A Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) can mean different things for different people. For some, it’s merely any role-playing game created by a Japanese developer, labeling games like Dark Souls a JRPG. For others though, a JRPG is a specific genre that is defined by games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, adhering to traditions like a strong focus on story and character development, fantasy elements like magic, squad customization, and leveling systems.
For this list, an official JRPG buyer’s guide issued by Playstation will be used as an authority on what qualifies for the genre. Only Metacritic reviewed games made for, or remastered and released on, PS4 are under consideration. For example, Metacritic has a review for Final Fantasy IX on PS4 but not the original Final Fantasy VII, so the latter won’t be included.
10 Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (Score: 84)
Final Fantasy X remains one of the best Final Fantasy games of all time and also one of the most easily accessible games from the series for newcomers. If you’ve never played this gem, do yourself a favor and pick up the remastered version on PS4.
While Final Fantasy X-2 isn’t as beloved as its predecessor, it is still a fun sequel that earns points for being the only direct-sequel for a Final Fantasy game ever. Getting both of these games for the price of one is a steal any way you slice it.
9 Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Score: 84)
A sequel to the JRPG classic, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a beautifully animated game that brings to life anime visuals evocative of Hayao Miyazaki films.
Many gamers love Ni No Kuni II for how it sticks to traditional JRPG elements while also pushing the envelope and attempting to breathe new life into some of those concepts. Cute, addictive, and expertly crafted, this game serves as a great starting point for gamers new to JRPGs even though it’s a sequel because it’s a new story in the franchise.
8 Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA (Score: 85)
The Ys games are a long-running franchise, but don’t let that intimidate you from picking up this game. While some story details may require some internet research, this is still a fun and highly entertaining game that boasts an incredible combat system that won it an award.
For most, Ys VIII serves as the pinnacle of the Ys franchise where the developer finally perfected their formula and created a memorable gaming experience despite an uneven story.
7 Final Fantasy IX (Score: 85)
A titan from the Playstation 1 era, Final Fantasy IX is a cherished game from the franchise due to its movement away from traditional Final Fantasy elements by avoiding dark adult themes and focusing more on a charming adventure and a touching love story.
This game has received several remasters and rereleases, which improves its accessibility even though you’re playing a twenty-year-old game on a PS4. Already having strong graphics for a PS1 game, the now updated graphics improve the player experience and create a more enjoyable playthrough.
6 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Score: 86)
A Final Fantasy game that truly pushed the boundaries of the franchise, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is mainly known for its revamping of the franchise’s battle system. By moving away from gameplay interrupting turn-based combat, this game was the first to seamlessly incorporate combat into standard player movement, allows gamers to freely move while fighting or completely avoid enemies altogether.
The game also received praise for further pushing the boundaries of Final Fantasy norms and introducing the idea of an open-world setting and class system. All in all, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is cherished as a JRPG for sticking to genre expectations while also pushing innovative ideas.
5 Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch Remastered (Score: 86)
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered is commonly seen as being superior to its successor. A key factor in this is that the legendary Studio Ghibli was directly involved in the development of the first game, bringing all of that studio’s famous charm and talent with it.
Ni No Kuni II recreates a Miyazaki-like experience, but the original Ni No Kuni (and it’s PS3 and PS4 versions) is the Miyazaki experience. This game is a must-play for JRPG fans or fans of anime with beautiful animation.
4 Final Fantasy VII Remake (Score: 87)
One of the biggest additions to the JRPG genre recently is not so surprisingly a remake of 1997’s beloved Final Fantasy game Final Fantasy VII. Some fans were disappointed by how Final Fantasy VII Remake drastically changed the story of the original game but for those without predefined expectations, the game was nothing short of pure joy.
If some games in this list turn you off because of dated/cartoonish graphics or having to read-up on a whole franchise worth of story, the masterful visuals for Final Fantasy VII Remake and its newcomer-friendly gameplay systems make it an easy grab.
3 Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (Score: 91)
Some may scoff at the inclusion of an MMORPG as an entry in the JRPG genre, but the fact remains that this game sticks very closely to the values of the Final Fantasy franchise with the only major difference being that the game can be played with others online. Almost the entire game can be played solo though, and anything that requires multiplayer is efficiently managed by the game and requires little user effort.
Final Fantasy XIV is a perfect marriage of a JRPG and an MMORPG. If you enjoy either of these genres, pick up this still heavily populated and frequently-updated game.
2 Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (Score: 94)
Dragon Quest is one of the most loved and cherished JRPG franchises because it essentially invented the genre. While there is some debate on this, at the very least Dragon Quest played a pivotal role in the formation of JRPGs.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age – Definitive Edition is the latest entry to the franchise and is commonly seen as the best game in the series. If you’re looking for one of the most traditional JRPG experiences on the market, then your search is over
1 Persona 5 Royal (Score: 95)
Sitting at the top of Metacritic’s rankings for best JRPGs reviewed and playable for PS4 is the enhanced rerelease of Persona 5, Persona 5 Royal. While some gamers enjoy the characters or story from previous Persona games more, what all fans of the series will agree is that Persona 5 has by far the best gameplay and most polish.
Persona 5 is commonly seen as one of the best JRPG experiences available on PS4 for hardcore fans of the Persona franchise or JRPG genre, but also for people who have never played a JRPG or Persona game before and want to see what all the fuss is about.