Looking for a new game to play while you’re staying home during these periods of social distancing? Often featuring deep stories and averaging 30 - 80 hours of playing time, Japanese role-playing games are perfect for long days spent indoors. To help you dive into the genre, this article will introduce 5 of the Best JRPGs of all time that every gamer should try.
1. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Imagine a coming-of-age Studio Ghibli film as a JRPG and you get Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. First released on the Nintendo DS in Japan and the PlayStation 3, Ni No Kuni is one of the most beloved JRPGs of all time and for good reason. With the critically acclaimed Level-5 developer (Yokai Watch, Professor Layton) working alongside Studio Ghibli and master composer Joe Hisaishi, such a collaboration in gaming may never be seen again. The art style is childish, vibrant, and fantastic.
The soundtrack is by far one of the best JRPG soundtracks of all time and the dynamic combat mechanics make every enemy encounter something to look forward to. However, where the game shines most is in its heartfelt story. Ni No Kuni is about a young boy named Oliver whose world is turned upside down by the death of his mother. To save his mother’s life, Oliver travels to an unknown world filled with monsters, magic, and evil forces that must be defeated.
Ni No Kuni is available HERE
2. Final Fantasy (The Series)
You can’t talk about the best JRPGs without mentioning Final Fantasy. Born on the original Nintendo (Famicom in Japan), it could even be said that the Final Fantasy series has become the poster child for the JRPG genre. The series is known for its deep stories, character development, beautiful soundtracks, and traditional turn-based combat. However, every game in the series is completely different, so there is no need to play the games in order.
While Final Fantasy 7 is the most famous and critically acclaimed game in the franchise, there are other amazing games from the series that aren’t talked about as often.
One of these hidden gems is Final Fantasy Tactics, a strategy RPG released on the original PlayStation. The game follows Ramza, a young Lord who defies his family in the name of justice, amidst political unrest and mounting tensions within the kingdom. Put simply, if Game of Thrones were a JRPG, it would be Final Fantasy Tactics.
Various Final Fantasy titles are available HERE
3. Persona 4
If you love murder mysteries, relationship building, and a modern take on classic turn-based battle mechanics, then Persona 4 is the JRPG for you. Developed by Atlus, Persona 4 is often regarded as the best game in the long-running Persona series. In Persona 4, you move to a quiet Japanese town where strange murders keep occurring.
In a supernatural twist of fate, you and your friends acquire powerful guardians known as personas, who help you battle strange monsters in a parallel world. You and your friends must find the murderer, save the town, and maybe even fall in love while you do it.
Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden are available HERE
4. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
For those who like more mature stories and creative battle mechanics, The Trails of Cold Steel is a must-play. The game follows Rean Schwarzer and his adventure to survive Thors Military Academy. As part of their curriculum, Rean and his friends must travel through the kingdom of Erebonia and learn about different factions and political issues within the country.
However, school is cut short when a civil war threatens to break out within the kingdom. Rean and his friends are pulled into strife beyond their years, and must fight to save their families and the kingdom.
The Trails of Cold Steel is available HERE
5. Fire Emblem (series)
Fire Emblem is one of the most infuriating JRPG series you’ll ever play, but it’s also one of the best. Featuring a permanent death system, which the series has become famous for, Fire Emblem is an extremely difficult strategy RPG series and Fire Emblem Awakening is often cited as one of the best games on the Nintendo 3DS.
The games feature an intricate character bonding system that affects how well your party members fight together in battle. For those looking for a challenge, there is likely no harder JRPG series on the market.
Various Fire Emblem titles are available HERE
We hope that one of these JRPGs sparked your interest and will help you pass the time while staying indoors. With such a large library of games to choose from, we couldn't include every amazing JRPG on this list, so we decided to focus on more modern titles that are easily accessible today.