Action RPG's are wonderful. They provide that mix of fast paced combat and rpg qualities, that a lot of people find addicting. Before I start this I just want to say this isnt some general best of list. This is my personal list. So I do apologize if your favorite game is not up there. But, thems the breaks.
YS - Nihon Falcom corporation's flagship franchise. This series started over 20 years ago and funnily enough, only got super popular until this gen. Where have you people been? The Ys series chronicles the adventures of Adol Christin. The 'bump attack' system, this has become one of the series' defining features.
Mana - Square Enix's flagship action rpg franchise. A series that started as a final fantasy side game, morphed into something completely different. The series began as a handheld side story to Square's flagship franchise Final Fantasy, though most Final Fantasy-inspired elements were subsequently dropped, starting with the second installment, Secret of Mana. It has since grown to include games of various genres within the fictional world of Mana, with recurring stories involving a world tree, its associated holy sword, and the fight against forces that would steal their power. A common element of the series is its seamless, real-time battle system. If I were to pick a favorite, it would probably be Secret of Mana followed by Heroes of Mana.
Tales of - The series is a franchise of fantasy role-playing video games published by Namco Bandai Games and primarily developed by its subsidiary, Namco Tales Studio. Created in 1994, the series now spans over twelve flagship titles, over fifteen side games, and four animated productions, into several types of game genres. Id say that qualifies as a popular series huh? Now what is this series known for? Probably its battle system. The series possesses a battle system called the Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS) in which the player moves on a horizontal plane while executing attacks in real time. There are several different versions of the Tales battle system, all based on the original LMBS created in Tales of Phantasia. Its really hard for me to pick my favorite tales game, but if you put a gun to my head, I would have to choose tales of destiny 2 on the PS2, which was never released in the states. The sprite art was gorgeous. Take a look see.
You guys thought I wouldn't put any western made rpgs on this list? I love me some western action rpg.
Witcher - This series is based on the book sequence of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. This series made me rethink what I thought I knew about action rpgs. Perhaps best known for its mature story line, its dark narrative, and really complex characters, its a special series. Also unlike most action rpgs, stealth plays an important role.
Dragon Age - Dragon Age is a dark fantasy role-playing video game series created by BioWare. The player assumes the role of a warrior, mage or rogue coming from an elven, human, or dwarven background who must unite the kingdom to fight an impending invasion by demonic forces. What was unique about the first title in this series was the game incorporates "origins" for each race and some classes. Personally I hope Dragon Age III ( we all know its coming) is more like 1 than 3, personally.
Summon Night - Summon Nighgt is a series of role-playing video games developed by Flight-Plan, published by Banpresto. A popular series in Japan, the series was never officially brought to the United States until the release of Summon Night: Swordcraft Story for the GBA. The games from the main series are all strategy RPGs, but pretty much every side game is an action rpg. They take place on the same world and in the same continuity, but the stories don't have much connection. Some of the action rpg side games have more in common with Ys others have more in common with tales.
.hack - A series of single-player action role-playing games for the PlayStation 2, developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Bandai. The four games in the original series are titled .hack//Infection, .hack//Mutation, .hack//Outbreak, and .hack//Quarantine. A second trilogy of games followed after. The series features a "game within a game", a fictional massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called The World, without requiring the player to connect to the Internet. Players may transfer their characters and save data from one game in the series to the next. Critics were very mixed on these games but I loved them dearly.
Phantasy Star Online - The Phantasy Star Online titles are a sub-series of Sega's Phantasy Star series of games that began in 1987. With the exception of Episode III, the PSO games themselves are hack and slash role-playing games where the player slays monsters, levels up, buys new equipment, etc. The online Phantasy Stars differ from the previous games of the series by offering a real-time – rather than turn-based – approach to combat, seamlessly integrating this with exploration and plot developments. To this day Phantasy Star Online 1+2 Plus on the gamecube can fetch upwards of 150 dollars.
Kingdom Hearts - A series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix. It is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios, and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square Enix character designer. Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney settings based in a universe made specifically for the series. The series currently consists of seven games across multiple video game consoles.
The Elder Scrolls - The Elder Scrolls is an action role-playing open world video game series developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda's creations focused on "aesthetic presentation and open-ended adventuring". The world of The Elder Scrolls is known by fans and critics for its attention to detail, attempted realism, and the vast number of names, dates, and places that constitute its history and the interconnected structure of its various societies, cultures, and religions. My personal favorite title in this series of games is called Morrowind for which I played on the original Xbox.
There you have it.
What are some of your favorite action rpgs? And are they similar to the ones I presented?