JRPGs are almost synonymous with PlayStation consoles, and fortunately PS5 owners have quite a few great Japanese RPG games to choose from! While most developers focus on real-time action combat, turn-based fans won’t be let down by the wealth of options either. 😎
PlayStation 5 has become my personal JRPG-powerhouse, since the collector’s editions are beautiful, and rarely do the graphical requirements exceed what the PS5 can offer – and that’s coming from a “PC master-race” user.
At the same time, Switch can’t run any of the following games that great (if at all), and with (almost) perfect PS4 compatibility, it’s hard to argue there’s a better system to play your JRPGs on!
The following list will focus only on PlayStation 5 titles of course, as well as the most-awaited upcoming PS5 JRPGs at the end.
Final Fantasy games have a strong presence on PS5, with FF7 Remake getting the enhanced version, Intergrade, that adds an extra story chapter, quality of life features and graphical upgrades, for the ultimate way to experience this masterpiece! At the same time, Team Ninja‘s spinoff Stranger of Paradise, offers a Final Fantasy hack & slash JRPG – where Koei Tecmo‘s influence is obvious – that serves as an alternate prequel to the original Final Fantasy.
And it doesn’t end there of course, with FF XVI on the horizon as a PS5 exclusive, as well as Part 2 of the FF7 Remake, called Rebirth. As a Final Fantasy fan I’m definitely pleased with the choices on PS5, even though the best is yet to come!
Star Ocean: The Divine Force is a strong comeback for the series after a 6-year hiatus, with the original developer tri-Ace delivering a modern Star Ocean experience that will definitely please (most) fans. The real-time action combat is very fluid and engaging, while changing your active character or pausing the battle to use items is just as responsive.
There’s a ton of systems and stats to keep track of, as well as abilities, skills and gear you can use and upgrade for each character, making progression feel awesome, and exploring every corner of the world worthwhile!
Tales of Arise brings together everything that made the Tales series great, in the modern adaptation it deserves! Beautiful realistic anime graphics blend with Tales’ stylish combat for an awe-inspiring JRPG like no other!
Having played almost all of the Tales games, I couldn’t be happier with Arise, and frankly, I don’t want to spoil too much! Even though you can jump into it without playing any of the previous mainline games, watching the evolution of the series is priceless to me. 😶
Scarlet Nexus is a standalone action JRPG, developed by many Bandai Namco veterans – and their long-standing partners Tose – delivering a modern third-person hack & slash experience, that is polished, fluid, and reminiscent of Astral Chain™‘s high-octane combat!
Even though the main story progression is quite linear, there are tons of open-world areas to explore and fight through, and what’s more – each one of the 2 different characters you can play with, offers a unique storyline that is worth exploring on its own! The movement and camera could sadly use some work, but all-in-all, Scarlet Nexus serves as a great introduction to action JRPGs on the PS5, while remaining an essential entry to veterans’ backlogs.
Yakuza games are well represented on the PS5, with the 7th mainline entry – Like A Dragon – taking a turn-based approach to Yakuza’s “beat ’em up” legacy, and quite successfully at that! Meanwhile, you can find Yakuza’s traditional combat in the Judgment spin-offs (from the same developer), where you take the role of a private detective, in a storyline with top-notch production value.
What’s more, 2014’s Japan / Asia exclusive Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin!, will be arriving as a remake for a global audience!
Valkyrie Elysium serves as a reboot of the Valkyrie Profile series, without the original developer tri-Ace , or the original turn-based mechanics in place. Elysium takes a hack & slash approach instead, that fortunately is quite well-made, offering a wide spectrum of weapons (each one with its own combos), abilities, fluid jumping & dodging, as well as the option to summon Einherjars that can help you overcome tougher battles!
Sadly the story cutscenes aren’t as frequent, but the CGI definitely makes up for it. Each stage / chapter has a big open world you can explore and fight through, but it somehow feels “smaller” than Valkyrie Profile® 2 Silmeria‘s “mini-area” system. Certainly not the best representation of the Valkyrie franchise, or what the fans asked for, Elysium still redeems itself in my opinion, due to its challenging & satisfying combat, which stays true to the hack & slash game principles.
Persona 5 Royal is an enhanced edition of the ultimate modern JRPG – Persona 5. That said, if you are planning to try at least 1 game from this list, let it be this one! You can expect the most polished turn-based combat, and instead of random encounters, a much more dynamic stealth-driven movement through dungeons, giving you multiple options on how you want to progress through the game, based on the difficulty level as well.
Managing your daily tasks and objectives isn’t as confusing and punishing as Persona 4, and at the same time it doesn’t take away any of the novelty of making your own choices, and following different stories and paths. The game shines mostly through its story of course, with a convoluted plot that’ll undoubtedly wake-up that “teenage nostalgia” in everyone, and beautiful cinematics and voice-overs to match.
I’ll make no comment on Atlus’ disgusting greed for not offering a PS4 version upgrade (well I just did😏), even if for a small charge. Instead, you’ll have to pay the full price in order to enjoy this masterpiece at its maximum fidelity.
Soul Hackers 2 has been criticized for being too “Persona-like” and not following the OG spinoff closer, but can you really blame Atlus? Persona 5‘s recipe is the culmination of the 30+ year old Shin Megami Tensei series, and adopting similar game design decisions into Soul Hackers 2 just makes sense!
The one thing I’m personally missing is a “deeper” story, since it’s a bit on the short side, but the rest of the game definitely isn’t! Expect a lot of strategic decisions and saving / loading (if you’re playing on the hardest difficulty), and an awesome power progression through multiple mechanics, items and unique abilities your characters can unlock!
Monark is a 3D tactical JRPG that went under the radar for most people, but trust me, if you’re a fan of games like Fire Emblem – or even XCOM – you don’t want to miss out on this one! The grid-based combat is fast-paced, and managing your party’s actions takes out a good chunk of repetitive patterns, that tend to make similar games feel sluggish.
Every decision you take on the battlefield matters, since using special abilities may cost you health or sanity, while building out each individual character’s stats and skills will also be crucial to overcoming critical battles. There’s quite a lot of story content even if it’s not the main focus of the game, and personal choices will also affect which characters you can recruit.
The DioField Chronicle is a refreshing tactical JRPG that properly takes advantage of PS5’s processing power, without compromising on the traditional tactical gameplay that made the genre so important, in a small circle of loyal commanders! The story is told through gorgeous CGI cutscenes, along with voice-overs and text-based dialogues, and advances as you progress through several main, side & character missions, each one offering unique environments, enemies, and level designs, that will put your party to the test!
The combat mechanics are well thought-out, and will provide you with a lot of options on how you want to approach a mission. When playing on hard every small decision can “make or break” a mission – so the gameplay might feel a bit slow – but it’s even more rewarding when your orders result into a successful battle! Last but not least, you have a lot of ways to build and advance each separate character, and you will have to strategically prioritize where you will spend the resources you earn from your battles.
Atelier Ryza 2 follows up on the previous game’s transition into the modern era for Atelier games, while refining combat and graphics enough to make it stand out on its own! Sadly the 1st Ryza game didn’t even get a PS4 Pro-enhanced version, so the graphical differences will be way more apparent to PS5 users, offering a completely new Ryza experience!
With an interesting blend of turn-based and real-time combat, as well as heaps of exploration and crafting, Ryza 2 is an adventure that most JRPG fans will appreciate, and a surprisingly relaxing game, compared to the “intense” time-management the older games required. You can definitely enjoy the 2nd game without having a clue about the 1st one – or even wait for Ryza 3 which is around the corner – but I’d personally recommend you start with Ryza 1 (or even better explore the Atelier series chronologically, it’s definitely worth it if it picks your interest!).
Neptunia ReVerse is an enhanced port of the Japanese exclusive Re;Birth1 Plus – that’s an enhanced port of Re;Birth1 – an enhanced port of the original game 🥲- therefore serves as a great entry point to the franchise! Turn-based combat on a 3D grid with tons of flashy abilities, and a huge cast of cute girls – expanded upon a lengthy, and voice-overed visual-novel story – is what you’re getting with Neptunia games, and it’s awesome!
For the impatient ones, it’s easy to skip all of the dialogues, and the main gameplay loop will have you scouring through multiple dungeons, looking for different enemies to defeat, and items to collect, in order to enhance your team, and unlock even more characters! Probably the best “cute girl JRPG” out there, so give it a try if you’re unsure about the genre!
Temtem is much more than a Pokémon clone, and objectively much closer to what we would expect from a modern, multiplatform Pokémon game. Temtem has nailed the art style, and built upon the battle, leveling & breeding mechanics, in ways we still wish GameFreak would, while managing to create their own identity (even though it’s impossible to talk about the game without comparing it to Pokémon every step of the way?).
The game launched on early access through Steam, and PS5 was the only other platform that also received the game a few months later, until its official launch (accompanied by a physical version) that also brought it on Series X & Switch.
Even though some may wonder why it didn’t arrive for previous gen systems like PS4, keep in mind that Temtem is also an MMORPG, since you can see all other players roaming around (from any platform), and trade, battle or chat with them! What’s even better, is that it supports cross-progression between all 4 platforms, so u can just log in to your account, and access your Temtem everywhere!
Babalon, Mother of Abominations