The nine best classic, retro JRPGs to play for the first time in 2023

Get stuck into these classics.

4 mins read reviews the Final Fantasy I through VI Pixel Remaster Series

Looking to get into vintage JRPGs for the first time? Perhaps you discovered how great the genre is with Persona 5 or Final Fantasy XVI and are interested in delving into its roots. Or perhaps you were a fan of action games when you were younger, but now that you’re getting a bit older and the reflexes are a bit slower you’re now looking for something more calmer. Don’t worry, that happens to us all.

Here are nine classic JRPGs that remain accessible in 2023, and you’ll be able to enjoy them as much now as people did back then.

Final Fantasy VI (1994): A masterpiece in storytelling and character development, Final Fantasy VI boasts a complex narrative with a diverse ensemble cast. The game’s use of the Esper system for magic adds strategic depth to its turn-based combat, and its emotional resonance is heightened by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

Final Fantasy VI

Chrono Trigger (1995): Crafted by RPG legends, Chrono Trigger is a time-traveling adventure that seamlessly weaves a compelling narrative with memorable characters. Its innovative New Game+ feature and multiple endings offer unparalleled replay value, while its active time battle system keeps the pace dynamic and engaging.

Chrono Trigger

Persona (Revelations: Persona) (1996): Persona, also known as Revelations: Persona, marks the inception of the renowned Persona series and stands as a distinctive title in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. While the series has evolved over time, Persona 1 remains a compelling experience, offering a unique blend of urban fantasy, psychological depth, and strategic combat that laid the groundwork for the franchise’s future success.

Persona 1

Suikoden II (1998): Renowned for its epic scope and intricate political narrative, Suikoden II stands out with its massive cast of 108 recruitable characters, each contributing to a grand tale of war, friendship, and betrayal. The game’s unique rune-based combat system and the ability to build and manage a fortress add layers of depth to the overall experience.

Suikoden 2

Secret of Mana (1993): Breaking new ground with its real-time combat, Secret of Mana is a charming action RPG with cooperative multiplayer. Its vibrant world, enchanting soundtrack, and a dynamic ring menu system for magic and items contribute to an unforgettable gaming experience.

Secret of Mana

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (1992): Dragon Quest V is celebrated for its emotionally resonant narrative, spanning multiple generations. The game’s use of a monster recruitment system and its classic turn-based combat make it a standout entry in the Dragon Quest series.

Dragon Quest V

Earthbound (1994): An eccentric gem in the JRPG realm, Earthbound stands out for its quirky humor, modern-day setting, and turn-based combat. The game’s unique charm, accompanied by a memorable soundtrack, has earned it a dedicated fan base over the years.

Earthbound 1

Breath of Fire III (1997): With a charming art style, an engaging turn-based combat system, and a rich narrative, Breath of Fire III is a classic JRPG. The game’s dragon mechanics, allowing the protagonist to transform into various dragons, add a layer of strategy to the overall experience.

Breath of Fire 3

Pokémon Red and Blue (1996): Pokémon Red and Blue, the inaugural titles in the Pokémon series, are iconic role-playing games that captured the hearts of millions around the globe. While 151 Pokémon species to catch might not sound like much now, the strategic turn-based battles, and challenge to catch ‘em all remains a compelling journey to this day. Are you able to find Mewtwo in the hidden bonus dungeon?

Pokemon Blue

Enjoy your journey into the classics of the greatest genre!

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