Even though only Episode 1 one is on this list, the number four spot actually goes to entire Xenosaga trilogy. I was surprised at how much I loved this series after I finished it. Allen's speech at the end of Episode 3 has to be one of my favorite scenes in video game history.
Just when I thought JRPGs were dead, just when I thought I would never be as entertained by current gen games as the games of old, this game came along and showed me the error of my ways. Xenoblade Chronicles captured my attention, and captured my heart.
I've played it multiple times and I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all the plot intricacies. To date, it is the most involved (console) tactical RPG that I've ever played. Also, +1 for semi-random final boss dude.
These games are so cute! My favorite aspect of GS 2 was that you could "transfer" your saved characters and items from your work in GS 1. This is such a fantastic way to tie-in two different games that I'm surprised that more games haven't done it.
Hailed by many as the greatest RPG ever created, Chrono Trigger doesn't fail to disappoint. I don't have it higher on my list because I found the other games more entertaining, but this is still a fantastic game.
Although the plot is a bit superficial, I LOVED the overall presentation of the game, including the translation / localization, artistic style, tight controls, and soundtrack. Actually, maybe I should list "soundtrack" first because this game has THE best soundtrack of any handheld game.
Although this game was never released outside of Japan, the entire Mother series (including M2, or EarthBound) has a huge cult following outside of Japan. In fact, two guys hacked the ROM and spent 2 years translating THOUSANDS of pages of text so English-speakers can enjoy this title. This game has a mature story and a high amount of humor.
The beginning of this game was a bit of a surprise. It starts out extremely slowly, and doesn't pick up the pace until many hours into the game. But, once it picks up the pace (and increases the quirkiness factor), it becomes one of the best things ever created.
At the time, I loved playing FFX so much that I beat it in about a week. In retrospect, I realized that the romance was a bit forced and that most of the side characters were pretty bland. Still, I loved inhabiting the world of FFX and was touched by the conclusion of this father-son tale.
The entire Dragon Quest series is great, but I really like this one because they fit so much content on such a small, portable DS cart. It's such a shame that this fun game doesn't have an epic storyline or a constant cast of engaging characters.
FFXII tries very hard to have an interesting plot with political intrigue, and mostly fails on this account. However, the huge world to explore and the MMO-like gameplay had me glued to the screen for hours on end.