3. Seiken Densetsu 2
I have a lot of fond memories for this game, and though I’m not sure I would go back and play it again (I’ve already put in my fair share of hours), it’s definitely up there with my all-time favorite Action-RPGs.
Again, the storyline is where the game really shines. There are so many other things that fell into place with this release, like the music, the weapon and magic system, the visuals, and so on. But the plot is the highlight, and it’s the right balance of melancholy and hopeful; something Dragon Quest VII utterly failed at.
In brief, the protagonist of Seiken Desetsu 2 is antagonized by his fellow villagers after the village is attacked by a monster, and he is permanently ushered out of his own hometown. With a rusted sword in hand, he has to go on a journey to bring peace back to the world and restore order to Mana.
There might be better Action-RPGs out there, but frankly I can’t think of any.
What they did right: two-player co-op is much better than you think it would be. The graphics are colorful, the music is amazing, the boss battles are engaging, and I absolutely loved the magic and weapon leveling system, even if grinding your way to max level was both impractical and unnecessary.
What they got wrong: the game feels just a little rushed. Not much, but if you play it enough you’ll see that it can be pretty glitchy at times. In my opinion, the series reached its peak early; Seiken Densetsu 3 is very cool, but nowhere near as good in terms of storyline, leveling, or pacing.