Top 10 PlayStation JRPGs

Top 10 PlayStation JRPGs

Revisit the golden age of RPGs

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for PS1 on

When it comes to JRPGs, no console has as many top-notch experiences as PS1 so let's explore the 10 best RPGs for PlayStation.

Note: to streamline this list, I decided not to include any purely turn-based strategy games or action RPGs although I do love Final Fantasy Tactics, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Vandal Hearts, and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

Game Arts released the adorable RPG Lunar: The Silver Star back in 1992 for Sega CD. Years later in 1999, this classic adventure starring the charming Alex and Luna reached North American PS1s in remade form which fleshed out the story and characters and included awe-inspiring cutscenes. If you're looking for an old-school JRPG then you can't do much better than Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. Oh, and if you own a PSP, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is yet another worthy remake of this classic RPG.

The Legend of Dragoon

You know that PS1 has some amazing RPGs if The Legend of Dragoon in only #9 on this list. Anyway, in this imaginative adventure, you play as Dart who is on a quest to rescue his childhood friend Shana after he discovers that she has been abducted. From then on, he meets many friends and foes and plenty of twists and turns accompany the compelling narrative. The battle system is great fun as it allows you to transform into Dragoon form as well as perform follow-up attacks via mini quick time events.

The Legend of Dragoon screenshot
Is anything more epic than pre final boss dialogue?

Breath of Fire III

Although many Breath of Fire fans are torn between either III or IV being the best in the series, you really can't go wrong with either. However, I find Breath of Fire III to be a slightly more engaging game due to its spot-on toe-tapping soundtrack, tight battle system, and delightful cast of characters. If you're a retro RPG fan then this is yet another adventure that I highly recommend along with Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. I wish Capcom would release a Breath of Fire collection already...

Final Fantasy IX

Its PS1 predecessors may have been very modern but Final Fantasy IX brought the series back to its roots complete with big-headed characters and a medieval fantasy setting. The cast of characters is quite possibly the quirkiest in the entire series with the monkey-like protagonist Zidane, a mysterious black mage named Vivi, a large knight captain known as Steiner, and the very hungry goofball Quina with suitably long tongue. Trying to eat enemies and gather all of the Blue Magic is so much fun. Anyway, yes; it's a fantastic game.

Final Fantasy IX screenshot
Zidane and crew sure have a tough battle ahead of them

Valkyrie Profile

As possibly the most underrated JRPG for PS1, Valkyrie Profile has you play as Lenneth while you traverse stages with distinct platformer gameplay yet the combat system is turn-based where your party acts simultaneously. The story involves recruiting various einherjar (dead soldiers) to fight in Valhalla and with a couple dozen playable characters; you're looking at one engaging and epic adventure. The story is full of tragedy and features multiple endings, too. It's a truly unique masterpiece that you should definitely play.

Grandia

Here we have another Game Arts developed gem of an RPG. Before spawning a couple sequels and a few spin-offs, the original Grandia captured gamers' imaginations by pulling them into a colourful world filled with lovely characters and overall positive vibes. Its battle system stood out from its peers by allowing you to cancel enemies' attacks and make them have to wait longer to be able to act again. With a huge adventure that'll take you to dozens of memorable locales, you definitely won't regret joining Justin on his journey.

Grandia screenshot
If that's the ultimate level of evolution then we should end all existence as we know it

Chrono Cross

How the heck do you make a sequel to one of the greatest RPGs of all time? Well, Chrono Cross definitely lives up to the awesome legacy of Chrono Trigger and it still impresses me to this day. Controlling Serge and his chums as you traverse parallel worlds makes for quite a confusing plot but once it all unravels, you're left with one unforgettable adventure. The aspect that I love most about Chrono Cross is that you can play as over 40 recruitable characters and the combat is phenomenal with its clever use of elements.

Xenogears

Without a doubt, Xenogears has the best story out of any PS1 JRPG. In fact, it may just feature the grandest story in all of gaming. With a fictional history spanning over 10,000 years and a protagonist that keeps being reincarnated through time, trying to wrap your head around the plot is as exacting as it is engaging. Being able to battle in giant mechs known as Gears and on foot with a super-satisfying combo system is great fun and the soundtrack is one of the best scores ever composed in gaming. What could beat this?

Xenogears vs. Grandia
Xenogears screenshot
Fei and friends fight a couple of save spots for some reason

Suikoden II

Well, here's Suikoden II. As part of one of the most tragically underrated series in all of gaming, Suikoden II is about as close to perfect as an RPG can get. For starters, its story contains a level of down-to-earth humanity that's rare to come by in the genre. Although it has many politics in the mix complete with war and twists of betrayal, the theme of friendship ultimately prevails. Aside from typical regular combat, you'll also encounter enemies in one-on-one duels and large-scale turn-based strategy battles. When you factor in over 100 characters and a fun chef mini-game, Suikoden II is everything you could ever want in an RPG.

Final Fantasy VII

You saw this coming, right? Even though Final Fantasy VII is considered overrated by many jaded gamers, it's highly regarded for good reason. Breaking away from its medieval fantasy predecessors, Final Fantasy VII introduced a futuristic science fiction setting to the franchise and as of writing this, its themes of environmentalism and making the world a better place could not be more relevant. The open-ended Materia system makes configuring your party an absolute treat and the basic battle system is enjoyable and rewarding. Plus, unleashing powerful summons and Limit Breaks still feels awesome. Of course, Final Fantasy VII easily tops this list.

Final Fantasy VII screenshot
Here we see Cloud taking home the coveted Gold Chocobo
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