Okay before anyone starts with the JRPGs are on the decline comments I'd suggest you dust off your Wii and play Xenoblade Chronicles.
Number 10: .hack
Okay I know I know this series of games has gotten a lot of flack for being sort of middle of the road when it comes to JRPGs, but honestly the reason why this series stands out in my opinion is because it has a lot of heart. Now I am specifically talking about the first four games in this extremely large series because in lew of all of its obvious and somewhat frustrating flaws they still seems to pull me in, seriously most of my gaming career has been spent playing these games (possibly 1000 to 2000 hours). The first four games of .hack are Cyber Connect 2's first attempt at an RPG and by most critics it is a very mediocre and poorly marketed attempt. When I was a child though these games were the shit and I am still playing these games 10 years after I bought them, presumably going through my 50th playthrough next time I decide to play through them. The reason why I am putting .hack so low on this list is because it is a very flawed series, it was 4 completely identical games released at full price (Mutha fucka), and it is only notable for putting Cyber Connect 2 on the map and made them the Juggernaught that they are today, still a very fun series to me 10 years later. Here's hoping for these games to be added to the PS2 classics or an HD collection some time in the future.
Number 9: Rogue Galaxy
Rogue galaxy is really only memorable for it's amazing combat system, and damn is it a good setup. It's basically an Action RPG with a very unique turn based like mechanic tacked on. At points game can just seem to take forever to get through, but it is well worth going through everything this game has to offer. My biggest complaint about this game is its story which literally rips off Star Wars and tries to add some weird anime charm to it. It's not awful or anything, but this is not a game you want to play strictly for its story.
Number 8: Xenosaga 3
Xenosaga 3 is the turn based RPG perfected. There are almost no load times when going into combat, which is actually still a problem today believe it or not (I'm looking at you Lost Odyssey), and it is setup to be very fast paced for a turn based game. Not to mention this game is a great conclusion to the Xenosaga series. Long ass cutscenes aside, seriously there is 8 hours of cutscenes in this game, it is a very epic and entertaining game.
Number 7: Skies of Arcadia
Another turn based game, and it's probably the first game that on this list that most gamers consider as a classic. I played the Legends version of this game and apparently it was a bit more dumbed down in terms of how frequent the random encounters are, and the random encounters still annoyed the hell out of me. Skies of Arcadia is slightly better than Xenosaga 3 because of it's elemental skill setup and it's much more accessable story that isn't told through hours of cutscenes, otherwise both games are on par with each other.
Number 6: Xenogears
Okay I'm playing the Xeno card again in a list that seems to only have one game from each series, but I'm going to cheat a bit because the Xeno games are split into 3 seperate series published by 3 different publishers, hey it's my list I can do whatever I want. Anyway Xenogears is so to speak an extremely loose spinoff of Final Fantasy VII, and by loose I mean it was one of the proposed game ideas that didn't make the cut for Final Fantasy VII that was eventually turned into its own game. Anyway Xenogears is, or could have been, in my opinion better than Final Fantasy VII. The reason why it is better is because it's story and gameplay easily outmatch Final Fantasy VII, but the reason why it could have been better is because its second disc is the result of the game getting its budget cut. Though honestly the first disc is by far the best part of an RPG to grace the Playstation, too bad the second disc sucks or because Xenogears could have been the best Playstation RPG of all time.
Number 5: Kingdom Hearts II
Take everything that made the first game awesome and improve upon it. This is the best way to approach a sequel and Kingdom Hearts II did not dissapoint. My only complaint about the series is that it is kind of getting a little too convoluted, for a game that is aimed at adults with nostalgia towards Disney and Squarsoft, but I actually do understand it somewhat. Though the amount of handheld spinoffs is rediculous I have been able to keep up with this series. Nothing in the series so far does compare though to Kingdom Hearts II in terms of expansiveness and how much fun I actually had. All I can say now is give us Kingdom Hearts 3 already.
Number 4: Final Fantasy VI
Oh no I didn't put Final Fantasy VII on this list. The world must be imploding or something because I decided not to include the fan favorite on this list. Look I personally put Final Fantasy VII behind VIII, IX, and X mainly because it is overhyped and while it still is a good game it isn't my cup of tea when it comes to the Final Fantasy series. Now Final Fantasy VI absolutely blew my mind when I played if for the first time last year. Yeah it might be 16 bit and 2D versus the 32 bit and 3D playstation titles, but power and 3D graphics don't make a great game. Final Fantasy VI is simplistic by comparison to the latest Final Fantasy games, but it is good and way more fun than the more modern titles. I personally have no gripes about this game, the villain is by far the best and the characters are fleshed out well, and I am waiting for a possible remake on the 3DS or Vita some time in the future.
Number 3: Ys the Oath in Felghana
The Ys series is a very good series of action RPGs which conincidentally plays alot like the Zelda seires and uses the "get item" chime from Metroid. Unlike Zelda though Ys the Oath in Felghana has a jump button and an experience system. Add in some extremely fast swordplay mechanics and bullet hell elements and you literally got Zelda on crack. Ys the Oath in Felghana is the hardest game in the Ys series so far, and it is by far one of the best action RPGs to date. The only minor complaint about this game is the fact that it is very short, but then again it is a speed run game so that is actually a good thing. Oh and speaking of Zelda...
Number 2: The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask
Okay I know what you're thinking. The Zelda series is not an RPG series, you're fucking insane for thinking that it is. Well I know that the Zelda series is usually considered an action adventure series, but it can also loosely be considered an action RPG series because the only thing that seems to be debatable about this is the fact that the Zelda series has rarely had an experience system. To be honest an expeirence system does not make an RPG an RPG, but what makes an RPG an RPG is a sense of progression and development as you play through a game. Unfortunately, with this interpretation almost any game can be considered an RPG hence why it is debatable. To be blunt the Zelda and Metroid series are both loosely considered RPGs by this G1, though I will only consider the Zelda series an RPG series for this list because I don't have a space for Metroid Prime or Super Metroid.
Anyway Majora's Mask does something completely different from the majority of the Zelda series because it drops the whole Triforce based storyline for a completely out their side story, and it actually works. I might complain about the lack of dungeons in this game, but the side quests actually make up for that. Not to mention the 3 day and mask systems felt very fresh and new for the series back then, hell they could still be fresh and new when compared to some of the setups of the newer games in the series. It is still debatable which game in the Zelda series is the best, but Majora's mask is honestly the only game in the series that feels significantly different from the mainstream titles.
Number 1: Xenoblade Chronicles
OMG he played the Xeno card again. What an ass he didn't include my favorite game. Okay shut up already. For starters if I didn't include your favorite game I'm sorry, this list is not the end all be all for the best JRPGs, I'm sure I missed a lot of JRPGs that I like *cough* Persona 3 Fes *cough*, and the Xeno series has quite literally passed up the old reigning chapion series Final Fantasy. And if you don't like it...
Okay if you haven't heard about Xenoblade Chronicles then you must be living under a rock or you don't own a Wii. Xenoblade Chronicles is quite literally the best JRPG ever made and I encourage anyone with a Wii to go and buy it now as it is without a doubt one of the best games you will play this year. It kind of plays like a streamlined version of .hack, the first four games, combined Final Fantasy XII if it were more interactive. Not to mention the world in Xenoblade rivals many of Bethesda's recent game worlds.
I hope you enjoyed this list. please feel free to comment below.
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