I grew up in the NES and SNES era...man that makes me feel old even though I am not even 30 yet...
Anyway, having beaten probably 100 different RPGs, its really hard to narrow it down, but Ill try my best. I dont even think I can put them in a particular order, but these are probably the ones that have stuck with me the most.
1) Chrono Trigger - I remember getting this when it came out and its still just a phenomenal game all around. Hell, I even had to buy it again when the PSX version came out just for the Toriyama cutscenes (even though the load times were sometimes unbearable for a damn SNES game). Fantastic music, fantastic story, fantastic gameplay, just never gets old to play.
2) Xenogears - A game that I pretty much beat every year or two, its been fun as Ive gotten older to pick up on all the philosophical themes this game presents. While the second disc is a large disappoint due to budget concerns, the first disc of the game alone is so ambitious in scope that its worth the price alone. Pick it up on PSN if you have a PS3 for 10 bucks and see why some consider it one of the best of all time.
3) Final Fantasy IV - Just another game that brings me back to being a kid again whenever I play it. I have beaten every Final Fantasy and love them all in some way, but Edgar's story has always been my favorite. Shame it tends to get overlooked by VII and VI by the newer generation, but it laid the groundwork for most JRPGs after it and was groundbreaking when it came out.
4) Final Fantasy Tactics - I feel like a fanboy putting this in here, and I like Tactics Ogre just as much, but I think the sheer amount of hours I put in this game justifies its inclusion. Just a magical game that I can always turn on and play for hours (even if it means me just going to the Deep Dungeon and trying to get those damn ninjas to throw me some Chirijiradens). Also love me some Delita.
5) ADD and cant make up my mind, but a few that I would put in here - Baldurs Gate 2, Dark Souls (forgot I even beat this game, maybe I wanted to forget the horror lol), Star Ocean: The Second Story (Definitely doesnt deserve to be here based on total package but is my favorite guilty pleasure game and still a damn good rpg), Mass Effect Trilogy (still cant get over the original ending for 3, just awful), Final Fantasy X, Lufia 2, Secret of Mana, hell way too many I cant think of off the top of my head.
After seeing all these modern RPGs in some peoples top 5s, they really should go back and play the classics to see the peak of the genre. While there are some great Western RPGs out there I think the SNES/PSX era is just unsurpassed in sheer volume of great games, and while it may be just the nostalgia talking its so easy to just grab an emulator and go back and play some of the greatest games ever created.
Edited by beyondthepale35 - 5/3/13 at 8:35pm