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Tales of Phantasia. I was like 12 or so, saw it in a store for GBA, and was vaguely curious about it, but figured it was going to be some cheesy low quality game. I had no idea about the series' pedigree. My mom saw that I was staring at it and falsely assumed I was interested in it, and got it as a surprise. I certainly didn't expect it as she never does that because she usually gets bad games, but I was surprised and acted happy and grateful too. I was grateful actually, since I had nothing to play at the time and this allowed me to satisfy my curiosity for free. I was absolutely shocked at how good it was. Maybe it was that I was 12 and had only played a dozen or so RPGs at that point, but the twists surprised me and I got attached to the world and characters. I became an instant fan of the Tales of series and feel silly for ever doubting it, but to be fair I was a kid and there wasn't much internet at the time so it's understandable.