The Best GameCube RPGs

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Since the beginning of home consoles, Nintendo has always been at the forefront of innovation. 2001’s GameCube was no exception to this trend. Now that 3D was standard in the gaming industry, Nintendo needed to step up their game, and step it up they did. The GameCube launched with rabid fans fighting to get their new Nintendo fix. From the GameCube’s controller which is still a fan favorite to the Game Boy Advance compatibility, the GameCube offered players a new way to experience their favorite franchises. Not only was the console itself exciting, but the massive library provided players with an endless amount of content.

RPGs have always had a home on Nintendo’s consoles, and the GameCube was no exception. The GameCube’s library was expansive, giving players plenty of new characters to meet, worlds to explore, and enemies to defeat. Titles like Paper Mario: the Thousand-Year Door, Tales of Symphonia, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles made waves in the industry and are still celebrated to this day for their innovation and exciting mechanics. RPGs definitely found a good home on the GameCube, and plenty of fans of the genre were excited with the constant releases on the platform.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The sequel to the N64 classic blew fans away, giving Mario RPG fans one of the best entries Nintendo could craft. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door presents players with some of the most memorable characters, gameplay, and locations that the series has to offer.

Princess Peach has gone missing in Rogueport, and it is Mario’s job, once again, to find Peach and defeat evil. This title makes use of Mario’s 2D shape, allowing the player to squeeze through tight spaces to reveal secrets. There are plenty of fun battles to be had and exciting areas to explore in this fantastic title, making it one of the best on the platform.

Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia is the next entry in what fans have dubbed the “Tales” series, bringing players one of the strongest entries to date. This title manages to hit the mark in every section, providing some of the best graphics, world-building, and gameplay seen in a JRPG.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the overworld sections are controlled by the player, but battle sections are based upon instructions given by the player before a battle commences, allowing the characters to fight the enemy without input from the player. This title perfectly crafts a story that has immortalized itself in the gaming world.

Phantasy Star Online I & II

The online RPG that made waves on the Sega Dreamcast brought its magic and excitement to the GameCube, including online play. Phantasy Star Online I & II takes the form of a hack and slash RPG with plenty of fun locations and enemies to keep players engaged. Since the online play is no longer supported, this version also features split screen play, allowing friends to adventure through this awesome world together.

Each player’s experience in Phantasy Star Online is completely unique, allowing for full character customization and taking on quests in whatever order they choose. Phantasy Star Online I & II is a beautiful adventure with more than enough to keep players engaged for hours on end.

Skies of Arcadia Legends

Another Dreamcast hit made its way to the Nintendo GameCube at the beginning of 2003, bringing one of the best worlds a GameCube game has to offer. Skies of Arcadia Legends drops the player into the action as the Blue Rogue pirate Vyse, destined to save Arcadia.

With a vast world littered with enemies and treasure, there is more than enough to explore in Arcadia. When not exploring the skies in your ship, players will be able to progress the story in several cities and find mysterious, maze-like dungeons to loot and explore. Skies of Arcadia Legends is easily one of the best RPGs ever made, and a must play for fans of the genre.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

A departure from the typical Final Fantasy game structure, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an exciting and beautiful adventure through an unfamiliar world full of beasts and magic. In this world, there is a deadly force spreading known as “miasma”, destroying anything in its path. It's up to the player’s band of adventurers to gather myrrh and prevent further spread of the miasma.

Up to four players can join in on the fun by connecting Game Boy Advances to the GameCube and controlling one of the adventurers. The combat is more of a hack and slash title rather than the usual Final Fantasy turn-based combat, making Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles a great departure from the series, giving players plenty to explore.

Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

An awesome RPG developed by Monolith Soft, better known for the Xenoblade series, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is an interesting take on the genre. In this title, the player does not directly control the character, but as a guardian spirit of the character.

The main character, known as Kalas, is on a quest to find who killed his brother and grandfather with the help of Xelha and his spirit. The battles also take an interesting turn, using a card system rather than the typical JRPG systems. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is an extremely interesting RPG with plenty of new elements to set it apart from the rest of the genre.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

One of the best western RPG series of all time makes its way to the GameCube with Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. In this title, players assume the role of one of three customizable races, each with their own perks. Once players break into the game, they are mugged and their sister is kidnapped by bandits from Baldur’s Gate. Thus begins the search and rescue mission of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance.

The gameplay is similar to most hack and slash RPGs, feeling a lot like Diablo. The environments and dungeons of this title are a draw, giving this game plenty of uniqueness and personality. Every bit of praise you may have heard about this game is true, and it deserves to be played by all.

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is another entry in one of the most relaxing series’ to date. The game itself is pretty simple, live out your days tending to your farm, meeting townsfolk, and finding a spouse to grow old with. The townsfolk are interesting, helping you develop your farm if you build a relationship with them.

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is a game teeming with charm, giving players one of the most laid-back experiences in an era of shooters, brawlers, and difficult RPGs. This title is a must-play for both hardcore and casual gamers, presenting some heartwarming and cute experiences along the way.

  • Updated September 2, 2020