12 Underrated JRPGs You Need to Try

Japanese role-playing games aren’t all just Final Fantasy and its spinoffs, but it’s usually the first series that comes to mind when one talks about the genre. Not everything also has anime-style art and turn-based combat, because the genre is innovative and varied unlike most western RPGs.

Lost Odyssey (2007)

It most likely flew under the radar because it was released on a platform that didn’t do well in Japan (Xbox 360). But if you get your hands on it, you’re going to enjoy the features that will remind you of old JRPGs.

Brave Fencer Musashi (1998)

It’s not unusual that there are PS1 RPGs that flew under the radar because the system has a lot of great games. However, you’re missing out a lot if you don’t try this real-time RPG that comes with voiced over dialogue and a 3D environment.

Alundra (1997)

You might have heard about this title from its cult following, and all the good things they’re saying about it are true. The combat is challenging and the themes it explores are for mature gamers.

Phantom Brave (2004)

You can never go wrong with tactical RPGs as they offer more challenge but aren’t as tedious and repetitive as turn-based combat. What’s cool about this is that the different objects you in the surroundings use grant varied stats during combat.

The Last Remnant (2008)

A lot of the games in this list were developed by the same company that made Final Fantasy, but they did make other games with different mechanics. What makes this different is the command-based mechanic in which a unit makes up your team.

Brave Story: New Traveler (2006)

The title may be familiar because it’s based on the manga Brave Story. In the game, you control Tatsuya who goes on an adventure in order to save his friend Miki.

Hexyz Force (2009)

The PSP has a lot of overlooked games that you need to check out including this RPG. The game can be experienced from the perspective of two different protagonists, so you need two playthroughs to see everything.

Bahamut Lagoon (1996)

This tactical RPG has all the elements of most traditional RPGs, but it’s included in the list because it’s a hidden gem of the Super Famicom era. What make this unique is the ability to use up to six parties composed of four players.

Chaos Rings (2010)

Released in handheld and mobile, it’s no wonder it flew under the radar. But it has two cool features that involve fighting in tournaments and in dungeons in order to achieve immortality.

PoPoLoCrois (2005)

The US version of the game includes Books 1, 2, and 3 which were released only in Japan previously, so you are essentially playing three games. The game opens with the revelation that Pietro’s mother, whom he thought of as dead, is alive and is only in a coma.

SoulBlazer (1992)

This action RPG is a relief from turn-based combat but it includes elements familiar with the genre such as dungeon crawling, boss battles to clear an area, and quests leading up to a final confrontation.

Skies of Arcadia (2000)

In the game, you get to play as a young pirate and fight aerial battles in an airship. How many RPGs do you know lets you do that?