In every genre there is one defining aspect which usually makes them stand out and defines them from all others. One specific element above all others which helps them to appeal to a certain audience. In Rogue-like games it’s the potential for failure and the sheer uphill battle you face, with fighting games it’s the ability to break out endless combos and air-juggle your opponent through the air for minutes on end, and in RTS titles it’s the potential for how thoroughly you can obliterate them. In RPGs of many subgenres it tends not to be the stats or combat which is the most memorable but the stories driving them forwards. Any story can make or break an RPG, especially in how the ending is handled as Bioware found out not too long ago, so what could be considered the best within the genre?
Here’s few suggestions with Paranerds.com’s Top Ten Greatest RPG Endings. (Spoilers! [Obviously])
10 – Summoner 2
What allowed Summoner 2 to edge out from amongst the competition was one specific aspect of its final cutscene – how it shows you coming full circle. It is effectively the reverse of the opening to the game, showing the tree of life and existence being born anew from Maia and Lahara tending to its branches. The scenes are very well presented and have graphics which even today aren’t too bad, even when looking at the comparatively crude skin textures and facial structures.
It does show the fates of your surviving companions as well, disappearing into history or returning to their homes which is always something to be applauded in such games. The chief reason is isn’t higher on this list really comes down to the speed of its ending, it only lasts a couple of minutes and tries to get a huge amount of information out of the day in that time. You still know you’ve effectively saved the entire world but it lacks the feeling of triumph or success present in later examples. None the less it was a fitting end to the game and was a culmination of the sense of mysticism and wonder which had made the games so addictive.