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10 of the Best Jrpgs You Should Be Playing Right Now

Final Fantasy VIII Remake
Photo Credits: Square Enix

JRPG is short for Japanese Role Playing Games, a genre of its own in the world of RPGs and a long-time mainstay of the space.

When examining JRPGs four our least we decided to focus on easier-to-find and current games, which means you’re not going to find such classics as Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, and Panzer Dragoon Saga.

We chose games based on their engaging storylines, gameplay, and the general size of the games and their open worlds.

Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles
Photo Credits: Monolith Soft

Just the concept of the game is already pretty mind-blowing. Basically, there are two warring sides in this story that takes place on the frozen bodies of two titans that are clashed in battle. It’s a case of humans vs robots too, and you’re the chosen one.

Xenoblade Chronicles provides players with one of the biggest open-world JRPGs out there, with a compelling storyline and fun battles. There are day and night cycles, with certain areas unlocking at certain portions of the day. The game employs a real-time battle system with some cool abilities and powers at hand.

It is also one of those games where the weapons are comically larger than average and which pack a powerful punch. 

Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal
Photo Credits: Atlus

The Royal version of Persona 5 is just an enhanced version with more improvements and additions to the already action-packed Persona 5. A group of teenagers fighting against authority and abusive figures with their awakened Persona sounds like a pretty badass game. 

Your characters and bonds are developed through battles and interactions in both worlds – shadow and reality. With the Royal version, you’ll get more mini-games, new social links, and a new Thieves Den, as well as an entirely new semester of high school at the end of your run.

Truly, Persona 5 is a recommended must-play for all JRPG fans and a good entry for those who are looking for a JRPG to blow them away. And the graphics are pretty eye-catching and a refreshing outlook for JRPGs.

Final Fantasy Vii Remake

Final Fantasy VIII Remake
Photo Credits: Square Enix

Final Fantasy is probably one of the more famous JRPG titles on this list. It’s a sprawling franchise that has been ongoing for years, with an aim to only get better. If you’ve played the original Final Fantasy VIII, then you should also get your hands on the remake!

Not only is it visually stunning, but its gameplay is enhanced and its storyline is still as heartwarming as before (well, for the most part). You play Cloud and navigate his battle against the mega-corporation draining the essence of his planet with his buddies from an eco-terrorist group called AVALANCHE.

Everything takes place in a bustling cyberpunk dystopian metropolis. The game uses real-time battle mechanics and exploration as well as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system from the original game. It’s basically a special abilities meter, and once it fills up, you’ll get to unleash some powerful abilities!

Dragon Quest Xi S: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of An Elusive Age
Photo Credits: Square Enix

If you are ever itching to know how it feels like to be a prophesized hero destined to save the world, then Dragon Quest would be a good pick for you. The S version is the enhanced option released for the Nintendo Switch. You’ll continue on the adventure from where the previous game left off, but it is generally easy to grasp.

You’ll be fighting monsters, climbing mountains, and meeting new friends along the way. You also happen to be deemed evil by the king, so you are on the run from his forces looking to capture you and throw you back into prison. All this while having to protect the world by fulfilling the prophecy of saving the world tree Yggdrasil from evil.

There are also multiple endings in the S version of the game for you to uncover, so you can replay it several times to unlock them all. There’s a lot to do in this JRPG game, from dungeon runs to battling monsters, so you will have your hands full.

Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler
Photo Credits: Square Enix

Just like its name suggests, you’ll be joining eight different protagonists whose lives intertwine and stories interconnect in its main campaign which takes about 80 hours to fully complete. There are boss fights, dungeon runs, side quests, hidden bosses, and more awaiting your moves in the game.

With eight different protagonists, you have eight different roles and stories to uncover. Each character is equipped with their very own special ability for battles and combo attacks. They are all unique characters with different personalities that will end up coming together in one final battle against the antagonist Galdera.

The game features a turn-based battle mechanic, and the characters can use all sorts of weapons and elemental abilities aside from their own special abilities.

Shin Megami Tensei V

Shin Megami Tensei V
Photo Credits: Atlus

A JRPG set in a post-apocalyptic Japan and Netherworld. Those who are familiar with the Shin Megami Tensei universe would have a blast going through this latest release of the franchise. You’ll be playing as a high school student stuck in an alternate reality version of Japan where angels and demons are at war with each other. 

As you were saved from an incoming demon attack, you fused with a demon and are now known as the Nahobino, a powerful creature destined to protect or destroy the world. The choice is in your hands. The game basically makes you a God and throws all sorts of challenges at you to see if you can handle it.

It is a turn-based combat game, and you’ll need to strategize to make the most out of your turns. There’s even a meter for you to fill up in order to release some special ability skills and you can recruit demons along the way. If you find better demons, you can fuse them too. It is a refreshing concept and interesting storyline that is sure to keep you entertained.

Bravely Default 2

Bravely Default 2
Photo Credits: Square Enix

You should probably try out the first Bravely Default and Bravely Second: End Layer beforehand, but Bravely Default 2 is arguably the best of the three. It features a whole new separate story, environment, and characters as well, so it’s definitely worth exploring for a refreshing new adventure.

There are four main characters on a journey to retrieve stolen crystals of the four elements while battling evil along the way and trying to prevent the misuse of the crystals. Once you’ve gotten hold of the four crystals, you’ll go into battle with the villain and unleash a string of bad events.

It is a beautiful game with an interesting take on the turn-based battle system. You can set your character to ‘Brave’ to gain extra moves or ‘Default’ for a defensive stance. See where the game gets its name? Fun. You do need to grind a little harder in this one compared to previous titles, and the bosses are more challenging, but that’s what makes it fun!

Ys Viii: Lacrimosa of Dana

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Photo Credits: Nihon Falcom

The latest title in the Ys series with smoother combat, combos, and a chance to build your own island village. Ys VIII is known for its soundtrack and fantastic music that you’ll catch yourself probably enjoying much more than the gameplay itself.

You fill in the shoes of shipwrecked characters as you go on a quest to find the missing crew, establish your own functional island, and somehow find your way back home. Of course, that won’t be enough for an action JRPG, so they threw in a mystery girl and a prophecy that talks about the end of the world.

There are six playable characters, customizations, and most importantly, great character development and emotional narrative that you just have to experience for yourself.

NI No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Ni No Ku Ni: Wrath of The White Witch
Photo Credits: Level 5

If you think the art style is familiar, well it’s because it’s a game made in collaboration with Studio Ghibli! The game uses a third-person perspective with a linear storyline and a set of objectives in its gameplay.

When you’re done with your quests, you can roam freely around and explore dungeons, towns, and even dangerous places that nobody dares to venture into. You play as Oliver, as he goes on a quest to bring his mother’s soulmate from an alternate reality into his world in hopes of bringing his mother back to life. Pretty dark, if you ask me. 

Battles are initiated when players encounter enemies in an open battlefield where they can roam freely. Battles are done with magical abilities and evolvable familiars (sort of like Pokemon). Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch is worth the time, even if you are in it to experience a Ghibli-like adventure for your own.

Nier Automata

Nier Automata
Photo Credits: PlatinumGames

Ready to die a lot? That’s a certainty with a game like Nier Automata where you can hardly catch a break. There are three different androids in this JRPG: 2B, 9S, and A2, with a mission to cleanse the post-apocalyptic Earth of machines. Nier Automata’s plot is rather separated from the original Nier, but it does share some similarities.

There are multiple endings to side quests, and the air of tragedy and existentialism surrounds this game. The overall game itself has about 26 endings for you to unlock, which grants it endless replayability if you’re a completionist.

The game combines hack and slash combat with RPG elements, and elements of other genres ranging from text adventure to a shoot ‘em up bullet hell. One thing about this game is it has the range, and it executes it well.

To Conclude

So, are you ready to step into the world of JRPGs? It’s a whole lot of fun and definitely a step up from your usual RPGs, so don’t be afraid to take the plunge! These titles we’ve listed out for you are some of the best JRPGs for you to explore, and we can guarantee you’ll have a colorfully good time. Each JRPG presented is unique, so choose one that appeals the most to you, and have fun!

Sarah Paul

Written by Sarah Paul

I dip my toes in all things nerdy. I started writing and never looked back! I'll write about anything under the sun if you give me the chance, but my loyalty currently lies with nerd culture.

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