Some game developers and publishers have a reputation for releasing quality titles. Nintendo is probably the best example; every game Nintendo releases is generally of the highest quality. Another game developer/publisher with a good reputation for releasing quality games is Atlus.
This company has been around since 1986, and since then has been bought-out by various other gaming companies – most notably Sega. Atlus doesn't usually press too many copies of a game when giving it a physical release. When you couple this with the fact that they release high-quality games it leads to many of their games increasing in value over the years as they become more and more difficult to find.
Ogre Battle was a fun RPG strategy game that was originally released for the SNES in 1993. When the game was ported to the PlayStation in 1997 Atlus was given the nod to handle the conversion.
Ogre Battle combines role-playing elements with real-time squad-based combat. The player builds units from a pool of champions and controls their movement across large battlefields.
The number of character classes the player can upgrade his champions to is extensive, and it is always a rewarding experience to upgrade a champion to a better class. The PlayStation version sets itself apart from the others with improved music, spell effects, and the ability to save the game mid-battle.
This title was published by Atlus in North America in 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. This game went so far under the radar that it isn’t even included in this list of Atlus games on Wikipedia. Despite that, this is an extremely fun game for those gamers that enjoy puzzle/mystery games.
The voice acting was also well done; and for a game like this, with a lot of spoken dialogue, that is a necessity. The best way to describe this title is that it is like L.A. Noire but set in 19th century England. This is not the easiest game to find, but there are usually a few available on eBay.
Catherine was many North American gamer’s first time playing a relationship simulator. Like most of Atlus’ games, there is a healthy dose of role-playing in Catherine but the game also features puzzle elements as well. These puzzles were criticized for being a bit too difficult for the casual gamer.
The role-playing parts take place during the day when the player-controlled character, Vincent Brooks, is interacting with the other characters in the game. At night Vincent is plagued by nightmares that take the form of puzzles for the player to solve. If you enjoy unconventional games, Catherine might appeal to you.
The original Odin Sphere was published by Atlus in North America and Japan in 2007 for the PS2. Leifthrasir is a remaster of the original that was released in 2016 for the PS3, PS4, and Vita.
Odin Sphere is a side-scrolling 2D hack and slash game with role-playing elements. The soundtrack for Odin Sphere is an orchestral composition that won several awards and was good enough to be released separately. The graphics are composed of beautifully hand-drawn sprites and backgrounds and the animation of the characters is as good as it gets.
Atlus released Gungnir for the PSP in North America in 2012. This title is primarily a squad-based strategy game with RPG elements. The battles in Gungnir take place on 3D battlefields, and the player must take factors like elevation and line of sight into account when planning their strategy.
In between the battles, which can take a while to finish, the story is advanced and the player is given the opportunity to buy new items and prepare for the next fight. Gungnir features beautiful hand-drawn graphics that give the game an anime look and fell.
Rockin’ Kats was a late release (1991) for the NES from Atlus. In this game, you control an anthropomorphized cat named Willy who is armed with a gun that shoots a boxing glove attached to a spring. The “glove gun” can be used to hit enemies directly or the player can use it to bounce off objects into enemies. The “glove gun” may also be used as a grappling hook to reach platforms.
There are only five stages in Rockin’ Kats, with one secret level that is accessed after beating the final boss. The levels are chosen via switching channels on television; which also includes a shopping channel to buy power-ups.
Dragon’s Crown was released by Atlus in 2013 for the PS3, PS4, and Vita. It is an arcade-style beat ‘em up with role-playing elements set in a fantasy world. The player can choose from six playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Like most role-playing games the player’s character levels-up after earning enough experience. Dragon's Crown also allows up to four players to join in online and locally; it even allows for computer-controlled companions to join.
Radiant Historia is a traditional role-playing game originally released by Atlus in 2011 for the Nintendo DS. Radiant Historia uses an interesting time-traveling mechanic that allows players to travel back and forth not only through time but to alternate timelines.
The battles are standard turn-based role-playing battles but fought on a grid that can affect power and defense depending on where characters are placed. The game’s soundtrack, like many Atlus games, was good enough to receive a separate release.
This series of squad-based tactical strategy games began in 2003 with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. The most recent title, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, was published by NIS America (but, of course, we owe a lot of Atlus for bringing the beloved franchise to life).
The Disgaea games are similar in play-style to Gungnir, with battles taking place on 3D set-piece battlefields. Like in Gungnir, the player must employ strategy when moving their characters and positioning them to attack enemy units. Disgaea 5 improves on the previous titles by allowing far more on-screen characters and better graphics.
One cannot list great Atlus games without including at least one of the Persona games. The series started in 1996 for the PlayStation and is currently on Persona 5 which was released in 2016 for the PS3 and PS4. The Persona games are role-playing/relationship simulators that have earned a large audience and critical praise for being hhigh-qualitytitles.
The name Persona comes from the mechanic of summoning entities in battle that corresponds to a particular character’s personality. The best of the series is probably Persona 4, but they are all worth playing.