My Top Ten Jrpgs of this generation...

With the end of this generation nearly at a close, one thing that has been made a big deal out of is the supposed "death" of Japanese-flavor rpgs. While it's fairly clear that they've lost some prominence with flagship titles like Final Fantasy floundering, frankly there were plenty of good ones to be found, to the point I still haven't experienced some of the more critically acclaimed ones ones (I'll get to you someday, Persona 4!). With Ni No Kuni and probably Tales of Xillia being the last Jrpgs we will see on this generation of consoles, it's a good time to reminisce about the best ones I've played these last 8 or so years:

10: Eternal Sonata: One of the earliest rpgs of this generation didn't quite strike everyone's fancy, with the characters being a tad annoying and the storyline downright depressing, but it had an incredibly solid battle system bolstered by fantastic music and top notch graphics that still hold up to today's best. Plus I liked the very different take on your usual rpg storyline.

9. Blue Dragon: This got a lot of flack for being too old school, which admittedly it was very old school with little to distinguish itself.  But given that much like Eternal Sonata it was one of the first rpgs of the new generation, what's wrong with enjoying something with an old school flavor yet new dressings? It's like video game comfort food, which there certainly wasn't a lot of at the time.

8. Tales of Graces F: Speaking of comfort food, last year's Tales game was another great helping of that. We had a great glut of modern rpgs like Mass Effect 3, Skyrim & Kingdoms of Amalur. But anyone just looking for something recent with a clasic Jrpg feel to it didn't have a whole lot to choose from. Graces filled that void nicely with it's excellent active battle system and entertaining skits with traditional but fun characters.

7. Star Ocean: The Last Hope: Similar in style to the Tales titles, but having a distinct flavor all of its own, with a much broader and epic scope along with arguably stronger characters. The battle system, while looking nearly the same on the surface, has its own little nice touches, giving it more complexity. Admittedly most Tales titles you can get through just mashing buttons. Last Hope punishes you badly if you don't learn the nuances, which really helps it establish its own great identity.

6. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: There were a lot of really good portable rpgs this generation, but none got their claws in me like the incredibly inventive latest entry from the Mario & Luigi series. Whether it was the incredibly clever level design, the fantastic battle system, the giant tank fights or the ridiculous humor, this little rpg that could stands tall with anything on the big home consoles, and I hope it's not too long before we see a new entry, be it on the 3DS or the Wii U.

5. Valkyria Chronicles:Hopefully the recent success of Xcom means will see more of the exceedingly rare but usually excellent turn-based strategy genre in the future, and excellent titles like Valkyria Chronicles won't die a quick death despite being completely awesome. An intricate and entertaining system with incredibly challenging battles and a surprisingly deep story. It's a tad hard to find these
days but well worth your time and money.

4. Tales of Vesperia: Arguably the best representation of classic Jrpgs this generation, The characters are fantastic, the battle system is probably the best in the Tales series to date, it's incredibly lengthy and beautiful and just a lot of fun too. If you haven't tried it out it's available on the marketplace right now and is well worth the download.

3.  The Last Story: In it's last year the Wii suddenly became a sort of bastion for great Japanese rpgs with some modern twists. Last Story has great characters, a story that takes great twists on the usual rpg tropes and incredible graphics that really pushed the Wii to its limits. On top of that, the battle system hits a nice mix of modern & old school systems, making it a true gem. Really it's only downside was for an epic rpg it's a tad on the short side, easily finished in under 20 hours.

2. Disgaea 4: Bottom line, there is no rpg deeper or that can be more of a timesink this generation than Disgaea 4. The excellent tactical combat and insane humor would be enough, but that's just the tip of the iceberg with tons of incredibly deep systems to play around with. You can spend 100s hours and get nowhere near the finish, but it's still incredibly entertaining because there's just so much to do and it's all really intricate and clever.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles: I'll chime in with nearly every other reviewer and claim Xenoblade Chronicles is easily the best jrpg of this generation, and a strong contender for best overall rpg. It's stunning on every level. The battle system is one of the best out there, the voice acting and characterization is top notch, and you can spend 100 hours just beating the main quest and there is still a to left to do. Few rpgs to date are such a complete package, and this will be one they remember generations from now as it should be the standard for any modern Jrpg.

That's it for today, I'll should be back by Wednesday with more thoughts on Ni No Kuni. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:

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