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JRPG Recommendations

shoz999

Back when Tigers used to smoke.
Recommend JRPGs. Some general ideas to get you guys brain-storming what a JRPG fan might be looking for.
  • Underrated titles that you believe deserves more attention (this one is most appreciated)
  • Amazing stories
  • Amazing characters
  • Amazing world-building
  • Amazing Music
  • Classic Turn-based Combat
  • Innovating Turn-Based Combat
  • 90's feel (This one is a bit hard to describe, think Dragon Quest 11 which is fairly conservative in it's gameplay mechanics)
  • Modern JRPG (Final Fantasy 15 for example looks incredibly different than it was years ago)

So I'll kick off with a really underrated JRPG but most of you die-hard Nintendo and Final Fantasy fans who pay attention to the gaming news on a consistent basis probably heard of this game.



The game is called The Last Story and for those not familiar with this title, this was a Wii-Exclusive JRPG directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series himself.

Similar to how the Final Fantasy title was named that way because it may or may not be Sakaguchi's final fantasy, the Last Story calls back to this title in that this may or may not be Sakaguchi's last story. The story isn't original but if your looking for that lost medieval Final Fantasy charm in the olden days of Final Fantasy, tons of interesting characters with personalities and quirks, animations and a combat system inspired by the Uncharted series, and nevertheless a pretty well-told fantasy JRPG story with beautiful music, the most beautiful graphics you can find in a Wii game, you will get it here.

However one thing I have to say is this is not a turn-based JRPG. It's an tactical action role-playing game with cover mechanics, stealth and action that vaguely resembles more of games like XCOM and Fire Emblem than say Kingdom Hearts. That being said, it's a very fun game, and although it has a focus on tactics it is casual-friendly and the bosses are some of the most epic bosses you'll find in a Nintendo game. Not to mention, this is honestly one of the JRPG series that I really REALLY want to see a sequel for. It is just that good and it will leave you wanting for more from the creator of Final Fantasy himself.
 

TheCharredDragon

A Trickster and his Not-Cat
YES! I INSTA LOVE THIS THREAD! -ahem- In all seriousness, I am a big RPG nut and with JRPGs in particular since they're more commonly story-based in focus and turn-based in combat. But here's the thing, I know quite a lot of people who love RPGs would know these games (like myself knowing The Last Story even though I haven't played it) but, as far as I can tell, most people don't play JRPGs or know it unless it's really big like Final Fantasy. So first, I'm going to list a few JRPG series and games that might be popular or known but not as much Final Fantasy.

Warning! Spoiled because of blocks of texts!

. . .

A series of RPGs made by Atlus, also called simply as MegaTen, and sometimes Shin Megami Tensei or SMT, though I'm not entirely sure at the moment the different between MegaTen and SMT but I digress. It has all the staples of RPGs--elemental weaknesses, statuses, buffs, debuffs, etc.--but unlike most RPGs, buffs and debuffs are important and elemental weaknesses usually include physical attacks and maybe even status effects as well depending on the game. And the biggest reason is because Atlus games are notorious for being hard much like Dark Souls and you will need everything at your disposal.

One of its mainstays is that it has demon negotiation where you, well, basically have to negotiate with a demon so you can get them to join you or give you something, and demon fusion where, unlike Pokémon, you will have to fuse stronger demons if you want to go forward by, well, fusing two demons together which is likely to learn stuff from the demon parts the demon usually doesn't learn. Another thing that's typical is you choosing between Law, Chaos or Neutral, but none are necessarily "evil" or "good" because the point is for you to choose what you think would be good in your own personal moral code (though most people from what I've seen generally agree that Law is awful in its execution of its ideals: total control of everything, no deviation whatsoever and God and/or the angels being gigantic jerks most of the time). And as such, this greatly affects the story, which is typically post-apocalyptic or the apocalypse is about to happen.

Though, warning, there are some fans who really don't like its more popular spin-off, Persona, because it's been overshadowing SMT as of late. It also has other "spin-offs" like Devil Survivor which is basically Fire Emblem x SMT in gameplay (which you should also totally play if you love FE and/or Persona), maybe even more than Tokyo Mirage Sessions, or TMS (yes it's SMT in reverse), Encore since that game is more akin to SMT (or Persona) gameplay from what I've seen. And SMT III: Nocturne is considered the best by most, though I'm not entirely sure why yet.

The aforementioned more popular spin-off of SMT to the point that it dropped the SMT prefix starting around P4 Golden. It got even bigger with P5 with lots of new people getting into the series as well as getting a representitive in Smash in the form of Joker. It has all the staples and needed strategies of SMT, but unlike in the main games, demons are from the mind and called Persona, it has lots of Jungian and Tarot symbolism, and it's set in modern day Japan involving high schoolers, most of the time.

Gameplay is more streamlined and it's comparitively easier than mainline SMT but it's still plenty hard if you don't know what you're doing, especially with buffs and debuffs. It sets itself apart from mainline SMT with these things called "Social Links" (or Confidants in P5) where you strengthen your bond with somone and the stronger it gets, the stronger your Persona and if you max a Social Link, you get a really strong Persona often called an Ultimate Persona.

I personally think this series is a good introduction to SMT in general (particularly P3 - P5 because P1 and 2 are more like mainline SMT than those 3) but some would argue otherwise. This series has my number one music tracks and I listen to them pretty much almost everyday. To prove the point on how good it is, here's an analysis of Persona 5's music, and an analysis of one of its composers, Shoji Meguro. In short: genius.

Technically started with the Dragon Slayer duology and the Gagharv trilogy, but it mostly become notable starting with Trails of the Sky FC, which is when the Trails series started to use one world for all the current games, just set on different nations, with an Empire right beside a Republic. This series is made by Nihon Falcom and like Persona, it's actually a more popular spin-off. Anyways, gameplay wise, it's your typical RPG but it gas a few more modern mechanics like healing whenever you level up and you can see the monsters in the overworld. When you actually get into a fight, simply put, it's like playing FE on a small grid and different mechanics.

Speaking of that, because magic is done through magi-tech in this world, and everything being like early 1900s in tech level but more streamlined and if zeppelins were still a thing, you gain magic by having "gems" and arranging it in your magic casting device called an "Orbment" and different combinations of different types and how much of each type will give you different magic, so technically everyone can learn everything. But of course, not everyone is good at magic so keep that in mind. Also, it's kind of more complicated than that and that's just a simplification.

But the main focus is the story and music. Unfortunately, I haven't made it far in any of Trails games I'm into so I can't say much on it other than it's fascinating and that it's mostly self contained...except for Trails of Cold Steel III and IV because, apparently, it's basically the Infinity War of the series from what I've heard.

The music is great like Persona. One fan I know of says there's only two types of music from Trails, "good" and "really good", so that's a plus for me.

Tales of: Yes it has a similar title scheme to the above but it's very different. For one, it's an action RPG. For two, each game is set in a different world. Unfortunately, the only one I've played is Tales of Innocence but what I have played of this and heard of other games, it's definitely worth it to check the series out.

Etrian Odyssesy: First person mystery dungeon by Atlus. Not much to say on this too for similar reasons but one thing to know: status effects are typically broken in this series, noticeably poison. And there's technically a barebones story for most of the games, but that's not the point. The point is to have an adventure and explore the dungeon(s) you need to see and have your own stories from it. As far as I can tell anyway.

Radiant Historia: I just love this game. I really should go back to 100 percenting it but anyway... It might not be Chrono Trigger, but the battle system is fascinating enough in itself, the story is pretty unique (and good but I won't tell why except that I didn't expect a certain thing in the best ending involving the antagonist) in my opinion and the time travel is pretty interesting since you have to jump between two (or three in the remake, Perfect Chronology) timelines to get further in both and sometimes some insignificant thing or quest might help you move forward or unlock the best ending.

Oh, and the music is by Yoko Shimomura. You know, the composer of Kingdom Hearts, so the music is definitely good. The regular battle music is great to listen to and each background music are, well, nice background for each area and town.

Of course since I love Persona, it should be no surprise I love this game too. But I actually played his first before Persona so it's actually the other way around but anyway... First off, it was on the DS and remade into the Switch and...if you know the gameplay of TWEWY, it didn't go so well. But the DS version is the only one I played and that's what I'll talk about.

First off, I love the aesthetic and setting. It looks so much like a comic book to the point the the speech bubbles are comic book speech bubbles. The fact it's set in Shibuya makes it interesting since fantasy based games are rarely set in more modern settings, let alone a real one. Shibuya drawn as a comic book makes it look really unique and the characters are also in the same style so all together, it makes a great visual.

Gameplay is, well, unique, and I feel like this is the only touch screen based game I've ever played where I had fun with it. The motions are simple, for the most part, and though the split screen might seem difficult...well, how I did it was focus on the bottom screen, and just vaguely press D-pad for the upper screen since the touch screen was where most of the action is. So it wasn't too bad. Like I said, it was fun and the boss battles were difficult but fair as a result.

Also, though some might not like it, fashion (this game's armor) affects how powerful your attacks are, which are done by using pins. Each pin has a brand, like each clothing has one too. And each part of Shibuya has different preferences so pins get stronger or weaker depending on the fashion trends. But if you keep wearing the same brands, you'll set the "trend" and thus give yourself a boost. And enemies can only be encountered if you select on them (it makes sense in the game), besides most bosses. There's more gameplay, but those are the main things I wanted to point out.

Also, the soundtrack is amazing. But it's mostly pop, rock, hip-hop, rap and stuff like that, but still with plenty of tracks appropriate for the mood, but, well, if you don't like mainstream stuff (or Persona's music) you might not like the music.

Yeah, okay, it's not a "JRPG" but come on! It's like Pokémon and at least wikipedia counts it as a JRPG so I'm counting this. And yes, in concept it's basically a rip-off of Pokémon...but that's really why I wanted it in the first place because I also like prehistoric animals and it was so nice to see a game that doesn't have the dinosaurs (or in this case "vivosaurs") out to kill you. Before I go further though...Fossil Fighters 1 is fine but DO NOT bother with Frontier, as much as I like Nibbles from that game. Just don't. It may be a good game to some degree, but if you like Fossil Fighters 1 or Champions, you won't like it.

Anyways...what sets it apart from Pokémon, other than the creatures, is the gameplay. This game has, by far, my favorite battle system. Only Octopath Traveler tops it.

Battles are done with a team of 5 vivosaurs and then selecting 3 to battle the opponent's 3. On both sides are circles made up of six hexagons, three of them make up the Attack Zone (AZ), and there's another Support Zone (AZ), and that's important because each vivosaur has a range and their best range is shown by a star over the opponent. As such, close range prefers the front most AZ since their range is one hexagon while something like mid range has two hexagons. And to further spice things up, you can move your vivosaurs around the field as much as you want, even temporarily move them forward and then back, and there are also moves that force the opponent to move because another factor are Support Effects because every vivosaur, whenever put in SZ, can either debuff the opponent or buff your teammates, which can get fun if you can debuff, say, the accuracy of an opponent by 99% (maxed out Dilo can do this for those wondering). But sometimes your vivosaurs buff your opponent or debuff your teammates. This is all done with Fossil points, which regenerates each turn, and each actions costs a certain amount of it so if you save it up, you can wipe out a party.

Tl;dr, battle system is awesome and unique.

As for getting vivosaurs, you do it by, well, digging for fossils and cleaning them. Each vivosaur has four parts (head, arm, body, legs) and the better cleaned it is, the higher its base level it will be when it revives as each part give 100 exp when cleaned at, well, 100% without damage. But there are several varieties of fossils in Champions, from giant ones with all the parts to single ones because it's an invertebrate. And then there are gold and silver fossils later that can upgrade and (in the case of some vivosaurs when using golden fossils) "evolve", though their evolutions are hit and miss for me.

The story and plot aren't exactly mine blowing (and some of its twists might be obvious to some) but like Pokémon, it's still a pretty fun one. And though I like the music and it's nice, it's not exactly something to write home about, especially compared to things like Persona. And neither are the graphics. But really, you should play this if you love Pokémon and prehistoric animals, because that's what this is.

. . .

Yes, I know that was long. But these are RPGs. What did you expect? And I love these so there.

Anyways...those are my thoughts. There are probably others but those are the ones I can think of descriptions for...for now. But here are some honorable mentions I know of that I wanna try at some point:
  • Lost Dimension (SRPG by Atlus that's a standalone IP witb RNG traitors--yes, RNG traitors)
  • Xeno series (yes, there were other games before Xenoblade, specifically Xenosaga which I actually knew of before Xenoblade, but I personally wanna try Xenoblade first)
  • Harvest Moon series
  • Phantasy Star series
  • Breath of Fire series
  • Ni no Kuni series
  • Summon Night series
  • Xanadu series (specifically Tokyo Xanadu)
  • Bravely series (mentioned 'cause Octopath Traveler)
  • Monster Hunter series
 
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WalesNote

Well-Known Member
Digimon Series:

Digimon World. What I would call a hardcore (maybe too hardcore?) monster raising game. Get your digimon, feed them, put them to bed, take them to the bathroom, train them, and digivolve them (hopefully to something good). Explore File Island and bring back the digimon who have left, make the city lively once more, and show the bad guys who's right. It can be a hard game, especially in the beginning, so I suggest looking up a guide before getting started. It's got some bad game design here and there, and in some versions there are game-breaking bugs and stuff (like the jukebox - don't try it), but it can give a solid and unique experience.

Digimon World 3. A more traditional turn-based jrpg. Enter the popular online game 'Digimon', choose your starting partners, explore the world, fight, train, digivolve, battle! It might be a bit on the slower side compared to the first (and of course all the other huge differences), but it offers a fairly good digimon experience, if i bit on the grindy side of things. This time, however, the bad guys have much bigger plans, and then some. The monster raising in this one is much less than in the first World game as it's a simple turn-based rpg, but it's much easier to get into in that sense.

Digimon World Cyber Sleuth. A modern digimon game compete with character designs hailing from Shin Megami Tensei (I think, or maybe Persona or something). A traditional turn-based jrpg where you use scan data to create your own partner, raise them in the digi-farm, and digivolve them to all sorts of great and terrible beasts. It's got a decent story, and decently good character design, great graphics (especially for being originally a PS Vita game), and over 200 of your favourite digital monsters to become partners with. It's also somewhat newly released on Switch. There's also a sequel that's even better.
 

NPC

sleep researcher
  • The long-running Legend of Heroes is a series of very classic, character-driven fantasy RPGs with unforgettable stories. The franchise is sub-divided into arcs that tell continuous stories. The best-known is probably the Trails in the Sky trilogy for PSP, Vita, and PC. The Trails of Cold Steel series, which is awaiting the NA release of its fourth and final game, is also well-known. If you want to start with a standalone game, I strongly recommend Trails of Nayuta for the PSP (fan-translated, as there was no official NA release).
  • The Grandia games are close to my heart as charming, accessible fantasy RPGs with engaging combat systems that combine turn-based decision-making with real-time action. The first Grandia game has a lovable cast but is very easy, while Grandia II is probably the high point of the series. Grandia III has excellent combat and graphics, but the story took a huge hit. The games' stories are unrelated to each other, so they can be played in any order.
  • Shadow Hearts is a trilogy of PS2 games that combines turn-based combat with a timed hits system to keep you alert. The characters and settings combine zany humor with early-20th century history and occultism. You play as vampire wrestlers, cursed puppeteers, Native American gunfighters, elderly Brazilian ninjas, giant kung-fu cats, and more. I can't overstate how unique these games are. Shadow Hearts: Convenant directly follows the story of the first game, while From the New World is mostly its own thing.
 

SBaby

Dungeon Master
If you can get your hands on them, the Suikoden games are fantastic (well, IV is a little weak, but the others are fantastic). Each game in the series has a massive cast of characters that you can get to join you (typically 108 or so), many of them usable in battle, and they also do other things, such as run shops in your headquarters. Combat is turn-based, usually allowing you to have six party members at a time and later games using an Entourage system, where you can have non-combat members that provide buffs and other support effects as well. In addition to this, you also have one-on-one duels and army battles as well, with the mechanics ranging from simple rock-paper-scissors mechanics to full blown Langrisser-style strategic battles where mistakes don't just cost you troops, but can get characters permanently killed. It is a ton of fun, and there is quite a lot of thought that goes into these battles.

And the storylines are fantastic, sometimes even making you question who the real villain actually is. I definitely recommend this series to anyone looking for JRPGs to play.
 

Ignition

That damn smile
RPGs are my favorite video game genre so I’m definitely going to look into the games recommended here.

The Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises are some of my favorite video games of all time so those are games I’d highly recommend.

Chrono Trigger is another old favorite.
 

WishIhadaManafi5

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before.
Staff member
Moderator
The Goldensun series. Especially the first two games. Solid gameplay, story, characters and music. Still just as fun to play as they were when they came out.
 

Ignition

That damn smile
I know I mentioned this in my first post I this thread but Dragon Quest XI A: Echoes of an Elusive Age: Defintitive Edition is a pretty great game. I had it on my backlog since Christmas but never got around to it until now.

Only roughly a third into the game based on what a friend tells me but it offers a lot of fun gameplay. The characters, music, battles, and world are pretty great. It offers a bit of what Pokémon fans have wanted (though I personally don't think they're comparable in most regards). If you've been interested or intrigued by Smash's depiction of the character and game, I highly suggest picking it up
 

Siddhar

Transcend
Here are my additions:
Radiant Historia: A really beautiful game which was originally launched for the DS, and got a remaster for the 3DS. The protagonist works in the military's special intelligence, and personally, out of all games I've played, he's my most favourite. Aannnnd no he isn't silent protagonist....
Travelling across time is the base theme, but it is different from Chrono Trigger's time travel. Right from when you get this ability, you get to travel to any critical point in time (called a node). Critical in the sense that a different decision could devastatingly alter events. There are many timeline splits, with some decisions badly affecting the future, while some doing the good opposite.
The game's mechanics are its selling point. For example: if a merchant was unable to arrive due to certain unforeseen elements, time travelling to the past and helping the merchant reach his destination will lead to further results. The following screen shows the timelines in the game. Blue icons represent locations/time to which we can teleport to:

The red ones represent a bad decision/unfavourable for the situation which led to bad futures, aka game over sort of stuff, but for the entire nation. Star parks represent sidequests. Travelling between these timelines to learn new skills, get intel, and learn more about the world, and even prevent accidents is unique! Also, the two major timelines offer two different parties (with Raynie and Marco being common in both) for the majority of the story, so you must adjust to using different characters and strategies, which in my opinion is fun.

Coming to the amazing battle system, this game's battle system focuses on positions of the enemy on a 3x3 grid. Like this:
The closer the enemy is to the characters, the higher the damage they receive, but also the damage they deal is higher. Combos involve knocking foes around the battle grid to (ideally) force them all into one slot and attacking with a powerful blow. There are many, many wonders in this battle system which you'd love to explore.
The 3DS version, I believe has a boss rush or something of that nature (Idk; I played on the DS).
Did I mention this? No I didn't: Yoko Shimomura's music in this game's awesome!

Trails of Cold Steel: Putting it in here because I believe it doesn't get enough attention. Game's fun so is the battle system, and the group of characters is awesome. I love the music in this game too! Can't say too much because I'm still playing through the games, but I assure you that this has been a total blast so far.

Golden Sun games: The GBA games: Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age provide a very interesting story and a colourful group of characters (literally; no two characters have the same hair colour.....almost). it has one of my favourite antagonists : Saturos, and I doubt I'd not support him with that level of strength and purpose....if I were one of his people.
It's got some amazing music composed by Motoi Sakuraba, a super fun battle system with a class mechanism that alters stats significantly and an amazing world to explore with a good amount of history. A GBA must play, it is top quality stuff.

That's it from me, at least for now.

The game is called The Last Story and for those not familiar with this title, this was a Wii-Exclusive JRPG directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series himself.
Ah! Another Operation Rainfall game! I don't own a Wii, but if I did, this would definitely be a must-play.

The Goldensun series
Aah, the memories! Alex was the most intriguing character, and I felt encouraged when good ol' Kraden was with us. But Felix is still an awesome protagonist. My signature itself is from the games: Eclispe the summon...ring any bells?
I fondly remember using Catastrophe to destroy the world....just to get down some pesky Kobolds.
 
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WishIhadaManafi5

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before.
Staff member
Moderator
Eclipse is my favorite summon as well. It's so cool. But honestly, the battle and summon system is really fun.
 

Hunter Zolomon

Into the Shadows
Staff member
Moderator
The Goldensun series. Especially the first two games. Solid gameplay, story, characters and music. Still just as fun to play as they were when they came out.
I concur. The Golden Sun series is amazing. I was always hoping to see Isaac in Smash Bros.

Another series I would recommend is the Suikoden games. The original Suikoden on Playstation 1 is one of my favorite games of all time.
 

WishIhadaManafi5

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before.
Staff member
Moderator
I concur. The Golden Sun series is amazing. I was always hoping to see Isaac in Smash Bros.

Another series I would recommend is the Suikoden games. The original Suikoden on Playstation 1 is one of my favorite games of all time.
Word.

I have some of the latter games on my Vita. The Suikoden series.
 

SBaby

Dungeon Master
I concur. The Golden Sun series is amazing. I was always hoping to see Isaac in Smash Bros.

Another series I would recommend is the Suikoden games. The original Suikoden on Playstation 1 is one of my favorite games of all time.
Suikoden, I agree with wholeheartedly. That is a fantastic series.

The Golden Sun games are good JRPGs if you're just looking for the gameplay. I personally was not crazy about the characters or the story (specifically, the way the story is delivered), for reasons I won't go into here due to spoilers (the villains were well written though). The gameplay is fantastic though.

If you're looking to get something that's more story focused with a cast that's better developed and more likeable, I'd probably go with the games in the Xeno franchise (Xenogears, Xenosaga, Xenoblade Chronicles). Those games are really well written with extremely well developed characters, and even well developed villains. I've said time and again that the best villains are the ones who think they're doing the right thing, and with only a couple exceptions, the Xeno franchise nails this concept consistently.
 

shoz999

Back when Tigers used to smoke.
Suikoden, I agree with wholeheartedly. That is a fantastic series.

The Golden Sun games are good JRPGs if you're just looking for the gameplay. I personally was not crazy about the characters or the story (specifically, the way the story is delivered), for reasons I won't go into here due to spoilers (the villains were well written though). The gameplay is fantastic though.

If you're looking to get something that's more story focused with a cast that's better developed and more likeable, I'd probably go with the games in the Xeno franchise (Xenogears, Xenosaga, Xenoblade Chronicles). Those games are really well written with extremely well developed characters, and even well developed villains. I've said time and again that the best villains are the ones who think they're doing the right thing, and with only a couple exceptions, the Xeno franchise nails this concept consistently.
Oh man, the villains in the Xeno series are amazing. I'm replaying Xenoblade Chronicles right now and I am realizing there was way more foreshadowing hidden in the game than I initially realized with one moment where I went, "Oh! You clever bastard!" when they reached the prison island. It's kind of weird actually, normally I'm not interested in second playthrough but after so many years, playing Xenoblade Chronicles HD feels like playing a new game. Found some caves in valley area that I never found on the first playthrough.
 

GrizzlyB

Confused and Dazed
Most of the RPG series I can think of are already listed here. The first one that comes to mind that isn't is the Atelier series, which is a long line of solid games that revolve around alchemy and item creation mechanics. I haven't played too many of them, much less multiple ones from the same "arc" or whatever they are so I don't know how related they are. They're not super deep, plot-intensive games, but they are fun to play. I particularly liked the Mana Khemia sub-series revolving around an alchemy school (although the 2nd was barely a sequel), but that's pretty well dated by this point.

And really, my point in posting here is to double down on a series that's been mentioned a couple of times, the Trails series. I still haven't played the original arc, Trails in the Sky, which has 3 games (I have them on Steam, I'm just not a PC gamer so it's weird for me to play a game that was originally a handheld on a laptop or casted onto my TV, especially since they're so long), and the 2nd arc, the Crossbell arc, which is 2 games, still hasn't been localized outside of Japan (apparently there are fan translations. And more relevantly, both of them just got remakes on the PS4, so the odds of them coming over may not be zero... I hope). But the third arc, Trails of Cold Steel, is my favorite series ever, and a whopping 4 games long, with the fourth and final game set to release in NA/EU in late October -- how exciting! If you start here like I did, you're inevitably going to be spoiled on some of the plots of the earlier games (particularly starting in CS3; the first two aren't so bad), but I REGRET NOTHING!!!

Come on, watch at least the first few minutes of this video, and tell me you don't want to play THAT game:
 

mehmeh1

SOBA MASK
I'd definitely recommend Chrono Trigger. Sure, it's quite old, but there's a reason why it's considered a classic. Most characters, both major and minor, are really fun both to play as and to get to know. For a time travel plot it's surprisingly straightforward, but blood-pumping nontheless, and they get a lot of mileage out of the time travel concept. The main cast all get really interesting development in their side stories near the end, and while most people know this already, the twist
of Crono dying
was incredibly well executed, with the payoff for that being amazing. The battle system is incredibly smooth and feels like an absolute joy to use. It's pretty simple ATB on paper, but the team attacks and enemy positioning playing a part on battle (plus said enemies moving throughout the battlefield) gives it much needed variation. Plus, this game is the originator of NG+ in RPGs, and since the game is pretty short it doesn't feel like a chore to try to get all possible endings.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this one yet, but I loved Earthbound. Sure, it's story may not be as emotional as Mother 3's, but I'd say it makes up for it with pure, unadulterated charm. I feel like the people in charge of this game just sat on a room and had a contest of who could make up the most ridiculous concepts possible to put that stuff on the game. If there's any way I can describe the game it'd be childlike wonder, because that's kinda how I felt when I first played it.
 

GeorgeCollins

Volcano Trainer
I'm digging some of the suggestions here. Particularly Fossil Fighters: Champions and the Digimon series. There are major flaws with these games, but for some reason, those flaws don't really matter to me, and they're very enjoyable experiences. My favorite JPRGs aren't really for everyone, which makes it hard to blindly recommend them, but if anyone is interested in games such as Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (this is coincidentally getting remastered; if I had expected that, I probably wouldn't have played through it as many times as I have now), Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, or Phantasy Star II, let me know. Some other good ones off the top of my head are Phantasy Star/IV, Shining in the Darkness, Wizardtry: Tale of the Forsaken Land, and Dragon Crystal.
 
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