After a slower start, the PC, and specifically Steam, have become a playground full of fantastic JRPG’s. From classics from the PS1 era to brand new releases, there’s something for everyone. But if you’re looking for the cream of the crop, here are the best JRPGs on Steam.
Dragon Quest XI
Plenty of games on this list belong to a long running series, but not many have been as prolific as Dragon Quest, especially in Japan. Dragon Quest XI is the latest installment in the series and as usual, you play as a Hero, and go on a traditional JRPG adventure. The game isn’t really doing anything new, but it’s doing everything incredibly. It’s almost certainly the best in the series, and you don’t need to play any other Dragon Quest game to jump in here.
Final Fantasy VII
Could we really make this list and miss out Final Fantasy 7? With all eyes on the remake due out early 2020, now is the perfect time to play or replay Final Fantasy 7, and experience the adventures of Cloud and the gang. If you can get past the dated PS1 visuals, you’ll find yourself absorbed in an emotional story, with some beautiful artwork and music. The combat feels intuitive and fast, allowing you to mix multiple materia together to customise your characters on the fly. You can’t skip this one.
A while ago, I would never recommend the PC port of Chrono Trigger, it was really, really broken. That’s all in the past though, the port now runs acceptably on PC and you can enjoy the game for what it is, a timeless RPG that really does stand the test of time. This game is the lovechild of both Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest developers coming together, and it shows.
Final Fantasy VI
I knew I wanted to include another Final Fantasy title in this list, and whilst you can easily make a case for FF8 or FF9, I chose Final Fantasy 6 as it shows a different side to Final Fantasy than the PS1 titles. Just be aware that the Steam version is a strange port of the mobile version of the game, but you can easily download some mods to fix that right up. Featuring incredible music as you would expect from Final Fantasy, and my favourite Final Fantasy villain ever, it’s a wonderful adventure with some of the darkest moments in any Final Fantasy game.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails In The Sky
Part of the Legend of Heroes series, Trails In The Sky is a quirky little RPG with a LOT of exposition and dialogue, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. There’s an in-depth skill system that allows you to customise your party in a way that suits you, and the game can be quite tricky, but don’t be scared – the game does offer to lower the difficulty for you if you’re struggling.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered
Predominantly known for it’s art style, the first Ni no Kuni game mimics the look of a Studio Ghibli movie, and the animated scenes within were actually produced by the studio. Besides the beautiful visuals, the game is a solid JRPG with somewhat Pokemon-like elements. The battle system is a mixture of turn-based and realtime combat, and keeps you engaged throughout.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
The latest part of the Legend of Heroes series, Trails of Cold Steel offers a familiar approach to Trails in the Sky, but with improved graphics and more polish. You’ll feel a lot more of a Persona and Final Fantasy influence with this one though, especially if you go on to play the later games in the series.
Tales of Vesperia
Yet another long running series, it was hard for me to pick one. I settled on Tales of Vesperia though, as it’s recently been remastered and is a great all round jumping in point to the series. Like other JRPG series, each game has its own story, but Vesperia is a combination of everything that makes the Tales series great.
This game shines because of it’s characters. It’s a fairly standard JRPG and doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, but the characters are what get you through the game, along with a wide selection of outfits. I think you’ll know if this type of game is up your alley. If you’re looking for fan service, this is the JRPG for you.
Think of an XCOM game with anime characters set in a historical war, and you get Valkyria Chronicles. Probably the game that differs most from the rest of the titles on this list, if the strategic top down combat genre is more your style, this is the one for you. It still has great characters and classic JRPG tropes, but is much lighter on the usual fluff.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
Part of the ongoing Ys series, this one is a classic JRPG that deserves your attention. You’ll get over 40 hours out of the game, but expect a pretty standard action-RPG adventure but set on a deserted island, which adds to the intrigue. The game revolves around creating settlements and slowly inhabiting the land, which gives you access to new tools and features. It’s a solid, solid JRPG.
So that’s our list of the best JRPGs on Steam, what else would you add? We have our own JRPG channel on our Discord server if you’d like to talk more JRPG goodness: https://discord.gg/ZSV6pWG
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