The top 12 RPGs Ive played in no particular order
Final Fantasy VI: The pinnacle of the FF series. And also the best ensemble of characters.
Dragon Quest VIII: Stunning gaming world and great character stories/ development.
7th Saga: RPG like no other. Unforgivingly difficult but cool characters and freedom to swap partner.
Phantasy Star II: One of the best. Great story and first RPG series to properly do the futuristic setting.
Secret of Mana: This game had the best RPG music ever. Plus you could play 3 players at once with the SNES multitap.
Chrono Trigger: Another great story with sweet combo attacks and wicked time travel story.
Final Fantasy I: The real godfather of RPGs. Super difficult but fun, expansive and engaging.
Ogre Battle March of the Black Queen: Wonderful combat system and mature story. Also the ability to be good or evil with alternative endings.
Final Fantasy IX: Brought back the old school feel to the FF series, and a meaty game with satisfying story.
Final Fantasy Tactics: Solid story, strategy, customization. The three cornerstones of a strategy game in one CD.
Ogre Tactics: The only strategy game to parallel the FF Tactics feels and battle system.
Dragon Quest IV: Another good story with memorable characters and great bad guy.
These games are old quite old. I still play new RPGs but it just seems like the formula is overdone and has the developers come up with some aspects too out there or too unoriginal. Its a hard genre to build upon. Just cant compare to the classics.