1: tales of graces f. excellent game in all categories except story (which i would consider merely average but the game makes up for it with excellent characters. one of the best casts i've ever seen in an rpg with excellent vioce acting by jrpg standards)
2: dragon age origins. i normally dont go for wrpgs. compared to the excellent jrpgs of yore, i find wrpgs to be bland, pedestrian and unimaginative. this includes the elder scrolls series and any other fps trying to pass itself off as an rpg. dragon age has made me re-examine the genre. it has interesting, party based gameplay and an excellent narrative that tells a solid and intersting story. i want to see more wrpgs like this and a lot fewer like skyrim. i look forward to seeing how the witcher 3 turns out.
3: star ocean: the last hope. i know this game gets a lot of hate and i understand why. a lackluster story and poor voice acting on the part of some of the VA's and relatively cookie cutter characters holds this game back from greatness. however, despite these flaws, i found the gameplay to be engaging. that tried and true star ocean combat system was fun to play and the item creation deep and interesting with a butt ton of stuff to find and create. i hope that if they do another star ocean game that they keep the excellent gameplay but improve their storytelling dramatically. if they can accomplish that, they should have a hit on their hands.
4: cross edge. a niche tittle. its not for everyone but it includes an absolutely huge cast of characters and is a ton of fun if you know the games the characters hail from (i was familiar with the ar tonelico, atelier, mana khemia, disgaea and darksiders games) and it uses the quirky but interesting combat system from the argarest war series (which i have yet to play but want to) so thats a win-win. the only downside is the graphics, but being used to old school jrpgs it was no problem for me.
5:ff13. lots of hate but l liked the characters, graphics and combat system. i felt the story was interesting, but the lack of a strong villain hurt it immensely. also the lack of exploration and extras made the game feel empty and lifeless after a while. hopefully squenix will learn that content makes the jrpg. look at tales of, squenix for an example of what to do when it comes to density of content.
I'm lookinf forward to tales of xillia 1 and 2, tales of xymphonia chronicles and ff14.
Stand tall and shake the heavens...