DISCLAIMER: All opinions stated here are my own and do not reflect upon oprainfall as a whole

7 fave games | Header
Image Credit: Brandon Rose

#7FaveGames was a hashtag trend I noticed among fellow gamers last August on Twitter. On account of the 140 character limit, I never got to elaborate on why I loved all of these games. Now I figure, why not do that right here, today? And so I made a post with my own favorites. I’ll finally tell everyone about some of my favorites and why I love them.

Hope you enjoy this list of my seven fave games. In no particular order, they are as follows.

7 fave games | Shadow Hearts - Train Opening

Shadow Hearts

Shadow Hearts has only recently become special to me. Whenever I was really enjoying the PS2 library for the very first time, back in 2009 or 2010, I borrowed and played a game called Chaos Wars. Anyone who’s heard of Chaos Wars knows it’s infamous for the horrendous English dub. I personally really liked it and simply opted to play with the original Japanese voices. It is an SRPG with a character called Uru, who I used the most. I knew Chaos Wars was a compilation spinoff game and ended up looking up what series were represented. Shadow Hearts was one of few that had been localized and it wasn’t long before I picked up all three games. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too far into it before I was without a PS2 anymore for a few years.  After replacing my PS2 a couple years ago, it was one of the first series I started back up and I absolutely loved it. I put the original Shadow Hearts on this list because, in my opinion, it’s the best. The dark atmosphere is great, the opening is gory and awesome (one of the best game openings ever), the music fits completely, and I adored Yuri (known as Uru in Chaos Wars). He’s a bad ass hero in the original, but that doesn’t quite carry over to the sequel, Shadow Hearts Covenant. In Covenant, he was reduced to a punk with a cheesy catch phrase. Granted, the sequel does get extremely improved gameplay and graphics. But in the end, it lost what made the first game so enjoyable.

7 fave games | Donkey Kong Country 2 - Diddy & Dixie

Donkey Kong Country 2

I don’t play many platformer games—they’re not my forte—but Donkey Kong Country is a nostalgic childhood series for me. I don’t need to explain why this title is worth playing, as most of you probably know why. The original is the most nostalgic for me, and maybe it should be my favorite. Yet the second entry has Diddy and Dixie, two smaller and speedier characters who I prefer. Not to mention, DKC 2 includes the best music out of all three entries. It’s a super fun platformer, albeit difficult, and I still enjoy playing it on rare occasions to this day.

7 fave games | Final Fantasy IX - Zidane & Garnet

Final Fantasy IX

As far as I can remember, this was the very first JRPG I played and the reason behind my love of JRPGs today. I didn’t get to play Final Fantasy IX until years after its release when I was in middle school. And even then, I only had access to glitchy discs that froze at specific parts. I would play off and on and get a little further each time. Then finally, by the time I was in high school, I was able to play through the whole thing and beat it. This game had to make my list. I think it has the most well-designed skills/equipment system of any Final Fantasy game. And it was my first one, giving it that nostalgia factor. Therefore, Final Fantasy IX will always be a special game to me, I wouldn’t be such a lover of JRPGs if not for it.

7 fave games | Tales of Symphonia - Logo

Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia I believe was the second JRPG I played after I finished Final Fantasy IX and wanted more RPG goodness. The characters in this game are wonderful. I came to love it and played through as Sheena more than the others. Speaking of which, I was able to play this game a good number of times in a row without boredom. I can’t quite recall how many new game plus paths I completed. What I do know is it was my first Tales of game, only my second JRPG, and I made sure I enjoyed it completely. I unfortunately no longer have my copy so it’s a high priority on my list of games I no longer own, but really want to re-buy.

7 fave games | The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess - Midna & Link

The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess

This wasn’t my first ever Zelda game—that honor goes to Ocarina of Time, of course. It is, however, my favorite of the bunch. Twilight Princess was something I received for one of my birthdays when it had only been out for maybe half a year to a year or so. I don’t remember where I saw anything about it, just that I really wanted it. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to get the GameCube version, along with the player’s guide, for one of my birthdays. I probably started it that night. I remember regularly finishing my homework after school and by the time it was dark, getting completely sucked into Twilight Princess. Something about Link turning into a wolf and following the various scents to get to where you had to go next was engrossing. It sucked me in, and it was all the more realistic when, after having played a lot of it, it was actually nighttime outside my bedroom window. This is one of those games that is amazing enough for me to wish I could erase any memory of playing it, keeping only the memories of how fantastic it is, and that I have to play it. It’s simply not the same replaying it, knowing what I’m doing and not needing to actually follow the scent trails anymore.

7 fave games | Xenoblade Chronicles - featured

Xenoblade Chronicles

At one time, I didn’t know Xenoblade was a thing or really understand what it was. I would notice it brought up by people online once in a while. Nevertheless, being that it was as rare as it once was, I never came across it or really looked into it at all. When I finally received it, I was surprised and even confused by the gameplay, in the beginning, having not researched the game all that much at the time. And I suppose I expected something a little different. I wasn’t sure it was something I’d be into at first. As I got into it, got a handle on the gameplay, and started having fun, I figured out how good Xenoblade Chronicles truly was. The exciting story enveloped you. There were all kinds of different characters to play and there was so much to explore. I spent a long time getting lost and not really knowing what I was doing. I always had to look around and figure out where I needed to go to reach the entrance back into Colony 9. Xenoblade was the first real open world game I’d ever played. Western-styled RPGs aren’t my thing and before this, most JRPGs I played had a limited overworld or a map with places to choose from, never something this open. In fact, something like Zelda Twilight Princess was the most “open world” I had ever played.  As I got further into things, I decided on my favorite characters (Riki and Melia by the way), I fell in love with their charm, and just how much I could do and explore. Xenoblade Chronicles only makes sense being added to my seven favorites.

7 fave games | Persona 3 FES - Logo

Persona 3

Someone once told me I should play Persona 3 and Persona 4. Whatever they did to describe the game did not give me an accurate picture of what I was getting into with these games, what they were actually like. Yet I eventually bought P3 anyways, and it was my first experience with the Shin Megami Tensei franchise.  I’m not sure I had even tried any Atlus published or developed titles beforehand and this one was well worth getting. I originally played the Persona 3 FES version before replaying any other version. Persona 3 Portable wouldn’t release for a couple more years and I didn’t have a PSP then anyways. Persona 3 is as dark and engrossing as Shadow Hearts. Okay, maybe not that dark. Nonetheless, it is one of the darker Persona games at least. Being my first Persona game, and my first time exploring anything among the MegaTen universe, it will of course always be special to me. And it helps that I don’t have the systems for and have yet to try Persona 5. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind whenever I get the chance? But for now, P3 was my first and I find it more fun than other Persona games I’ve tried out or beaten. I prefer this entry’s atmosphere and always enjoy playing it.

Overall, I enjoy numerous games. There are plenty of titles I love that I didn’t add to my favorites list. Newer games I’ve played, I don’t love any less than these old ones.  I’m not saying they’re somehow worse or not good enough. It simply means that these seven mean the most to me. Some of them have sentimental value, and one of them is the only reason I ever found my love of JRPGs. For right now, these are my seven favorites. Perhaps it will change one day, or…maybe not.

Jenae R
Jenae is an RPG enthusiast who also enjoys cats, humidity-free warm weather, Dean Koontz books, Riichi Mahjong and a select handful of non RPG series and games. Two of her all-time favorite games are the original Shadow Hearts and Final Fantasy IX. She loves to ramble on about her numerous gaming opinions and is fortunate enough to be able to do it here at oprainfall.