GN's Holiday Gift Guide 2004


posted 12/2/2004 by The GN Staff
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RPGs are perfect gifts for younger gamers. They encourage copious amounts of reading while encouraging players to live the good-natured lifestyle of the protaganists. In the past we've always enjoyed RPGs because they take up a significant amount of playing time as well. Most RPGs take more than 20 hours to finish while the average action game can be completed in about eight. You have to make sure to pick up the right one though; you don't want to defile your tree with a stinker like UNLIMITED SAGA.

Star Ocean Till The End of Time
Platform: PlayStation 2 Exclusive

Most of you were probably hoping for another RPG to come out the doors of Square Enix, preferable one with the words “Final Fantasy” on it but what you actually got didn’t turn out to be all that bad. Star Ocean was a highly touted yet severely underrated PlayStation One RPG. The SquareEnix juggernaut has tried everything in its power to make sure that its followup wouldn’t be befuddled by the same fate. This includes lowering the retail price point to $39.99 and cramming the US version with goodies not found in the original release in Japan. What you have is a good RPG that will hold you over until… well the end of time.

Shadow Hearts
Platform: PlayStation 2 Exclusive

Midway’s reawakening continues with its excellent RPG Shadow Hearts: Covenant. The first entry was highly underappreciated and was relegated to cult status. Players were willing to look past the weak graphics due to the compelling storyline and the unique gameplay elements. Both return with a significant boost in presentation and an overall layer of polish missing in the first game. It’s the best RPG available this year and you’d be a fool to pass up on it.

Platform: Xbox

For most people Fable was the reason to own the Xbox. Now that it’s out it’s simply a reason for living. Peter Molyneux’s epic RPG wasn’t everything that it promised to be, but it’s still pretty damn good. Featuring a protagonist who ages and changes along with the course of the game, this Xbox-exclusive RPG is one of the best out there.

Paper Mario
Platform: GameCube Exclusive

Let’s face it, Nintendo fans, you don’t have many choices when it comes to that purple lunchbox of yours. Luckily, Nintendo is constantly providing you with excellent titles that make the most of their licenses. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is another in a long line of well-done sequels from the boys in Japan. It’s Mario’s biggest adventure yet and could very well be the best one available. If you own a GameCube you’ll definitely need to own a copy of Paper Mario.

Baten Kaitos
Platform: GameCube Exclusive

So you can’t pronounce the name properly, don’t worry we can’t do it either. But what you can say is “Wow” once you dive into the world that Namco crafted. Its beautifully rendered backdrops and fluid animation may draw you in, but the intense storyline and the addictive combat system will keep you there. It’s one of the best pure RPGs available and a no-brainer for GameCube fans.

X-Men Legends
Platform: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC

It’s plain and simple, X-Men Legends was this year’s Champions of Norrath. It’s a hack’n’slash adventure with that little bit of oomph that makes this the best X-Men game ever made. It’s fun and good-natured as well; it’s the type of game that you can play with a bunch of frat boys or your six-year-old nephew.
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