Tactical role-playing games or better known as TRPG. These titles have existed for quite some time in the gaming world. We here at Honey’s Anime have actually played quite a lot of TRPG titles and have always been curious of one thing. Which TRPG franchises have run the longest in the gaming world? Well folks, we have found our answers thanks to the internet and wish to share our findings with all you out there reading.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to our Top 10 Longest Running TRPG list. Looking up the dates for various TRPG franchises and placed in order from the series with the least amount of years to the most. Equally, we wanted to included the more well known TRPG titles and have explained why they deserve to be on this list. Many of these series you may know all too well and some you might not have heard of. Hopefully, you haven’t heard of any of the games below we could somehow convince you that you need to rectify that situation as soon as you can.
10. Final Fantasy Tactics
- System/Platform: PS1
- Developer: Squaresoft
- Publisher: Square, Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Date: Jun 20, 1997
Ramza Beoulve and Delita Heiral are two friends born in different circumstances. Ramza was born as a proud noble while Heiral as a commoner. However, despite their differences they both were close friends. As time passed, the two friends begin to see the Kingdom of Ivalice and the beauty/ugliness it held. These two friends are about to embark on their own journeys which will test their friendship and their creeds in life.
Final Fantasy Tactics might be the shortest life span of the titles on our Top 10 Longest Running TRPG Series list, but the popularity it had made it a great series nonetheless. Command various job classes—some still appearing in modern day Final Fantasy titles—and lead them to victory as you fight on a grid like map. With tough tactical gameplay, Final Fantasy Tactics constantly tested players and the moves they make. Nonetheless, that was a challenge many of us were willing to take. That’s why Final Fantasy Tactics is truly an impressive TRPG series even though its been silent since 2007.
9. Disgaea 5 Complete
- System/Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
- Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software, SEGA, NIS America
- Release Date: Mar 25, 2015
Once there was a powerful demon known as Killia who is actually an Ovelord for the Netherworld Cryo Blood. Deemed by many as the strongest warrior, Killia thinks he’s unable to ever be defeated. However, Goldion—a peaceful demon—challenges the Ovelord Killia and defeats him. This leads to Killia becoming a disciple of Goldion to harness his legendary skill known as the Ultimate Demon Technique. Then when Killia meets Goldion’s daughter the tough and dark spirited demon slowly changes and so does his fate…
Disgaea 5 Complete is the more recent title of this now 14 years old franchise. With impressive visuals—despite the sprite animations—and deep TRPG mechanics Disgaea 5 Complete just continues showing how amazing this series is. Players can literally spend hundreds of hours and still find new things to do in Disgaea 5 Complete. Though this doesn’t surprise us much here at Honey’s Anime. With a game that literally allows players to reach level 9999 with their characters, you won’t be seeing the outside world for a while if you get too invested in Disgaea 5 Complete.
8. Front Mission
- System/Platform: Super Famicom, WonderSwan Color, PS1, Nintendo DS, PSN
- Developer: G-Craft, Square Enix
- Publisher: Squaresoft, Square Enix
- Release Date: Feb 24, 1995
Front Mission takes place in the far future where robotic machines Wanzers. The story focuses on Captain Lloyd Clive. Lloyd and his team—including his fiancé Karen Meure—are sent to investigate a USN munitions plant on Huffman Island. Quickly things take a turn for the worst when Lloyd’s team is hit by an ambush. With his fiancé being killed in battle and the attack becoming public, the OCU—Oceania Cooperative Union—who was responsible for sending Lloyd’s team out has now found themselves in a middle of a war. A new team is then assembled to take down the enemy with Lloyd joining them for revenge.
While there are tons of TRPGs hailing from Japan, one of our favorites is the mech based TRPG franchise known as Front Mission. Originally, Front Mission was only on the Super Famicom but as the series gained some popularity it would then be released on numerous other consoles such as the PS1, Nintendo DS and PSN. For nearly 25 years, Front Mission would be re-released, have sequels and even a spin off that was a third person action title. Though for many of us gamers here at Honey’s Anime Front Mission is truly at its best when it’s a TRPG title. Here’s hoping Square Enix releases another Front Mission title in the coming years but for now we don’t mind playing the originals.
7. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
- System/Platform: Super Famicom, Sega Saturn, PS1, PSP
- Developer: Quest, Square Enix
- Publisher: Quest, Riverhilsoft, Atlus, Square Enix
- Release Date: Oct 6, 1995
Valeria, for nearly 80 years, has been wrapped up in war and conflict. Three different races have continued to vie for ownership of Valeria using whatever means necessary. Though for people like Denam Pavel, this power struggle puts them in the crossfire. Losing his family to the Dark Knights of Loslorien, Denam now wants to go on a mission to end this constant war. Denam, his sister Catiua and Denam’s friend Vyce decide to go out on a quest to defeat the knights and lead the so-called Liberation Army to take Valeria and bring the land to peace.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is actually not the first game in the franchise but is the more well known one. Stemming from the Ogre Battle series—which initially released in 1993—Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together took inspiration more from the Final Fantasy Tactics franchise. Players would control various classes and take on missions to defeat enemies but with a heavy emphasis on story. The Ogre series wouldn’t get many new versions but would constantly be redone for numerous consoles in the modern age. If you haven’t ever played Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together then you need to download one of the numerous versions of it as soon as you can. You can then thank us later for the TRPG recommendation.
6. Shining Force
- System/Platform: Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, PC, GBA, Nintendo Wii, iOS
- Developer: Climax Entertainment, Sonic! Software Planning
- Publisher: Sega
- Release Date: Mar 20, 1992
In the Kingdom of Guardiana in the Land of Rune, a new hero is about to rise. Max—the protagonist—is sent on a vital mission where failing could lead to horrible consequences. The evil Kane wishes to activate an ancient pathway called the Shining Force. If Kane can find the Shining Force, he will be able to summon the Dark Dragon and control the land. Max must go forth with allies and prevent this from happening.
Back in 1992 Shining Force released and was an interesting TRPG title. With a theme similar to Fire Emblem—which may or may not be on our list—players moved their characters on a grid-like map to engage enemies in one on one battles. Each character had tons of detail which was a pretty impressive thing for the Sega Mega Drive system and led to some epic looking battles. Shining Force wouldn’t always stay as a tactical game and eventually become more of an action-RPG series, but for many years, Shining Force would lead to other titles that used the Shining moniker. We recommend picking up Shining Force for the iOS if you don’t have older consoles to make for a great portable TRPG title.
5. X-COM: Enemy Unknown
- System/Platform: PC, OS X, iOS, Android, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2K Games, Feral Interactive
- Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Earth has always wondered what existed in the far reaches of outer space, then one day we learned. An alien race invades Earth and begins to defeat our forces. While many theorize their goals all we know is that they must be stopped. Luckily, the Council of Nations had planned for such an event. They created a group called XCOM—Extraterrestrial Combat Unit—to defend the planet from alien invaders. Now it’s time to unleash their skills and begin the fight to save humanity from the forces beyond the stars.
X-COM: Enemy Unknown is one of the more popular X:COM titles but actually, not the first in the franchise unknowing to most. X-COM actually original released back in 1994 for the Amiga, DOS and PS1. Under the same name, X-COM: Enemy Unknown mixed strategy gameplay and tactical RPG elements. What also makes X-COM: Enemy Unknown perfect for our list is that it’s one of the few games on our list to still be alive as of last year with an expansion pack for XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. Though we do recommend playing X-COM: Enemy Unknown. Despite it being several years old now, X-COM Enemy Unknown—which we meant the 2012 version—is still a solid title and offers the best gameplay out of the franchise in our minds here at Honey’s Anime.
4. Super Robot Wars V
- System/Platform: PS4, PS Vita
- Developer: B.B. Studio
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: Feb 23, 2017
Super Robot Wars V follows a narrative more from the Gundam Universe. 100 years after the 10 Blank Years war, the Federation and Zeon are more worried about a new threat looming over them. An alien race called the Gamillias have begun destroying anything that appeared before them. Making matters worse they sought to make humans into slaves and showing that humanity was soon to face an apocalypse. With one year remaining for humans, a select few have taken up to resisting the Gamillias and won’t give up without a fight.
The Super Robot Wars series has always been one of the best TRPG titles for those who consider themselves mecha anime fans. Giving players various mechs from series such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Mazinger series, Super Robot Wars began to included more and more mechs from various series. With Super Robot Wars V—which you can import with English Subs just to let you know—there are even more famous mechs included from series like Evangelion, Full Metal Panic! and Cross Ange. That’s why if you want an anime focused TRPG, you need to play Super Robot Wars V. Now, let’s all hope we get some more mechs from like Valvrave or even Buddy Complex.
3. Fire Emblem Fates
- System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Developer: Intelligent Systems Nintendo SPD
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: Jun 25, 2015
Fire Emblem Fates deviates from the traditional Fire Emblem Titles. Players can choose between three different titles. You can play Fire Emblem Birthright, Conquest and or Revelations. Though all three stories share the same theme of having the protagonist—called either the Avatar or Corrin—being taken away as a child from the proud Hoshido by their enemies the Nohr. Raised as a Nohr prince, the protagonist soon learns of his/her destiny and must make a decision that will change the fate of both his families…
Fire Emblem Fates is the last newer title of the series—not including the remake of Fire Emblem Echoes Shadows of Valentia—which has now been releasing for nearly 30 years! Fire Emblem Fates keeps the traditional format of the original titles with players moving different classes as they adhere to a weapon system that makes some classes stronger to some weapons than others. For example, swords trump axes but loses to spears. This is a system that was established in the original Fire Emblem title and has only grown to give more classes out to the player for even more possible strategies during combat. Fire Emblem Fates is one of our personal favorite titles here at Honey’s Anime. Though, Fire Emblem Awakening might be tied with it in our minds. Comment down below which Fire Emblem title you love the most!
2. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII
- System/Platform: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Koei
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Release Date: Jan 28, 2016
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII follows the original novels of the same name. In this newest alliteration, players can enjoy updated visuals and tons of gameplay enhancements. Control various heroes of legend as you guide their fates to conquering the lands of China. Whether in battle or sitting on the throne, make smart decisions to help you win the war. Will you conquer with fear, brute force or with kindness that earns you respect across the land? The choice is yours in Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII.
For over 30 years, the Romance of the Three Kingdom’s franchise has continued to released in the gaming world. Starting from nothing more than simple text and colors the series has become more robust and complex. Players can now watch thousands of troops do battle from up close or far away thanks to beautiful and dynamic cameras. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII might be a tough TRPG for some gamers to be honest. However, once you learn how the systems work Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII becomes one of the most exhilarating titles ever.
1. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence
- System/Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita
- Developer: Koei Tecmo Games
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games
- Release Date: Sept 1, 2015
Have you ever wanted to embody the legendary warlord Nobunaga Oda? Then here’s your chance to walk a mile in his shoes. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence lets you simulate battles from the 1500s in Feudal Japan. With an additional several scenarios and new tweaks to both the graphics and gameplay, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence is the definitive version of this classic franchise. Will you make Nobunaga mirror the way history has seen him or make him into a ruler that was just misunderstood for his actions? The choice is in your hands in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence.
For almost 35 years, Nobunaga’s Ambition has shown the world what TRPGs should be like. Multiple campaigns, epic battles and complex gameplay has been a staple of the franchise even in 2017. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence truly gives you the feeling of being a master tactician and ruler in equal measure. Plus, with the updated graphics and tweaks Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence is truly a stunning TRPG title. We don’t think many will argue that Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence deserves the top spot on our Top 10 Longest Running TRPG Series list.
TRPGs act as two types of games in one. You have the role-playing many gamers love but with an added tactical/strategy element to make for some exciting battles that test your mettle as a tactician. TRPG series like the one above may eventually disappear and be replaced with newer title. Though we will never forget why the games above made our Top 10 Longest Running TRPG Series list and you shouldn’t either. Comment down below if you played any of the games above and what your thoughts were about our list here at Honey’s Anime.