Sarah McGarr’s RPGs (and Kirby games) of the Decade
In addition to showing the results our staff-wide voting, our massive RPGs of the Decade feature allows individual staff members to highlight their personal favourites from the last ten years. While our main list is limited to entirely new entries from the decade, our writers have been given a bit more leeway for their personal lists, being able to combine titles into a single entry in their list of ten, include various remasters and ports, and use whatever ordering, or not, they wish. Here, resident Kirby expert Sarah McGarr gives us her picks of RPGs and Kirby games.
Being with this game since 1.0, it has a special place in my heart. From the rocky beginning to the most magical and amazing rebirth, this MMORPG is my favorite of the decade. I must’ve watched the A Realm Reborn trailer a million times, and it has given me goosebumps each time. I’ve always thought the Final Fantasy franchise has the best stories out there, and Final Fantasy XIV still has not given me a reason to doubt that. I haven’t caught up to the latest expansion, but I have yet to be disappointed. Whether you’re on for dungeons, solo play, or a mix of both, it has something for everybody.
Between Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XV, this was the toughest choice for my number one spot. FFXV has been the only other Final Fantasy game that has really rivaled my love for the storylines of FFXIV and FFXI. Not only are the graphics especially on point, but being able to customize your car and music was a nice touch. The game really takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, and at one point I actually had to take a break for about a week to gather myself. I couldn’t wait to get back, though, and finished the game. I LOVE the storyline, the extras, and the episodes that came later. There is a part of the game where the four guys get separated and you’re just with Noctis, so the episodes are real fun to play and learn what each one was doing during their separation, with a lot of character development. There are plenty of quests to keep the game going even after you beat it, so this is definitely one of my favorite games of the decade.
It’s hard to place this with Planet Robobot, because they are both such fantastic games. I haven’t finished Kirby Star Allies yet, but I’m already placing it at #3 because it’s combining a bunch of Kirby games together — taking the best features from almost each game — while also grabbing favorite characters from the past games to help Kirby as well. These past characters are Dream Friends and can be accessed at Dream Palaces to assist Kirby on his way to defeat the cloaked shadow. Kirby also has hearts that can be thrown at enemies to make them friends and fight by his side. With this new ability, the mix ability has come back from Squeak Squad and Kirby 64 but is now called Friend Ability. I am having a ton of fun with this game, and I love having previous Kirby characters come back and help Kirby once more. Did I mention this is multiplayer? This is a multiplayer Kirby game! The mini-games have up to four players!
Kirby: Planet Robobot is more of a mech-looking Kirby game, but was probably one of the best Kirby games I’ve played since Super Star (which will always be the best). As with most Kirby games, Kirby wakes up after everything happens and is now in a mechanized world and must defeat the alien Haltmann Works Company. This game is so different than the others I’ve played, as Kirby gets to ride in robobot armor but also retains his ability to gain powers. The robobot armor transforms as Kirby does when gaining abilities, and even combines with the Meta Knight’s spaceship, Halberd, at one point. The storyline about a sentient AI that wants to destroy all human life is a breath of fresh air in the franchise.
This is the cutest Kirby game to date. The graphics were pretty realistic yarn renderings of Kirby and friends. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was the first Kirby game out on a console since Kirby 64 came out ten years prior. The excitement was there, the graphics were there, the story was there. However, Kirby was not able to use his usual powers in this game because of, you know, yarn. But Kirby could turn himself into different things at will — a weight or a car, to name a few. This game is like a Kirby scrapbook, and everything feels fluid and realistic. The Yarn Whip that Kirby carries unravels enemies, can grab buttons, and pull things down. I really enjoyed playing this vastly different Kirby game, which is also multiplayer.
If you weren’t getting enough Kirby in other Kirby games, then Kirby Mass Attack is the game for you. THERE ARE SO MANY KIRBYS. Kirby is split into 10 copies by some evildoer. I loved playing with all the Kirbys, but it did get difficult at some points because the last Kirby would do something stupid. Using the stylus on the 3DS to control the Kirbys is definitely a different take, not seen since Canvas Course, but in this game they follow the Heroic Heart instead of a line. This game was harder for me, which is nice, because I do like a challenge as a Kirby fangirl. However, it was also frustrating, and I ended up poking the 3DS’ screen harder than intended at some points. It’s kind of like herding kittens that all want the same one treat.
I’ve always liked Zelda games, but I’m awful at puzzles so I’ve never have gotten very far in them. I want to enjoy them and play them, but the aforementioned issue hinders that. When it was revealed that Breath of the Wild was going to be open-world, it peaked my interest. I loved roaming around, learning new tricks, and failing at cooking. Of course, my favorite part was the horses. Trying to tame a horse, having a stable, and getting things for the horse amused me for hours. Alas, I didn’t beat the game, but I watched a good friend of mine play through the whole thing and it is amazing. The graphics, the storyline, the music — best Zelda game to date.
The best part of Persona 5, in my opinion, is the soundtrack. I would say it’s the best game music I’ve heard in a long time, which makes playing this game for long periods of time more enjoyable. The production, style, and gameplay are definitely some of my favorites in terms of RPGs. I definitely feel the ’70s heist movie aesthetic that Kelley mentions in her personal list, and I absolutely LOVE it. The different reactions from the characters definitely make conversations very flavorful with both hilarity and seriousness.
Writing this from the point of view of someone who didn’t play the other Fallout games, I was really into the storyline and being able to make choices of which road I wanted to go down. The open world of Fallout 4 is so large, so many side characters to interact with and learn their background and story, I found myself wanting to help everyone and be on everyone’s side — except for the Institute. I was led to hate them, and wanted to help the Railroad save more synths who had been enslaved and persecuted. Learning more about the other factions, and helping pretty much all of them, I found Father and learned the whole story behind the Institute. The storylines are fantastic, the graphics, the side quests, and even being able to build your own towns and modify them is real fun. The one thing that still bothers me to this day is a storyline that I wish was available: There’s so much technology in the Institute, I wish I could pretend to be “onboard” with what they were doing and take over, but then use all the knowledge and tech for good in the Commonwealth. Everything in the game is fun, especially with mods — which I didn’t get into — putting the icing on the cake with that extra ending option.