Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) have an innate ability to get you enraptured in a fantasy world and fall in love with its characters, and the PS4 and PS5 have them in spades. From exploring the laid-back anime world of the Atelier Ryza series to saving the planet in Final Fantasy VII Remake, here are the best JRPGs on the PS4 and PS5.
Worst of the best: The Atelier Ryza series
The long-running Atelier franchise finally struck gold with these two games in the Ryza series. The laid-back storyline, pleasant characters, and welcoming anime visuals create a stirring game that has you finding ingredients and crafting with them. You can make all manner of objects as this series focuses on being an alchemist than a hero with a big sword. You can also use your crafted items in battle, causing all manner of residual effects on your foes. The writing is more upbeat than the average JRPG and presents a unique, welcoming environment for the player. The music is also underrated with some pleasant themes throughout the series. Atelier Ryza 1 & 2 are lower-budget titles, and the combat isn’t as exciting as other games on this list, but they’re well worth picking up if you want a relaxing change of pace.
Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
While the first entry in the Ni no Kuni series is amazing in its own right, Ni no Kuni 2 is an underrated gem that should be played by more people. The story might not be as strong, but the action RPG combat ramps up the stakes, and building a kingdom is more fun than it sounds. You play as a prince who has lost everything he knew, and as he plans his future, he decides to create a kingdom that accepts anyone called Evermore.
You’ll be building a kingdom from scratch. As you finish side quests, you’ll be gaining new citizens. It’s very satisfying to see the kingdom gradually get bigger; you’ll also gain new resources you can use in the open world. The combat is also thrilling to play with all sorts of moves to master and bosses to take down. Playing this would be a good way to get ready for the Ni no Kuni MMO Cross Worlds.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
One of the most memorable RPGs on the PS2, Final Fantasy X, holds a special flame within many gamers of that era. It has a spectacular story as Tidus, Yuna, and co. explore the mystical world of Spira. The classic turn-based system has exciting elements that will keep you on your toes with tough boss battles. And finally, the entry point of voice acting in the Final Fantasy series is well done with plenty of memorable characters throughout the narrative. Some of the animations and environments, despite being remastered, do look old by today’s standards but Final Fantasy X still remains as one of the best JRPGs ever made. We’d love to see a remake one day, but this is the best thing we have so far. The collection also comes with the second game that focuses on Yuna, Rikku, and Paine.
Kingdom Hearts: All In One Collection
The Kingdom Hearts series is a beloved mix of Final Fantasy and Disney characters in one universe. With a nuanced action RPG combat system, plenty of Disney locales to visit, and a compelling narrative throughout each game, it’s well worth the low asking price for the Kingdom Hearts: All In One Collection. It comes with all of the mainline titles, including Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, Dream Drop Distance, Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts 3 in one package, alongside movie versions of other notable entries in the series. The voice acting is always top-notch, and it hosts some of the best graphics that the PS4 has to offer, making it a fantastic JRPG to play on PlayStation systems.
From the spirited, happy-go-lucky Kingdom Hearts series to the direness of Elden Ring, FromSoftware presents a strong JRPG with an incredible world to explore. If you’re familiar with any of FromSoftware’s prior games, you know that there’s a deep challenge within Elden Ring’s bosses and level design. However, with Elden Ring having an open world, it becomes much more enjoyable as opposed to the strict and linear levels in Bloodborne and Dark Souls.
You’re given more of a chance to find the right resources, level up, and try again. The beauty of Elden Ring is that there’s a surprise around every corner, and as someone who didn’t enjoy From’s prior games, I’ve played more than 50 hours of it by exploring and somehow defeating these difficult bosses. Elden Ring‘s an epic, rich, and evolved step in the Soulslike genre, and you should certainly take the first step into it.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
From one Final Fantasy to the next, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a masterful action RPG that took the foundations of the original and brought them into today’s landscape. It has a thrilling combat system that is designed around every party member. While Cloud is up close and personal with his foes, Aerith can heal in the background and Barett provides gunfire from the background. It also accounts for each enemy’s spell weakness, so you can benefit from stunning foes at major points of a battle.
While Cloud is a closed-off character, part of the charm of Final Fantasy VII Remake is how he opens up at certain moments of the game and grows to trust the people around him. The additional cast of characters is enriched with personality and memorable lines. Oh, and we can’t forget the incredible soundtrack that successfully takes the original music to an epic scale. We’re expecting news for the second part this year.
Best of the best: Persona 5 Royal
I am thou, thou art I, Persona 5 Royal is a game you should buy. This JRPG is the ultimate package. The combat system, while it’s turn-based, is exhilarating as you figure out type differences and master each Persona you find. The story is enticing and has deep philosophical meaning with its themes when discussing modern topics like notoriety within social media and privacy. The characters are all beloved by fans. They all have their own personal struggles in life, how they connect with the main protagonist, and what they bring to the battle.
Those conversations with the characters can also strengthen your battle strategy as new skills are unlocked when a social link is reached. It’s also exceptionally long at over 100 hours, so the value is certainly there. Persona 5 Royal is simply a perfect game for those who love JRPGs and that’s why it’s the best game on this list. There are very few, if any, flaws in this game. Persona 5 Strikers is a great accompaniment as well as it continues the story.