If you’re a Nintendo fan, you’ve undoubtedly experienced hit titles like Pokémon, Fire Emblem, and Legend of Zelda. But what are the best JRPGs games for PS4?

RPGs have become one of the most beloved video game genres ever since Dragonstomper was first released on the Atari back in 1982. While RPGs remain popular all around the world, nowhere rivals the fanbase (and legion of incredible titles) from Japan. In fact, Japanese role-playing games are so prominent and distinctive from the RPGs produced in other countries that they’ve received their own designation: JRPGs.

Buckle up friends, because we’re about to list our picks!

The 9 Best JRPGs for PS4 in 2020

For this list, we’re considering JRPGs to be any RPG made by a Japanese developer. This allows for some pretty diverse titles from a variety of designers.

9. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Ni no Kuni II

The best art style in a JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: Level-5
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Release Date: March 23, 2018

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch received a lot of buzz due to Bandai and Level-5’s collaboration with Studio Ghibli. A lot of people were upset when the anime production company wasn’t involved in the sequel. To be fair, that’s a valid criticism. The 2D-animated cutscenes in the original game do not appear in Revenant Kingdom.

However, the game still manages to hold onto the overall design with updated graphics, vivid settings, and peculiar monsters. It takes everything great about Wrath of the White Witch and builds on it.

Combat is very different. The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of familiars in favor of a more direct, melee-inspired approach. Roland is a grown adult, and as such, he fights his own battles. Some people like this change, while others might not be such a fan.

The story is set in the same world as the first game, but hundreds of years later. All of the characters and conflicts are new. Roland has traveled to the “Other World” and must help a usurped king rebuild his kingdom.

It’s charming and has a much better-paced story than your average JRPG.

8. Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts 3

The best PS4 JRPG for first-timers

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: January 25, 2019

When the first Kingdom Hearts game came out back in 2002, I remember thinking it was the most insane mashup since the X-Files had a crossover with Cops. Final Fantasy and Disney? It was hard to imagine two things with less in common, and yet somehow, they worked!

Kingdom Hearts III is the latest installment in the series, and it holds the torch well. In fact, we put it at number one on our list ranking of all the Kingdom Hearts games. There was a lot of pressure on this game to be good after the fourteen-year wait, and still, it managed to deliver.

Kingdom Hearts III still has all the things that made the other Kingdom Hearts games great: witty banter with Donald and Goofy, Disney-licensed worlds to explore, fun monsters, intuitive combat, and a story that almost makes sense. The combat is smoother than ever before, and Sora’s special attacks are unique and vibrant in a way that no other video game protagonist can compare to.

Swinging the Keyblade has never felt so good.

7. Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter World

The best multiplayer JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 26, 2018

Monster Hunter: World is yet another game that stems from a prestigious series and somehow manages to outshine them all. It’s still an action-packed game full of cool monsters to slay, but now it’s so much more.

First of all, Monster Hunter: World stands out from other Monster Hunter games because it actually has a story. As the hunter, you travel to the New World, an untamed wilderness that you and the other hunters have to fight to survive in. You have a camp on the frontier full of interesting characters that you can talk to to do quests, hunt beasts, and build better equipment.

And then there are the monsters themselves. One of the most unique things about Monster Hunter: World is how the series portrays the creatures you’re meant to hunt. Yes, they’re wild and dangerous, but they also seem very much like animals surviving in their natural habitat. This makes them feel real in a way that few other video games achieve.

It also has a pretty decent co-op. You can hunt alone or go out with up to three party members. That’s a fairly unique feature, since nearly all JRPGs are single-player only.

It’s essentially Destiny meets Dark Souls meets Dragon Age. Who wouldn’t love that?

6. Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria

The best exploration in a JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: Bandai
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Release Date: August 18, 2016

Tales games aren’t quite at the level of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest in terms of popularity, but they still have a pretty massive following. Bandai’s long-running series has a classic sword-and-sorcery feel that has helped shape the aesthetic that we associate with JRPGs. Tales of Berseria is the latest iteration of this long-honored tradition, and it does its forefathers proud.

You play Velvet, a young woman on a quest for revenge. She joins a group of pirates to adventure across the many islands that dot the seas of the Holy Midgand Empire.

The game utilizes a linear motion battle system, allowing players to move freely around the battlefield while using weapons, magic, and special techniques known as “Artes.”

This is a classic tale of trauma, rage, and learning to live.

5. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Dragon Quest XI

The best old-school JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: July 29, 2017

I’ve talked a lot about popular JRPG series on this list, but there are two that stand above the rest. I’ve already mentioned Final Fantasy, but the other series is Dragon Quest. 

All the characters are designed by Akira Toriyama, the manga artist responsible for Dragon Ball. Just let that sink in for a minute. Dragon Quest games are so popular in Japan that the Japanese government only allows them to be released on Saturdays because so many kids would skip school to buy the new release.

Dragon Quest XI is something special, though, even for this Juggernaut of a series. We placed it at number two on our ranking of the best Dragon Quest games, but don’t let that deter you. Second on a list of giants is still a mighty place to stand. 

Most of the criticism levied at Dragon Quest XI centers around the fact that it has an old school design and combat system, but oddly enough, that’s exactly what Dragon Quest fans love about it. Rather than trying to remake the wheel with constant innovation like Final Fantasy games, Dragon Quest XI is the pinnacle of refinement. It’s like a river stone that’s been polished to a mirror shine.

This is also an excellent place for players who are new to Dragon Quest games to break into the series. The story is about the reincarnation of a legendary hero, so even though this is the continuation of previous Dragon Quest games, the protagonist won’t know any more about the history of the series than you do.

The English localization can be challenging to listen to, however. The phrase, “What if I took a tumble and did myself a mischief?” particularly stands out in my memory.

4. Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII

The best reimagining of a classic JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: April 10, 2020

Anyone with the slightest interest in JRPGs doesn’t need me to tell them about Final Fantasy. It’s one of the most popular and longest-running video game series of all time. Everyone has their favorite, and it’s okay if it isn’t Final Fantasy VII. You’re allowed to be wrong.

Die-hard fans have been aching for a Final Fantasy VII remake ever since Sony, in an act of unparalleled cruelty, made a trailer of the game’s opening scene “to illustrate the PS3’s graphical capabilities” back in 2005!

Now it’s finally here! Well, at least part one of three is.

Cloud and the gang are back in action, and Final Fantasy has never looked so good. From the opening panoramic view of Midgar City to the closing credits, everything in this game looks stunning. The combat is smooth and engaging, combining the classic moves and spells from the original Final Fantasy VII with the more action-based fighting style of Final Fantasy XV.

The game has been criticized for deviating from the original game in places, as well as for making its female characters a little too thirsty for Cloud. That said, FFVIIR does three things right for every one thing it does wrong. Besides, who among us could resist those shiny, green, SOLDIER boy eyes?

3. Bloodborne

Bloodborne

The best horror JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: FromSoftware
  • Publisher: Sony
  • Release Date: March 24, 2015

Those familiar with the Souls games — or the dev team’s most recent title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice — already know about FromSoftware’s masochistic brand of action RPG. These games are known for their steep learning curves, high challenge levels, and utter lack of instruction. 

Bloodborne steps outside the main series’ settings, opting for more 18th-century eldritch horror than 14th-century medieval horror. And, it still maintains the gameplay elements that gave FromSoftware their name.

Bloodborne stands out from other FromSoftware games due to its balance between its grim setting and its buttery-smooth gameplay. It also takes on a much more aggressive combat style, dropping the shield in favor of a firearm on the off hand.

As “The Hunter,” you will go out into the world to battle werewolves, ghouls, and any other terrifying apparitions, while piecing together the lore of the plague-addled world.

It’s brutal. It’s vicious. We love it.

2. NieR:Automata

NieR

The best action JRPG for the PS4

  • Developer: PlatinumGames
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: February 23, 2017

NieR is another series in which the first game flew under a lot of people’s radars. By contrast, the 2017 sequel, NieR:Automata, suffered no such anonymity. It may be the most innovative JRPG of the last generation.

This futuristic action RPG puts you in the high-heeled shoes of 2B, an android tasked with reclaiming a dystopian world overrun by powerful machines.

The beautifully overgrown cities are absolutely stunning. 2B, 9S, and A2 are stoic characters, making exploration a quiet, solitary experience for most of the game. The NPCs have enough personality to make your interactions feel real while simultaneously adding depth and believability to the world.

Combat is a combination of hack-and-slash and shooter mechanics. Since 2B is an android, you can upgrade her abilities, as well as her weapons and those of her trusty, gravity-defying turret, POD. There are always plenty of new moves to learn, making the battles fluid and ever-changing. You’ll never feel like you’re repeating the same square, square, triangle combo to tunnel your way through combat (I’m looking at you, God of War).

NieR:Automata is a beautiful, fun, and (dare I say) poetic game. There isn’t another one like it.

1. Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5

The best JRPG for the PS4 overall

  • Developer: P-Studio
  • Publisher: Atlus & Sega
  • Release Date: October 31, 2019

The Persona series has been popular for a long time, but it’s never broken into true mainstream success the way Persona 5 has. Once you put your hands on a controller, it’s easy to see why. 

The gameplay is a mix of Pokémon style monster collection, Final Fantasy-esque turn-based combat, and (oddly enough) social simulation. Those three things might not sound like they go together, but they are integrated so seamlessly that they frequently merge into each other until you can’t tell where one ends, and another begins.

Also, this game has style.

The music particularly stands out. Persona 5’s soundtrack is an eclectic mix of jazz that ranges from mellow, low-energy lounge music to zippy, upbeat fight songs. It captures the pseudo-noir vibe that the game is going for without feeling dated.

The characters are loveable and unique. They each have vibrant designs that show off their personalities. The game allows you to do sidequests where you spend time growing closer with each of them in the real world, which not only gives them fighting bonuses while they’re in your party, but also creates a natural setting for your protagonist to bond with them as people.

That’s what this game is all about, really — connecting with people, making friends, and trying to improve yourself.

Persona 5 would have already been a contender for the top spot on our list back before Atlus released Persona 5 Royal. The expanded game includes a new semester at Shujin Academy on top of the already staggering 100+ hours of gameplay. It also comes with new characters and an additional area to explore in Tokyo.

Not only is Persona 5 our pick for the best JRPG on the PS4, I personally consider it to be one of the best JRPGs of all time.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few games that didn’t make our list, but are still worth checking out!

  1. Dark Souls III
  2. Final Fantasy XV
  3. Yakuza 6
  4. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  5. NioH
  6. Odin Sphere.
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