Anime RPGs have been around for as long we know it, spanning across many platforms that have gone on to sell millions worldwide for their attention to detail, spectacular story and very unique characters. Whether you like to call them JRPGs or anime RPGs is entirely up to you, but generally speaking most anime RPGs do come with their own characteristics that separate them from other role playing games of the genre. With the latest release of Final Fantasy XV serving as a wonderful example of how anime RPGs are to be made, hopefully more titles will continue to follow in that open world path. Until then, we’ve got a killer list of anime RPGs for you all to check out, so let’s take a look at the top ten best anime RPGs out there thus far.
10. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
- System/Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Aquria
- Release Date: October 27, 2016
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is Bandai Namco’s latest installment in the popular series, which stars Kirito as he must travel through this new world known as Sword Art: Origin along with a young AI girl named Premiere to battle fierce enemies and save the world. Those who haven’t had a chance to read up on our recent review of Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization should do so, as it will give you a lot more juicy details that will guide you along the way.
One of the many notable features of Hollow Realization is the introduction of the combined skills feature, which allows you to shout out commands to your allies and unleash a powerful array of combo attacks to dish out incredibly amounts of damage. One other cool addition is that you can now participate in multiplayer and take out baddies with the help of others from around the world. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization speaks a lot to fans of the series, while new players to the franchise will be welcomed with open arms as the game does a splendid job of reintroducing characters to keep you up to date.
9. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance
- System/Platform: PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
- Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
- Release Date: March 25, 2015
Disgaea has always been a fantastic series that incorporates a lot humor and sarcasm into their dialogue, along with very straightforward tactical gameplay to jump right into. Killia must now work together alongside his allies to take down the evil emperor Void Dark and his minions known as The Lost, and seek revenge on this devilish leader before the world turns to ruin.
What makes Disgaea stand out from its other competitors like Final Fantasy or Tales, is that it plays out in this sort of bird’s eye view perspective while in battle and it does a great job of it. The characters truly look very anime and it’s been that way ever since the original released back on the PS1 years ago. With plenty of new features also thrown into the mix to give Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance a fresh new look and feel, this RPG will have you casting spells, and driving away enemies with melee attacks for hours on end.
8. Tales of Xillia 2
- System/Platform: PlayStation 3
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: November 1, 2012
Tales is yet another great IP from Bandai Namco Entertainment that takes the player on an incredible journey through various fantasy driven worlds, to create an experience like no other. In Tales of Xillia 2 you play as Ludger, as he’s hired by a famous company to destroy corrupt dimensions and restore balance to the world. His family is well known by many to have extraordinary powers and since the Origin has become weak, it cannot fully support the abundance of new souls that come in.
The story of the second title takes place right after the first one, so if you haven’t had a chance to try out Xillia at all now would be a great time to do so. Tales is notorious for following its traditional playstyle of using a linear battle system when facing off against enemies, but that’s the striking feature of the game because it’s not too difficult to grasp. Story wise, Tales always hits the spot because there are always twists and turns in the plot to leave you up in arms and that’s what makes it so entertaining. You’re just never too sure what to expect, but moreso the characters themselves are really articulated well that they feel fleshed out and are relatable.
7. Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book
- System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Developer: Gust Co. Ltd.
- Release Date: November 19, 2015
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book tells the story of Sophie, who’s an amateur alchemist on a path to becoming a master at her craft. She works hard and often times messes a lot of things up, but stays determined to fulfil her goals. One day she comes across a mysterious book that speaks, and now must embark on a journey to restore the book back to its human form, while coming to understand the truth behind it all.
Atelier Sophie is a pleasing experience for anyone looking for an RPG that isn’t too much about battling huge bosses and enemies, but rather about running around to collect as many items as you can to perform alchemy. These items once combined, can create spells that can assist you in battle and if you perform your alchemy correctly, can also benefit you with bonuses. The game tests players abilities to keep track of what they’ve collected, while emphasizing a trial and error style of gameplay to allow you to experiment as you go. It’s a very different approach but a worthwhile adventure for anyone looking to dip their hands into the Atelier universe.
6. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
- System/Platform: Nintendo Wii
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Intelligent Systems | Nintendo
- Release Date: February 22, 2007
Following in the footsteps of its ancestor Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for the Gamecube, Radiant Dawn takes everything you enjoyed from before and improves upon those very same features that made Path of Radiance a success. It’s the sequel to Path of Radiance and takes place in the world of Tellius, which has been divided up into seven nations, all of which want their fair share of the cake. The story itself is split up into four parts, all of which begin with a prologue that eventually leads you into the endgame period. Just which nation will come out on top?
With 45 chapters to play through, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is certainly one that will take you a while to complete especially with its challenging tactical gameplay. The Japanese version differs slightly compared to the western title with regards to difficulty settings, where in Japan the modes go as high as maniac while the English version has hard. To really get the best experience out of Radiant Dawn, it’s suggested to play it on hard mode since enemies are much stronger, while being able to save is disabled.
5. Dragon Quest IX
- System/Platform: Nintendo DS
- Publisher: Nintendo | Square Enix Holdings
- Developer: Square Enix Holdings | Level-5
- Release Date: July 11, 2009
Dragon Quest games have this very distinctive approach to how the game should be played, and it can only be truly experienced when you pick it up and play it for yourself. From the majestic sounds of the orchestrated soundtrack that many know and love, to the beloved artstyle of famed mangaka Akira Toriyama, Dragon Quest is Japan’s biggest RPG franchise to date and continues to sell millions. Dragon Quest IX debuted on the Nintendo DS which came as a surprise to many since its previous title Journey of the Cursed King came out on PlayStation 2, but the title still managed to break guinness world records in Japan. Famitsu gave the game a perfect score while overseas, the game was praised very highly by many industry professionals.
While the title is still somewhat niche in the rest of the world, Dragon Quest IX is a title that we think nobody should ignore because it retains much of the features that truly made Dragon Quest renowned in the first place such as, maintaining traditional role playing elements in battle, and is arguably the most difficult game in the history of the series. So while you sit and wait for Dragon Quest XI to release, why not do some catching up and play Dragon Quest IX while you have the time.
4. Kingdom Hearts II
- System/Platform: PlayStation 2
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Date: December 22, 2005
Until Sora makes his much anticipated return in Kingdom Hearts III, perhaps playing through the second one will gear you up for what’s to come. The beloved character travels around the magical world in order to find his friends who he lost along the way, and must now rely on his instincts to get him through tough scenarios as he battles several enemies along the way. Sora, along with his new allies must now stop the evil plans of Organization XII and the nobodies before it’s too late.
Kingdom Hearts is a title that stands in a league of its own because there’s truly no other game like it. No other game combines the likes of popular Disney characters and worlds, along with FF elements so beautifully as Kingdom Hearts. Every game sets a different tone and evokes a lot of emotions from the player because you get so absorbed in everything, that you feel like you’re right there alongside Sora and his pals. It’s magical, magnificent, splendid, and breathtaking in every way shape and form that just about anyone can pick up and enjoy for years.
3. Persona 5
- System/Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
- Publisher: Atlus USA | Atlus
- Developer: Atlus | P Studio
- Release Date: September 15, 2016
While Persona is still somewhat niche in the west, it still continues to bring in large numbers here in Japan and for great reason. You don’t necessarily need to go back and play the other Persona games to truly get a good experience with Persona 5, but to really understand the flow of it all it would be of great benefit in the long run. The story follows the protagonist who’s transferred to Shujin High School after being put on probation due to assaulting a stalker. Within the school you and other students summon your Personas and become masked rebels known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, who then embark on a journey to a world named Palace in order to steal evil intent from the hearts of adults.
What’s always intriguing about Persona is that you’re never really too sure where the story will take you, but somehow in the back of your mind you feel this sense of security knowing that everything will be just fine. Every direction you take is full of surprises, while the action packed battles always keep you hungry for more. Atlus also stays true to their concrete formula and doesn’t stray away from its path when it comes to utilizing what works for their Persona titles, always ensuring that the characters have just as much importance when interacting as the entire story itself.
2. Final Fantasy XV
- System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Date: November 29, 2016
Final Fantasy XV was a highly anticipated game by many die hard fans of the series for years, and so when it finally released worldwide the whole world shook for just a second. People flocked to the stores so that they too could take part in the adventure to save the world from chaos with Noctis and his boy band colleagues. Final Fantasy has been a global phenomenon for decades now, but what’s striking about Final Fantasy XV is that it truly manifests every fan's dreams of what a real FF game should feel and play like.
It takes everything you love about the franchise from the gorgeous cutscenes, to the timeless music that you’ll always hear in every game, and takes it up an extra notch to create something truly breathtaking. You’re thrown into an open world where just about anything is possible, and you have various methods of transportation when compared to other titles. Final Fantasy XV is immersive and bold, in that it takes players on a wonderful journey filled with emotional dips and spectacular highs, without feeling to dragged on or contrived to turn you off in anyway. Another major contender for best game of 2016.
1. Pokemon Sun & Moon
- System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Publisher: Nintendo | The Pokemon Company
- Developer: Game Freak
- Release Date: November 18, 2016
Pokemon has had an incredibly stellar year ever since Niantic released Pokemon GO to the world, and since then sales for the franchise have skyrocketed well beyond anyone’s expectations. Many speculated that Pokemon GO was sort of the precursor to Pokemon Sun & Moon because it truly helped to blow the game off the shelves so quickly, and became one of the fastest selling titles of the year. What makes the Pokemon franchise such a powerhouse is that it incorporates so much of what we love about role playing games, but then allows us to do so much more as you progress through the game.
While many play Pokemon for its aesthetics and nostalgia factor, Pokemon Sun & Moon brought in a huge audience to the competitive scene for the game which is sure to explode come next year’s Pokemon World Championships. Pokemon is just a title that speaks to just about anyone of any age, because you get this sense of freedom as you traverse around the world capturing Pokemon, training them to build a formidable team, and taking on the world to become the Pokemon master. With so much to do and explore in Sun & Moon, it should come as no surprise as to why this game is this year’s best title.
Anime RPGs will almost always continue to blow the minds of fans all across the world, especially now that anime in general has really taken off in a remarkable way. Year after year, more titles are being released and with little cash to spend on all of them. Some notable mentions are Ragnarok Odyssey, Valkyria: Azure Revolution, New Game! New Challenge, Chrono Trigger, Bravely Default, and much more. Which anime RPG series do you love most? Let us know down in the comments section down below and be sure to support us as well on Twitter by sharing, liking, and retweeting our articles!
As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.