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Five Games that Revitalized the JRPG This Generation

Following the release of Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix had an incredibly rough time with their consumers and their business. FFXIII was destroyed by gamers for its 30+ hour introduction and limited scope. Final Fantasy staples were completely cut out from the game: towns and an open world from the get go. What was heavily emphasized, however, were the graphics and mediocre story. This downward trend has continued with Square continuing to support their FFXIII universe while straying away from developments that really matter such as the newly named FFXV, all of which which has led to increased financial difficulty for the company. Seeing as how Square was the one to introduce the JRPG to a new generation with the release of Final Fantasy VII, many have have seen their decline as “killing the JRPG.”

Here are five games that say otherwise:

1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (PSP)
P3PAlthough a rerelease of a title made for the Playstation 2, Persona 3 Portable was easily a must have for any JRPG lover. With the already incredible high school sim and persona collecting/fusion elements, an updated battle system, and even more content, through the addition of a female protagonist, P3P was impossible not to buy. What is important is that this game was released during a heavy JRPG lull for both the 360 and PS3, and kept both veterans and new gamers plenty busy.

2. Dark Souls (360/PS3/PC)
Dark SoulsNot all JRPG’s have to have the ridiculously involved story, big hair, or standard time based battle system. With Dark Souls, developer From Software took all the things that made Japanese RPGs and Western RPGs great, and fused them into completely new and mystifying class of its own. Be it the difficulty, the vibrant world, the classes, the lack of an in-game map, and the bosses, Dark Souls had personality. But not only that, this personality resonated with audiences worldwide. Dark Souls helped prove that the Japanese games industry was far from collapsing.

3. Dragon’s Crown (PS3/Vita)
dragon'scrownMuch controversy surrounded this title leading up to its release. Their had been feuds within the gaming community about the art direction. A voluptuous sorceress, and a scantily clad amazonian were the talk of the web for quite some time. Many writers used this as an opportunity to bash JRPGs as a whole, but when the game released hardly anyone discussed the risque art. The game was impressive enough. With a wide range of classes, beautiful set pieces, a deep combat system, and enough content to keep one playing for a long time, Dragon’s Crown was yet another masterpiece from the Japanese games industry.

4. Radiant Historia (DS)
radianthistoriaWith a wonderful soundtrack, outstanding graphics, an intriguing story, and a deep yet simple combat system, Radiant Historia was a charmer upon release. Difficult to put down, Radiant Historia reveled in its JRPG history and embodied all the good that has come out of Japan. Its late release into the DS life cycle was no hinder on its greatness, and the game was well received by both gamers and critics alike. Radiant Historia was and still is an excellent example of a JRPG done right.

5. XenoBlade Chronicles (Wii)
XenobladeAltCoverPossibly the greatest swan song of all time, Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the last games released for the idling Wii. A direct result of fan enthusiasm, Xenoblade Chronicles was brought stateside in a plan that was called Operation Rainfall. Thousands upon thousands signed the petition to have Nintendo localize it, and Nintendo listened. The fans were not left disappointed. They were met with a game that successfully updated the JRPG, and this was all done on the limited power of the Wii. Charming characters with their respective British voice actors, a story that could bring one to tears, a sweeping score with a killer battle theme, a fighting system that blended the old with the new, and graphics that could make one proud to own a Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles had it all.

  • Mike Johnston

    Wouldn’t you say the PSP and DS are last gen. Also, Demon’s Souls should be there, not Dark Souls.

    • Godmars

      Wouldn’t actually call JRPGs “revitalized” this gen, especially by this list. Dragon’s Crown is too new and Xenoblade is too old with neither having any visible industry impact. Only Demon’s Souls really qualify, and even there the article writer got it wrong.

    • Stealth

      no, they are this gen

    • lt.dan

      I’ve gotta agree on the Dark souls thing, but usually when you’re talking about one, they also mean the other.

  • Stealth

    What? JRPGs never needed revitalizing. They were always great. Square did more than ff 13

  • Stealth

    “Dark Souls helped prove that the Japanese games industry was far from collapsing.”

    only morons think that

  • Kamille

    I agree with the first 2 but that’s it.

    And no Ni No Kuni breaks my heart but still, old school JRPG’s are way better than the modern ones and by a huge margin. Just play Suikoden 2 and get blown away.

  • asbo-5

    Dragon’s Crown??? Sorry to break it to you but while a fantastic game, its a side scrolling beat-em-up looooong before being a JRPG.

    Yeah and also, Dark Souls ain’t a JRPG either.

    • GaySkull

      what!?

      Demon’s Souls, Ni No Kuni and Dragon’s Crown revitalized jrpg this gen

      • asbo-5

        Yes, Demon’s Souls, Ni No Kuni and Dragon’s Crown are all AAA games and I own and love all three BUT only one of them is a JRPG.

  • David

    Where the hell is Ni No Kuni?

  • wilMaster04

    Yea should be Demon Souls not Dark souls….gotta give pros to the original

  • Aya♥Ji

    wheres Ni no kuni ..

  • J.j. Barrington

    Could’ve put a bit more effort into this list. Dark Souls may be Japanese, but it’s not a JRPG. And P3P isn’t even better than FES, which is- obviously- last gen.

    Missing Lost Odyssey, Valkyria Chronicles, any Tales game, The World Ends With You, etc.

  • Bluemoon_Punk

    Eh…..where is Resonance of Fate/End of Eternity?? I mean come on, what the hell, easily one of the most defining RPG’s out there. Bluemoon Punk is not happy…..au revoir.

  • Josh Gordon

    Persona 4 Golden is the best jrpg this gen
    Persona 3 n Ni no are also up there…

  • KuchikiSentou

    I hate these insipid politically motivated topics. Revitalised?!
    They never went anywhere; you lot just played Call of Duty and the like way too much for Japanese publishers to bring games over because the prospect of return was way too little. You lot harp on about Final Fantasy being bad recently but you never played Type-0. The games that sparked these recent racist discussions such as Tales of Xillia came out since 2011

    Dark Souls is not a JRPG, neither is Dragon’s Crown. What is a JRPG even?

  • CCM

    I would hardly call Dark Souls a JRPG – more like a WRPG developed by a Japanese studio. And to leave Ni no Kuni off this list is criminal.

  • JS1HUNDRED

    You forgot Ni No Kuni. This is a terrible random list.