As someone who has grown up with a lot of video games and anime I enjoy a lot of different genres including Visual Novels, Fighting, and Action, but especially RPGs, or to be very specific JRPGs. I have enjoyed a lot of different adventures through playing these games so I am here to give to you my personal Top 10 JRPGs! The rules are simple, one game per franchise – though I will admit some of my entries may bend that rule a slight bit, but I will explain why in those entries. This is all my personal opinion and there will be a hot take or two in this list.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth
Out of all the Digimon games I feel like Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is the most fun. With character designs done by Suzuhito Yasuda, who has created Yozakura Quartet along with doing character designs for Durarara!! and the two Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor games that look really nice. The music by Masafumi Takada who also has composed the soundtracks for games like God Hand, Danganronpa and No More Heroes is also really well done. The game itself has a bit of a more mature take on the franchise in terms of story and it’s really interesting. I had imported this on the PS Vita when it first came out and I had a good time with it.
Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy Big Bang/Supernova (Japan-Exclusive)
It’s no secret that I really love the Inazuma Eleven series a whole lot along with a lot of other franchises developed by Level 5. My choice from that franchise will be Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy which sadly did not get localised.
The game is a really fun blend of a soccer game and JRPG featuring over the top special moves and abilities, a lighthearted fun story, very fun characters and the music composed by the well-renowned composer, Yasunori Mitsuda is amazing.
I had a lot of fun with the Big Bang version of the game and I cannot wait for Great Road of Heroes to come out which hopefully gets a localization.
Blue Dragon(Xbox 360/Backwards Compatible with Xbox One)
Developed by Mistwalker and published by Microsoft. This was the game that had me actively looking into buying an Xbox 360 as a young teenager. Created by the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi with character designs by Akira Toriyama who is known for Dr.Slump and Dragon Ball as well as doing character designs for the Dragon Quest series and the music being composed by Nobuo Uematsu who also has composed a lot of the music for the Final Fantasy series.
I had a whole lot of fun with the story and battle system and the graphics simply looked breathtaking at the time. The music also was stellar with a lot of stand out tracks especially the boss battle theme that was sung by Ian Gillan from the rock band Deep Purple.
The Top 10 JRPGs Of All Time
10. Resonance of Fate
This has to be one of the more over the top and stylish JRPGs that I have played. Developed by Tri-Ace the developers behind Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile with music by Motoi Sakuraba who is the composer for both the Tales series and Star Ocean games along with Kohei Tanaka who is behind the soundtracks for the Sakura Wars series and One Piece.
This game features one of the most over the top battle systems in any JRPG. Your characters fight with Guns and pull off various acrobatic stunts during combat that can be reminiscent of very over the top action movies that feature combat with firearms. You can even customise the firearms you equip to your characters with various upgrades and additional parts and the music is really great!
The story may take some time to really get going but I really enjoyed this one.
9. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Developed by Level-5, this is literally a Studio Ghibli anime movie in game form with involvement from a lot of staff members of the studio. The soundtrack is also done by Joe Hisaishi who has worked on almost all of the well-known Studio Ghibli movies. And like most Studio Ghibli movies this game has a really fantastic and whimsical story to it and the exploration and combat mechanics are really fun. The Remastered version also includes a few quality of life updates from the original PS3 version.
As a huge anime fan who’s favourite anime movies include Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away I really enjoyed Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.
8. Final Fantasy X-2
Oh boy…This is kinda going to be a bit of a hot take. I love this game a whole lot! This was the first FF game that I picked up and played and it left a positive impression on me. Sure the game is very lighthearted and has that sort of peppy vibe that not many people enjoyed at the time of release.
The battle system is really fun and enjoyable. It’s the classic ATB System that the Final Fantasy series is known for since Final Fantasy VII but with a slight twist. You have access to various jobs that are called Dresspheres in the game and you can change them on the fly during combat, allowing you to switch things up and make strategic moves based on your enemies. The music is also amazing, with a lot of stellar insert songs that I remember to this day. This game is what got me into Final Fantasy and I am not ashamed to admit that.
7. The World Ends With You
This game has to be one of the most special and innovative JRPGs I have played. Taking advantage of the Nintendo DS’ Touch Screen in the best way. The music is also really on point by Takeharu Ishimoto and various artists that collaborated to form an appropriate and fitting Urban Hip-Hop dominated soundtrack. There is also a Switch port with added content but if you pick that one up my suggestion is to play the game in handheld mode cause I personally didn’t like the Joy-con controls a lot.
6. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1 & 2
Out of all the franchises, I am a huge fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series, which splits off into various spin-off series and Mainline titles. Out of all of these, my favourite of the bunch is the Digital Devil Saga Duology. Yeah I am kinda bending the rules here since Digital Devil Saga 2 is the second part of the story in all technicality. Featuring a really interesting storyline which has amazing voice work. The well-done Press Turn System from the mainline game making an appearance for the battles. You do not recruit demons though, as all of the protagonists and antagonists transform into demons themselves allowing them to use the various demonic powers that demons can use.
I had a really good time with the Duology as a whole.
5.Pokémon Black and White
Picking a Pokémon game was a little bit of a hard task to do considering that all of the generations have their good points to them and all of them work well as an entry-level JRPG for young kids and folks who haven’t played a JRPG before.
However, I ended up picking Black and White, the fifth-generation games since they have one of the best stories told within a Pokemon game, while still maintaining the formula that the series is known for, the music is absolutely amazing too. While the titles were certainly controversial at the time, I had a really good time with them.
4. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
This would be another instance where I am somewhat bending the rules. As this was originally supposed to be a Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem Crossover game. However, it changed into its own thing during development. While it does feature the patented magic names from the SMT series it also features the characteristic features and characters from the Fire Emblem series – while the story is themed around the Japanese entertainment industry. I have had a lot of fun with the games story and battle system. This is my personal hot take – the game is underrated, it’s really good despite the changes the localisation made.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
When it comes to games that feature huge open worlds, I think the Xenoblade Chronicles games do the concept justice in many ways such as giving players an incentive to visit the various landmarks and the fact there is so much to do within those worlds. I really enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a lot. The story is interesting, the open world structure is enjoyable and it pays off to explore and go off the beaten path which should be the standard for these types of games, the various Rare Blades that you can get from the Gacha-like element of the game with the Core Crystals are awesome and the music by ACE+ and Yasunori Mitsuda is amazing.
2. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition –
Dragon Quest is a huge JRPG franchise, especially in Japan. It’s so popular that you have stories of the Japanese government mandating Square Enix (or rather Enix at the time) to release Dragon Quest games on the weekend to avoid people from calling in sick to work or school just so they can play the latest game in the series. And I can see why with this entry.
While the story of this game isn’t groundbreaking by any means. It’s an old-school and traditional JRPG story where the protagonist is chosen to save the world. But that’s not a bad thing by any means since the story is told quite well and with a lot of charming characters that you meet along the way. The gameplay is also really well-done and retains the traditional turn-based combat system that the series is known for. I also cannot forget to mention that the character designs by Akira Toriyama are well-done and have a very distinct charm to them. The reason I decided to go with Dragon Quest XI S is that they have added a whole lot of quality of life updates along with adding a Japanese voice track which has been made specifically for this version and the amazing orchestrated soundtrack.
I had a really great time with this game.
1. Persona 5 / Persona 5 Royal
Yup I am breaking the rules again. But I guess that’s just me being a rebel.
It is because of the fact the Shin Megami Tensei series and Persona series are treated as two separate things these days while both series are part of the SMT franchise, Persona 5 catapulted the Persona series into the mainstream.
I really enjoyed the original game a whole lot. The story had me hooked, the overall style and aesthetic is, in my opinion, amazing and the game flaunts it like no other. The fact that they included negotiations again after a long while of not having them in Persona 3 and 4, as well as the fact that guns are back from Persona 1 and 2, had me hyped the moment I noticed those details. I have played the original Persona 5 in Japanese when it came out in Japan in 2016 but I also put Persona 5 Royal as a recommendation cause the re-release has a lot of quality of life updates and various changes such as an additional semester and other neat things.
I hope you all enjoyed this list and I encourage you all to let us know about your top 10 JRPGs! Also feel free to join the Official Rice Digital Discord Server to talk about games, anime and many more topics!
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