Retro JRPGs question



  • Up until this year the oldest JRPG I have ever played was Final Fantasy X. I was never into retro gaming so I never bothered playing the classics. This year something changed and I decided to try older jrpgs starting with the ones most people consider the best and all I have to say is ive been missing out!! Ive played and beat chrono trigger, final fantasy 6, 7 and 9 and am currently playing xenogears. I currently have skies of arcadia and persona 3 waiting in the wings as possible next games but my question is:

    What game do you recommend I play (JRPG) that you would consider a must play?



  • @texmin Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

    It is more than just a Mario game, developed by Square even, and has original non-Mario franchise characters in it, including a villain that isn't Bowser. Has a cool isometric style, some nice comedic moments, lots of interesting characters, some fun minigames, etc. Still the best Mario RPG imo, although Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is like right there next to it.



  • @mbun This. SMRPG is one of the best games ever made.

    Also, check out Breath of Fire 3-4, Suikoden 1-3, Legend of Dragoon, Lunar Silver Star Saga and Eternal Blue Complete, Earthbound, Lufia 2, Lost Odyssey, Dragon Quest VIII...
    God, I'm sure I'm forgetting so many.



  • @el-shmiablo This is pretty much your "best of" list right here combined with the games the OP has already listed I cant think of much more. I think i would add Shadowrun and Ogre Battle although they both could be quite polarizing and may not be classified as true RPGs.



  • @zrail I'll second Ogre Battle. Brutal for sure, but what a cool game.

    I've never taken the time to finish it, but I think the combat system of SaGa 3 Jikū no Hasha: Shadow or Light for Nintendo DS is really cool, and it is worth checking out.



  • Would be important to know how you play retro games? On console (Which ones?)? On PC? Legit (digital) copies? Emulation? Willing to import?



  • @texmin I would put Super Mario RPG the top of the recommendation list as well. If you consider yourself a fan of the Final Fantasy series, then FFIV should be high up there somewhere.

    Are you considering Japanese dungeon crawlers? Arcana (developed by HAL!) is my favorite retro one, but if you are entertaining post-2000 suggestions then go with the Etrian Odyssey series, full stop.

    Are you considering Japanese action RPGs? Then I would add Quintet's SNES games (Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma) as excellent recommendations. Ys 1 & 2 are more personal favorites, and the modern remakes available on Steam are very good. There's also the Seiken/Mana series: Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3.

    Are you considering Japanese strategy RPGs? Then high recommendations would go to Shining Force 1 & 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and Fire Emblem (for FE, the first one on the GBA is a natural entry point).



  • We also forgot the Phantasy Star series, didn't we?



  • I could list 50 plus to be honest. I have my personal favourites, but I'd still consider them all must plays. To offer a suggestion is easy though; the omission of FF8 in your list of recently played stands out like a sore thumb. I'd say it's better than all of the others, so it's an easy place to start at least.



  • Most bases have been covered, but I gotta rep Vagrant Story. Also Saga Frontier 1 and 2.

    Vagrant Story has a learning curve-and-a-half though. Also, if you are playing on a PS2 or PSX and you can find Threads of Fate or Breath of Fire III at decent prices, definitely pick those up too.



  • Super Mario RPG for sure. I can find nothing wrong with that game. I also really like Persona 2 - both parts. P1 and 2 are far more old school RPG than 3 and beyond.



  • Give the Sega RPG's some love. Phantasy Star IV, Lunar: Silver Star Story and Lunar: Eternal Blue are right up there with Chrono Trigger and FF6 in the 16-bit era. Shining Force 1 and 2 are excellent too. Skies is a must play, and I can't recommend Grandia 1 and 2 highly enough.



  • Throwing out some more.

    SaGa Frontier, Bahamut Lagoon, Grandia 1+2, Star Ocean 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyrie Profile, Legend of Legaia.



  • Id skip Super Mario RPG if you're looking for a game with good story and characters, its a fine game, but its more a great starter jrpg than anything

    Phantasy Star 4 holds up well, interesting world and characters

    Terranimga, my second favorite rpg on the SNES after FFVI, highly underrated

    FF8 is also a must IMO

    Dragon Quest V

    Tactics Ogre Let Us Cling Together and FF Tactics are must if you like political stuff and like strategy

    Shining Force 1 and 2 (and 3 if you dont mind emulating the Saturn which isnt that hard anymore) are fantastic strategy RPGs with a lot of charm

    Grandia 1 and 2 are very fun and one of the best battle systems in a jrpg

    Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky FC and SC are fantastic, one of the best casts in any game, worth checking out

    Suikoden 1 and 2, the first one is for me a tad better, they are both great, but it is also short, like 20-25hrs so its nice to have shorter options



  • As previously mentioned by others, I give my loving stamp of approval to Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky FC (first chapter) and SC(second chapter). The added benefit is that this story is still ongoing in the more recent releases of the Trails of Cold Steel games. (Of course, if you decided you like both of those and want to jump into Cold Steel, I'd suggest playing Trails in the Sky: The 3rd first)

    Also, Star Ocean 1 and 2. When 2 came out on PS1 it was one of my first jrpgs on that system, and sorta blew my mind at the time.

    Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (PS1 version) and Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete (PS1 version) are both incredibly charming jrpgs.



  • @acardattack said:

    Id skip Super Mario RPG if you're looking for a game with good story and characters

    I've never read something more wrong in my life.

    lacks good characters

    Ignoring how the game treats the mainstays like Mario and Bowser, as well as the original main cast members people love, there's still Croco, Frogfucius, Booster, Jonathan Jones, and more who all stand out.

    lacks good story

    From the very start of the game the story subverts your expectations, and it is one surprise after another until the very end.

    praises Terranigma as their second favorite SNES RPG after complaining about story elsewhere

    As amusing as that game is, every week I watch Kyle get into some completely ridiculous scenario in it that makes me question what the heck the writers are even going for. Guess you can give it points for originality, but it is downright wacky, and I don't think it is trying to be either. The shell of what you're doing in the game is cool, but all the weird little stories along the way feel crazy random.



  • @mbun

    I found nothing interesting about any of the characters in SMRPG, I can see the charm and such, but doesnt make it interesting, not saying its bad, but its not that memorable

    Terranigma has a very interesting premise and when you piece it all together, a hell of an ending, the MC might not be the most interesting, but the world and story are



  • @minamik

    I just finished Trails in the Sky 3rd and I really found it to be pretty blah, just a huge dungeon crawler basically and I didnt feel like there was much pay off, you get some more backstory, but thats about it , the overall main story fell kind of flat for me



  • @acardattack said in Retro JRPGs question:

    Id skip Super Mario RPG if you're looking for a game with good story and characters, its a fine game, but its more a great starter jrpg than anything

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  • @acardattack said:

    not saying its bad, but its not that memorable

    I think the characters and how the game presents them to you make them super memorable. Can't get into it here really without spoilers, but the game has plenty of interesting moments, many of which turn into minigames to play out or just plain surprise what you expect to be coming next. The final dungeon and boss are especially interesting for what they reveal to the player. There are still people begging for Geno to be added to Super Smash Bros. after all this time, and I think that says plenty in and of itself.

    very interesting premise

    Thing breaks. Restore thing. Pretty typical for an RPG. SMRPG is pretty much the exact same premise, just a different thing that breaks and different reasons why it broke.

    the MC might not be the most interesting, but the world and story are

    I actually find the opposite to be true. The "badboy" MC is one of the strengths of the game as he's not the usual RPG protagonist, but ignoring the world of the beginning of the game, which actually is pretty cool, once you get to the rest of the game it is really bland for what should be obvious reasons. The story has surprised me. I'd say calling it interesting is fair, but I can't take it seriously, and it seems so random that I can't even anticipate what is coming next in the least. SMRPG's world is shown to you on the world map before you enter an area, so you can get a vague idea of what you're in for as far as area theme. Tons of Terranigma seems to be walking into random overworld tiles an NPC might hint at somewhere that spawn uninspired little locations with a couple chests in them or little towns or dungeons that are nothing special to anyone who plays lots of RPGs.