--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clint Eastwood: "Seems like whenever I get to liking someone, they ain't around for long." Chief Dan George: "I notice when you get to disliking someone, they ain't around for long neither."
If you have a PS2, I suggest trying to find a decently priced few choice games from a publisher/developer called Atlus.
Specifically Persona 3: FES, Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (The U.S. release features a cameo appearance by Dante from Devil May Cry), and Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2.
They're very different from your average JRPG fare such as Final Fantasy.
Shin Megami Tensei series (And DDS1 and 2) are very dark and violent series revolving around demons and the darker side to humanity, and I daresay the cast and lineup of enemies and party members are epic win. In Nocturne you can recruit various "feral" demons to fight alongside you with various means, be it bribery, making the right dialogue choice, or sometimes even giving them your own blood in exchange for their services.
In Digital Devil Saga, you can't recruit demons, but rather you play as Humans who can turn into Demons themselves, and all of them have a similar level-up system based on defeated enemies and getting boosts to their Karma (Experience) and Atma (Skill Level Ups to unlock new techniques to switch into one of eventually 8 skill slots, be they passive buffs or activated attack/defense/support skills) depending on if they use a Devour type move to finish off an enemy. And a major point to the DDS series is the pseudo-cannibalism that every one of the Digital Devils has to partake in to remain sane and increase in power, and some characters (Understandably) have trouble adjusting at first.
Finally, the Persona series is about High School students in Japan who control the power of Persona, of which is a manifestation of one's very soul which gives them power to fight against certain evils in a certain time or area.
Persona 3 features the "Dark Hour", which is a hidden time right between 11:59:59PM and 12:00:00AM in which "Shadows" feed upon any normal humans who get caught there, causing what many humans attribute to fatigue and overwork and call "Apathy Syndrome". The setting is an urban city not altogether unlike Tokyo.
The main character can change his persona at will, while party members are stuck with their own throughout the game.
Social Links, when leveled properly through social interaction, give extra power and eventually the top-tier Persona of each Arcana from the Greater Tarot Arcana (Fool, Magician, etc.)
Persona 4 is very similar, but is set in rural Japan, and you now have the option of Manual control of party members.
Rather than "Apathy Syndrome", the main central point of Persona 4 is that various murders are occurring in the once peaceful town, and the Persona users (Including an Anthropomorphic teddy bear named Teddie ^w^) have to solve the mystery and put a stop to the murderer's plans. Also, there's a rather suggestive set of scenes involving a potentially bi-curious party member and his "Shadow Self" arguing before you fight the Shadow. Based in a bathhouse. Yeah... Murr...
But also if you'd rather have PC RPGs I can recommend a few classics. Fallout 1 and 2 are very good, and if you don't mind all the negative nancies out there Fallout: Tactics can also be fun.
And I REALLY love Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which is a very intricate and detailed game for one released in 2001, and features extensive character customization in backgrounds, stats, and your choice of molding them into a Technological marvel or a Magickal powerhouse. Unlike many RPGs you can also invest attribute points into Health and Stamina, but also unlike most RPGs there's ONLY one set of Attribute points used for Stats, HP/SP, AND Skills (Involving melee, stealth, tech, and social skills), as well as Spells and Crafting Schematics/Proficiencies. Also, some stores won't allow you to shop there if you're too technological or Magickal, as Tech and Magick in close proximity to each other cause one or both to fail. If you have high Tech Proficiency for example, most spells will be less effective or not even work, making a Magickal healer somewhat useless. Similarly, trying to use a Tech aligned weapon or armor while highly Magickal increases the critical failure rate, meaning you can be sure you'll be hurting yourself worse than your enemies.