Top 10 JRPGs of All Time

Script written by Brandon Stuhr. JRPGs are a mainstay in the world of video games, and whats not to love? Incredible stories, deep immersive worlds and complex battle systems, these games have it all. For this list, we are only considering games that were given an official English localization release, also our traditional one game per franchise rule applies here. While the games in question do not have to be turn based, they have to feature the genre staples like experience points and multiple characters. So join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 JRPGs of all time. Special thanks to our users PirateAssassin, BlueDragonBrigade and ReaderGamerSinger for suggesting this idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Brandon Stuhr.

Top 10 JRPGs of All Time


There’s are RPGs, and then there are JRPGs. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our Top 10 JRPGs of all time.

For this list, we are only considering games that were given an official English localization release, also our traditional one game per franchise rule applies here. While the games in question do not have to be turn based, they have to feature the genre staples like experience points and multiple characters – so games like Monster Hunter are out. Also, tactical-strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem are also excluded.

#10: “Secret of Mana” (1993)


The second Mana game to arrive in North America, if you count Final Fantasy Adventure on the Gameboy, here we follow our un-named hero as he discovers the legendary weapon the Mana sword. You ultimate goal was to use the sword to destroy what is known as the “Mana Fortress”, a flying warship once controlled by an advanced civilization. The title was revolutionary for its time, allowing up to three players to operate each one of the main character simultaneously as well as a wheel system that made casting spells a breeze.

#9: “Suikoden II” (1999)


Our next entry is another classic in the JRPG catalog, Suikoden II. Known for its multi-branching story, the player controls Riou, our young hero who gets swept up in the a multi-nation war, like we all do from time to time. The gameplay will keep you on your toes, as it switches quite often between skirmishes with up to six characters or full on army assaults. We recommend you play this with a guide, as you still may not get the real ending if you haven't collected all 108 characters and that is a feat all by itself. Go ahead, we dare you to try.

#8: “Earthbound” (1995)


Released in Japan with the less appealing title Mother 2, we follow the story of Ness and his four friends as they attempt to stop the alien Giygas from destroying their world. How do you ask? By a collection of melodies of course! Contrary to this, one of the main creators of the game, writer Shigesato Itoi, considered “Earthbound” a satirical statement about western culture as well as common RPG tropes - as evidenced by the seemingly mundane characters that serve as enemies. As to be guessed, Earthbound went on to sell poorly in the United States but is remembers as a cult classic.

#7: “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4” (2008)


The newest game to make our top ten, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 breathed life into a genre that was mainly ruled by the Final Fantasy franchise. Persona 4 is essentially two games in one, as when in the real world of Inaba the game functions as a life simulator allowing you to live out your day as you wish. When you enter the “TV World” you use each character's Persona, essentially a mask the character wears to deal with hardships in their lives, to gain experience and levels. The game attempts to blend RPG and simulation elements together and largely succeeds.

#6: “Kingdom Hearts” (2002)


This is what happens when Disney and Final Fantasy are mashed together. Taking control of young boy Sora, the player visits various Disney worlds like Agrabah from Aladdin and the Deep Jungle from Tarzan, to defeat the Heartless, which serves as the main force of darkness in the game. Though only the most devoted of fans can follow its convoluted storyline beyond its multiple spinoffs on different consoles, the original is still shining example of an Action JRPG done right.

#5: “Xenogears” (1998)


While Xenoblade Chronicles was another critically acclaimed entry in the series, Xenogears just barely edges it out in terms of legendary status. In Xenogears you take control of protagonist Fei Fong Wong as he tries to uncover the truth behind mysterious machines that exist in his world. The game serves as an analysis of humanity's relationship with machines, mainly due to the existence of “gears”. Gears various machines that any character the player controls can operate. Much like one of our earlier entries, Xenogears uses two different systems for battle, a traditional turn-based format and a giant robot battle when operating a gear.

#4: “Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King” (2005)


In Dragon Quest VIII the player controls a silent protagonist and his allies in their battle against Dhoulmagus, a court jester who obtained a magic scepter containing the “Lord of Darkness” and is trying to take over their kingdom. The eighth iteration of the "Dragon Warrior" franchise, "Dragon Quest" uses a mixture of 3D animation and cel shading technology, as style that was underrepresented in the JRPG genere. To top it off, the battle system was improved from previous titles to include first-person and third-person viewpoints, seamlessly switching with ease. Western world, meet Dragon Quest – not Dragon Warrior.

#3: “Pokemon: Gold/Silver/Crystal” (2000)


You gotta catch them all, and indeed we did. The second major installment in the Pokemon franchise, Gold and Silver added 100 new Pokemon to an already expansive list. This time around there are 16 gym to take on, spread across 2 separate regions. You can collect Pokemon the traditional way by catching them wild in game, trading with other players, or by using the newly introduced breeding system. It also added a time system to the series, which is integral to the appearances of a few rare Pokemon. Can you capture the legendary Pokemon? Probably.

#2: “Final Fantasy VI” (1994)


This genre just screams Final Fantasy, the so only question was which? For more on this difficult decision, check out our Top 10 Final Fantasy Game’s list. Anyway, in Final Fantasy 6’s steam-punk inspired main story you take control of up to fourteen playable characters in a rebellion against the Empire and their “Magitek” knights, most notably Kefka. Kefka is the driving force behind the end of the world, and is serves as one of the greatest antagonists gaming has ever seen. While battle wise the game doesn't bring much new to the table, it’s peerless in terms of story.

Before we reveal our first choice, take a look at our honorable mentions.

“Lunar: Silver Star Story” (1999)

“Ni No Kuni- Wrath of the White Witch” (2013)

“Breath of Fire 3” (1997)

“Super Mario RPG:Legend of the Seven Stars” (1996)

“Phantasy Star IV” (1995)

#1: “Chrono Trigger” (1995)


No other game has ever done JRPGs and Time Travel more justice than this 16-bit masterpiece. From its rather simplistic beginnings to save a princess lost in time, the game quickly evolves into something bigger. In the future, humanity is clinging to life in a dying world, thanks to a being known as Lavos who has devastated the planet. Chrono Trigger’s story is compelling without being over complex, just like it’s combat system. On top of it all, there multiple endings to give you more reasons to relive the journey. Chrono Trigger isn’t just the best JRPG, it’s one of the best games ever made.

Do you by any chance agree with our list? What JRPG do love so much? For more intensive top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

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