Japan is a land of history, culture, natural heritage, and samurai. They have given us anime and manga alongside a vast number of video games. Among them, Japanese role-playing games, commonly known as Japanese RPGs or JRPGs, are worth mentioning. They have always been a strange phenomenon, and fans love playing a good JRPG.
This article is all about Japanese role-playing games, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
What is a Japanese Role-playing Game?
JRPGs or Japanese Role-playing Games are a special sub-genre of role-playing games. You might have heard about Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest; both of them are Japanese role-playing games. But they are very distinct from western role-playing games. JRPGs are made and developed by Japanese developers and published by a Japanese studio.
JRPGs contain an array of Sub-RPG genres, so there are different RPG mechanisms involved in them. You cannot put them under a single umbrella characteristic. But one common element in all JRPGs is the anime look. These characters tend to have anime-type features and look compared to western role-playing games.
Top 10 Best Selling Japanese Role-playing Games
Before we discuss the best 15 Japanese Role-playing games of All Time let us have a look at the highest-grossing JRPGs of all time at a glance.
|Sr.||Franchise/ Game Title||Publishers||Total Units Sale (as of 2021)||Year of Origin|
|2.||Final Fantasy||Square Enix||164,000,000||1987|
|3.||Dragon Quest||Square Enix||83,000,000||1986|
|5.||Kingdom Hearts||Square Enix||35,000,000||2002|
|6.||Souls||Bandai Namco, Sony, FromSoftware||32,440,000||2009|
|8.||Megami Tensei||Atlus, Sega||23,500,000||1987|
|9.||Super Robot Wars||Bandai Namco||19,240,000||1991|
|10.||Dragon Ball RPGs||Bandai Namco||19,200,500||1988|
Top 15 Japanese Role-playing games of All Time
If you enjoyed playing Final Fantasy, you will indeed like all the games on this list. Let’s have a look at the best JRPGs of all time.
1. Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version
Platform: Game Boy Color, Nintendo 3DS.
The Pokémon franchise is the highest-grossing gaming series, and it has brought us joy since our childhood. Among all the titles of this series, Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version are the best JRPG according to gamers and fans. Pokémon Gold and Silver Version were released in Japan on 21 November 1999 as the second title of the series. And since then, it has been winning the hearts of players all over the world.
The sophomore effort taken by Pokémon Gold & Silver hit the sweet spot on many fans. Pokémon Gold and Silver continued the legacy of Pokémon Red and Blue and introduced some new features and surprises. It added over 100 pocket monsters and enabled trainers to engage with the community.
In addition to the eight gyms introduced in the Red and Blue version, this time, it takes us to the original Kanto setting. The Pokémon Gold and Silver version remains one of the best and content-rich Japanese role-playing games.
2. Final Fantasy VI
Platforms: Windows OS, SNES, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, iOS, Android.
I must be a fool if I don’t put a title from the Final Fantasy video game series. There are around fifteen games in this series, and Final Fantasy VI is absolutely the best turn-based JRPG to play. It is a masterpiece in every sense and a joy to play. Though it makes no sense Final Fantasy VI was released in North America as Final Fantasy 3. Yes, I know it was weird, but it didn’t hamper the excellent reputation of the game.
Final Fantasy 6 is the last sprite-based, 2D video game. Final Fantasy VI is still the series’ best game with fantastic game mechanics and smooth gameplay. The game feels like the opening of the golden chest of classic final fantasy series.
3. Chrono Trigger
Platforms: Windows, SNES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, iOS, & Android.
Chrono Trigger is a 1995 JRPG, one of the most exciting games ever created. The game showcases some of the best work of Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the most famous Final Fantasy video game series. Not only that, famous creators like Yuji Horii from the Dragon Quest series and Akira Toriyama from Dragon Ball are behind it too.
If you haven’t already tried Chrono Trigger, you are missing out, my friend! Chrono Trigger introduced us to various unique and new concepts that are still popular today. It is a JRPG about everything you could want in a video game. Chrono Trigger puts rejoice in every gamer’s soul.
4. Dragon Quest VIII
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Android, & iOS.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is one of the best Japanese role-playing games for consoles. Dragon Quest basically started the JRPG trend along with the Final Fantasy series. Released in the same year as GTA: San Andreas, Katamari Damacy, and Metal Gear III, Dragon Quest VIII had a lot of tough competition. Nonetheless, it stood successfully and proved its worth to us.
Dragon Quest VIII brings us the purest and the most amazing Dragon Quest experience of all time. Dragon Quest VIII handled the traditional turn-based role-playing mechanism pretty well. The game also featured a monster-capturing method where you can capture monsters during battles.
5. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Platforms: Nintendo Switch.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses puts the players into a rock-solid action JRPG. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a blast no matter what path you choose. If you play the game once, you will fancy it for your life. Fire Emblem: Three Houses are only a Nintendo Switch game, but I wish it were available on all platforms.
From the very opening of the game, you will feel the magic, and it is visually the best game. All the characters are likable, and you will definitely enjoy their company. There are three houses in the game with different challenges. To clear the game, you have to finish all three of the houses. Thus the name Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
6. Persona 5 Royal
Platforms: PlayStation 4.
Without mentioning a Persona video game series game, this list of the best Japanese role-playing games won’t be complete. Choosing a favorite Persona game is like pointing out your favorite child. It is hard, but I have to do it. So, here is Persona 5 Royal, the best JRPG of the Persona series, in my opinion.
In Persona 5 Royal, you fill in the protagonist’s shoes, known as the Joker. Is it worth playing after completing Persona 5? Well, the answer is. There is enough new content and gameplay even after completing the previous game. So, if you haven’t already played Persona 5 Royal, give the game a try. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
7. Tales of Berseria
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4.
Tales of Berseria is an amazing Japanese role-playing game and is regarded as the best Tales game of all time. In the game, you play as a small-town girl named Velvet, who is caring for her only brother, Laphicet.
Velvet’s brother-in-law Artorious sacrifices Lapichet to Kill the Daemons. After that, Artorious goes after Velvet. But Velvet overcomes the Daemons and gains special powers. Then she seeks vengeance from Artorious for killing her brother and goes on a magical journey.
The story of Tales of Berseria is no less than any high-class Anime series. You will enjoy every moment of this fantastic game.
8. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Platforms: Windows OS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, & Xbox One.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is more than just a simple JRPG. It is a magical experience. There are several games in the Ni No Kuni series, but Wrath of the White Witch was the first title that entered the Western world. Gameplaywise, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch features everything you expect in a regular JRPG, but it doesn’t end there. The open-world experience and various quests make this title an exceptional one.
Wrath of the White Witch is the best modern-day JRPG that you can enjoy on your PC and consoles. The great soundtracks and immersive story will keep you engaged for hours. Purchase the game and have a taste of an authentic Japanese RPG.
9. Secret of Mana
Platforms: Windows OS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, SNES, iOS, & Android.
The secret of Mana is a classic JRPG that is available across all gaming platforms. This 1993 title brings us a tale of an action-packed, worldwide adventure. The players take on the role of a young lad named Randi and are tasked with reviving the magical abilities of Mana.
The secret of Mana is one of the best and most loved JRPGs of the era. The Secret of Mana involves many encounters with tremendous monsters and magical beings. Players are armed and accompanied by two companions to clear the levels. Everything about Secret of Mana is marvelous, from fantastic sound design to amazing graphics. Get the game and experience the wonder yourself.
10. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Switch.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered has been released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and PC in North America. During World War II, Valkyria Chronicles places players in a conflict between tanks and weapons. The setting of this game is unusual compared to other JRPGs. The plot and story are as intriguing as the role-playing perspective is.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a squad-based game that requires you to form a team with your partners. You and your squad perform attacks and missions to progress in the game. The goal is to keep everyone alive while destroying the enemies.
11. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS.
I enjoyed playing Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch as much as I enjoyed playing the other Japanese RPGs on this list. Fans of Final Fantasy will fall head over heels for Xenoblade Chronicles. The series has two games, and both of them are impressive pieces of work. Explore the magical world with the characters and fight for what you believe is justice.
Released in 2017, Xenoblade Chronicles was the largest open-world role-playing game. And you will get lost in the wonders of the world of the game. So, get on your Switch and start playing this marvelous title.
12. Vagrant Story
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4.
Vagrant Story is an action role-playing game by the famous Japanese publisher Square Enix. This PlayStation-only game is a solo adventure shot from a third-person perspective. The player controls the protagonist, Ashley Riot, and explores Lea monde and the Catacombs underneath the place. The navigation is in real-time, and the map explored by the gamers is stored in an in-game map, making it smoother.
There is basically no lag in the game, and the controls run pretty smoothly. If you have an older version of the PlayStation, such as PS Vita or PS Portable, that won’t be an issue. They don’t make games like this anymore, which are enjoyable to play and watch.
13. Grandia II
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch.
Grandia II is an excellent Japanese RPG that represents classic Japanese action games. It is a single-player adventure game featuring retro-style graphics and sound design. Grandia II will bring joy to your hearts with new difficulty levels and mouse-keyboard gameplay.
Take the role of a kind but ruthless mercenary and go on an epic journey of fantasy, sacrifice, and friendship. Experience the world of Grandia again and enjoy a great time like the old days.
14. Octopath Traveler
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Stadia, & Xbox One.
Octopath Traveler is a fantasy role-playing adventure developed by Square Enix. The game was initially released for Nintendo Switch in 2018 and later for Windows in 2019. Octopath Traveler claimed worldwide fame for its gameplay and storytelling. The game sports a visual aesthetic commonly known as HD-2D. It combines Super NES retro characters with polygonal textures. You don’t get to see this much detailing and concept art in a JRPG that often. The animation and graphical content of Octopath Traveler are praiseworthy.
If you enjoyed playing Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, you would indeed feel comfortable playing Octopath Traveler.
15. Tales of Zestiria
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3.
In a world torn by fear and horror, you have to accept the burden and deal with the hurdles of life. Transform yourself with the most amazing magical fantasy you can ever imagine. Let us complete this list of the best Japanese RPG with Tales of Zestiria.
Tales of Zestiria is an excellent role-playing fantasy game from Bandai Namco Studio that you will enjoy for eternity. So, get this masterpiece and get ready to battle with some monsters.
I enjoyed writing this article about the top JRPGs of all time. Whenever the topic is Japan, I feel like a child and get too excited. I hope you find this article helpful and share your thoughts with us.