Top 25 Best Japanese RPGs of All Time

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There comes a time when every person must sit back, think about his or her life's accomplishments, and wonder, "What JRPGs should I play?"

This is a list of the best Japanese role-playing games that deserve your time.

25. Pokemon X & Y

Pokemon X & Y is the culmination of over a decade of innovation in the on-going Pokemon franchise.

Though much of the core gameplay remains the same, X & Y offer a host of new innovations and features.

X & Y are the first Pokemon games to feature full fledged 3D graphics with 3D modeled characters and creatures rather than sprites as has always been done in the main series.

24. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Released as the second game in the Paper Mario series, The Thousand-Year door came out to general critical praise on the GameCube in 2004, though it was not appreciated much for the lack of evolution between it and the earlier Nintendo 64 title.

Par for the course in the series, the unique visual style of 3D environments with 2D characters made to behave like paper returns in full force, going in so far as to conceal secrets behind screens you are able to blow away and Mario being able to fold into different shapes. 

The JRPG aspect can be inferred from the battle style in Paper Mario - a turn based system similar to the SNES’ Super Mario RPG.

New to the Thousand-Year Door, your party members are actually tangible and can be defeated, though only in  the sole case of Mario being incapacitated will your game actually end.

23. Suikoden II

The second installment of Konami’s Suikoden series came out in late 1998 in Japan on the Playstation.

A very complex game with a lot of content and story to it, Suikoden II employs a turn based combat style in which your (up to 6) characters can attack simultaneously, while also having a strategic combat element separate to it, in which you can pit armies against each-other.

Another special element to the title is your ability of building up a castle, recruiting more characters to it, each of which brings something new, like a new conversation piece, a new shop or even new minigames, like Iron Chef-style cook-offs, or fishing.

22. Final Fantasy X


Final Fantasy X may be somewhat infamous for its forced laughter scene, but don’t let that dissuade you from playing the rest of the game, which was the first title in the series to transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, made possible by the advent of the PlayStation 2.

The game was also the first to feature voice acting and replace the series’ staple of Active Time Battle with a Conditional Turn-Based Battle system.

Whereas the ATB concept features real-time elements, the CTB system is a turn-based format that pauses the battle during each of the player's turns.

Beyond its gameplay and technical elements, Final Fantasy X was notable for its story, which centered around a character named Tidus, a blitzball player who finds himself in the fantasy world of Spira after his home is destroyed by an entity named Sin. 

21. Valkyria Chronicles


Before the release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Valkyria Chronicles was the closest thing to a serious turn-based strategy game on the PlayStation 3.

Disgaea and its sequels notwithstanding, Valkyria Chronicles puts players in control of a squad of soldiers whom they’ll take with them to the ends of the earth as they participate in a story reminiscent of the events of the Second World War. 

The gameplay plays out in real-time with the ability to pause while issuing orders, the amount of which is limited by the number of action points each character has.

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