Your Playstation console might be gathering dust in a closet somewhere, but the games don’t have to be. With two new generations of consoles that gladly boot up and run anything Sony pushed out the door in the last 12 years, you can guarantee that there are hundreds of gems that you’re missing out on. The Playstation saw the introduction of countless franchises and companies that today make some of the best games in the world. But for those that didn’t own a Playstation way back when or didn’t take the time to play every amazing game that made its way down the pipe, you’re seriously missing out.
The RPG genre took off on the Playstation console in a way it never could before. The introduction of the disc format made it possible to not only pack video and music into games, but to make them longer and bigger than ever before. Nintendo lost an entire genre by sticking with cartridges. And franchises like Final Fantasy reached all new heights.
Final Fantasy VII-IX
The Final Fantasy franchise has long been a staple of the RPG realm. Since the early days of Nintendo’s NES, it’s defined and redefined how we view the genre. In the late 90s, it did it again with Sony’s disc playing machine, showing just how great these games can look and how big they can become. Final Fantasy VII was the first truly huge 3d RPG epic, and Square never looked back. Final Fantasy VIII introduced full featured human models, and Final Fantasy IX’s epic scope and throw back to classic style are unforgettable.
As a sequel to Chronotrigger, one of the most popular RPGs released for the SNES, Chrono Cross was everything Squaresoft promised. With over 100 playable characters, multiple endings and much applauded New Game + mode that made Chronotrigger so much fun, the game had hours and hours of fun hidden in its depths. If only now they would bring back the Chrono series one last time for the fans of the series who’ve been clinging on for so long. One of the truly great franchises in RPGs.
An early entry from Squaresoft to the RPG market, Xenogears introduced a lot of what would make Final Fantasy so amazing later on. With full motion videos, 3D environments and a storyline that twists your mind into knots, Xenogears was that rare grown up RPG that marketed to a certain intelligence that most games ignored. Related loosely to the massively popular Xenosaga trilogy released six years later on the Playstation 2 console, Xenogears was one of the first major entries by Squaresoft for the Playstation and remains now as a cult classic.
At one point a Sega Saturn classic, the Lunar series was returned to the mainstream by Game Arts with two magnificent ports to the Playstation console, complete with collector’s packages, maps, and art books. The Lunar series showcased amazing anime cut scenes and a story that other RPG makers were jealous of. Unfortunately as an older series with lesser technical support, they didn’t stand out in a crowded market. A cult classic in its own right, these games are fairly hard to find nowadays.
The Suikoden series arrived to the Playstation with decent critical success and an amazing take on the genre, with 108 collectible characters and customizable gameplay. The graphics were inferior by far to the other offerings of the day and thus suffered greatly in sales and fell the way of the cult classic. However, those in the know are avid fans and Suikoden has become something of a major franchise in and of itself, with four major releases for the Playstation 2 console. The second game though still remains as one of the best, and is by far the hardest to find. Rumors of a PSP port have been circulating for months, but it appears that the port will only be available in Japan.