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Best PS1 JRPG Games
Published on January 21, 2021    Updated on July 6, 2022

The 15 Best JRPG Games on PS1

Despite all these years, the original PlayStation's huge library of JRPGs remains the go for every fan of the genre seeking the best games.

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If you’re a die-hard fan of role-playing games, be it from Japan or the West, it gets difficult to find what to play when every game looks so good at first glance. However, fear not because here’s a list of “Top 15 JRPG Games on PS1”.

The games I’ll be mentioning are definitely worth your time since they’re the best I have ever played. Bear in mind that the list may miss some games because it’s not your typical mainstream list. It will include various hidden gems and obscure and underrated titles.

Parasite Eve


1998 パラサイト・イヴ (Parasaito Ivu)

About
Release Date
March 29, 1998
Developer & Publisher
Square
Franchise
Parasite Eve
Genre
Action RPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1998-03-29
1998-09-09

Parasite Eve is a unique blend between Resident Evil and Final Fantasy. It is one of the games that include Role-playing with survival horror elements albeit it doesn’t incorporate the traditional turn-based system in the past Final Fantasy series for example.

The overall story puts you in the shoes of Aya Brea, a New York police officer. Her mission is to stop Eve, a parasite woman who has plans to wipe the human race from the face of the earth.

The gameplay is similar to Final Fantasy 7, but there is no traditional battle system. Instead, when a battle occurs, Aya Brea can move freely to avoid attacks and shoot enemies using either her guns or her parasite powers. Additionally, the game uses a pausable real-time combat system with an Active Time Bar. Once the player attacks, they have to wait a little bit until they can perform an attack.

There are lots of elements taken from the Final Fantasy series and other Square Soft games to be experienced here, but the best thing is the unique blend between the survival-horror genre and RPG.

Koudelka


1999

About
Release Date
December 19, 1999
Developer
Sacnoth
Publisher
Atari SA
Franchise
Shadow Hearts
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1999-12-19
2000-06-29
2000-09-27

Koudelka’s CGI is simply ahead of time, and that’s what makes it worth mentioning on the list. Similar to Parasite Eve, Koudelka is a mix of horror and RPG. I know for sure that people who experienced these two games are yearning to see more games that mix two genres into one, especially when it comes to horror and RPG.

The plot sees Koudelka, bishop James, and Edward Plunkett uncovering Nemeton’s secrets, and confronting various monsters which are created from the dark past. Personally, the plot is similar to another of Sacnoth’s classics, the Shadow Hearts Series.

Fun fact, Koudelka is by Hiroki Kikuta, a former employee of Square who founded  Sacnoth with other members back in 1997. You’ll notice several similarities with the Final Fantasy series, but I assure you, the gameplay in Koudelka is surprisingly unique. Its gameplay blends exploration and puzzle elements with turn-based battles waged on a grid.

Koudelka is one of the best-hidden gem JRPGs that you will ever experience. Unfortunately, the only issue you’ll encounter is the expensive copy in case you are a collector yourself, but you can always emulate it.

Brave Fencer Musashi


1998 ブレイヴフェンサー 武蔵伝 (Bureivu Fensā Musashiden, Brave Fencer: The Legend of Musashi)

About
Release Date
July 16, 1998
Developer & Publisher
Square
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1998-07-16
1998-10-31

The aforementioned is one of the cutest games on the PS1. Unfortunately, is it also one of those titles which are often forgotten by the media. There’s a sequel as well, but that one is usually buried because, according to many, it’s a disappointment.

The story puts you in the shoes of a young swordsman, Musashi. He has to search and collect Five Scrolls which can upgrade the power of his blade. The blade will help him to defend Allucaneet from the evil empire.

Unlike the games which were mentioned above, Brave Fencer Musashi doesn’t include a turn-based combat system. Instead, it involves real-time sword-based combat in a 2.5D environment. Additionally, the title features role-playing elements such as a day-night cycle, and the ability to sleep to restore health.

Despite the latter being an actual action RPG (ARPG), it’s still worth the shot for the graphics, the story, and the overall simplistic gameplay.

Legend of Legaia


1998 レガイア伝説 (Regaia Densetsu)

About
Release Date
October 29, 1998
Developer
Prokion
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1998-10-29
1999-03-16
2000-05-27

Coming next on our list is Legend of Legaia. its unique battle system and the heartwarming soundtracks make it a perfect candidate on the list. Just for your understanding, the aforementioned was produced by the same company behind Wild Arms II and Alundra 2.

A mysterious mist learns about the fact that humans can use magical tools called Seru. As a result, they are all turned into freaky monsters. When all hope is lost, the three heroes discover strange entities called Ra-Seru (looks like power rangers btw) which will help them to wipe the mist and restore peace to the land.

Similar to Final Fantasy, Legend of Legaia features a turn-based system where battles occur either during the world map or in dungeons. One of Legaia’s unique is the fight command. Instead of the traditional attack command, players indicate the location of each attack. Players can also strike using either the left or right arm and high and low strikes. Each selected direction has its own advantage and disadvantage.

Additionally, Legend of Legaia has something known as ” Arts”. These are special combo attacks that inflict significantly more damage than the non-combo string. However, it’s up to the player to discover each character’s Arts. There is an abundance of commands and features to discover in Legend of Legaia. So, I’ll leave it to you to discover.

Threads of Fate


1999 デュープリズム (Dyūpurizumu)

About
Release Date
October 14, 1999
Developer & Publisher
Square
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1999-10-14
2000-07-18

Seriously, someone please tell me what Square eat for lunch because I want some of it. Square is known for making a myriad of JRPGs that still amazes me to this day. One of these JRPGs is Threads of Fate. The reason why this game is a hidden gem is that it came out in a time crowded with other amazing games. Such as Chrono Cross, Soul Reaver, Dino Crisis, Silent Hill, and Resident Evil 3.

In Threads of Fate, players assume the role of one of the two characters: Rue or Mint. They are on an adventure to find a mystical object known as the Relic. The aforementioned is said to have the power to deeply change their lives as they fit.

Threads of Fate’s gameplay is similar to a Square game called Musashi: Samurai Legend. Players have to choose from two different characters, each character with its own storyline. On the one hand, the overall game environment is introduced through the use of polygonal 3D.

However, just when you think Thread of Fate is another generic action JRPG game, the game introduces one interesting feature. Anytime Rue kills an enemy, a tiny symbol is left behind which the player can take advantage of to transform into that creature. Threads of Fate is a great JRPG if you’re looking for a forgotten classic.

Chrono Trigger


1995 クロノ・トリガ (Kurono Torigā)

About
Release Date
March 11, 1995
Developer & Publisher
Square Enix
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1999-11-02
2001-06-29

I’ll stop with my Square’s fanboyism after this one. I promise, really. Chrono Trigger is seriously one of the best JRPGs ever, and it’s still cherished by a lot of players to this day.

The story revolves around Chrono and his friends travelling through time and battling fierce foes. After they learn about the impending threat, Lavos who plans to destroy the earth just like he did centuries ago, Chrono, Lucca and his friend travel through time to destroy Lavos.

If you ask me, the gameplay in Chrono Trigger is similar to the original Final Fantasy 3 on the SNES. Players control the hero Chrono and his friends as they explore the 2D world filled with various forests, cities, and dungeons to navigate. The exploration is done through an overworld map which depicts landscapes, and other areas well-designed to look more realistic.

On the one hand, Chrono Trigger’s gameplay is slightly different from traditional JRPGs. Rather than randomly encountering enemies, the game makes enemies visible. Hence, you can always avoid wasting time-fighting the same enemies over and over again. In the end, if you are looking for one of the best JRPG games, Chrono Trigger is the best choice.

The Granstream Saga


1997 グランストリーム伝記 (Guransutorīmu Denki)

About
Release Date
November 06, 1997
Developer
Quintet
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1997-11-06
1998-06-30
1999-02-26

The Granstream Saga is a hidden gem JRPG game that I don’t see many talking about. The aforementioned is a spiritual successor to Soul Blazer, Terranigma, and Illusion of Gaia.

The game’s story focuses on Eon who is on a journey by protecting the four floating continents from falling into the ocean. Eon wears a jewel known as ” the sceptre “. This jewel grants him magical powers and the ability to restore destroyed objects to their original shape. Amidst his journey, Eon will encounter several allies who share the same interest. However, the further Eon progresses in his journey, the further he discovers his dark past. The game has two possible endings, and it all depends on your actions.

Combat in The Granstream Saga is a real-time hack and slash, and it starts once you hit the on-screen wandering enemies in dungeons. Players fight enemies in a one-on-one duel.

The gameplay is actually unique since the entire game is praised as one of the first fully polygonal RPGs. Also, the game features anime-style cutscenes by Production I.G known for their works such as Ghost in the Shell, Psycho-Pass, and Blood+

In case you are looking for one of the best JRPGs, the aforementioned is worth a shot.

The Legend of Dragoon


1999 レジェンド・オブ・ドラグーン (Rejendo Obu Doragūn)

About
Release Date
December 21, 1999
Developer
Japan Studio
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1999-12-21
2000-06-14
2001-01-19

The Legend of Dragoon is Sony’s answer to the Final Fantasy series. Just like Dark Cloud was the answer to The Legend of Zelda franchise. However, sadly, both of these games did not make their ambition become true.

The plot follows Dart, a brave warrior who possesses the power of a legendary knight known as Dragoon. Dart’s sweetheart Shana has been abducted by the dictator Emperor Doel, and it’s up to our hero to free her from the clutches of the wicked emperor. Amidst his journey, Dart will meet up with other warriors who possess the same power as him, and together they’ll team up to destroy Doel.

The player controls a party of 3D character models similar to Final Fantasy games. The combat uses a blend of traditional turn-based systems and real-time commands. One unique feature in the game is the inclusion of quick-time events during each strike. Once that happens, it’ll require the player to press a button when two squares converge. In the end, Legend of Dragoon is one of the best JRPGs on the PS1 that you shouldn’t miss.

Suikoden II


1998

About
Release Date
December 17, 1998
Developer
Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Publisher
Konami
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1998-12-17
1999-08-31
2000-07-28

One of the best JRPGs ever made on the original PlayStation. The game, upon its release, was both a critical and commercial success with a total of 68 Million in sales,

The story takes place a couple of years after the events of the original game, and it follows a silent protagonist. Suikoden II recounts the invasion by the Kingdom of Highland of the City-States of Jowston which soon turns into a conflict known as “The Dunan Unification War.”

The silent protagonist and his childhood friend are both caught up in this war, but each of them gains one-half of the Rune of the Beginning, one of the 27 True Runes of the Suikoden setting. What follows is an epic tale that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat forever.

Dragon of Valor


1999 ドラゴンヴァラー (Doragon Varā)

About
Release Date
December 02, 1999
Developer & Publisher
Namco
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1999-12-02
2000-06-30
2000-10-16

Alright, this one is a true action JRPG which you’ll see barely anyone mentioning. It could be because it was one of the latest games on the original system? Or it could be because the game felt more like a hack and slash than an actual RPG?

The story of Dragon Valor revolves around legendary warriors who possess the ultimate power to slay powerful dragons. Players control a variety of warriors throughout generations and generations. The present, the past, and the future are all linked together, and the legend keeps repeating itself.

Wild Arms


1996 ワイルドアームズ (Wairudo Âmuzu)

About
Release Date
December 20, 1996
Developer
Media.Vision
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1998-10
1996-12-20
1997-04-30

Wild Arms is one of the best titles on Sony’s consoles. Don’t exclude Wild Arms: XF because that’s a great one as well.

An otherwordly threat plans to revive the dark leader and destroy the world. It’s up to Ruby and his companions who have the ability to control powerful weapons called ARMs to stop the imminent threat.

Final Fantasy VII


1997

About
Release Date
January 31, 1997
Developer & Publisher
Square Enix
Franchise
Final Fantasy
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1997-01-31
1997-09-07
1997-11-14

One does not simply, talk about the best JRPGs on the original PlayStation and not end up mentioning Final Fantasy VIII. After all, it’s one of the best-selling titles of all time.

The game puts you in the shoes of Cloud Strife who joins an eco-terrorist organization that strives to stop a dominative megacorporation from taking advantage of the planet’s life essence. Amidst these events, Cloud will build strong relationships with allies and other party members who share the same interest. However, one member called Sephiroth will not let their adventure go so smoothly.

Since you’re here, why not go take a look at the ” All Final Fantasy Games Ever Released ” article we’ve made?

Breath of Fire III


1997 ブレス オブ ファイアIII (Buresu obu Faia III)

About
Release Date
September 11, 1997
Developer & Publisher
Capcom
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1997-09-11
1998-04-30
1998-10-08

Breath of Fire III is part of the Breath of Fire series which initially debuted on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1993.

The story centres on Ryu, the last of The Brood, a race of people who can alter into tough dragons. As Ryu explores the world to uncover the mystery of his kin, his journey takes him into adulthood where he meets up with other characters who’ll help him in his quest.

Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu


1998 玉繭物語 (Tamamayu Monogatari)

About
Release Date
December 03, 1998
Developer & Publisher
Genki
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1998-12-03
1999-07-27
1999-11-01

Coming next on the list is Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu, one of the best-hidden gem JRPGs on PlayStation that many seem to forget to mention. The latter was developed by Genki in collaboration with Katsuya Kondō, character designer for the Studio Ghibli movies Kiki’s Delivery Service and I Can Hear the Sea.

Players guide the silent protagonist on his journey to follow in his presumably deceased father’s footsteps to become a cocoon master.

Jade Cocon combines elements from Role-Playing games and virtual pet management. These pets are called ” Minions”. Let’s just say that these minions are like pokemon. They can be used to attack or defend the protagonist.  They can also be fused with other minions and customize their abilities and appearance.
It’s a solid game that anyone seeking the best JRPGs on the PS1 should go for.

Valkyrie Profile


1999 ヴァルキリープロファイル (Varukirī Purofairu)

About
Release Date
December 22, 1999
Developer
tri-Ace
Publisher
Enix
Genre
JRPG
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS1 Releases
1999-12-22
2000-08-29

We are finishing the list with Valkyrie Profile. This one has received an enhanced port on the PSP as well, so you better go check it out as well. The game takes a lot of inspiration from Norse mythology, that is why you’ll notice a couple of references when playing the game.

The overall story revolves around Lenneth as she journeys to learn more about her past life which was removed from her memory after she became a Valkyrie. Lenneth travels through Midgard collecting the souls of dead heroes to serve as her own personal companions for Ragnarok. The battle that will decide the fate of all creation.

FreeckyCake

Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but is still open to any game in the industry if you ask him. His love for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is like a truck and whenever he meets a new friend, he can't help himself but recommend it to him.

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5 responses to “The 15 Best JRPG Games on PS1”

  1. Joe Lee says:

    I’m so happy you mentioned Brave Fencer Musashi! 😀 Sountrack to gameplay to story to treasure/Binchofield hunting, this game is OOZING with love and dedication. Sad that the sequel couldn’t live up to it.

    • FreeckyCake says:

      I’m glad you liked it, haha, thanks.

      Yeah, it’s sad how Musashi: Samurai Legend wasn’t as cherished as the prequel. It had the potential to be a great game, but unfortunately, the execution was a bit off. The soundtracks were great, and the cel-shaded graphics too, but the gameplay was the culprit that made me prefer Brave Fencer Musashi. I’m not saying Musashi: Samurai Legend is bad. It’s just that, like I said, the execution was off, and I felt that the game had great potential!

  2. Gesph says:

    You call yourselves “Altar of Gaming”, then go an make a list like this without including Xenogears. What a joke.

    • FreeckyCake says:

      Ever heard of an opinion?

      As I explained in the first paragraph of the article

      ” The games I’ll be mentioning are definitely worth your time since they’re the best I have ever played. Bear in mind that the list may miss some games because it’s not your typical mainstream list. It will include various hidden gems, obscure and underrated titles. So, don’t feel offended if I ended up not mentioning something you want to see.”

      I was fully aware that I will get comments like these on this article, but at the end of the day, what matters is including both great games and hidden gems, as well as, obscure titles. I hope that you have found some interesting unknown games to play one day.

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