I’m an RPG fan, I don’t pretend to hide it. I like the quirky JRPGs and the down and dirty Western incarnations. I’ll be honest here, I purchased a PS3 not long after launch with the assumption that RPGs would be as prolific on that system as they were on its predecessor. I have been horribly disappointed for the last couple years, even to the point of using my PS3 for nothing more than a BluRay player. I’m far from a Sony fanboy, in fact, the Xbox 360 is my primary system and it is the system on which I will usually play multi-platform titles. If anything, I’m an RPG fanboy – I love RPGs in almost any form and on any system. Naturally, when RPGs actually come to the PS3, I’m all over that.
But, since the PS3 has been lacking in this area in the past, let’s look toward the future. When we do that, we see that it is filled with hope and promise for RPG fans during the upcoming year, especially if you’re into the Eastern variety. There’s a good number of exclusive RPGs, which is a good sign and, again, something that has been severely lacking in the past. The first part of this series of articles is focused on those RPGs that you can get on no other console but on the PS3. (A couple are or will be available for PC too, but I still consider them console exclusives, so I’ve listed them here.)
Note that I listed the game here if it either has a set NA release date in 2010, is projected for a release in NA in 2010 or has the possibility of releasing in 2010 in North America. In some cases I’ve given the Japanese release date as a point of reference – it could give us a reasonable idea when we would see the game on this side of the Pacific.
Ar Tonelico III ~ 1/28/2010 (JP): The third in the series finally makes its transition to the PS3 and, unlike its predecessors, has full 3D rendered visuals. Oh, and you can order girls to undress for you. That’s why it’s at the top of this list. Seriously.
Atelier Rorona ~ 6/25/2009 (JP): Another Gust RPG series makes its way to the PS3. They’re really getting into this 3D thing, too, as it is also the first in the Atelier series to go fully 3D. It’s heavily based around collecting ingredients for use in its deep alchemy system and tells much of the story through a visual-novel-like approach. Another niche game, but it should find a nice market here in North America just like previous entries in the Atelier series.
DC Universe Online ~ 4/30/2010 (NA PC & PS3): An MMO set in the DC universe. The superhero MMO market is rather crowded, can the only licensed game of the sub-genre survive? It’s definitely something to check out if you have a superhero complex. [Note: Console exclusive to the PS3.]
Free Realms ~ 4/28/2009 (NA PC): Free Realms is, for all intents and purposes, an MMO for the younger crowd. You can play it now on your PC, but it is also coming to the PS3 in mid-2010. Also of note is that it is free to play, but does support micro-transactions for additional in-game benefits and items. [Note: Console exclusive to the PS3.]
Last Rebellion ~ 1/28/2010 (JP): An game from one of my favorite publishers, Nippon Ichi. At first glance, it appears to be standard RPG fare with turn-based battles, but you’ll be able to target different body parts of your opponents to add an extra layer to game play.
Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll ~ 2010 (JP): The latest in KOEI’s Zill O’ll series (don’t worry, I haven’t heard of it either) should interest you because it’s actually one of the few action RPGs on this list. If a faster paced battle system is up your alley, perhaps you should keep your eye on this one.
White Knight Chronicles (International Edition) ~ 2/2/2010 (NA): Looking for a JRPG with co-op capabilities? This is your game. Sure, it has a single-player story, as well, but you can also team up with friends to go questing and take on tougher – and more lucrative – monsters.
3D Dot Game Heroes ~ 5/11/2010 (NA): Perhaps this is more of an action/platformer than an RPG, but I think it fits the RPG genre pretty well. It takes us back to the days of games like The Legend of Zelda and that time period’s 8-bit graphical style, but all rendered in glorious 3D.
I don’t claim this to be a comprehensive list, as there may be games missing, but it is rather impressive as it is, compared to previous years, eh? Feel free to make a note about any missing games in the comments, though! Which one of these, if any, are you looking forward to the most? In the next part of this article we’ll look at cross-platform titles, re-releases and ports that will be gracing Sony’s sleek black machine next year.