This list tackles the top ten overrated RPGs. It’s important to note that this list is not trying to say that these games were not any good. Most of the games on this list were, and still are, enjoyable to play. However, for one reason or another critics and players started singing praise to an extent that was just ridiculous. Such fans and critics kept claiming ‘perfection,’ and this led to the game becoming massively overrated. Without further ado, let’s get to the list.
10. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion paved the way for Skyrim by presenting how dynamic a 1st-person RPG could be. It provided a large world with a lot of missions and a lot of choices. Overall, it was a great RPG experience.
As you will see with many games on this list, the issue is that the fans elevated/inflated the game to an obnoxious level. The main reason that Oblivion is on this list is how people have continuously come back to the game and lauded it as the greatest RPG of all time. It happened when it first came out. It happened again when Skyrim came out, because many fans felt that Oblivion was a more powerful experience. It’s happened again this year, with many YouTubers playing it for the first time as Steam sales make it cheap.
Fable is a good series. There’s no doubt about that. The story and interactive world that the first and second game provided were extremely exciting and thrilling. Who could deny the joy of watching your character age as you did whatever you wanted? The freedom in these games was honestly refreshing.
One of the issues with Fable lies in the fact that people acted like it was the first game to offer anyone true freedom. This might be true if your first gaming station was the Xbox (which is actually another part of the problem that will be discussed shortly). However, let’s go back to the original Fallout game, which was released seven years before Fable. Admittedly, the NPCs aren’t as entertaining, but you could basically do whatever you wanted to in this game as you explored a deteriorated world. The second issue was that it was only for Xbox and PC. Due to the Xbox being a new player in the gaming industry, many Xbox originals (Halo & Fable in particular) became hallmarks of the system’s greatness and were touted around on a consistent basis. Fans treated these games like legends in order to prove the promising nature of the Xbox.
8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
It is true that Knights of the Old Republic did a lot of amazing things. It allowed the player to truly customize their gaming experience with a lot of character options. One of these options, which helped make the game so addictive, was the ability to play on the Dark Side, rather than being forced to play on the good guy side.
Such a move deserved applause. However, fans bowed down to the game, acting as if it was some type of god. Everyone was recommending it and no one would stand for any type of criticism. This is frustrating considering that the game had one major flaw as it tried to tackle the good vs. evil theme. Players generally could not mix up their decisions. They could never take a neutral choice, because it would affect their stats. It left much to be wanted and Bioware took notice and has improved the mechanics around choice.
7. Chrono Cross
Some of you might be wondering why Chrono Cross is on this list in the first place. Between Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger it is clear which one has gotten more attention over the years. Chrono Trigger is the one with quite a few remakes for different systems and the one that people hail as the best JRPG in existence.
The issue here is more with how some gamers and critics try to look past the flaws of Chrono Cross. It feels like most people are quick to accept that it is not like Chrono Trigger, and yet they don’t want to touch upon any of the bad/standard aspects of the game. It seems like their thinking goes along the lines of since the game is derivative of Chrono Trigger, then it would be an injustice to bash it. Thus, people consistently praise the game without stating the aspects that are simply average: battle and characters.
6. Baldur’s Gate
Baldur’s Gate is a solid fantasy RPG. The combat was solid and the story was above average. There’s no denying that the game set the standard for Bioware’s storytelling and Black Isle Studios’ tactical gameplay. In 1998, it truly was a special experience.
However, fans acted as if this was the first dark fantasy RPG to ever hit the market. They’ve held onto the greatness of this game as if it was the only viable fantasy RPG for years. It’s as if games like Bioshock and Vagrant Story never existed. Once again, the first Fallout, which was released a year earlier, is worth a glance.
5. Earthbound/Mother series
Earthbound was an extremely unique game. It derailed the standard way players viewed RPGs. No longer were we epic warriors fighting off hordes of aliens, but kids taking on everyday instances, such as the grouchy old man from down the lane. In other words, it was a parody or satire, with great dialogue and some deep themes.
However, certain gamers have held onto that quirkiness and randomness as if this game was the holy grail of video gaming. They act as if no game can compare to the originality of Earthbound, which is wrong on so many levels. Just like any other game, Earthbound built itself up from following the mechanics of games before it. It just happened to offer a much bigger tweak to the aesthetic of the system than most games do.
4. Grandia 3
Grandia 3 has been dividing audiences since it first came out. It’s either you loved it or hated it, and people were vocal on both sides. This is what led to sudden sweep of people yelling about how the game was perfect and should not be criticized. It should be admitted that Grandia 3 was not a bad game. It was a strong installment for the series as a whole with a more mature aesthetic and fun combat.
However, the fans were refusing to accept the fact that the combat was taking over. Compared to the first two Grandia games, Grandia 3 lacked a strong story and exciting cast. The world had diminished greatly from the massive map that we were given in the original. The characters fit more comfortably into tropes. The combat was phenomenal, but a lot of other aspects that made the first Grandia so great were sacrificed.
3. Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts was a game that surprised a lot of people, and that surprise led to a die-hard fandom that glorifies the game like some type of god. It’s true that no one expected a successful collaboration between Disney and Square Enix. It didn’t seem possible. However, the game actually merged the two into a vast and beautiful world. Sadly, that’s about all the game really had going for it.
The characters, the worlds, the special attacks (basically anything that dealt with the graphics) were absolutely incredible. When it came to fighting, the video game became standard. Besides mapping out magic buttons, all you really needed to do was mash ‘x’. Later in the game, knowing how to dodge and reflect attacks would become useful too. In this regard, the game didn’t push boundaries, but kept things simple. This is acceptable considering the game is meant for a much wider audience than something like Dark Souls or Ninja Gaiden. However, the plot is substandard. By Kingdom Hearts II, the story has taken such crazy turns and has branched to so many different systems that it takes the most hardcore fans to connect all the dots. Is there anyone who can sum up the story in a 5-sentence paragraph?
2. Final Fantasy VII
The fact that so many people are probably outraged that Final Fantasy VII is on this list is proof that it is overrated. It cannot be denied that Final Fantasy VII did a lot of things right. The story, music, and characters were all solid, with particular props to the design of Cloud and Sephiroth who have become celebrities in their own right.
However, did the story truly outdo that of Final Fantasy IV, VI, or VIII? What about the storylines of games like Suikoden? Did the graphics outshine those of other games out at the time? Here a concession must be made. Final Fantasy VII was the first on the PSX to utilize 3D graphics and it was one of the earliest games to do so. However, Mario 64 came out a year earlier on the N64 and looked much cleaner. By the way, 1996 was the first year for N64 too, so it wasn’t like Mario 64 was made on hardware that designers had gotten accustomed to over the years. Oh, and Mario 64 not only rocked that time period but aged well, while some find it painful to playthrough FFVII.
1. Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire
Ruby and Sapphire have a really big fanbase for bringing in the villains of Team Magma and Team Aqua. People enjoyed the opposing ideologies of the villains. They also enjoyed the selection of Pokemon that came this time around.
However, such a basic re-incarnation of the Pokemon series did not deserve that level of hype and love. Having two sets of villains is nothing particularly innovative in storytelling. It doesn’t help that their ideologies are basic too, with one simply wanting to convert the world to land and the other to water. Considering the villains were the only real shift in the story and that the graphics didn’t improve phenomenally, you just have to accept that people hype Ruby/Sapphire more than they need to. Tons of love for Red/Blue, Gold/Silver, and even Yellow are pretty acceptable. The outpouring over the ingenuity of Ruby/Sapphire just doesn’t make sense.
Each of the games listed above are actually solid experiences, but it’s best not to look at any reviews. You will likely find yourself disappointed, because it didn’t quite hit the hype that everyone was selling. With that said, are there any RPGs out there that you found particularly overrated?