Back at a time when region locks on games were still a thing, there was a certain aspect of gaming that always bothered me… Specifically, there were games that didn’t get released in PAL regions (aka, Europe). This meant that there were a bunch of games that you couldn’t play in the UK unless you imported a console from the States or Japan, and then imported the game as well.
That’s something that is pretty much non-existent in modern games, which is actually a really good thing. However, I wanted to celebrate the heartache that many of us felt back in the day. So, here are my top 7 games that never got an original release in Europe.
7. Valkyrie Profile
The first one on the list (which is mostly going to be RPGs because it’s my list) is Valkyrie Profile. It’s a very unique RPG that mixes side-scrolling dungeon exploration with a very interesting battle system that takes a bit of getting used to. The game is also absolutely beautiful! The music is outstanding, fitting each area and event perfectly, creating a wonderfully holistic design to the game that is so rare to see.
Interestingly, the sequel for the PS2 was released over here (I have it on my shelf next to me), and that’s actually quite common, as we will get in to. But if you want to play the original start to the Valkyria Profile series, as it was meant to be played, you’ll need to import it. There was a PSP re-release, but that’s just not the same, is it?
6. Wild ARMS 2
Moving on, we have another game that I absolutely adore. I’ve been a fan of the Wild ARMS series ever since I played the first game. However, I was lucky enough to be able to play an imported copy of Wild ARMS 2 for the original PlayStation. I was instantly hooked, not wanting to put it down at all. The game was just so engrossing in terms of story and managed to mix standard RPG gameplay in without it seeming boring.
The Wild ARMS series went downhill a few games later, giving the series a bit of a bad name. But the first three are truly wonderful, and you really need to find Wild ARMS 2 and give it a go!
5. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Second on the list has to be Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Now, I’m almost certain that you know of the Persona series by now. I mean, from Persona 3 to 5, it has been a massive success as a gaming franchise, with loads of spin offs as well. But did you know that the first two games (well, three, since Persona 2 had two games) were massively different to the more popular games in the series?
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment plays more like a traditional JRPG, albeit with a unique take on a battle system. It deals with really quite dark story elements too, featuring serial killers, demons and betrayal. I really can’t give enough credit to the game and you really need to take a look at it!
4. Parasite Eve
Yet another series where Europe got the sequels but not the first game, Parasite Eve is truly outstanding. Squaresoft was able to make a brilliant mix between action RPG gameplay and Survival Horror. Basing it on a novel from Japan, but making the game a sequel to it, meant that they were able to use an established ideology and world without retreading over the original source material.
Parasite Eve is easily one of my favourite games, and one that I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t played it. There really isn’t another gaming experience like it, so make sure you do yourself a favour and import this wonderful game!
3. Xenosaga Episode 1 and 3
This entry is actually the one that sparked the idea to do this post in the first place. After discussing the Xenosaga games with Shattered Glass 23 on Twitter, and explaining that I really enjoyed Xenosaga Episode 2, we came to the realisation that I love it as much as I do because I’ve yet to play Episode 1 and 3. That’s because they weren’t released over here in Europe.
However, I do now own a US PlayStation 2, so I will be looking to add both of these to my collection in the near future. I’ve wanted to play them both for years, so I may even stream them once I get them!
2. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Eternal Blue Complete
The penultimate games in this list of my top games that weren’t released in Europe are Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Eternal Blue Complete. This was an absolutely amazing remake of the classic Sega CD game, and remains one of the best RPGs that I have ever played. Both of them were released in the US and not in Europe, which was a huge shame since they are such incredible games.
Personally, I prefer the first game overall, but both are exquisite. The animation is near perfect as well, which the 32-bit sprite graphics giving both games a truly timeless style. If you haven’t played these games yet, you are doing yourself a disservice!
1. Final Fantasy Tactics
And so, we get to the number one slot. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Final Fantasy Tactics is my third favourite game of all time and the game that, to me, defines the Final Fantasy series. However, it never got a release in Europe on the original PlayStation. We did get the updated War of the Lions re-release on PSP, which was good. But that was many years later, and they changed the game’s extra content.
So, if you want to experience the original version of Final Fantasy Tactics, even now, you need to make sure that you import it from the States and have the means to play it. I would highly recommend doing that, too!
And That’s All Folks
Those were 7 of my top picks for games that weren’t originally released in Europe and really should have been. We may have gotten re-releases or ports at a later date, but that’s just not the same. So yeah, if you haven’t been able to play these games yet, you really should! They are all worth it.
What games not released where you live did you import or wish had been released? Let me know in the comments below!