For almost the entire history of video games JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games) have been there. Going all the way back to 1982 with the release of Underground Exploration by Koei, the genre has exploded in the decades since. Now, JRPGs are a huge industry with loads of important and wonderful games being released each year.
Historically, however, it has been a genre tied closely to consoles, with the NES, SNES and PlayStation all being part of a golden age of JRPG-dom. Now though, with ports being more frequent and even some games getting special editions on PC, it’s never been a better time to be a JRPG fan as a PC gamer.
Here are our picks for the top 10 JRPGs you can play on PC right now.
If you want a game that knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be and does that perfectly, Dragon Quest XI is exactly that. With a huge campaign and traditional but absolutely slick design, it’s an exemplar of the genre and one that is well worth sinking your teeth into.
The last Final Fantasy to be released on the original PlayStation, it was a love letter to the tropes and games of the series up until that point. With memorable characters and a beautiful art style that can really be appreciated now that it’s on PC, it’s a truly special and heartfelt look back over the genre that makes it, to many, the best Final Fantasy game – at least until the Final Fantasy VII remake appears on the scene.
5. Valkyria Chronicles
War’s terrible, but somehow war with magic and steampunk tanks and a little winged pig mascot doesn’t seem that terrible. Combining a beautiful anime art style with deep tactical combat over a huge variety of missions, Valkyria Chronicles is an absolute treasure.
4. Yakuza 0
Sometimes you just want to go dancing, sing a song, play Scalectrix, eat too much fish, and then get punched out by a giant man. Yakuza 0 lets you do all that and more with a straight face. It’s a tonally bizarre but utterly joyful look at a small section of 1980s Japan, and dual protagonists Kiryu and Majima will worm their way into your heart.
Sometimes what’s old can be the best, and Chrono Trigger is one of the most famous and most delightful JRPGs ever made. Spanning continents and millions of years across a huge story with a load of endings and side characters, it’s a true marvel, and one that hasn’t been beaten even in all the intervening years.
A troubled game during development and with a plot that often loses focus, Final Fantasy XII is still a brilliant game that deserves more attention. Forget the main character Vaan and just enjoy the marvellous roster of Balthier, Basch, Penelo, and Fran in this truly modern Final Fantasy game which now comes much improved.
What’s better than sitting down to a great film by Studio Ghibli? Sitting down to a game that they helped create, that’s what. Ni No Kuni combines the best of Pokemon, JRPGs, and anime into a heartwarming and stunning adventure. Even better, it’s now on PC. If you haven’t checked it out yet, give it a try and fall in love with Drippy. We guarantee you will.
What’s your favourite JRPG that’s available on PC? Hit us up in the comments below, or head over to the forum and join the conversation.