic, but it's awesome :wub:

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You should go through BG1&2/IWD1&2/NWN2 and after you had your fill of those type of games go and try Torment, as it will be something new and maybe that will help you get through the abysmal gameplay.

 

But if you are looking for a benchmark that is representative of the "classic" games go for BG2 first.

 

Its looking like I will start with BG 1 & 2 probably. Thanks.

 

 

Final Fantasy VI needs to be added to that list.  It's the best jRPG ever made.

 

Or Final Fantasy IX, which is the best jRPG ever made in my humble and always correct opinion :p

 

From your list, Chrono Trigger, Jade Empire, Baldurs Gate 1+2 would be me first picks. Oh and Alpha Protocol, it is not a classic, but it's awesome :wub:

 

 

I really enjoyed 9, I still can't decide if I like its better than 7 though. I was looking at Alpha Protocol and wasn't sure. Why is it so awesome?

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Ultima VII (both parts) with the latest version of Exult, apart from the combat this is probably the most ambitious of games ever created and represents a high watermark that in my opinion has not yet been equalled. It is a living, breathing world of depth and great narrative, all bound up in some really nice thematic struggles.

 

The Ultima Underworld game are also very highly recommended, both Stygian Abyss and Labyrinth of Worlds, they take some getting used to but are remarkably reactive and interactive.

 

You may wish to check out the earlier Ultima's which are very good games in their own right, numbers V & VI have both been recreated in the Dungeon Siege engine and are very, very competently made.

 

All of these can be purchased quite cheaply at GOG.com, however I would add that difficulty is set set slightly higher than in most modern accessible games and you really do need to read the manual, for the Ultima's they are an intrinsic part of the experience.

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Bloodlines is a lot better than Masquerade.  Incredible different, really.

Just to make sure, since both games are Vampire the Masquerade: Subtitle; the older, isometric game is VtM Redemption, the newer fps/3ps one is VtM: Bloodlines.

 

And yes, Bloodlines is far better than Redemption.

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I don't care about modding or tweaking. Too much of a time waster and if the game is that broken to need serious MODs or tweaks then I don't want to waste time fixing/playing it. (I'm probably a hypocrite for saying this but Morrowind was the unashamed exception to this rule) If the EE of the BGs is worth it I will definitely get them instead of the vanilla versions.

If you don't want to install any mods at all, then the EE is better. If you want to install mods, then go for the GOG versions. I would consider Ascension an essential mod for BG2, and other than a BP version that isn't available for BG2EE.

 

IWD, dungeon crawler version of BG, noted. If its pure hack-n-slash and no story or dialogue like Dungeon Siege was, then I'm not interested. Then again, DS' combat was horrible. If the combat is addicting I could probably dig it.

IWD has very little in the way of story or dialogue, but it does have the best combat out of the IE games. If you really enjoy the combat in BG2, you will probably enjoy IWD.

 

Ok FF5 and a GBA game. I heard that there was a lot of good JRPGs on the Game Boys. Will look into, thanks.

Fire Emblem is very hard. No resurrection, random leveling results, and the RNG will likely screw you in a few situations.

"To be fair, if I was married to Milla Jovovich, I would also be happy just making movies that show off her butt." - Hurlsnot

"I originally just wanted to ignore this, but I can't sleep, so why not." - majestic

"I murdered my entire family as well as the police and priests investigating me for murdering my entire family in the name of Satan. Good times." - Bartimaeus

"I will undoubtedly cave and buy this since Nintendo has me by the balls with Shin Megami Tensei V." - Keyrock

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Prepare for disappointment. Old timers (me included) are prone to donning some seriously thick rose colored glasses when discussing their favorite games. Deus Ex may be an A-level title but it hasn't aged well. Same with a lot of other "classics". Some of those games are also buggy, so temper your expectations. On the plus side, they should be real cheap by now and will give you good bang for your buck if you can get into them.

 

Alpha Protocol and Deus Ex HR should be on your list, too.

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- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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BG / PST / Fallout represent in general the turn of the century golden age. If you want to try the older RPGs then Piccolo has noted many of the greats. Ultima VII has very weak combat but represents a good entry point with lots of exploring to do. 

 

I agree with this. BG/PST/Fallout I would regard as the second golden age of rpgs, while the first was around the time of the Gold Box games (1988-1992) and other games around this time. I find it harder to get into the earlier games now and prefer the turn of the century games.

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Final Fantasy VI needs to be added to that list. It's the best jRPG ever made.

You misspelled Suikoden II

The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

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Final Fantasy VI needs to be added to that list. It's the best jRPG ever made.

You misspelled Suikoden II

 

Did Suikoden let you Suplex a moving train? I don't think so.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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