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Lolager4now's Top 10 Favourite JRPGs

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In all honesty, I could put the entire Dragon Quest franchise on this spot because while every game has some noticeable improvements and differences as the years go by, they haven't change that much since the series' inception 20 years ago. Even today, a Dragon Quest game has incredibly simple turn-based combat and a story revolving around a group of heroes defeating an evil, which is one of the series' most charming attributes as well as its biggest detriments. Personally, I will go with the 9th entry in the series as while it doesn't have the best story like Dragon Quest V or the visuals of VIII, IX had the best pacing and the most varied customisation out of all the games I played in the series. It's also surprisingly challenging for a DQ game and its turn-based combat, while simple, had a lot of tension and depth added to it.
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People who added this item 315 Average listal rating (181 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
EarthBound - Super famicom and SNES


One of the quirkiest, left-field, and down-right strangest games I have ever played in my life. Earthbound, when it came out and still to this day, is one of the most unique JRPGs to ever comeout. Excluding its sequel, there is really not a lot like this. Unlike its peers where they set in a medieval fantasy world or a futuristic cyberpunk era, it has a very urban, contemporary setting, with enemies being stray dogs, crows, signs, abstract art and items ranging from candy bars to cookies. Along with its weird yet engrossing story, its gameplay is also the same description. While turn-based at heart, every battle is incredibly tense as it has a mechanic where if you get hit critically, you can use a heal item while your health dramatically drops - a mechanic that should be used by JRPGs more often. If you want to get this game in your collection, prepare to break your bank as this baby is incredibly sought after.
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People who added this item 83 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
Radiant Historia - Nintendo DS


In all honesty, one of the greatest hidden gems on DS. Coming out of absolutely nowhere from Atlus, this game has the most innovative turn-based gameplay I've ever played since Final Fantasy X's party-swapping combat. Taking some bits from Chrono Trigger with a time-travelling plot with an incredible political back-drop and Bioware-style replayability, Radiant Historia's greatest asset is its positional combat system where enemy groups are in a formation and you can use different attacks to take out a line or two. This becomes highly strategic as the game goes on as specific attacks can hit vertically or horizontally. Some attacks will move an enemy into another position or stack them for multiple damage. Seriously, the gameplay alone makes this game absolutely worth it.
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People who added this item 238 Average listal rating (103 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 0
Suikoden II - PlayStation


First of all, thanks ProJared for introducing me to this game. Secondly, this game is what I imagine Game of Thrones would be if it was made by a Japanese developer. Suikoden II strays from the usual JRPG plot of saving the world from evil and instead focus on a heavily political and personal plot about two friends torn apart by different ideals - a story rarely seen in any game. It also sets itself apart from its peers by having a wopping 108 members in your party, each of them having their own abilities, personalities and stories. Gameplay wise, it's an incredibly stylish, six-party turn-based combat, with bit mixtures of strategy RPG in it. Like Earthbound, this is a bank-breaking, highly sought-after game to get if you want it in your collection.
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People who added this item 156 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
Xenoblade Chronicles - Nintendo Wii


Starting in the 7th Gen of gaming, JRPGs went into a bit of decline as modern first-person shooters, open-world action games and Western RPGs were the most popular genre at the time. JRPGs, while not completely gone, people were losing interest in them, probably because the best ones are relatively obscure and not marketed well, and the more renowned franchises offered generally mediocre experiences, most particularly with the Final Fantasy XIII franchise. God, what a disaster that was. That is until Xenoblade Chronicles came along. One of the best, as well as one of the most sought-after Wii exclusives out there, Xenoblade Chronicles took the JRPG and shook it violently until the unnecessary flab that plague the genre fell off, pretty much revitalising it to a new audience. A refreshing take on the genre while still feeling traditional in a sense, it takes gameplay ques from MMORPGs and Final Fantasy XII (the last good Final Fantasy game), offering an intense, highly strategic active-time combat system where player positioning is key. Certain attacks from a particular side of an enemy does extra damage or special abilities. Along with it comes an intriguing story about fate and destiny carried by loveable, brilliantly dubbed characters, and a map so ridiculous in scale and scope. Oh, and that soundtrack; one of the best I've ever heard. If you still kept your Wii, this is an absolute must play.
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People who added this item 180 Average listal rating (52 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0


Speaking of games that revitalised JRPGs in the modern era, here's another one of them. While Xenoblade Chronicles strayed away from traditional JRPG norms mechanically, Ni No Kuni instead stuck with it, being more of a nostalgic title that embodies the genre in its Golden Age, which is appropriate as fuck because at the time this came out, the genre was hampered down by ridiculous looking, unnecessarily flashy visuals and design, overtly complicated storylines, and protagonists that act aloof and cool but end up being empty, boring cardboard cut outs that I don't give two shits about - a trend that Final Fantasy VII started and others started to follow. Ni No Kuni is a reminder that there is nothing wrong with keeping it simple. The game is as traditional as a JRPG could get - random encounters, save the world from evil story-line, emphasis on overworld traversal and towns etc. But what this game gets right is how it executes it. Yeah, the story is pretty predictable but it has a lot of heart and charm, accompanied by relatable, endearing characters, Studio Ghibli's beautiful art design, and a colourful, diverse map to explore. The gameplay, while traditional in a sense, blends many elements from its peers, from its Pokemon-like monster catching system to its Tales combat style. Enough rambling, this is one of the best modern JRPGs out there and one of the PS3's greatest games. Highly recommend.
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People who added this item 82 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
Persona 4: Golden - PlayStation Vita


So first things first, let me just say that the PlayStation Vita needs more love. Seriously, what an incredibly underrated handheld console. Anyways, without Persona 4: Golden, I would not have bought a Vita in the first place. Having a huge burst of interest on the Shin Megami franchise after playing the amazing Persona 3 FE on the PSN, I wanted to have a go with Persona 4. Unfortunately, I don't have a PS2 and it never came out in the PSN here in Europe. That is until it was remade on the Vita. Hands down the best game on the system, Persona 4 is a JRPG masterpiece that is perfect for the handheld. Mixing dungeon crawler, high-school/dating sim, and turn-based combat reliant on character relationships and exploiting enemy weakness, it's an absolute blast to play from beginning to end. Couple that with an engrossing murder-mystery story, a fantastic soundtrack, one of the best cast of characters I've ever met in any game, and a massive variety of things to do, no modern JRPG has come close to it in my opinion.
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People who added this item 462 Average listal rating (331 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 0
Chrono Trigger - Super famicom and SNES


Considered to be the pinnacle of JRPGs in its Golden Age in the 90's, as well as a trail-blazer for future games in the genre to come, Chrono Trigger is a game that is best described as timeless. To this day, nothing has aged from this classic. Made by the first collaboration of Square and Enix before merging into one, lead by Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy) and Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest) you can say this is the result of the two venerable franchises clashing together to make that one Super JRPG like no other. It's expansive, time-traversing, multiple-ending story, innovative active-time combat system, endearing side-quests, and memorable characters still resonates with incredibly impact that few games could match to today. Along with Earthbound, it is one of the most sought-after SNES game in existence, of course being hard for me since this was never released in Europe originally.
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People who added this item 196 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0


A lot of people think that the most popular JRPG franchise is Final Fantasy since it's the one that made it known worldwide. Right? Actually, far from it. Yeah, it's very popular but it doesn't hold a candle to Pokemon in terms of sales and worldwide recognition. You may be wondering why Pokemon is a JRPG franchise? Well, it's made and published by Japanese companies (Nintendo and Game Freak) and it's a role-playing game with quests, random encounters, and a turn-based combat system. With all the numerous iterations containing more and more Pokemon, my absolute favourite is HeartGold. The original Gold version is the very first Pokemon game I've ever played and ever since then, no other game has topped it for me as the best. It has the most memorable roster of Pokemon, you can have a whole new region to explore PLUS the Kanto region from the previous generation as your post-game adventure, and has the most replay value out of all the Pokemon games before and after it. That is until its remake on the DS came along. Keeping the content that made Gold a masterpiece while adding Gen IV improvements and features, it's as perfect as any Pokemon game could get.
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People who added this item 339 Average listal rating (196 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
Final Fantasy III (VI) - Super famicom and SNES


While Chrono Trigger can be considered the best JRPG on the SNES in an objective sense, Final Fantasy III (actually VI) just does it for me. Not only is this the best JRPG I've ever played, it's also one of the greatest games I've had the pleasure of experiencing. I think this is the best game in the franchise because it is the only Final Fantasy title that felt complete to me. Out of all the Final Fantasy games, I think it had the best story with a perfect balance of comedy and drama, the best cast of heroes who are all loveable with interesting back stories and personalities, the best villain (Kefka is better than Sephiroth, bite me), and while the combat is a bit dry compared to future entries, it's still fun, strategic active-time combat system with each character having different play styles. Tell me, is there a Final Fantasy game where you can suplex a train?
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Along with platformer, sand-box, and action-adventure, JRPG is among my most played genre in gaming. Starting in the mid-80's and hitting it's Golden Age in the 90's, it's one of the most successful gaming genre out there, even if it has been in a bit of a decline after the 7th Gen. Many of my favourite games are JRPGs so what the heck, I'll gush about 10 of what I think are the best out there.

Rules:

Games had to be made by a Japanese developer (duh)
Must have a semblance of a menu-based combat system, whether it be active-time or turn-based (sorry Kingdom Hearts)
No Strategy JRPGs, they deserve their own list
One game per franchise

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Posted: 9 months, 2 weeks ago at Jan 13 2:01
One of the most memorable moments in Radiant Historia was when I got to control the little girl Aht. Her traps are devastating and made short work of any hapless foes crazy enough to stand in my way. I don't remember having as much fun with a character in jrpgs as I did using her.

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