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Japanese Role-Playing Games: I've Played a Few

A list wherein I recall all the JRPGs I've ever bothered to play to completion. I got curious. Surely I haven't wasted half my life playing these things, right? Of course not. Eep.

The list isn't in any particular order. Unless I alphabetized them at some point because there were getting to be too many. In which case, I imagine they're in alphabetical order.


List items

  • Atmospheric Zelda-meets-Psychonauts game. It's also kind of dark and definitely unforgiving to those not of an action-y bent.

  • Bebedora is the most adorable eternal eldritch horror since a certain pink puffball inhaled his way across the cosmos.

  • Chemistry has never been so much fun. That sounds like an endorsement until you think about it a little. But serious, these games are good. Deceitful Wings is a badass boss tune too.

  • It's more of the first one, really. Only your girlfriend does all the alchemy for you back home in the kitchen. Where she should be? Don't know if I agree with those gender politics.

  • This actually made a card-based combat system fun, which wasn't something I expected to see in my lifetime. What was less fun was leaving your cards alone for too long and finding out all the health potions had aged into anthrax. That might be an embellishment, but I recall it being a running "oh fuck" theme when I was playing it.

  • Good enough 50-hour RPG. 500-hour if you want all the achievements. Achievements are hard for game designers to come up with, you know?

  • Solid if a little generic JRPG for PSP. At this point, though, you're kind of spoiled for choice for PSP JRPGs.

  • The original and best. Actually it's neither of those. But it's a pretty good game anyway, if you don't mind your JRPGs slightly grindy and tough.

  • I liked having to restart the game constantly with carried over stats before Dead Rising made it cool. Ryu's covered wars, you know.

  • I used up all my jokes for this game in that comic guide I made. It's a punishing action RPG with most of Recettear's art assets, if you want me to just write a normal description for once.

  • I love that the teleport machine at the Millennial fair takes you directly to the final Lavos fight on New Game+. What a "whoops" moment that could've been the first time through. More important to note is that my name is Gato. I have metal joints. Beat me up and earn 15 silver points.

  • Hardly a JRPG, besides the part where it's an RPG from Japan, this low-key Matsuno effort is a decent snack-sized turn-based RPG on the eShop. Recommended for all fans of medieval push-up bra technology.

  • Zack's pretty awesome, why hasn't anyone made a game with him before? Besides the fact he canonically gets mowed down by a bunch of zero-level Shinra grunts? They must really add up. Spoiler for a 14 year old game.

  • Neat Soul Blazer thing. I guess at this point it'd make more sense to people to say Soul Blazer was a neat Dark Cloud thing. If you ever get tired of all the slaughter and loot, you can build a pretty town and paint the roofs. Whee!

  • Still my favorite JRPG of all time. Suck it, everything else on this list.

  • More Western than Eastern flavored, Demon's Souls throws you in the deep end of a grim-as-hell pseudo-medieval fantasy setting and lets you figure out what's going on via one of the harshest baptisms of fire of any game on this list. It's also the only JRPG I've beaten this year (2011), ironically enough. In a decade, From Software has gone from mostly a joke to a major player in the JRPG field.

  • After a while you just see numbers. So many numbers.

  • I spent way too long on Torneko's chapter. Being the dude behind the merchant desk ripping others off for a change never got old.

  • This game goes a little too DBZ for my liking. Not every antagonist needs pointy ears, and not every power-up sequence needs a hair bleach job. Also I seem to recall half the jokes being about Jessica's chest. It's a good game, but that's not how I'm making it sound.

  • I dunno if this even counts as a JRPG. It's more like a Zelda game, but with insane tank battles and so, so many duck and slime puns.

  • Waving shit at screens: The fad we were all into briefly before 3D came along and replaced it.

  • SMAAAASHing good fun. Fuzzy pickles everyone!

  • If you can get past the opening few hours where your best friend and his gay crush patiently explained everything to your protagonist like he was a child, it starts getting good. The grid-like battle system made for some interesting tactical fights, but also nicely sped up the grinding too.

  • My personal first first-person RPG software from From Software. I'm glad that statement made sense. If you liked Demon's Souls, guys..

  • You'll believe a famous 19th century piano player dying of tuberculosis can kick some ass. Not as much as those twin little girls, though. Damn.

  • The GBA one. Garland failed to knock all my guys down. One teetered a bit.

  • The DS one. My Onion Knight shrunk. It's.. it's cold in here.

  • The PS1 one (wait, did I play any of these on their native console?). We all know the deal with this game: Cecil's from the moon, Kain's gone looney toons and Edward's a bard of spoons. And there's a nice fire man that heals you before his boss fight.

  • The GBA again. Why were the quest achievements in FFXIII named after Galuf's posse from this game? Is Final Fantasy really that hard up on nostalgic references?

  • PS1. Good god, why do I have to memorize opera lines? Why can't you just let me play as the octopus and drop a stage light on her. I kind of liked that there were a huge number of varied eidolons in this one, which of course had to be pared down in the sequels since they were all getting five minute long attack animations. Pfeh.

  • Aeris dies. Unless you used hacks. In which case she never spoke again and occasionally crashed the game. Way better. Spoiler warning for a 14 year old game, again.

  • Same orphanage but forgot. Remember when they were explaining the train mission and you were like "Oh Christwagons, do I have to remember all this?". And then the president was a zombie. Good times.

  • Before you die, you see Ragtime Mouse.

  • Spent so much time playing drownball I almost neglected to reach the Mega-Happy ending, where that tanned d-bag finally disappears.

  • I.. yeah, I did beat this. Game, I mean. Jeez.

  • <-- Story | World --><br>


    I went right. 50 hours later, I came back and went left. Don't believe Ondore's lies.

  • Go ------------------------------------------------------------------------> Stop. Fortunate, since I don't know how to draw branching paths in ASCII.

  • Less linearity, more brain aneurysms trying to decipher that time paradox plot.

  • "Dude, it's your turn holding the bucket. Don't complain, you can fight and cast spells and have fun next time."

  • It's dumb and simple and the monsters look goofy as hell, but Tristan's leitmotif always makes me smile.

  • No way is this classic SRPG ever going to die in obscurity. I got a good feeling!

  • I don't got a good feeling.

  • I.. have a kind of okay feeling?

  • Come for the low-pressure monster raising gameplay, stay for the batty story about a girl and a society of imaginary friends.

  • It's scarcely an JRPG and it doesn't even top this list for one thing that makes it stand out - its sheer, overbearing melancholy, unfortunately trumped by Lost Odyssey's. It's still a solid little Wii game that most people will overlook, maybe because they aren't in the mood for a 15-hour game where a fey male anime picks over the remains of civilization while crying a lot. Philistines.

  • I think I beat this game twice, the second time because I didn't remember beating it the first time. Conclusion: A memorable action-RPG. Short too.

  • I think this is the only game with mechs I've ever bothered to complete. What is about giant robot suit video games that doesn't appeal to me at all? Oh wait, I did play Battleclash. Man, that was a crazy time. Reading all these rambling stream-of-conscience blurbs must be difficult, I feel for you guys.

  • I remember being really impressed with this back in GBA's halcyon days, where everything else looked like a slightly smaller SNES game.

  • I dug that this game never stopped getting bigger. You felt like you'd seen plenty of the world by the time you get to the boat, but it's only just starting. And then you get over the giant Tetris wall and it just keeps going.

  • Though Papal end of game bosses are nothing new, the battle system had hit an apex at this point. Blessed is the JRPG that can make its grinding fun. Though obviously not blessed by the Pope boss.

  • The only game I've enjoyed with in-depth wrestling combat. I mean, it was mostly wrestling clones of the president and Resident Evil monsters, so I don't need to explain why that's awesome.


  • I couldn't stop laughing at the crazy things your allies would say when 100% vermified (why worms?) by the toxic Lunar Rain. I think it was supposed to be terrifying. But, man, they were some funny, invisible, psychotically-insane bastards. I miss hanging out with them. Dinner! Dinner! Dinner!

  • This was an odd game to start playing after beating the thematically similar Bladestorm. Since both games used magicians, guns and god knows what, I'm not sure there is a totally authentic 100 Years War game out there (besides some incredibly dry PC war sim, no doubt).

  • The weirdest franchise team-up since Sanrio vs Mortal Kombat.

  • Organization 13 and the Nobodies were invented after Nomura couldn't find any more Disney characters where the gender wasn't immediately obvious.

  • This is the first and probably only gaiden game I'm ever going to play for this franchise. Heck, the jury's still out on whether or not I want to play III whenever it shows up. Where the hell did "the GBA is too small for KH's basic real-time brawling system, so now there's cards" come from?

  • More first-person shenanigans. It's almost a western RPG, but not.

  • After a while you just see glowing neon conveyor belts going around in circles. Yes. Our religion is different.

  • Everything about this game, from its weird level-up system to its random multiple choice battles to its tardy texture loading is weird and wrong. But I had fun with it all the same. The skirmish-group-based RPG still has some steam to it.

  • A very interesting attempt at a new breed of action JRPG: one that is able to merge something as mindlessly populist as Gears of War with a level of strategic depth that the better, non-grindy JRPGs demand. Story's old hat, but there's a lot to recommend here.

  • I liked this middling JRPG before the Unskippable guys decided to LP it. Now it's forever tainted with awkward suck.

  • This was a fun game if you like utterly generic JRPGs with terrible Engrish. And who doesn't???

  • Weird game. You got Tenchu in my Mecha Anime and Cavemen in my 2001 Space Odyssey. Props to Aeon Genesis for the translation.

  • "Hey, a new town, this is exciting!" *Caim talks to some random townsperson, recalls a long story about a bunch of puppies slowly dying of cancer* D:

  • This sort of reminded me of Mischief Makers. I think because of the giant hats and sentient cubes with faces. The DS library is lousy with JRPGs since the time I played this, so it kind of falls through the cracks now.

  • Hit monsters with your elderly cat everyday. This is a slightly more anime take on "highschoolers go to school and also go dungeon crawling for homework", made popular by Persona 4. At least in the West. It's always been popular in Japan. Jokes about vending machines.

  • The other, other Mario RPG series. This is the most expressive the Mario bros ever got, unless you count Mario talking about ravioli in his sleep in Mario 64.

  • Because everyone loved the Mario baby in Yoshi's Island, right? That crying never got old. Let's make a game with more of them.

  • Honestly, this was a bad game to jump into if your knowledge of the X series is lacking. I know there was a blond guy with a laser sword. Everything beyond that and I'm like *shrug*. It's a pretty average JRPG, mythos aside.

  • Mega Man goes 3D. And.. dungeon crawler RPG? Don't kick us.

  • Like the first, only there's a 2 after the name. Honestly all my memories of these games were running down dark corridors shooting at polygon things. And that could've just been Tempest. After this much time, everything's so blurry. No wait, that's N64 Mega Man Legends. Wocka wocka.

  • Poor Tron Bonne. She had a promising career of high-tech heists ahead of her, now all she does is fight crazy costumed people on the streets.

  • Lots of people have talked about Nier recently. It's the game that deletes your save file as its "best" ending. RIP Cavia, you crazy bastards.

  • I initially forgot to include Opoona, because really I'm not entirely convinced this is an RPG. It's more like an odd jobs simulator. Not just the usual fetch quests from guilds, either, but all sorts of bizarre mini-game shit connected by a vaguely PSO JRPG plot. It's an interesting oddity, as many non-shovelware Wii games generally are.

  • I scream, you scream, we all scream for pulsating monster flesh. Mmm-mm, Steak monsTartare.

  • Legendary series.

  • This is also in that legendary series. That I mentioned.

  • PSO was an early MMO, in that it still had a single-player mode with a story that ended and a reason for playing it. Good thing future MMOs got rid of all that dead weight.

  • "Hey gang, the world's kind of moved on from PSO. I mean, besides the hardcore fans. What should our next game do?" "Be almost identical to attract zero newcomers, but different snd bad enough to alienate those hardcore fans." "Sounds good! Someone find the list of dumb names we gave all the spells and healing items, we doing this."

  • After a while you just see your heart breaking every time someone calls that little girl a monster. Third most tragic little girl in JRPGs after Pilika and Nanako Dojima. There's another idea for a list in there somewhere.

  • Well, it's Pokemon. This is the first and last Pokemon game in which I bothered to "catch them all". Still waiting for Nintendo to send me a bottle of scotch or some other hard liquor for achieving it.

  • I beat the Elite Four, but kind of stopped at that. The grinding in these games is ridiculous and tiresome.

  • One of the few enduring memories I still have of this game was its absolutely glacial pacing. Like every five steps your midget with a stick would get attacked by something, and you'd run around trying to kite damage it. I think. Maybe I should only include games on here that I'm able to remember. Or buy some ginkgo biloba.

  • "Good evening, Euria. Would you please leave without a fuss right now?"

  • The closest thing to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book in JRPG form. It only lets you do so many things in each world, so you better get things right the first time.

  • The Star Wars JRPG. I liked playing the Pipe Dream mini-game to make stuff. Why every weapon, when I only ever needed one of each, needed a production line is beyond me. There was bug-raising too, because Level-5 can't ever have just one or two things.

  • Unfairly maligned. Except the mazes, those are entirely justified in their malignity. But the rest is awesome. Especially the music.

  • What can you say about Secret of Mana that hasn't already been said? "There's no hardcore nudity so this game sucks"? Wait, this is the internet, what am I thinking.

  • Shadow Hearts is the shiznit. Lovecraft is underrepresented in JRPGs in general, unless you count dudes like Necron getting pulled out of the cosmos' ass in the eleventh hour.

  • This is when the franchise really started killing it with their off-kilter sense of humor, while maintaining its enjoyably surreal setting and vast scope. I don't need to tell you why a pro-wrestler fighting with a giant frozen tuna is funny. Do I?

  • As in, the GBA remake of the first one. The graphical update really did wonders for making me want to play this over the original, which I'm a little ashamed to admit.

  • How do you eat a hamburger? I'm so rich. Ice break.

  • Check out that hoochie next to you, you'd throw her in the TV, right? She shoot you down? <i>Right?</i>

  • You could do a lot worse than Skies of Arcadia. I'm loopy for Loopers.

  • "Rebuild our village!" Yeah, I'll get right on that *kills slimes*

  • Poor Gremio. His revival depended entirely on his young master's obsessive need to catch them all. If only he was a retainer of the Ketchum family.

  • "You will obey me because I have two sticks and come from the boonies." Pilika is currently the only little girl in video games more tragic than Nanako Dojima.

  • Yo ho ho, a pirate's life for OH CHRIST THIS BLOWS. Justin Bieber can keep his damn Rune of Punishment for all I care.

  • Damn you Suikoden 4. It's not enough that I beat your dumb boat adventure only to then beat your dumb fishman monster spin-off SRPG.