In this day and age, we have come to realize that we in America can get jipped out of quality products, whether it’s music, movies, or video games. Being a gamer, I’ve come across more than my fair share of good yet relatively unknown games. I’ve made up a list of the top 10 games you’ve probably never heard about, be it because of them not being released in America, poor advertising, or just being simply overlooked, thanks to flagship franchises.
10. OZ/The Sword of Etheria (PS2) – A Japan and Europe exclusive hack and slash/beat ’em up. From Wiki: Fiel, a boy who lost his parents at an early age, grew up with his younger sister Dorothy together with their cat Toto, dwelling in a world of humans, gods and spiritual creatures called the Katenas. Trying to bring down mankind, the gods have drained the planet of ‘Etheria’ (its energy source) and taken control of the Katenas. Later on, a group of Katenas and monsters attacks the village Fiel is living in and kidnaps Dorothy by monsters called “Volo”. Fiel then must save her with the help of two other Katenas, Almira and Leon. Thus entering the threats present within the grasp of the gods. Dorothy, Toto, OZ? Yeah
9. Xenosaga I & II (DS) – A Japan exclusive remake of both of the first 2 PS2 games, with some changes made to the story and central character. After the discovery of a strange artifact in 20XX AD, Earth has been abandoned. Now, centuries later humanity lives on… drumroll, if you please… spaceships. But humanity has a new threat, hostile aliens called Gnosis, and an underground organization called U-TIC after that very same artifact from centuries ago. Note: The music in the video was added by the uploader.
8. Tales of Innocence (DS) – One of the many handheld “Tales of…” games that were never released outside of Japan, and one of the best. From Wiki: The Imperial Capital of Regnum kept itself in peace during the long-lasting world war. Slowly, people with a “special power” began to appear. Feared by normal people, Regnum set out a law to capture all people with special powers. One day, Ruca, the son of a merchant in Regnum, realizes the special power within him… The opening theme (the first video) is “Follow the Nightingale” by KOKIA.
7. Rez/Rez HD (Dreamcast, PS2/XBox Live Arcade) – Classic techno rail shooter which puts players in the role of a hacker, trying to stop a catastrophic network shutdown, while breaking firewalls and eradicating virii. As the player get deeper into the system, the screen becomes filled with light and sound.
6. Taiko no Tatsujin/Taiko Drum Master (PS2, DS, Wii) – A rhythm game in which you play a taiko drum. Red notes mean hit the center while blue means hit the rim.
5. Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier (DS) – Spiritual successor to Namco X Capcom (NxC). While not your standard Super Robot Taisen game, this game really shines thanks to its dialogue (as seen below) and gameplay. Two of the central characters, Haken and Aschen are so perverted that it’s hilarious. As with NxC, the core of the battle system is to juggle your opponent to dish out massive amounts of damage. Technically, this is Reiji, Xiaomu and Saya’s second appearance, and some of the dialogue references their first (NxC), and even states continuity between NxC and Xenosaga. Interestingly, Atlus USA decided to not dub over the voice acting in English, and left the Japanese in.
*After beating a robot boss, it smokes and sparks fly*
Xiaomu: “Kaguya, go poke it a few times. You’re naturally insulated from shock with all that rubber on your chest.”
Kaguya: “N-No way! Xiaomu, you go pet it!”
KOS-MOS: “I think Aschen is the most appropriate person to investigate it.”
Aschen: “Very well. I will fondle it a little.”
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PS2) – This by far isn’t your Final Fantasy, nor is it for the casual RPG fan. This game has a dark and mature storyline and a difficulty that will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not careful. So much that reviewers listed its difficulty as a con. You can recruit demons and other religious deities (Kali, Loki and Michael to name a few) to fight alongside you. Dante from Devil May Cry 2 guest stars and can be recruited later on in the game. Unlike his Capcom counterpart, this DMC2 Dante has his characteristic cocky and fun-loving attitude. This also has about 4 different endings, not to mention that the guide is as thick as a bible.
3. Bujingai: The Forsaken City (PS2) – Hong Kong-style sword-play complete with blade swish visuals, starring the incomparable GACKT. Only problem is the ending. What ending? Plus, it had little to no advertising whatsoever.
2. Persona 3: FES (PS2) – Created as a sort of thank you for the Japanese fans, FES gives some closure to the original Persona 3’s subplots, and adds more content that’s about as big as the original. I can’t think of any other game that gives you so much freedom. In other RPGs, you just control the main character at certain times throughout the day, whereas in P3 and FES, you control him, pretty much the whole day. You go to school, can attend clubs, make friends and girlfriends, and explore dungeons. Hell, you can even pee! In fact, peeing, studying and hanging out with friends help level the main character.
1. Namco X Capcom (PS2) – Pronounced “Namco Cross Capcom,” this is a fanboy’s wet dream. All your favorite characters from Namco and Capcom in one awesome turn-based SRPG, while introducing a few original characters for their first appearance, namely the protagonists, Arisu Reiji and Xiaomu; and the antagonist, Saya. Though, I’m still pissed we got Cross Edge and not this. WTF? A Japan exclusive.