5. Persona 4
A side project to the classic Shin Megami Tensei series, Persona 4 has always stood out amongst the demon taming franchise. Like Persona 3, the fourth game managed to blend together the social life of teenagers with dungeon crawling and monster fusion. What sets Persona 4 aside is its setting and characters, all of which are vibrant and complete with their own compelling backgrounds. The gameplay is just as addictive, thanks to its fun battle system and persona system, which lets players fuse these pseudo-demons together for interesting results. It also has one of the best soundtracks in video games, filled to the brim with catchy tunes and butchered English.
4. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
The venerable Digimon franchise has had a ton of games throughout the years, covering just about every genre imaginable, from racing, to adventure, to turn-based RPGS. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth fits into the latter category, and offers a more mature entry in the franchise. It’s composed of a darker story, punctuated by heart and humor.
In Cyber Sleuth, players travel between the real world and a digital realm known as Cyberspace Eden. The gameplay is based around fighting and hatching the titular digital monsters, but you don’t catch them directly. Instead, you are able to hatch new creatures once you encounter them enough times in the wild. Though the battle system is simple at first glance, the game thrives on customization. Evolution is a particularly novel concept, and is a process filled with depth and complexity. Monsters can be evolved and devolved numerous times in order to achieve various goals.
Cyber Sleuth can be a bit on the grindy side, but its legion of dedicated fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a game that can be divisive due to its angsty main character and bat boobies. What isn’t divisive is the Chao garden. A small facet of the game that managed to be nearly as fleshed out as the main game. The Chao Garden managed to get players everywhere to play through levels multiple times for items, rings and animals. Over time these little Chaos could get stronger, smarter and then compete at karate or in bizarre races. It was surprisingly fleshed out and was even complete with secret gardens based on moral alignment, amongst other little easter eggs. Even ten years later, there are many of us who still kick back and check on our virtual children.
2. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
I’ve spoken a good amount on Ni No Kuni in the past, it was actually the sole subject of my first article on Bit Cultures, and though some time has passed Ni No Kuni is still absolutely fantastic. The game thrusts you into a world with all the charm of that a Studio Ghibli movie, but this time you get to experience the world first hand. The main idea behind the games mechanics is to gather up a bunch of unique familiars to help you in battle and level them up and evolve them throughout your emotional journey. In combat you’ll take direct control of your familiar and take the enemy face on. Being careful is a must though, since Ni No Kuni implements something I hadn’t seen before in this genre of games. The amount of damage you receive as your character is directly linked with how much damage you take when controlling your familiar. This mechanic adds some nice consequence to just recklessly throwing your familiar into battle. I’ll say it again, Ni No Kuni is a truly spectacular game and if you haven’t checked it out already you totally should.