There are many out there who play games that the media is sure to let them know about. Well I have a short list for everyone of games that you may or may not have played, but totally owe it to yourselves to find and dominate them. These are in no particular order, and the list could easily be longer, these are just what popped into my head right now. Yes many of these games are turn based RPGs, a style I prefer. That doesn't make them any less awesome.
10.) Enchanted Arms (Xbox 360):
When this game came out, it had a little bit of controversy. It wasn't anything major, but one of the main characters, Makoto, is gay. I worked at a Game Crazy back then and you wouldn't believe how many people would NOT buy this game based on that alone. The guy isn't even in the majority of the game! Anyway, the game is grid and turn based and has a bit of a "pokemon" essence to it. As you play you gain golems, which are the name for all the monsters/characters you can get to aid you in your party. The grid has 12 squares on both your side and the opponents side. Some attacks have different patterns such as straight line or 2 rows back, things like that. You go through the game following the story, all while finding amazing creatures to join your cause, as well as other main story characters. I still have never beaten it, but am going back to it soon.
9.) Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360):
I need a sequel for this game to be made. This is the epitome of the turn based style and I wish many other games would follow suit. The fact that the immortal characters can learn abilities of their friends just by battling along side them is a concept I enjoy. Granted after my 146hrs in the game, my level 99 guys were beasts, but it didn't make it any less fun. The ring system is a timed press setup and it works great alongside the turn based gameplay. Say you equip a fire ring, when you time it right, you do damage plus whatever extra damage the ring gives you. Also, since 5 of the main characters are immortals, if they fall in battle, and 2 full turns pass, they will revive as long as at least 1 member of your party still stands. This has saved me time and time again. Sadly I killed the final boss in 3 turns because my team members were all basically super heroes by then. The DLC dungeon that this game has on Xbox live, however, had a horribly tough boss but defeating him was a great feeling. This game is arguably the most popular on my list, but again, if turn based RPGs are your thing, get this game right now. It's one of the most beautiful Xbox 360 games to exist, it has great music, well stylized enemies, and colorful magic powers. Some complain the main character is kind of bland, and I guess Kaim could be called that, but Jansen more than makes up for it.
8.) Clock Tower (PS1):
Point and click survival horror at its finest! You control a few different characters as the story progresses, but they all fear one man... Scissorman! Yes, the villain is a hunchback with a giant pair of jagged scissors. Your goal is to find out what is happening, and why he is trying to kill everyone, all while surviving. There are about 5 or 6 endings and you truly feel fear when playing this game. Scissorman can literally come from anywhere and even after playing a few times, he will be in different locations. Sometimes you can hide in a closet and you are safe, other times he knows you're in there and stabs you THROUGH the closet door. The game spawned 2 sequels, which personally both paled in comparison to the original. And yes I know the Super Famicom had a clock tower game too, but this one was more mainstream.
7.) Critical Depth (PS1):
Twisted Metal underwater. Need I say more? The game was made by the Twisted Metal creators and the vehicles in question are groundwater vehicles. The gameplay is simple: destroy your opponents and advance and then your character wins a prize, usually an ending that gets twisted. Graphically the game is dated, but if you liked Twisted Metal 2, and enjoy vehicle combat, Critical Depth gives you something different.
6.) The Last Remnant (Xbox 360):
This is an RPG that went severely under the radar. With it's turn based and also squad based style, Last Remnant is a very unique game. As you play you can recruit people into your ranks. The only downside is you can only control 1 character, and by control I mean choose his weapons and whatnot. The computer chooses your squad mates style. Granted it's choices are based on what resources you have and it will ask you when it's going to upgrades a weapon or change a weapon. Some characters are more for healing, others for heavy damage, but the true key to battle is your battle position. There are many different choices of how to arrange your squads in battle. When in battle, you choose an action for that whole small squad to do and the moves they pull off all relate to one another. Choose a standard attack, successfully play the "press this button at the right time mini game" during each standard attack and the final guy in the group will do a better attack since his teammates were all on point. I love this game and it's style. The only bad news is make sure you load it to the hard drive, otherwise this thing lags like a mofo. You fight enemies of all sizes and the game is a good length.
5.) General Chaos (Genesis):
This one may be harder to find, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. General Chaos and General Havoc are in some kind of war with one another. They bring their men into battle, and in this strategy game, you fight until no one is left. There are guys with machine guns, bazookas, flamethrowers, grenades and dynamite. Each character type has a specific weapon they use, so before battle you have to choose wisely which group you select (you are given 4 squads to choose before the match. The gameplay is point and click, but, if you choose a commando team, you may only have 2 characters but they are more independently controlled by the player. So sometimes less team members can be a strategic advantage due to this.
4.) Tecmo's Deception (PS1):
You are a man wrongly accused of murder. When you are put to death, you make a plea to Satan to save your life in return for servitude. He will grant it to you if you kill the current inhabitant of a castle, named Ardebaran, and take his place. If you enjoy trapping people and stealing their souls or killing them for money, then look no further. In Tecmo's Deception, you become a man cursed and forced to remain in a mansion and deal with anyone who comes your way. As you play there will be simple peasants who wander in the castle, or soldiers looking for your blood. Your only defense is creating insanely elaborate and weird traps to capture and/or kill these people. The best part is, as you play, you are given choices which can slightly alter your path. So you can kill people or allow them to escape and this will affect what happens later in the game. The game spawned 2 sequels (Kagero Deception/Deception III) and a spiritual successor Trapt for PS2. I have yet to see any recent games do this, so if this idea appeals to you, check it out on eBay or wherever else this game can be acquired. As a fun side note: if you have Monster Rancher for PS1, and you put in the Tecmo's Deception disc, you get Ardebaran as a monster to raise and fight against others. That's a nice touch Tecmo.
3.) Urban Reign (PS2):
This lost game on PS2 is personally what many beat em ups should be. You go through missions and face waves of enemies. The battle style is that of the old wrestling games, but it also has that Tekken vibe to it (since it IS a Namco game). The game is only 1 player in the story mode, however a cheat code allows a 2nd player to control any AI partners you'd normally have in the game. SO while they cant play every mission, after the first few, the majority of them allow a 2nd player to join in. There's 4 player versus mode as well which just gets insane if you have a multitap and play free for alls or 2v2 matches. The characters have special moves (not specific to them per se but the special moves are more categorized. So some will have temporary invulnerability while others will know some different moves when activated). As an added bonus, Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law are guest characters.
2.) Eternal Darkness (GC):
When you think survival horror, Resident Evil and Silent Hill come to mind. But there is another game that is just as creepy and dangerous, and that is Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Here you jump to different characters through out time, finding all info on 3 different gods. But as you play and see enemies, your sanity meter depletes. If you do not kill them to regain it, the game starts to mess with you big time. You'll walk in a room and your head will fall off, or you see a lot of money on the ground only to be zapped back t when you entered the room and be empty handed. This game even made people turn off their system because it would give a blue screen or show an Input text to make you think you lost the system's signal. Keep in mind this is happening while you try to navigate dark corridors fighting zombies and other such creatures. Great gamecube game and worth every penny.
1.) Gladius (Xbox/GC/PS2):
I know, I know, I keep talking about this game. I just don;t know where else to mention it! This game got rave reviews from every magazine and site when it came out back in 2005. Sadly, Gladius was poorly advertised and I've literally only met 2 friends of mine who played it. One of which doesn't count because we both heard about the game together and played like madmen. With a turn based strategy and tactical style, this game is amazing. There's dozens and dozens of character types, different elemental affinities, different cups to battle in each with different stipulations like all female fighters, or all animals, things like that. This game is a must play if you call yourself a turn based strategy fan.