The cast of SoA, with Crescent Isle in the background.
Skies of Arcaida. Honestly, if you've never played this game, either go check eBay for a Dreamcast (or Gamecube) copy, or not-download it somewhere, right now.
Seriously. Like, now. I'll wait.
Ok, welcome back. now, wasn't that game amazing! Yeah, I know!!! In my opinion, it's one of the best RPGs ever invented. The artwork is wonderful, the story is enthralling, the airship battles are inspired. It's all golden. Playing this game as a kid made me realize how awesome games can truly be. Though, it wasn't the gameplay that made this awesome. It wasn't even the story. No, I knew this game was glorious when my harrowing adventurer Vyse crash landed on one of the best levels ever: Crescent Isle.
Crescent Isle was, surprisingly, and island that you were stranded upon a few hours into your main quest. But, it's not your normal island: as you know from just playing the game, the entire world of SoA is made up not of land or sea, but sky. Each location in the world is a floating island. Crescent Isle is a little crescent-shaped island in the middle of the Valuan and Nasr contintents, under the power of the yellow moon. After an intense run-in with Ramirez, the game's antagonist, Vyse, leader of your group, gets separated from his group, and stranded in a location only known as the Deserted Island. By exploring the island, you stumble across the remains and diary of an explorer named Gonzales.
You find a map and journal of his, detailing the amazing life of this former explorer. After realising how amazing Gonzales was, you give him a proper burial, to preserve his legacy. But, finding a corpse isn't the only thing to do here. Over the course of a week, you must survive on this island by gathering food and fuel (for your crashed ship), finding shelter, and getting firewood. Eventually, you get rescued, but, you always keep the memory of your time on the island on your mind. As the game progresses, you become the leader of a rag-tag group of various merchants, engineers, and sailors. And, naturally, you need a base of operations. Ding! Crescent Isle! When you arrive, the island is just as bare as it was when you left it. After a few days, though, you get resting quarters, an underground dock, and meeting room to enjoy. As you recruit more members, you could get animals, shops, decorations, and more planted in your new home base.
You also upgrade Gonzales' grave, as a reminder of the wonderful explorer who came before you. A lot more exciting things happen and come to the island, but, I'd rather not ruin that for the uninitiated. In terms of customization, importance to the story, and beauty of the island, there is no better base in any video game that I've played than this. And, it's one of my favorite levels of all time.
Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem
(Zombies Ate My neighbors)
Temple Of Ice
(LoZ: Phantom Hourglass)