JRPGs/Turn Based Role Playing Games That I Have Played

This list was inspired by a long and detailed conversation that I had with @thatpinguino. The startling conclusion of the conversation is that I have played a scant number of traditional JRPGs, especially those that are considered to be classics of the genre. Most notably absent from this list would be entries from the Final Fantasy franchise. For those that have not heard of this "outlandish" factoid before here we go:

I have never played a game developed by SquareEnix

Yes I know, I know. As a moderator of a video game website not playing any games from an entire developer is insane, but that's kind of what this list is for.

So one more humiliating fact before reading this list. Just because a game is on this list does not mean that I actually completed it. In fact for one entry I only played the game for about an hour and a half.

Current Tally

  • FIVE - Turn based role playing games played during my lifetime.
  • THREE - Japanese developed turn based RPGs played during my lifetime.
  • THREE - Turned based games completed all the way during my lifetime.

List items

  • Pokemon Red was the first JRPG that I ever played that said I have been informed that calling Pokemon a "JRPG" is controversial. Anyways with the help of friends and my step-brother I got all the way to Giovanni, but as a young kid that was as far as my feeble understanding of RPG mechanics would allow me. To this day, I don't buff, and instead invest heavily into straight damage all the time, every time. Rest assured that I understand that this will seriously hold me back from making it far in most JRPGs today.

    I did not finish this game, but I guess I got close?

    Also does Pokemon count as a JRPG?

  • It really depends on how you define "defeating" Pokemon for this one. I beat every single trainer in the game including Red and the Elite Eight. Was I able to catch every single Pokemon? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE!

    I would call this a partial completion.

  • Or "The Great Mistake" as I like to call it. So a bit of back-story for this one. I had a friend that loved the first game, and told me that Golden Sun would be a great place to learn how to play JRPGs. I was maybe...twelve at the time, and did not play the previous Golden Sun game before jumping into this.

    I completed Air's Rock and was confident that I was almost done with game considering how long it took me to get through the level. When I discovered that I was not even halfway done with the game...I tossed the cartridge and didn't look back. I have ZERO buy-in that playing the first game would have improved my experience.

    It goes without saying that I did not finish this game

  • I loved this game not just for its humor but for its combat system. Each character has a different fighting system, and because it is a fan game it does not require that much grinding. It had what I wanted in most games: a concise and engaging story that kept me wanting to see more, and a combat system that did not take forever to open up.

    I finished this game and even beat the secret boss.

  • I got this and Cthulhu Saves the World as part of a sale where both of the games were priced at $.99 on Steam. So, I gave both games a shot when I had some down time. If you wanted to know, I finished both of the games in about three days. I am going to hazard a guess and say that most people could finish this game in an even shorter amount of time.

    One thing that I need to address about this game. As someone who has not played that many JRPGs...the humor in this game was occasionally incomprehensible. I understood few of the references and ended up asking fellow mod Mento for help in regards to understanding certain one-off jokes. I can't entirely fault the game for this because it clearly wasn't developed for me.

    I also had some serious struggles with this game by the end with bosses defeating me in a few salvos, and moments of serious user helplessness on my part. Like why the fuck do so many bosses resist damage at the end of these types of games? How is that fun?

    I finished this game.

  • I enjoyed this game more than Breath of Death VII. The first reason for this is that the story was easier to follow for me in that it muted its reliance on in-jokes. Secondly, the gameplay was more accessible and had more depth with the inclusion of the insanity system. Also, Cthulhu Saves the World just feels more like a fully realized game rather than a funny homage to games of yesteryear. This is all a long-winded way of me saying that I had an easier time playing this game than Breath of Death VII, and as a result had a better time actually playing it.

    I finished this game and beat the secret boss which was a real pain.

  • This game is...okay. It's just okay. The combat system is entertaining enough, but it is lacking in every other regard. The backdrops are picturesque, but lack interactivity or player agency. The characters are fun to play around with, but their tropes and idioms wear thin very quickly. Worse of all it just feels...soulless. However, for what it is worth Child of Light is a fun game to play, and no point was I questioning my humanity as I played it.

    Child of Light is the Little Caesars Pizza of RPGs. It gets the job done, but lacks any nutritional content to sustain you for any great amount of time.

  • I beat Omega Weapon and saw the ending...this game is alright.

22 Comments

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Justin258

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You NEED to play Chrono Trigger. And probably FFVI. What's wrong with the older FF games?

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Tom_omb

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Paper Mario 2 is recommended.

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Slag

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Don't worry ZP, Breath of Death wasn't very funny even for those who did get the references. Honestly the "jokes" felt really lazy, like here's the punchline with zero setup at all. It was a game I wanted to like, but couldn't.

I agree with @believer258, if you are going to play any JRPG ChronoTrigger probably has the most general appeal (besides well maybe Persona and the Paper mario games).

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nophilip

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Chrono Trigger and FFVI are probably the most essential. Paper Mario is great too.

Do turn-based strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem or FF Tactics count? Because both of those are incredible.

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NeoZeon

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@nophilip said:

Chrono Trigger and FFVI are probably the most essential. Paper Mario is great too.

Do turn-based strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem or FF Tactics count? Because both of those are incredible.

Was just about to recommend Tactics. Good call!

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Bribo

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I've played (and loved) a ton of JRPGS.

I've played three Final Fantasies and didn't finish any of them. In my experience, Final Fantasy ain't all that.

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viking_funeral

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Pokémon is a JRPG.

Interesting list. Golden Sun didn't do it for you, and you say it's because of the game length? That might be an issue.

Um... Chrono Trigger. Like others have said. It's maybe 20 hours, tops. It's also a classic, and it avoids some of the tropes of JRPGs at the time, like necessary grinding. The other common mention of Final Fantasy VI is one of my favorite games of all-time, but that's a 40-60 hour game. I'd hold off on that one for now.

The original Dragon Quest is pretty short. It's not a great game by any means, but it's the birthplace of the JRPG line and fascinating in its own right, like a historical piece. Maybe 8-10 hours.

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hermes

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You should play Dragon Quest 8. It is a pretty new JRPG with a lot of classical sensibilities.

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Joe423

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Edited By Joe423

Pokemon is a JRPG. I echo what everyone says, Chrono Trigger is a must play - It should only take you at most 20 hours which is actually short for JRPGS.

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ScreamingGhost

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I'll add to the Chrono Trigger pile along with Super Mario RPG and either Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions or Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together (PSP Remake) (Both these games were made by the same team and are amazing RPGs). As for the classic Final Fantasy's I'd play either IV or VI.

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EmaneeezNuts

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Tales of Vesperia was pretty decent if you lookin for something more recent. How about some Vagrant Story.

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Jeldh

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This is the perfect amount of JRPGS/Turn Based Role Playing Games

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amafi

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Edited By amafi

You should play Paper Mario: The thousand year door and Anachronox. Both of those are good turn based rpgs.

Also persona 3 PES and persona 4 golden if you have a vita. I wouldn't worry about the first two.

And South Park: The stick of truth. That game single-handedly made me a fan of south park again after not having watched it for damn near a decade.

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PimblyCharles

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Edited By PimblyCharles

The only game I've played on your list is Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, and enjoyed the hell out of it; music especially. It's better than quite a few Final Fantasy games.

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ZombiePie

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ZombiePie  Staff
@tom_omb said:

Paper Mario 2 is recommended.

@amafi said:

You should play Paper Mario: The thousand year door and Anachronox. Both of those are good turn based rpgs.

Also persona 3 PES and persona 4 golden if you have a vita. I wouldn't worry about the first two.

And South Park: The stick of truth. That game single-handedly made me a fan of south park again after not having watched it for damn near a decade.

@nophilip said:

Chrono Trigger and FFVI are probably the most essential. Paper Mario is great too.

Do turn-based strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem or FF Tactics count? Because both of those are incredible.

Alright real talk time...I have played Super Paper Mario, and that is the only game from the Paper Mario franchise that I have ever played. I have repeatedly informed to NOT put that game on this list. Can we all verify that?

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ZombiePie

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What's wrong with the older FF games?

I just do not like turn based combat at all. The only exception would be the Civilization series. Also, I just find the Final Fantasy games to be incredibly intimidating.

This is coming from someone that beat Perfect Dark on Perfect Agent, and could create perfect utopias in SimCity 3000. I at least recognize that I am a hypocrite.

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nophilip

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Alright real talk time...I have played Super Paper Mario, and that is the only game from the Paper Mario franchise that I have ever played. I have repeatedly informed to NOT put that game on this list. Can we all verify that?

Super Paper Mario ripped out most of the turn-based RPG stuff and made it into more of a platformer. It's a very, very different game from the rest of the series. Still a great game though.

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Dan_CiTi

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You should totally play Chrono Trigger on the DS. You'll find that Barkley stole a bunch of sprites from that game as well.

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thatdudeguy

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@amafi said:

And South Park: The stick of truth. That game single-handedly made me a fan of south park again after not having watched it for damn near a decade.

I want to second the South Park recommendation. I went into it knowing it was well-reviewed, but expected well-done writing attached to a sufficient game. But I discovered a fantastic turn-based RPG, with interesting mechanics woven seamlessly into the plot (or lampshaded, where funny.) It didn't take up a huge amount of time, I want to say 20-some hours, and didn't overstay its welcome. If you're looking to binge on an RPG some weekend, it's a fun choice.

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thatdudeguy

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@dan_citi said:

You should totally play Chrono Trigger on the DS. You'll find that Barkley stole a bunch of sprites from that game as well.

Oh, man! I didn't know there was a DS release of Chrono Trigger! I need to give that a shot once Bloodborne exits my system. I got about halfway through the game in my teens but have never finished it. Thanks for mentioning it!

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takashichea

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When Club Nintendo ended, I was scrambling to spend as much points I can. I bought Golden Sun on a whim because of the assist trophy in Brawl. I haven't tried it yet.

I haven't tried most of the JRPG games on here except for Pokemon.

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mousse_gallon

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Edited By mousse_gallon

How about:
Super Mario RPG
Star Ocean (1 & 2)
Suikoden (1 & 2)
Lunar (1 & 2)