Please note:I'm including games which either didn't get good scores from game sites but have a fanbase or games that received good scores but didn't sell well or even games which sold well and received good scores from critics but either don't have a huge fanbase or are not mainstream.
One of my favorite games of all-time.Even though I played NieR 2 years ago,it's story and music are still in my head and I listen to it's soundtrack occasionally and it has some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard.NieR's version of a post apocalyptic world gives me an eery feeling and has it's own unique feel,style and surprises unlike many WRPGs that try to use the cliche Mad Max style post apocalyptic worlds.It's story is unique and really drew me in.The story begins roughly around the year 2040 in a world in which most of the human population has been wiped out from a virus.A man and his daughter are trying to find shelter and food because Tokyo is have freezing weather/snowfall even though it's summer.His daughter is ill and she finds a strange book that can talk(I know it sounds silly at first)and the book offers to help the man and his daughter if the man gives the book his soul and afterwards creatures known as 'shades' show up and the man fights off the shades and later the story skips over 1300 years in the future and a man named Nier and his daughter named Yonah whom look the same as the man and daughter 1300 years in the past are in a similar situation to the man and daughter from 1300 years in the past(Yonah has an illness that's fatal and Nier is trying to find a cure for it which means he needs to go on dangerous journeys in a world infested with shades.
Whilst Nier is travelling the world searching for a cure for Yonah's illness he meets other characters who help him on his journey including a beautiful but foul-mouthed and angry woman named Kaine and a boy named Emil and Emil has problems which have an emotional impact on the story.It's hard to explain why I love the story so much without giving away spoilers but I will say the story is very emotional and has clever surprises and it makes me empathize with the characters such as how a certain man has to face the reality of living his life without the woman he loves and other things that I don't want to spoil but it shows a darker side of humanity too and I'll never forget the part when Yonah asks her father to please not hate her because he has to go on dangerous journeys trying to find a cure to her illness.
The world has a nice dreary style to it and the story and music blend together.The battle system has some creative ideas too.
Ar Tonelico 2 and Ar Tonelico Qoga
Ar Tonelico 2 and Qoga are amongst the funniest games I've ever played because of the way they use pervertness and sexual humor and the innocent nature of some of the Reyvateils.Reyvateils are artificial females with powerful magic and at first they have the mind of a child until their personality develops after people interact with them in a virtual reality with them.Both Ar Tonelico 2 and Qoga are set in a creative post apocalyptic setting high in the sky on artificial land after the surface of the world has become uninhabitable from toxic gas.The visual novel style character conversations,dating sim elements and the innocent of Reyvateil make this game more appealing to me.I like how the Reyvateils start off so gentle and they like to help people.The battle system for Ar Tone 2 has attack and defensive phases which are both very important.Ar Tone Qoga's battle system is real time and in 3D and you need to protect the Reyvateils during battle in real-time when you're fighting enemies.The fact the Reyvateils magic becomes stronger in Ar Tone Qoga after they remove a layer of clothing is funny I think.
There was doubts as to weather Yakuza 3 and 4 would be localized because there was doubts to how well they'd sell in the west and there's also doubts about Yakuza 5 becoming localized and petitions for Yakuza 5's localization have been created.I guess I could compare Yakuza games to the GTA games except the Yakuza games have better characters/stories and better combat.The GTA lets you steal vehicles but that's only a gimmick IMO.I don't know about the first Yakuza game,but Yakuza 2,3(Japanese version)and 4 allow you to date hostess girls if you can say the right things and buy them the right things to make them like you.Yakuza 4 is my favorite game from the 7th generation and has one of the most captivating stories/characters I've ever experienced in gaming.
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
It has an Asian mythological feel to it and it's charming and has a nice mixture of combat and puzzles.The puzzles will make you think how to use the man named Tepeu's smaller size and ability to pull levers and Majins abilities such as his height,strength,ability to breathe wind gusts,make eletricity etc. together.You can also use stealth.The game has some beautiful environments.
Some people say Lost Odyssey is too popular to be a cult classic but the fact it's sold much less copies in Japan(which has by far the strongest JRPG fanbase)compared with the West and because it's still nowhere near as popular as other mainstream titles from the 7th gen is why I have it here.Lost Odyssey is second favorite RPG from the 7th generation and has one of the most emotional stories/side stories I've ever experienced.Imagine being an immortal whom has lost his memories and painful memories come back suddenly and you have to experience them and you find out things about yourself that are painful to bare,that's what happens to the main character named Kaim and the fact you'll watch/read these as memories or witness things relating to him that you wouldn't have expected to happen because he had no memories to begin with made me empathize with Kaim a lot and feel his pain.It's an old style JRPG with modern,realistic graphics and the game has beautiful,delicate piano music and epic music for boss battle(some of the people who worked on the music for this game worked on the music for the Final Fantasy games and LO's story was written by the creater of Final Fantasy).
Shin Kidou Senshi Gundam W: Endless Duel
One of the best 16-Bit fighting games I've ever played but not released outside of Japan.I still love it's music and presentation even compared with today's standards because it uses music from the song ''rhythm emotion'' and great anime style screens with Relena and the Gundam pilots.I guess you could say the mechanics of this game are not too much different to Street Fighter 2 except every Gundam can shoot projectile weapons(some at the press of a button)and your ammo replenishes when you land successful attacks encouraging you to be aggresive and being too defensive will allow you to get slammed into the ground.I like how the Gundams dwarf buildings and this game reminds me of happy times in the 1990's.
Ecco the Dolphin Defender of the Future
I must admit I wasn't a big fan of the Ecco games on the SEGA MEGA DRIVE but they did have beautiful music and a nice feeling of ambience and tried to be unique with it's own style of underwater adventure gameplay.But I found Ecco TDoTF for Dreamcast/PS2 to be stunning and a wonderful and somewhat spiritual experience.The beautiful 3D under the ocean environments gave me a sense of escapism and ambience and calmness which the 16-Bit Ecco games didn't and the music and sound affects added even more feeling of calmness and tranquility and exploring a detail under the sea environment was amazing for it's time and even years later I could still feel it's beauty and ambience everytime I played it.I loved the way it let you explore detailed under the sea environments and combined it with gameplay.
Breath of Fire III,IV and V
Breath of Fire III and IV have an old school JRPG style that I miss when I play most modern JRPGs.BoF III and IV have a level of charm that I don't see in most modern JRPGs in terms of narrative/story telling,character design,artstyle and they let you travel to different towns and interact with NPCs.Breath of Fire V was a big change to the series because it uses darker/industrial style environments and even though the game doesn't use random battles unlike it's predecessors you were discouraged from level grinding because fighting in battles increases your dragon counter rating and when it reaches full your character turns into a dragon and it's game over but you could sneak past enemies using bait to lure them to a certain area.
Okami is a game that's loved by many people who've played it but it didn't sell well.It's story uses Japanese mythology and it's visuals use an abstract style influenced by Japanese watercolor and Ukiyo-e.In the game you play as a female goddess in wolf form whom has the ability to modify the environments around her and the player does that by using a brush to draw bridges,slice through objects etc. that can be used in combat or for puzzles but to make it balanced the brush ability can be only used in certain places and is effective against certain enemies.The game is an action/adventure game with combat and puzzles and the game gets compared to Zelda games but I think of Okami as a wonderful experience in it's own unique way because of how it uses interesting Japanese mythology for narrative/story and for it's unique gameplay ideas and artstyle.