Update time：2021-08-18 00:15Tag: Platform： Game Boy Advance
10 Most Underrated RPGs For The Game Boy Advance
By Paul DiSalvo
Published 4 days ago
Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance produced such a massive library of games, some great RPGs were underrated.
Originally released in 2001, the Game Boy Advance was a handheld system with 16-bit graphics that was home to several fan-favorite games of Nintendo fans. In addition to having a wide array of new titles, the system’s comparable power to the SNES meant the GBA ended up being home to many classic RPGs that were originally released for the Super Nintendo.
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However, while there were many well-known and beloved classic RPGs released for the console, it was also home to several lesser-appreciated titles that don’t get the attention they deserve. So today, let’s examine the ten most underrated RPGs released for the Game Boy Advance.
When it comes to Mario-focused RPGs, most will tend to first bring up games like Super Mario RPG and the various games from the Paper Mario series. However, the Mario and Luigi series is an incredibly underrated series of RPGs in its own right, starting with the GBA release of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga.
Released in 2003, the game featured engaging timing-based combat and an excellent sense of humor that remains consistent throughout the game’s duration.
While the GBA has many great Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy 4, Final Fantasy 5, and Final Fantasy 6, these SNES ports often overshadow the underrated tactical RPG that is Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
Featuring a robust job system that allows units to learn spells and abilities from equipment, players can cater each of their units to their personal taste. An ambitious title for the platform, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance offers great gameplay, fantastic music, and a solid storyline.
While the first localized entries in the Fire Emblem series, The Blazing Blade and Fire The Sacred Stones, were each released for the GBA, the console also welcomed a third, much less appreciated entry in the franchise.
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Never officially released outside of Japan, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade is one of the more difficult entries in series of tactical RPGs. However, it also offers a great deal of replay value through its numerous branching routes that players can access. In addition to its replay value and great map design, The Binding Blade was the first entry to employ the franchise’s popular support system.
Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is a criminally underrated action JRPG for the GBA that doesn’t get nearly enough love and attention. Summon Night not only has a heavy focus on combat but also on crafting weapons that can be used in battle.
While the game features a top-down view like many 16-bit action RPGs, once you enter a battle, the perspective shifts to a zoomed-in angle that is similar to games with real-time combat reminiscent titles like Tales of Phantasia.
Released in 2003, Sword of Mana is an action RPG within Square Enix’s Mana series. While the game is an enhanced remake of Final Fantasy Adventure, it makes so many improvements in nearly every element of design that it nearly feels like an entirely new game.
Although the game lacks multiplayer like Secret of Mana, Sword of Mana allows one’s companions to be controlled by an AI in combat.
Despite the fact that it is quite popular in Japan, the Super Robot Wars series has never really caught on outside of its home market. One of the entries in the series that was released outside of Japan, Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation is a tactical RPG that is based around massive robot battles.
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While many other entries in the series feature well-known mechas from various franchises, Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation establishes and develops its own unique cast of characters. As the game features two different routes based on which protagonist you choose to play as at the beginning of the campaign, Original Generation has a great deal of replay value.
While the Shin Megami Tensei series has grown much more popular thanks to the success of games like Persona 5, it wasn’t always this way. An offshoot of the Megami Tensei Series, Demikids was released in 2003 when the series was still quite obscure.
While the game features many mechanics and types of demons one would expect from a Shin Megami Tensei title, Demikids has a much more child-friendly tone and subject matter. The gameplay of Demikids is based around befriending and fighting with monsters, sharing a great deal in common with the Pokemon franchise, with Demikids even releasing with two separate versions: Light and Dark.
Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon is the definitive version of the original Shining Force, a tactical RPG for the Sega Genesis.
The remake includes several new features that set it apart from the original game, including changes to the narrative and a more expansive roster of playable characters. Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon is a great tactical RPG for newcomers to the genre due to its forgiving difficulty and lack of “perma-death.”
Released by Atlus in 2003, Shining Soul II is a criminally underrated action RPG. Allowing a player to pick from one of eight playable classes, the game’s flexible level-up system allows players to dictate what about their character improves as they level up.
Additionally, Shining Soul II is co-op compatible, allowing nearly the entire game to be experienced with up to four players via a link cable!
Mother 3 is easily the most underrated RPG to be released for the GBA. While the third entry in the Mother franchise has garnered a cult following, due to its lack of localization, the game’s potential fanbase and notoriety in inherently stifled.
Mother 3 features somewhat simple turn-based combat like the other games within the franchise, but its stellar storytelling truly sets it apart from most other RPGs around.
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About The Author
(187 Articles Published)
Staff Writer, Paul DiSalvo is a writer, comic creator, animation lover, and game design enthusiast currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts. He has studied creative writing at The New Hampshire Institute of Art and Otis College of Art and Design, and currently writes for CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant, and TheGamer. In addition to writing, he directs and produces the podcast, “How Ya Dyin’?”
He enjoys collecting comics, records, and wins in Samurai Shodown.
From Paul DiSalvo