1995 was the longest year yet. Here were the games, which I’ll categorize in three sections — good, average, and bad.
Good: Majin Tensei II, Super Robot Taisen 4, Riglord Saga, Tactics Ogre
Average: Front Mission, Royal Stone, Another Bible, Shin SD Sengokuden, Arc the Lad, Little Master 3, Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict, Bounty Sword, Heian Fuunden, Tenchi Muyo, Sangokushi Eiketsuden
Bad: Gundam Cross Dimension 0079, Farland Story, Super Robot Taisen 2G, Battle Robot Retsuden, Sengoku Cyber, Farland Story II
This year was mostly Super Famicom games, but Playstation and Saturn both had their first offerings. Of course graphics and presentation are improving. Front Mission and Tactics Ogre introduced height and the isometric perspective, and Arc the Lad continued the trend of SRPGs with far more RPG elements than previously.
Which of the 4 good games should be the Game of the Year? For me it’s between Riglord Saga and Tactics Ogre. Both have flaws. But Tactics Ogre’s story writing is far beyond anything else, and it emphasized the role of class changes and job systems. Riglord Saga has an open world, non-linear style, and a neat skill system.
I think I am going to go with Riglord Saga because Tactics Ogre has some pretty serious balance problems, and the permanent death is too severe given the lack of in-battle saves and the frequent places where you have to fight two or more battles in a row. I think the designers realized they messed up there because in the PSX remake the following year you can do in battle saves (I used save states myself). But it’s very close.
Games of the year:
- 1990: Fire Emblem
- 1991: Langrisser
- 1992: Just Breed
- 1993: Super Robot Taisen 3
- 1994: Langrisser II
- 1995: Riglord Saga
Surprising choice for the Game of the Year (most people, I believe, would go with Front Mission or Tactics Ogre), but I dig your choice. I haven't played all of the 1995 SRPGs, but of the ones I've played, Riglord probably innovates the most while still offering the most well-rounded experience.
Intuitive controls/system, 1st person camera (!!!), anti-grind features, open-world exploration – the game had a lot going for it… even if it had some weird flaws and bad graphics. I agree with putting it over Tactics Ogre; that game was decent, but had way too many fundamental problems that bogged down its stellar story.
1996 will have a LOT of killer games. Bahamut Lagoon, Fire Emblem 4, Der Langrisser FX, and Sakura Wars all stand up as some of the best games I've had the pleasure of experiencing. Should be a great year for sure!
I just didn't like Front Mission all that much. It didn't have all that much variety, the upgrading was tedious, and the game was unbalanced. It wasn't bad, but it's way overrated to me.