Ditch your Dark Souls and Witchers and Cyberpunks and get ready for these upcoming JRPGs. Bright colors and over the top action sequences included.
Turn-based role-playing games once dominated the Super Nintendo and PlayStation era of video games. From Final Fantasy to Dragon Quest to the older Phantasy Star games, shops were filled with epic adventures to battle our way through.
In recent years, there has been a decided shift towards action-based role-playing games. But, if you long for the days of carefully choosing each character’s actions in a respectable, civilized queue, you should take a look at these great games:
What is a JRPG?
To know what exactly a JRPG is, you need to first understand an RPG. An RPG, for me, is an adventure through a thrilling and exciting new world, combined with a journey you’ll never forget. The only difference is that JRPG’s are specifically made in Japan. For those who want to get into JRPGs but don’t know where to start, I’ve made a Top 10 Best JRPGS You Cant Miss list just for you. With all that being said, let’s jump right into it.
|Release Date||Sometime 2019|
A new project by the team behind the Pokemon series, Town has caused quite a stir since its initial announcement. I honestly feel a bit bad for the game, since it has been accused of being the cause of Pokemon’s recent decline in quality.
It’s a shame because the game itself looks captivating, bringing a fresh new series to Nintendo. This story takes place in a tiny, peaceful village, which suddenly gets taken over by invading monsters. You’re goal is to team up with fellow villagers and aid each other to fight the monsters.
There is supposedly a hidden secret that the village has, and it’s up to you to figure out what exactly that is. Other than this information, we know little to nothing about the game. I was worried that this would be another Pokemon clone, but it looks like you’ll actually do all the fighting yourself.
I think it would be interesting to see how far the towns civilians are willing to go in order to bring everything back to normal. This game has tons of potential, but we’ll have to wait for the devs to release more information about it.
17 Utawareumono: ZAN
|Release Date||September 10, 2019|
The latest installment in the series, Utawareumono: ZAN offers a new twist to the already well-established franchise.
It is currently a PS4 exclusive, not only having new playable characters but updated graphics as well. Their goal for this title was to create 3D models that move with the same grace as illustrations (how cool is that?).
The name ‘’ZAN’’ translates to slash, signifying its detour to a more action-driven game. Accompanied by this is the movie-like soundtrack, to really drive home that action feel.
The story follows a man named Haku, who after losing his memories, begins facing complications in the land he calls home. Throughout your adventure, you’ll run into many new friends who can also serve as allies in your quest for the truth.
You’ll also be able to play with friends in Co-Op mode, battling with up to four players. When the producer of the game, Naoya Shimokawa, was interviewed about the game, he stated: “ Players will be able to enjoy the story of this game in the same way they’re watching an anime.” Judging by the trailers, I’d say that he knows what he’s talking about.
16 Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travelers
|Release Date||October 22, 2019|
|Platform||PS4, Nintendo Switch|
|Developer||Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.|
|Publisher||Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.|
This JRPG is a love letter to those who enjoy inventing and creating, whether through machinery or equipment in general. Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travelers follows the tale of a young girl named Sherry and her trusty friends who travel in time, hoping to find answers revolving around their mysterious town of Clocknee.
You can enter workshops and create new inventions to help you along the way, as well as manipulate parts of your environment. Heck, even one of your trusty allies is a robot himself!
Personally, this peaks my curiosity, as it’s been a while since a game has really dabbled with the concept of time travel.
What I find very cool is how your actions in the past will affect the gameplay in the future. It forces the player to really think twice about their actions, as they can have drastic effects within the world.
Not only that, but the character designs and models are downright cute, definitely giving A Hat In Time levels of cuteness here. It’s got the perfect mix of mystery and interactivity to really get someone hooked from the get go.
15 Babylon’s Fall
|Publisher||Square Enix Co, Ltd.|
A new original title from Square Enix themselves, Babylon’s Fall has been described by the studio head himself as, “ A new challenge for PlatinumGames.” First introduced at E3 2018, just the fact that PlatinumGames is developing this game is enough to garner attention. This is probably the most unique of this list, as it dabbles with historical themes.. That, coupled with action elements, should provide something interesting.
The trailer ran through dates from the past to the far future, so we can only assume a lot of time passes throughout your playthrough. Square Enix hopes to share more news later on in the year, but are currently working hard to get it out as soon as possible. This is the studio’s first project since finishing Nier: Automata, so they have big shoes to fill (to say the least.) All we can do now is wait and see if more information comes out in the future.
|Release Date||October 18, 2019|
|Platform||PS4, Microsoft Windows|
|Developer||FuRyu, Gemdrops, Inc.|
|Publisher||FuRyu, SPIKE CHUNSOFT|
Have you ever played a game that revolves around…crying? Well, look no further, as Crystar is just that. The protagonist, Rei Hatada, is on a quest to revive her younger sister and save her from purgatory.
As sad as the concept already is, tears are actually a good thing in this universe – it’s actually the main mechanic! Crying allows you to gain powerful equipment, purifying your thoughts, and developing the protagonist mentally. You can switch between purgatory or your room in the real world, as it serves as a hub to the player. She owns a very fluffy boy and yes, you can pet the dog in this game.
Although it isn’t too long of a game, the story is enough to impact and move you emotionally. It’s one of those titles that has you connected to the characters deeply, making you root for them on a personal level.
The music, visuals, and gameplay are also enough to have you hooked from the get go. Crystar has already been released in Japan, but it’s getting a western release later this year. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but you’ll definitely need some tissues if you decide to pick this one up.
|Release Date||August 22, 2019|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PS4 , Microsoft Windows|
|Developer||Tokyo RPG Factory|
|Publisher||Square Enix Co, Ltd|
From the developers of I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear, Oninaki is one of the newest JRPGs to appear on the scene. Oninaki follows the story of Kagachi, who has taken the role of watching over the living world and the beyond.
In this world, it is forbidden to grieve the dead as it fills them with regret, and consequently does not allow them to reincarnate. Not only does the game tell a beautiful tale, but the visuals are drop dead gorgeous.
Tokyo RPG Factory takes various elements from previous games and gives it that classic JRPG spin we all love. What I find most captivating is the distinct parallels between the two worlds you traverse through.
The Living and The Beyond, while vastly different, are stunning in their own right. From what they’ve shown off so far, the gameplay appears highly dynamic and engaging, but hey, don’t take my word for it. If you’d like to try it for yourself, a demo has already been released on its supported platforms.
12 CONCEPTION PLUS: MAIDENS OF THE TWELVE STARS
|Release Date||November 5, 2019|
Ever been summoned to a magical world and given the task to save it from evil impurities? Yeah, me neither. This JRPG is just that – even the protagonist’s name is “God’s Gift”.
The gameplay mainly consists of engaging in combat with enemies and developing relationships and personal bonds with other characters. If the bonds you develop are deep enough, you can eventually give birth to a new generation of Star Children (If you know what I mean…) Safe to say, this game is probably not for everyone.
I was actually surprised by the voice acting. The quality of the voice acting is possible because they were able to recruit amazing talent like Cherami Leigh (fun fact – she had a minor role in the US version of Shameless) and Cristina Vee (you might recognize her as Riven from League of Legends), to name just a few.
Although at first glance this game looks like a typical dating sim, it’s much more than that. The Conception series itself has gotten many favorable reviews, with Famitsu awarding it with a solid 35/40 rating. It got so popular that there’s even an anime of the series! Although it’s intended for a much older audience, it’s still something worth trying out, especially if you’re into battling alongside cute girls.
11 RUNE FACTORY 4 SPECIAL
|Publisher||Marvelous USA, XSeed Games|
Grow crops, cook, catch fish, and more with this upcoming JRPG for the Nintendo Switch. Experience this classic tale all over again with updated features, you’ll even be able to experience the newlywed life!
There will also be a new difficulty mode, so returning players can face new challenges. The game has definitely been updated to its greatest potential, not only with new gorgeous HD visuals, but new ingame cutscenes as well.
The original was first released in the west on October 1, 2013. This JRPG has been widely enjoyed by many, with IGN even giving it a 8/10. The Rune Factory series in itself is a spinoff of the Harvest Moon games, which is definitely up many peoples alleys, so I can see why people enjoyed it so much.
The combat is said to be extremely fun, but the gameplay will mainly revolve around farming, for obvious reasons. Although an official release date has yet to be confirmed, the trailer states that it will be sometime in 2019.
10 Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
|Release Date||September 26th, 2019|
Being the 9th installment in the admired Ys series, this upcoming JRPG brings us a whole new adventure with a way too familiar face. Adol Christin is back (with a brand new hairstyle) alongside his trusty companion Dogi. After being falsely imprisoned, the protagonist must travel through and escape Balduq, also known as Prison City. This storyline takes place right after Y’s “Seven” and features beings called “Monstrum” who are said to possess unique and supernatural abilities.
What’s pretty cool about this one is that you can traverse the environment in unique ways, like running on walls, flying, or using grappling hooks. This game looks like a lot of fun thanks to the wide variety of ways you can get around. I noticed that you can even run across rooftops in town.
The battle system is very open, and it looks like you will be able to escape battles with ease as well. There appears to be a new female character, who was the one that broke you out of prison. Not much is known about her, but she is very…catty? (Yes you can hate me for this one.)
9 Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout
|Release Date||October 29th, 2019|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PS4, Microsoft Windows|
Being the 21st entry into the Atelier series, this title’s theme will focus around “Summer Memories.” The story is about a girl and her friends on the verge of adulthood, discovering what is truly most important to them. Being someone who was never familiar with this series, I have to say that the world is absolutely GORGEOUS.
The atmosphere gives me somewhat of Breath of the Wild vibes (yes, THAT pretty!). The combat system looks extremely fun as well with how expressive each character’s move set is.
You will be able to explore the world, engage in battle, and even create various items through the mechanic called “Synthesis.” Synthesis allows you to create useful items such as medicines and tools to aid you on your journey.
You can even rebuild previous items to enhance their qualities. This is extremely useful when coming up with battle strategies, and finding ways to use them efficiently. Despite all this, the protagonist herself is known to be just an ordinary girl, so what misadventures could she possibly get into?
8 DISGAEA 4 COMPLETE +
|Release Date||October 29,2019|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PS4|
|Developer||Nippon Ichi Software|
|Publisher||Nippon Ichi Software|
Disgaea 4 Complete + is effectively a revamped version of an already beloved JRPG which will include new additional content. Not only will there be new scenarios, but new characters, DLC, tweaks, and more. All of this combined will give fans the ultimate Disgaea experience like never before. If there’s a time to get invested in this series, it is definitely now.
When companies add new content to an already established JRPG, they have to be careful with their approach. That being said, this actually looks like it’s going to be something I can get invested in.
From a new, eccentric cast of characters, to custom maps you can build on your own, there’s enough content to binge for the next couple of months. Fans of this series are excited for this installment, mainly because it was previously available only on the PS Vita. Soon, all people will have access to this iconic entry, something many have wanted for quite a while.
7 CODE VEIN
|Release Date||September 27th, 2019|
|Platform||PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows|
|Developer||BANDAI NAMCO Studios|
|Publisher||BANDAI NAMCO Studios|
Inspired by the Dark Souls series, Code Vein will not be an easy one to beat. Set in a post-apocalyptic world flooded with vampires, you must survive and unlock your past memories to escape the hellish nightmare.
The game was originally set to release last year but was subsequently delayed. Nonetheless, fans of games like Dark Souls are still anticipating this game, as it brings a twist to this style that people have grown used to. Those who were able to play the demo at certain events have nothing but high praise and excitement for this title.
Some critics have stated that Code Vein is Bandai Namco’s attempt at their own version of Dark Souls, and to that, I say the more the merrier. Those games are loved by many and have a dedicated fanbase, so this was definitely a smart move on their part. I’m intrigued that they gave this game an anime twist, so it’ll be interesting to see how well it plays out. You’ll be able to create your own character and venture through the hellish world, recruiting allies along the way. The team behind Code Vein worked on a huge chunk of God Eater, so naturally, some mechanics will be implemented from those games as well.
6 Pokemon: Sword and Shield
|Release Date||November 15, 2019|
|Publisher||Nintendo, The Pokemon Company|
We all know that this one was a given, but Pokemon: Sword and Shield has been a major gaming topic for discussion within the past couple of months. This time, the game is set in the Galar region, and the player sets out in an all too familiar journey within a beautiful new world.
This new region is based on Europe, with a wide array of new Pokemon as well. Regardless of what side you’re on when it comes to the recent controversy, there are still many things to look forward to with this new installment.
Of course, with Game Freak being Game Freak, they will be bringing back some selected features, as well as implementing new ones to give it a fresh twist.
Remember Mega Evolutions, Z-Moves, and other features from the past? Well they’ve all been thrown out the window in favor of Dyanamaxing, which essentially just makes your Pokemon…big? (Do not attempt this with a Wailord.)
You can use this new feature in official stadium matches against gym leaders or other trainers, with huge crowds cheering on as you battle. Trainer Customization will be making a return, allowing trainers to change their skin tone, gender, etc. Even though fans are torn amidst the drama of this game, it still has a huge amount of hype for hardcore Pokemon fans regardless.
5 Shin Megami Tensei V
Even though the games’ release date is TBA, this has to be one of the most highly anticipated JRPGs on this list. Shin Megami Tensei V has had fans of the series BEGGING for new information since its initial announcement. The official trailer was released in 2017, but little to no updates have been released since.
It’s the latest installment to the SMT franchise, and was promised to be “One of the biggest RPGs on the Switch.” Enough about the hype surrounding this game, though. What’s it about?
Not much is known about the story, but we do know it will be set in present day Tokyo. The graphics have been enhanced dramatically to Persona 5 levels of beauty, with stunning cell shaded graphics galore.
The theme of the game will revolve around problems the real world is facing today, such as terrorism, unemployment, etc. The game’s producer, Kazuyuki Yamai has stated in an interview with Famitsu that he wants people to look at the “characteristics of the time.” I as well as others are looking forward to this game, but all we can do now is wait patiently.
4 DRAGON QUEST XI S: ECHOES OF AN ELUSIVE AGE – DEFINITIVE EDITION
With the original being considered the best entry in the series, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age has gained much attention, to say the least. It also helps that Nintendo recently added the hero of the game into Smash Ultimate, something not many saw coming.
This is great news for the Dragon Quest series, as an influx of new fans is expected to arise. The original, released in 2017, has already sold around 4 million copies worldwide.
With the news of it being ported to the Switch, there will also be more new content, like the highly requested solo adventures for all party members. Characters from the game will be given more details on their backstories, as well as their own unique adventures.
As someone who is a huge fan of character development, this alone has already piqued my interest. You’ll also be given the option to switch between English and Japanese dialogue, how cool is that? There are many more features to look forward to with this JRPG, all wrapped up in beautiful visuals to boot.
3 FIRE EMBLEM: THREE HOUSES
|Release Date||July 26, 2019|
|Developer||Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games, Koei Tecmo|
By the time of this article’s release, Three Houses will already be out; but I had to include it on this list nonetheless. The hype for this game has been immeasurable, and I for one have many friends who are dying to play it. A new journey into the world of Fire Emblem with updated graphics and new story elements? Sign me up!
Even before its release, Nintendo spoiled fans with many previews that were enough to boost excitement. The game will continue to have its classic turn-based gameplay, but also incorporate new social features.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses will be set in the divided nation continent of Fodlan. It’s up to you as the player to choose which of the 3 nations to guide in a series of battles. When you aren’t in battles, you’re able to interact with the characters in a school-like setting. Getting to know each one and even having the option of eventual romance. If all this sounds like your cup of tea, then, by all means, try it out.
2 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LINK’S AWAKENING REMAKE
|Release Date||September 20, 2019|
|Developer||Nintendo, Grezzo, Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development|
As someone who has played the original, I am BEYOND hyped for this remake. Not only are the graphics beautifully upgraded, but they’ve been redesigned from the group up. After washing ashore on a mysterious land (with no memory whatsoever), Link must escape by collecting magical instruments and awaken the grand Wind Fish.
The player can now re-explore the land of Koholint Island with its brand new charm. You’ll be able to fight many recognizable enemies – even ones from the Super Mario series!
Honestly, I’m very excited to see what Nintendo has cooked up with this one. They’ve implemented new features such as updating some minigames, as well as adding a Chamber Dungeon.
From the previews that they’ve shown so far, it’s really looking like it’s living up to the original. Not only that, but expect some adorable amiibos to be released the same day too. Nintendo never fails to surprise me, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for fans next.
1 FINAL FANTASY VII REMASTERED
|Release Date||Late 2019/ Early 2020|
|Platform||PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows|
Fans of the Final Fantasy series truly lost it over this announcement at E3. Final Fantasy VII Remastered will be a beautifully enhanced version of the original which will add new features to make the game run smoother. Just looking at the trailer compared to the original game itself is night and day when it comes to visuals. No more clouds of pixelated blocky muscles, as they’ve been replaced by… well, just look.
The visual enhancements are, honestly, enough to have anyone want to pick up this JRPG. However, the graphical improvements to come are said to make things more comfortable for the player, like skipping random encounters, battle assistance, etc. The original did not have voice acting, but it appears that there will be some this time around.
The PC version will have even more options, offering customizable system settings, spell supplies, all that good stuff. On top of that, it’ll be launched in several different languages, so you needn’t worry about language barriers.. How convenient!
We’re pretty much halfway through the year, yet there are still all these exciting games to look forward to. Which JRPG are you most excited for this year? Let me know in the comments below and why.