Due to their propensity to weave epic stories over the course of more than 50 hours of gameplay, JRPGs are responsible for the majority of the finest story-rich video games in history.
Because their tales end up being so open-ended, many JRPGs go on to become long-running series or franchises.
These features make JRPGs appealing, and we identified the top JRPG titles on Steam for you to try out.
Most people tend to forget that ARPGs or hack-and-slash games are also classified JRPGs as long as they were produced in Japan, even though turn-based role-playing games (JRPGs) dominate the market there.
There are several classics you simply must play, and this list will include cover well-known ARPGs that are accessible on PC.
Yakuza, SEGA’s funniest ARPG, which has inspired numerous games over the years thanks to its dynamic gameplay and absurdist depictions of life in the Yakuza family, comes first on the list.
The plot is a man who receives a lengthy prison sentence after getting caught up in a crime he did not commit. It is as specialized as it gets. You will set out to unearth the secret truth underlying your family’s betrayal in an effort to reclaim your life.
The game offers 19 distinct jobs you can select from, each of which changes how you play and advances you through a range of additional side quests and substories on top of the main plot.
2 Final Fantasy
One of the most narrative-heavy JRPGs in video game history, the Final Fantasy series has a reputation dating back more than three decades. Turn-based combat, which is used in the majority of Final Fantasy games, is simple to learn.
Once you get used to it, you may play other Final Fantasy games and enjoy each rich campaign’s storyline individually. Although each Final Fantasy game has its own unique plot, some of them have sequels if they are sufficiently successful.
In contrast to games like Final Fantasy X and X-2, where the stories are interconnected and you must play the first game first, Final Fantasy 7 and 8 may be played without understanding how the stories are related.
The best aspect of Final Fantasy games is their storytelling, which is complemented by their breathtaking graphics and heart-stopping cutscenes.
Since they were well ahead of other games in the early 1990s, you could say they invented the practice of creators investing more in high-quality cutscenes.
These established themselves as a mainstay for its narrative, and each game may be regarded as one of the best story-rich games available on Steam since it engrosses and captivates the audience.
As a starting point, I advise playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy 13, and Final Fantasy 15.
These games will keep you interested since the gameplay is more current and appealing to a wider audience, and you can discover why Final Fantasy’s stories are consistently epic and, occasionally, moving. The series’ other timeless classics can be read for the tale once you’ve gotten used to it.
3 Monster Hunter
While Monster Hunter is another series with a long history, it stands out from the rest of them since it might be the only one that emphasizes award-winning gameplay over a compelling narrative.
It’s all about joining the hunt and taking on a variety of monsters with distinctive habits and dangerous skill sets in Monster Hunter.
There are different levels of difficulty in the game, but as you advance and get to the conclusion, the difficulty skyrockets.
Choose from up to 14 distinct weapon kinds, each of which offers a different fighting style, whether it be close-range, long-range, or a support class.
4 Nier Automata
The androids 2B, 9S, and A2 are the subject of a tale in Nier Automata. To reclaim the dystopian world powered by machines, they will fight.
Yoko Taro, a well-known video game director and scenario writer, is in charge of the game. His work on the existential video game Nier Automata received high accolades.
The game’s combat system is really slick and provides a lot more gameplay variety than just hacking and slashing.
There are a few alternate endings in the game, which can persuade you to start a new playing after you’ve spent 20 to 40 hours finishing it. You won’t regret playing the game because of its very sad plot.
5 Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age
The video game Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age has become a classic. One of the best Dragon Quest games ever, it ended up being. Don’t let the “XI” fool you—you don’t need to have played the other games in the series to enjoy this masterpiece.
Yuji Horii, Akira Toriyama, and Koichi Sugiyama, the series’ creator, character designer, and composer, have concluded their work on this film.
The game pushes you at just the right rate for the story and growth, and it is beautifully created.
Turn-based combat is simple enough for beginners to appreciate it while still offering enough versatility and strategies for seasoned gamers who are accustomed to Dragon Quest games.
Although the gameplay and graphics have been updated for the next generation, the game’s fundamental artistic aesthetic has been preserved.
If you want to spend hundreds of hours playing a JRPG, Dragon Quest XI S is unquestionably the greatest option. You may adjust the difficulty to your preferences, which greatly increases the game’s replay value, especially if you aim for 100% completion.
6 The Legend of Heroes
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series is most likely the hardest game on our list. The length of time you must invest in each game makes it difficult rather than the gameplay or the level of difficulty.
A massive 60 hours of gameplay are averaged over the series’ titles. The Trails of Cold Steel series alone consists of four games, plus there are a ton of more games that tie to it but are not all required to be played.
Cold Steel is still a viable way to begin and complete the Trails series. Try this order if you want a more challenging experience.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the Third
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero
The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV
These games may all be found on Steam.
7 Octopath Traveler
An acclaimed RPG that was ported to the PC is called Octopath Traveler. There are eight alternative adventure pathways available for the game’s eight travelers.
Individually traveler sets off on an epic trip where you each unearth your own tales and come to various conclusions as you forge your own future.
Every iteration of the game is unique since each traveler possesses their own unique set of skills, talents, and powers. The aesthetics were influenced by classic 2D JRPGs from decades ago and mixed with modern-day realistic aspects.
The screenplay, battle system, art design, and sound design are all outstanding and demonstrate Square Enix’s expertise in weaving a fantastic narrative with intricate character designs.
8 Eiyuden Chronicle
Eiyuden Chronicle, a new JRPG series from the makers of Suikoden, one of the top JRPGs of the mid-1990s, blends an exciting adventure with a distinctive tale of heroes saving a village from oblivion.
In contrast to Suikoden, Eiyuden Chronicle is an APRG and uses real-time fighting rather than the more conventional turn-based approach. The game’s distinctive group of characters gives the narrative exciting action and a captivating plot.
Undoubtedly, Persona is among the best anime games available on Steam. Persona 5 is one of the most well-liked video games ever produced. After twenty years, they finally released the first sequel to any Persona game due to how well liked it was.
Student characters are the core of Persona’s distinctive elements. In the game, you can even have love interests. You form social bonds with the characters you meet throughout the series.
You fight utilizing your Personas in other people’s human psyches, which is just your typical JRPG gameplay with its own distinctive flavor.
Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Strikers, which are available on Steam right now, are absolutely worth playing if you’re a major anime fan.
Since Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel to Persona 5, you must first play Persona 5 to enjoy it. Persona 5 Strikers, however, is more of an experimental game because it changed from being a turn-based RPG to a hack-and-slash game.
With several story twists, the stories are nevertheless interesting and intriguing.
10 Tales Series
The Tales series contains a huge number of games. Not every content is offered on Steam, though. Games like Tales of Berseria, Tales of Arise, Tales of Zestiria, Tales of Vesperia, and Tales of Symphonia, among others, made it to the platform.
You don’t have to play the games in order because they are all stand-alone activities. Any game can be used as a starting point.
The timeframes for Tales of Berseria and Tales of Zestiria are related to one another. Though the relationship is amusing to consider, their stories remain distinct.
Although the fighting in all Tales games is turn-based, they are all action RPGs. Although it is slower paced than other action RPGs like Scarlet Nexus, it stands out for having a real-time battle system.
There is a distinct and captivating plot in every Tales game. Its battle system, customizations for items and equipment, cookery, recurrent characters, and even some collaborations are some of its key elements. Anyone new to JRPGs or ARPGs would benefit greatly from starting with the Tales series.
11 Chrono Trigger
A fantastic restoration of Square Enix’s timeless 1995 RPG classic is now available on Steam with many visual and aural enhancements.
Your quest to save the future of a planet brings you to several points of time, including the present, the middle ages, the future, and the far past.
Chrono Trigger brought back all 13 of the game’s endings while maintaining fidelity to the game’s battle system and design.
Chrono Trigger is regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time, so if you liked JRPGs and missed this classic in 1995, you should try it now.
12 Atelier Series
Numerous video games are associated with the Atelier series. The same components that make the game distinctive are at the center of everything.
You search the vast world for ingredients needed for alchemy. These substances are used to synthesis various goods, including food, items, tools, weapons, and accessories that are frequently encountered in JRPGs.
Each time you play an Atelier game, you have a ton of customization possibilities, and it encourages you to explore the expansive universe.
Every time you advance and discover each character’s growth, the characters’ joy and humor make the game feel wonderful to play.
There are several games available in this wholesome series, which has been running since 1997. Play Atelier Ryza, Atelier Lulua, or Atelier Sophie to get started. Although each series is distinct from the others, all Atelier games have the same basic components.
13 Scarlet Nexus
One of the newest names on the list is Scarlet Nexus. It moves more quickly because it is an action RPG as opposed to the more common turn-based JRPGs. Its fighting system, which may be played countless times, is its biggest asset.
Humans now have highly developed sensory talents thanks to the identification of a psionic hormone in the human brain.
Due to the employment of the same plot components, the game is comparable to the Astral Chain game on the Nintendo Switch.
With the incredible soundtrack and plot, the agile fighting system and distinctive art style blend beautifully. Because you can complete the playthrough in two distinct ways, the dual tale experience increases replayability.
Scarlet Nexus is without a doubt the finest option for a change of pace if you’ve been playing a lot of anime games and want to switch things up from your usual PC JRPGs.
14 I am Setsuna
The gameplay of I am Setsuna has been compared to that of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy X. If you hold I am Setsuna to those high standards, it might let you down a little bit since they are pretty big shoes to fill.
That is not to say that the game I Am Setsuna is a lousy one. The game features gorgeous graphics and an engaging plot. The return of the iconic components from earlier games gives the JRPG subgenre new energy.
The way the game was marketed as an enduring classic has drawn negative public evaluations. But even without those anticipations, the game is often enjoyable.
15 Ni no Kuni Series
Studio Ghibli animator Hayao Miyazaki is the source of inspiration for the Ni no Kuni series. Additionally from Studio Ghibli, the creators are distributed by Bandai Namco.
The first game in the series is a turn-based JRPG, and the second one transports you to a traditional story with the whimsical design you associate with Studio Ghibli movies.
The PlayStation 3 edition of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was remastered in 2011, and Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom is a fantastic follow-up that came out seven years later.
The Ni no Kuni series is the place to start if you’re searching for a wholesome, feel-good JRPG. Some people may think it’s a kid’s game, but if that’s not your style of game, you may try some of the other JRPGs on the list.
16 Code Vein
Code Vein is most likely the finest option on the list if you’re searching for a challenging game. Since Bloodbourne and Elden Ring were also published and created by Bandai Namco, they served as inspiration for the Souls series (Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodbourne).
Like all other games in the Souls series, Code Vein offers a ton of customization choices, but what makes it stand out are the characters.
The co-op feature makes playing with a friend more informal despite the game’s hard difficulty level. It is convenient to have the choice of this kind of game.
While Code Vein lacks the mood that makes the Souls series so wonderful (continuous fear of dying due of the unknown), the game still excels at character development and emulates the gameplay of Demon Souls.
17 Bravely Default II
The turn-based JRPG Bravely Default II has a chibi-like graphic style. The game introduces Seth, Gloria, Adelle, and Elvis as its four major characters, each of them has a fantastic character design.
The number of actions you can utilize with each character is determined by your BP, or brave points, in the game’s battle system. A crucial element of fighting strategy is balancing BP.
Each character has a primary and secondary job class that grants them both special skills and powers. You can even mix jobs and give your characters access to an entirely new set of skills.
The depth of the combat and the elaborate plot are what make an excellent JRPG. Due to Square Enix’s extensive catalog of classic RPGs, Bravely Default II frequently goes unnoticed, despite being one of the developer’s finest titles.
18 Trials of Mana
The 1995 smash classic RPG Trials of Mana is another title on the list that has been remade. The best JRPGs, if you think about it, all started in the 1990s, and these games are still relevant now.
The original Trial of Mana game’s storyline, character designs, and gameplay mechanics have all been preserved in this fully updated 3D version available on Steam.
Players can select their preferred protagonist and two other friends. The characters you include in your party will affect how the story unfolds.
Even a new player who is just beginning to explore the world of JRPGs will love this timeless classic.
19 NEPTUNIA X SENRAN KAGURA: NINJA WARS
A hack-and-slash role-playing game with up to 10 playable characters is called Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars. In this action-packed RPG, the universes of Senran Kagura and Neptunia collide.
Each character possesses a special collection of powers and skills known as Ninja Art Skills. The battle system, along with the variety of characters, skills, and combos, makes for an engaging and flashy gaming experience, especially when all the output figures are flashing on your screen.
20 Valkyria Chronicles Series
Another popular turn-based JRPG series, Valkyria Chronicles centers its narrative on a real-world conflict enhanced by the Valkyrias’ divine abilities.
Due to the fact that some of the conflicts are real-time third-person shooters, it has a unique fighting system. The “BLiTZ” tactical warfare system has been around since the original Valkyria Chronicles game, and it will be used in all subsequent games with additional upgrades.
Players can build numerous different types of parties to suit the demands of warfare thanks to the over 100 customizable characters.