JRPGs You May Have Missed

Introduction –  10 JRPGs You May Have Missed

Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) are having huge success in 2024 already. With releases such as Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, Persona 3 Reload and Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth.

Throughout most of gaming history we’ve have some incredible RPGs released from Japan. Sometimes in a very limited capacity or they’ve completely avoided the European market. What’s worse, many of these great games are at risk of becoming lost media. Many are not seeing re-releases and are highly unlikely to. Except for the collectors who strive to preserve our history of gaming.

Today we’re taking a brief look at some of the titles which saw release in the UK which deserve more attention. Either because it is a forgotten gem or it has something interesting/unique about them. If you’re a fan if JRPGs or want a guide to some really fantastic games to add to your collection, look out for these titles:


1. Grandia II (Dreamcast/Playstation 2/PC/ Steam/Nintendo Switch)

Grandia II Screenshot JRPGs games

Grandia II was first released in Europe February 2001, shortly followed by a Playstation 2 release in March 2002. The first Grandia game used 3D backgrounds with 2D sprites. Grandia II decided to take the full dive into 3D.

The game had positive reception when first released on the Dreamcast, but struggled on the Playstation 2. In August 2015 the game saw a Steam release, in the form of a Anniversary Edition. In 2019 it released on the Nintendo Switch as a part of the Grandia HD Remaster Collection.

Grandia II moves away from the usual positive, friendly and optimistic main character with its protagonist Ryudo. A Cynical, pessimistic Mercenary, who is more interested in getting the job done, rather than if his actions are moral. His latest job revolves around escorting Elena, a Songstress of Granas as she attempts to perform a ceremony to halt the rebirth of Valmar, the God of Darkness. The game’s main focus is the fight between good and evil and the discovery that not all evil is bad and not all good is righteous.

Limited Run will be releasing a PS4/Xbox One physical version of the Grandia HD remaster this summer, as well as the game being available in several digital versions. So there’s no excuse to miss out on this title any longer. Go grab it now!


2. Blue Dragon (Xbox 360)

Blue Dragon Screenshot JRPGs games

Blue Dragon is exclusive to the Xbox 360 and was released in 2007. It has some impressive individuals involved in its development, including Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest) The character designer is the legendary designer Akira Toriyama (Character designer for the Dragonball and Dragon Quest franchises). The music is also composed by Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy Composer).

Outside of the gamers who played this game when it first came out, very few people have heard of it or even remember it. It’s even more surprising this game has not had a re-release.

Blue Dragon follows some very familiar characteristics as well know RPG series, Persona. Your characters have ‘Shadows’, which take a different form depending on the character. Like the Persona series, these Shadows are used in combat to fight on behalf of the character they belong to.

Overall it is still a good experience and there are very few games like this released for the Xbox 360. The game can be picked up pretty cheap in today’s pre owned game market, so it is worth grabbing a copy and trying it out yourself.

3. Tales of Graces F(Playstation 3)

Tales of Graces Screenshot JRPGs games

The Tales franchise has seen a lot of love the past few years, with Tales of Arise having incredible success in the West since its release in 2021. We’ve also seen releases of some of its strongest titles, with Tales of Symphonia receiving a PS4/Xbox One release in 2023 and Tales of Vesperia seeing a definitive release on PS4/Xbox One/Switch in 2019.

Tales of Graces F is one of those in the franchise which deserves more love than it currently receives. Originally released as Tales of Graces for the Wii in Japan, it made its way to the west in 2012 for the Playstation 3.

Instead of focusing on the cliché story romance, the story focuses of the bond of friendships. A refreshing change, although many of the usual RPG beats are within the story.

Like all of the other games within the Tales franchise, the game has a beautiful design that pops, well fleshed out characters, the traditional Tales humour and great soundtrack.

Currently the game is pretty cheap to pick a Physical copy for PS3. I highly recommend grabbing a copy if you see it. With the removal of a lot of the franchise’s games from the Playstation store, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we see a re-release of this game in the near future!

4. .hack//INFECTION (Playstation 2)

.hack//INFECTION Screenshot JRPGs games

Move over Sword Art Online! The .hack series is here!

Releasing in Japan in 2002, .hack was released during the days of the MMORPG surge. You play Kite, a new player to the The World, a giant online game with over 20 million other players.

All is not well in this game, as a few players before the events of the series have become comatose from playing the game. A short time into the game, Kite’s friend Orca also falls victim to this strange phenomenon as well, which Kite witnesses as a monster attacks Orca. Kite sets out to discover the cause and the mystery behind the AI Aura and the Book of Twilight.

.hack//INFECTION is a more unusual RPG, as it simulates a MMORPG. It also allows for a level of customisation, as you combine keywords to generate custom fields to explore within the game. The game continues in its follow up games MUTATION, OUTBREAK and QUARATINE.

Each game comes with a bonus DVD, which shows the story from the real world and the events taking place whilst your character is attempting to solve the mystery within The World.

Unfortunately the 4 part game series has not been released outside of it’s PS2 release in the West. Thankfully part 1 and 2 are fairly reasonably priced. But make sure you enjoy the game first before looking to shell out for part 3 and 4, as these are expensive to obtain.

5. Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)

Lost Odyssey Screenshot JRPGs games

Another fantastic RPG released for the Xbox 360 which doesn’t receive enough praise and is almost forgotten after its 2008 release in the West.

Lost Odyssey has some incredible creators working on the project. With Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobou Uematsu working together on another large project for the console.

The game is set in a Magic-Industrial Revolution era, which gives it a vibe very familiar to what we were seeing from the Final Fantasy franchise at the time.

The game is set over 4 discs, a whopping amount of discs compared to other RPGs at the time. Though much of this can be put down to the number of cutscenes it pumped the game with.

Lost Odyssey can be picked up for really cheap and is highly recommended to add to your collection. It’s a great RPG and one that I would prefer to play over the Final Fantasy titles which came out around the same time.


6. Shadow Hearts (Playstation 2)

Shadow Hearts Screenshot JRPGs games

No, not a sequel to Kingdom Hearts. But an RPG which should not be missed. It was released in Europe in 2002 and went under the radar of many RPG fans.

Shadow Hearts uses the traditionally turn based combat system a lot of the RPGs were using during this era. But instead of being based in a industrial revolution fantasy setting, it went with a Victorian era horror game. There are a lot of grotesque monster designs and the inclusion of a sanity meter. If your character’s sanity meter dropped below 0, you lose control of your character and the music changes to being warped and disturbed. Just to add to the creep factor of this game.

Shadow Hearts breathes fresh air into the RPG scene with its different tone, unique soundtrack and new mechanics to learn. Although copies of this game tend to be expensive, it’s worth grabbing a hold of a copy. It’s one of the best RPGs of the era and its sequel Shadow Hearts – Covenant received a stronger reception.


7. White Knight Chronicles (Playstation 3)

White Knight Chronicles Screenshot JRPGs games

Japan Studio and Level-5’s entry into the JRPG world which released in Europe during 2010.

White Knight Chronicles released with the expectation that it would be the start of a new franchise. But fizzled out by 2011 after White Knight Chronicles II and White Knight Chronicles: Origins.

The reception was mixed for this game and follows many of the stereotypical beats and battle mechanics that many other RPGs at the time were using. Which makes the game feel like Final Fantasy mixed with Gundam.

White Knight Chronicles unfortunately has a lot of competition on the RPG front. Many other companies were making big budget RPGs for the console at the time.

Although the game promised online multiplayer features, these features fell flat.

If you haven’t played many RPG games or are just eager for something different to play, White Knight Chronicles is one to give a try. With a little extra polish, this game has the potential to be something special. All three games within the White Knight Chronicles series can be picked up for very cheap and worth trying out.


8. Evolution Worlds (Gamecube)

Evolution Worlds Screenshot

Originally released as 2 games, Evolution: The World of Sacred Device and Evolution 2: Far Off Promise for the Dreamcast.

Evolution Worlds combined both games, made several game improvements including voice acting and cutting down some of the longer dungeon crawling sections. The game was released on the Gamecube in Europe in 2003.

Evolution Worlds released with mixed reviews. Which is understandable, due to the amount of dungeon crawling involved, repetitive battles and repetitive music. Looking past this factor, the game has a great cast of characters with very adorable designs. (and terrible pun names!)

The game doesn’t do anything new to the RPG genre, but you’ll still find yourself investing many hours into this game. Just watch out for the expensive price tag it often goes for!


9. Pokémon Colosseum (Gamecube)

Pokémon Colosseum Screenshot

This is probably an unexpected one for the list, as everyone knows Pokémon!

As one of the biggest franchises worldwide, you would expect all of the Pokémon games to have been played by a large audience. However, many fans often forget the Gamecube releases of Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.

The difference Pokémon Colosseum has compared to the Game Boy titles is that it did not follow the traditional format of other Pokémon games. It also doesn’t fall into the trap of just being a more advanced version of the Stadium games on the N64 (although it does allow you to do this).

We play a more flesh out, older protagonist and the goal is to rescue Pokémon from a new sinister organisation. Your goal is to capture their Shadow Pokémon (That’s right, this game condones stealing Pokémon from other trainers!).

You are also given your first two Pokémon, Espeon and Umbreon as standard. You don’t get to select your first Pokémon in this game. This can easily be changed to other Pokémon you collect on your journey. Notably includes some of the big legendries like Entei, Celebi and Ho-oh.

This game also has a brilliant feature, which was completely game changing for Pokémon collectors. If you have the link cable to connect your Game Boy Advance to the Gamecube, you can transfer your Pokémon from Colosseum to Ruby or Sapphire.

Included are the Legendries you could find in the game, all of which, are fairly easy to obtain compared to their GBA counterparts.

Although a little pricey to get a hold of, this game is an absolute must for any of the more retro Pokémon masters out there. It not only has a great story, but greatly benefits your pocket games!


10. Valkyria Chronicles (Playstation 3/ Playstation 4/ Steam/ Nintendo Switch)

Valkyria Chronicles Screenshot

A tactical RPG, rather than the typical turn based RPGs, but one of the games high on my list of ‘must plays’.

Originally released in 2008. The story of Valkyria Chronicles is set in the continent of Europa and is a fictional representation of the beginning of World War II. A war between the East Europan Imperial Alliance and the Atlantic Federation. The neutral nation of Gallia being caught in the middle.

Valkyria Chronicles uses a sketch style design for its characters and environments. This looks beautiful and gives the game a very unique design compared to other RPGs at the time.

There is a good selection of characters you can recruit in your team, all with their own personality and add different experiences to your game (There’s even a couple of characters you can recruit as a small nod to a different Sega RPG franchise!).

All of the games in the Valkyria Chronicles franchise can be picked up for very cheap. I highly recommend as being one to add to your collection.


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