During the era of the PlayStation 1 and 2, JRPGs were one of the strongest genres on consoles. Over the past generation of gaming however, JRPGs seem to have dwindled off of consoles and focused themselves more on handhelds. Many names synonymous with JRPG seem to have just given up entirely on releasing new products even. Thus, with the future of gaming coming by the end of this year, here are some JRPGs that should return to the next-gen console market after a long hiatus. Any JRPG fan would love for these titles to be announced, practically selling whichever console the games appear on. Here are the top 5 JRPGs that should return next-gen.
5) Valkyria Chronicles 4
Technically, Valkyria Chronicles came out in this generation of gaming. The first Valkyria Chronicles was a brilliant JRPG (leaning towards the strategy JRPG genre) in visuals, story and gameplay. Never has there been a battle system similar to this series. Unfortunately, the game suffered from initial low sales, and subsequently future installations came out on the PSP. That is why this game makes this list. Even though it came out in this generation, gamers can already tell that the series is fading. Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3 were significantly held back by being solely released on handhelds, making the experience hard to stomach for anyone who had played the original game on the PlayStation 3. A return on next-gen consoles would provide a great avenue for Valkyria Chronicles to capture gamers’ hearts again.
4) Persona 5
Atlus, developers of the Persona series, have hinted many times that the next Persona game is in development. It has nevertheless still been quite a while since we last played a new Persona game and with each passing year, it becomes harder to hold out hope. The Persona series has plenty of potential and plenty of room to grow. With more polish put into the final product, the Persona series could become a serious JRPG contender that could even draw in non-JRPG gamers. The Persona series is one of the few series that feels like playing a TV show, or in this case, an anime show. That is one of its biggest draws. Catherine, another Atlus game, shows that Atlus still has the means to create a very good game and hopefully this will translate into another JRPG.
3) Dark Cloud 3
An action-RPG from Level 5 that is touted as being very similar to the Zelda franchise. In the previous games, the core gameplay revolved around dungeon crawling looking for items to help build the community. In Dark Cloud 2, the Georama system allowed you to change the future of the world by allowing you to build towns/cities to your hearts content and bring townsfolk in to repopulate areas. This mix of action-RPG and sim-city like strategy coupled with fun side-quests allowed for gamers to easily get drawn into the world they were essentially creating. A fun and engaging title would make for a great return to consoles in next-gen as an even bigger impact on the town building aspect with better variety in craftsmanship could exponentially increase the game’s charm.
2) Suikoden 6
A Konami title that hasn’t resurfaced for a number of years is Suikoden. Suikoden is another title that has a mix of elements in its gameplay, with some strategy moments to accompany the main RPG aspects. There have been some modifications to the formula over the years, but the concept of having 6 team members fighting on screen at once is a somewhat unique experience in RPG games, as games tend to be built around 3-4 active party members. The other famous aspect of the Suikoden series is the 108 stars (characters) that need to be collected to usually get the true ending of the games. In truth, collecting 108 characters is a hit or miss mechanic, as increasing the potential characters on your team also dilutes their personality and screen time. I’d be happy with a reduction in the number of recruitable party members if just to experience another entry in the series.
1) Grandia 4
Finally, we come to the most important JRPG series that should return to next-gen gaming: Grandia. There is one simple reason why Grandia is a great series, and that is due to a near flawless battle system. The Grandia series has one of the best turn-based battle systems ever devised, with a circular IP gauge that determines player and enemy movement. In Grandia 3, the outcome was a battle system somewhat similar to Final Fantasy X-2 (which utilised an ATB system) where you could interrupt enemy attacks and pull off combo attacks if you timed your attacks perfectly among your party members. There is even more potential lying in this system as your party members tend to move around the battlefield on their own accord, however you can still maintain some control over their movements due to their diverse attack patterns. An easy example would be to escape an area of effect attack by executing a jumping attack on an enemy. The one area that will need significant improvement is the storytelling. Grandia 3 had a flaccid story that was merely serviceable. With such great gameplay mechanics, the game needs a much better story to accompany it.
Do you have any particular JRPG you want to return next-gen?