#16: Star Ocean: The Last Hope
2009: Xbox 360 After a third World War leaves Earth an inhospitable husk, humanity turns its gaze to the heavens. First contact with an alien race and early warp drives follow, ushering in a new era of exploration. Edge Maverick and Reimi Saionji acquire a ship of their own in this universe of possibility, and set out on the breed of epic RPG adventure that only Square Enix can pull off.
The Last Hope is actually a prequel to the 1996 original. So far, gameplay details remain elusive, with early reports indicating that the real-time combat will feature four party members working together. More than anything, we want to see the latest evolution of the series' famous item creation system, which enables characters to craft powerful items by hand. Why face tantalizing mysteries with anything less than the best gear?
#15: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
OUT NOW ON PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, PS2, DS, PSP! Forget Obi-wan Kenobi's subtle mind tricks; Darth Vader's secret apprentice is the Sith equivalent of an abused pit-bull. The opening level lets you tear the Wookiee home world apart as Mr. Heavy Breathing himself, but the rest of the game mines the eighteen tumultuous years between Episodes III and IV, and tells the saga of a tortured soul who might be the most powerful force-wielder in history.
Toss dozens of objects around simultaneously, scour a gorgeous and imaginative universe of strange planets for Jedi, and cut them down with incredible over-the-top renditions of classic powers like force push and lightning. What better excuse could there be to leave a trail of death and demolition in your wake than the guarded secret of Starkiller's very existence? This is Star Wars for Dark Side devotees.
#15: Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Winter 2008: Wii Tales of Symphonia was one of the GameCube's most popular RPGs, so this Wii sequel makes perfect sense. But this sequel is seeing some surprising changes. Unlike the original game, which offered a more traditional RPG experience, Dawn of the New World will let you capture, customize, and breed over 200 different varieties of monsters. These monsters can join you on the battlefield or aid you in other ways. We wish there were more motion control outside of point-and-click movement, but the new four-player combat zones and the stellar storyline -- featuring the original game's protagonist as the villain -- will have us eagerly awaiting this Dawn.