Top 12 Best JRPGs Of All Time With Amazing Character Stories

Best JRPGs

JRPGs are opposed to their Western counterparts in game design, approach, and choice-based gameplay. Despite this, fans of Japanese RPGs are frequently drawn to the games due to their differences. The stories can be extraordinary, poignant, and greatly influenced by Japanese animation.

As a result, the characters and their development are frequently a significant pull for genre enthusiasts and the primary reason they become so committed to a 30-80 hour journey. Character development does not stop with the protagonist; it includes the supporting cast and non-player characters. Let’s look at some of the top games in the category that feature excellent character development.

The Best Character Designs in JRPGS

Michael Llewellyn’s April 12, 2022 update: Non-fans frequently regard JRPGs as a niche genre inspired by anime. While this is true to some extent, drawing inspiration from anime is not necessarily bad, especially when crafting fantastic worlds and memorable characters. The appeal of JRPGs is that they allow us to spend more time with these people on journeys that can run up to 100 hours or more. Because there are so many beautiful JRPGs with unique characters, this list has been updated to include more titles that provide the same level of character development that story lovers want.

JRPGs with Incredible Character Stories

Best JRPGs

Top 10 Best JRPGs Of All Time With Amazing Character Stories

JRPGs have long plots with a wide cast of characters, but which titles stand out the most in this category?

1. Final Fantasy 7

Release date: 2020

Square Enix is the developer.

PC, PS4, and PS5 platforms

With all the excitement, the massive budget, and the focus on Cloud’s conflict with Sephiroth, it’s easy to overlook Final Fantasy 7’s complete ensemble. However, the Cloud becomes a stronger character in the original game due to the support and friendships he develops over the game’s journey.

It is also nicely highlighted in the Final Fantasy 7 remake. It goes one step further by making the core actors likable and allowing minor characters like Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie time in the spotlight. The same can be said for the cast of Final Fantasy 7 villains, who also get to shine in the remake. In addition, the Intermission DLC, which featured Yuffie as the main character, added more depth as we saw the world through the eyes of a brave and sometimes naive young girl dealing with loss and disaster.

2. The Scarlet Nexus

Release date: 2021

Bandai Namco is the developer.

Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4.

Scarlet Nexus, which will be released in June 2021, is a fantastic JRPG that deserves to be explained. It was created by critical members of Namco Bandai’s Tales team, and their talent for writing an incredible character-driven story shows through in this journey.

When it comes to associating with other characters in the game, this is paired with the authentic Persona 5 influences. Specific character-driven quests that flesh out Scarlet Nexus’ already rich storyline are required to reinforce the ties between the protagonists and their allies.

3. Arise Tales

Release date: 2021

Bandai Namco Studio created the game.

The platforms supported are PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

As one of the famous JRPGs of 2021, Tales of Arise was both a return to form and a modernization of the series. Tales of Arise offers an excellent cast of characters, particularly its twin protagonists Alphen and Shionne, in addition to great world-building and lore.

The Tales series is renowned for its emphasis on discrimination and racial divides that mirror real-world reality, and Tales of Arise is no exception. Character development and how the primary characters grow as they learn to gain a deeper grasp of the world are the highlights of this game. Arise is a story of acceptance and evolution, and it’s one of the best JRPGs in recent memory.

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4. The Second Story/Evolution of Star Ocean

Ashton, Claude, Rena, and Celine

1999 and 2009 releases

Tri-Ace is the developer.

PS1 and PSP are the platforms.

Star Ocean: Second Story, launched in 1999, was one of the first JRPGs to have twin protagonists. As a result, both characters have equally intriguing storylines, and knowledge from each character’s point of view adds richness to the narrative.

Ten years after its first release in the West, Second Story was remastered and released on the PSP. The remaster features 13 new endings, bringing the total to 100. This level of depth was unprecedented at the time of its publication, and it remains so now.

5. Xenoblade Chronicles 

2012 and 2020 release dates

Monolith is the developer.

Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Switch are the platforms.

Xenoblade Chronicles, released on the Wii over a decade ago, is a modern classic from the creators of the much-loved Xenogears and Xenosaga trilogy on the PS1 and PS2, respectively. While not as complicated as its predecessors, Xenoblade Chronicles shows how good the genre can be at delivering great character stories.

The protagonist, Shulk, has an incredible adventure, but the folks around him make the story what it is. Motivations are rarely black and white, and the game’s story continues to surprise even the most jaded JRPG fan.

6. Final Fantasy VI

Date of publication: 1994

Square Enix is the developer.

SNES, PS1, PC, and GBA are the platforms.

Final Fantasy 6, published for the SNES in 1996, was well ahead of its time. That’s not just because it pushed the Super Nintendo to its graphical boundaries but also because the characters are so charming.

Final Fantasy 6 has an ensemble cast, each of which seems essential, rather than a single primary protagonist and their allies. Even though the tale concentrates around Terra, The fourteen characters in the game have a role to perform. As a result, Final Fantasy 6 has some of the most robust character development in the series.

7. Tales from the Abyss

Year of publication: 2005

Bandai Namco and Tales Studio are the developers.

PS2 and Nintendo 3DS are the platforms.

Tales of the Abyss was released in 2005. After Tales of Symphonia was a success on the Nintendo GameCube, it is often recognized as one of the best games in the series because of its character development.

8. The Nier Trilogy

The following years have been released: 2010, 2017, and 2020.

Cavia, Toy Logic, and PlatinumGames are the developers.

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One

With its great plot, explosive combat system, and unique characters, Nier: Automata’s sequel reached popular success. People who wish to play two terrific games with extraordinary tales and endearing heroes should also play Automata’s precursor.

A game’s ability to emotionally engage its players with its plot requires excellent character development, which both Nier titles provide in abundance. The stories in the Nier games are about humanity, sacrifice, self-discovery, and loss.

9. Suikoden III

The 2002 year of release

Konami is the developer.

PS2 is the platform.

Suikoden 3 was the first game in the franchise to be released on the PlayStation 2 and the first to employ 3D character models and settings. As a result, Suikoden 3 does not appear as timeless as its 2D predecessors, but its excellent story and characters were well ahead of their time.

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The Trinity Sight method is used to tell the story of Suikoden 3. It was a one-of-a-kind mechanic that conveyed the report via the eyes of its three primary heroes as their storylines intertwined to form a whole.

10. Persona 5

Year of publication: 2017

Atlus is the developer.

PS3 and PS4 platforms

Persona 5, released in 2017, is a conventional JRPG set in modern-day Japan. As with its predecessors, you play as a fresh high school student attempting to fit in, navigate cliques, and create new acquaintances.

The Yakuza Film Series

Year of publication: 2005

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and Sega are the developers.

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S

Yakuza debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2005, traditional blended exploration, NPCs, and aspects from Sega’s Shenmue series to create one of the most distinctive action RPGs of all time. The first seven games, including the prequel Yakuza 0, revolve around a former Yakuza member named Kiryu Kazama.

Each game shines on its own, with excellent character development and fantastic protagonists. However, you can observe Kiryu’s story and route to atonement when played as a whole. The most recent main entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, changes things by switching to turn-based fighting and adding a new protagonist.

11. The Xenosaga Trilogy

The 2002 year of release

Monolith Soft is the developer.

PS2 platform

The Xenosaga trilogy, developed by the same team that created the renowned Xenogears for the PlayStation 1, is perhaps more ambitious than its predecessor. It’s science fiction space opera that’s quite linear overall, but its setting and great characters will captivate you.

Each character in the series has a moment to shine, with Junior and Albedo standing out. The Xenosaga trilogy is tremendously intricate and ambitious, as are its characters.

12. The Trails Series 

Trails in the Sky (2006) and Trails of Cold Steel (2015) were released.

Falcom is the developer.

The platforms supported are PSP, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

No series can compete with The Legend of Heroes’ Trails storyline, which spans numerous games in complex storytelling and world-building. In addition, western JRPG enthusiasts received the Trails in the Sky trilogy and the four Trails of Cold Steel titles.

These are 12 lengthy character-driven games to explore. However, they are more than just big games with attractive landscapes; they are also populated with characters you will care about. The games also skillfully incorporated character storylines into the plot without requiring you to do character quests, as in the Persona series. It means that the character growth feels natural and genuine rather than forced.

Conclusion:

Japanese RPGs are opposed to their Western counterparts in game design, approach, and choice-based gameplay. Despite this, fans of JRPGs are frequently drawn to the games due to their differences. The stories can be bizarre, poignant, and greatly influenced by Japanese animation.

As a result, the characters and their development are frequently a significant pull for genre enthusiasts and the primary reason they become so committed to a 30-80 hour journey. Character development does not stop with the protagonist; it includes the supporting cast and non-player characters. Let’s look at some of the top games in the category that feature excellent character development.

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