The 15 Best JRPGs for the PS4

Scarlet Nexus, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Nier characters

The PS4 has some of the greatest JRPGs out there. If you’re a PlayStation fan who’s big into JRPGs and looking for your next game, you’ll want to check out this list of top JRPGs for the PS4.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Final Fantasy Ten and Twelve remaster image featuring Tidus and Yuna.
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Yes, these are technically two different games. Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 have been beloved by fans for around 20 years. In 2013, a remaster for both was launched on several platforms, including the PS4. In Final Fantasy X, the story follows Tidus, a famous Blitzball player from Zanarkand. Tidus is seeking his way home after he was somehow transported to Spira through an attack from Sin, a powerful beast that threatens all of Spira. Tidus makes friends along the way and accompanies Yuna, a summoner on a journey to defeat Sin.

Final Fantasy X-2 takes place two years after the events from Final Fantasy X. In this next game, the people of Spira are struggling to figure out how to thrive after Sin has been defeated. The story follows Yuna, who participates in trying to end the conflict between those who have embraced technology and those who have clung to the old ways of life.

Final Fantasy X is a third-person, turn-based game. You can use a party of up to three characters at a time, though you will have seven characters total. Each character has a different set of skills and abilities you can utilize in battle. When leveling up, the game uses a Sphere Grid in which you can choose how to allocate your points for different abilities or stat boosts.

Final Fantasy X-2’s gameplay is much the same as Final Fantasy X, but with some upgrades like jumping, climbing, and camera rotation. The biggest difference with Final Fantasy X-2 is that the game is much less linear, allowing players to travel all over the map on a whim. Though Final Fantasy X-2 is a turn-based game, actions in battle are based on each character and enemy’s speed.

Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy Nine cover photo featuring all the main characters.

Final Fantasy IX follows Zidane, a thief and member of a group that has set out to kidnap the Princess of Alexandria. The princess, however, is seeking to escape her power-hungry mother anyway, and is kidnapped willingly. Zidane ultimately wants to protect and aid the princess in dealing with her mother. However, it turns out that all of this is only a symptom of the real problem involving extreme evil, which is going on behind the scenes.

Like Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy IX operates off an Active Time Battle system. This means that the game is turn-based in a sense, but enemies can cut you off in real-time if you don’t choose your course of action quickly enough. When your characters can move is dependent upon their speed. There are also two types of abilities that can be used in battle—action and support. Your level will determine how many helpful effects you’re able to equip at one time.

NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata cover photo featuring 2B and her weapons.
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NieR: Automata is almost a classic story between humans and machines. Instead, we see human-made androids fighting against machine invaders from another world. Different types of androids have different functions. The main character, 2B, is calm and seemingly emotionless. She has been tasked with clearing out the machines, along with her much more animated aid, 9S. What’s so unique about NieR: Automata is that you get a different ending every time you complete the game. In total, there are 26 different endings (five main endings), each triggered by different actions you can take in the game.

NieR: Automata is an open-world, action RPG. The game is in the third-person perspective, and you’ll generally be fighting with different weapons in live time in this hack and slash game. However, there are some times that you’ll be riding on an animal or controlling a flying mech to gun down enemies. In certain parts of the game, it will become more of a platformer, in which you must navigate through jumps and obstacles to progress. You will also find several side quests given by the NPCs and shops to upgrade your equipment. The soundtrack for NieR: Automata also contributes to set it apart as one of the greatest games.

NEO: The World Ends With You

NEO: The World Ends With You cover photo featuring all the main characters standing together in the city.
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NEO: The World Ends With You is a sequel to the original game, The World Ends With You. You do not need to complete the first game to play this one, however, you will likely gain more from the experience if you do. The story of NEO: The World Ends With You follows Rindo Kanade and his friend Fret. The events first take place in Shibuya, Japan—that is, until Rindo and Fret find the Reaper Pins and are suddenly forced to take place in what’s known as the “Reapers’ Game.” The Reapers’ Game takes place in another dimension that is much like the real world, and Rindo and Fret must solve puzzles and defeat enemies to avoid taking last place against the other teams and getting erased from existence.

You can feel free to explore the city in NEO: The World Ends With You. You can use your abilities to aid NPCs and complete side missions. You’ll need to build connections and friendships with people to upgrade shops, food, Pin capacity, and more. In terms of combat, you will often be battling “Noise” or negative emotions that have come to life. The combat is in third person, and it’s live action. While mostly button mashing, you can do all sorts of different combinations of abilities to destroy enemies, depending on which Pins you have equipped to your characters.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

The group of all main characters in Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition.

This game is a remaster of the original, and it includes updated graphics, content from the Japan-exclusive PS3 version, and English and Japanese voice tracks. It is the tenth game in the Tales series, but it is a stand-alone game. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition follows Yuri Lowell, who seeks to aid Estelle, a noblewoman he encountered while on a mission. The world functions with an energy source called blastia, but different factions have conflicting ideas about how to tackle the abuse of this resource, which comes to a head for the main characters.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition supports multiplayer with up to three other people, each controlling a different character. The members in your party that aren’t being controlled by a player will act on their own according to their AI. That said, the player can customize the commands for the AI, and this will affect the decisions they make on the battlefield. You have a lot of freedom on the battlefield, as you’re able to choose between fixed and free movement, jump, pause to change which enemy you’re attacking, and set up combo attacks. Each character will also have “Artes,” or special abilities that are usable during battle.

Scarlet Nexus

Scarlet Nexus cover photo features the two main characters with their faces hidden.

There are two different characters you can play as in Scarlet Nexus: Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall. Each of them have their own unique story, so you’re getting new content in each route. The story at large is about a society that has used technology to give people extrasensory superpowers using substances in their brains. These powers are then used to fight against the Others, which are mutants descending on the planet to wreak havoc.

Scarlet Nexus is an action RPG in the third person that is praised most for its combat. Your character uses normal weapons but also possesses the power of psychokinesis. This means that you can throw objects and debris at enemies amidst your normal attacks. Other party members can also assist you in battle with their own special abilities. You also have “Brain Maps,” which are the equivalent to a skill tree for leveling up. There are many locations you can explore in the game, but it is not considered to be open world.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

NieR: Replicant cover photo featuring the main character standing in front of a tree.
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This game is a remaster of the original NieR Replicant, which was released in Japan only, back in 2010. The story takes place thousands of years before the events in NieR: Automata, but in the same world. The story focuses on a young boy who is seeking a way to save his sick sister who’s suffering from Black Scrawl. To cure her, the main character seeks the Sealed Verses, or powerful spells kept by bosses throughout the game. As events unfold, you are joined by other characters and must eventually defeat the Shadowlord to save Yonah, the younger sister.

The gameplay in NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… has similarities to NieR: Automata. It’s still third person with hack and slash elements. However, the player slowly learns new magic powers along the journey that they can use in combat in Replicant. While Automata feels more like a sci-fi game with its heavy focus on machines, this game feels more like a fantasy game. You are out exploring the world in search of the Sealed Verses. The pacing of the story is much slower than Automata, though worth it in the end. There are five different endings in total, which can be achieved with multiple playthroughs.

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact cover photo featuring a collage of creatures and characters.

Genshin Impact is a fantasy, free-to-play action JRPG. The story takes place in a world called Teyvat, which includes seven different nations ruled by different gods. You play as the Traveler who is searching for their lost sibling after being separated by a god and trapped in Teyvat. Through your search, you end up getting involved in the ongoing conflict in Teyvat. By the end, you end up confronting a serious dilemma and are torn between your sibling and the good of the people.

Genshin Impact is an open-world game. Like many others on this list, it’s a live-action game that allows you to change up members of your party. However, Genshin Impact stands apart from others because you’re only controlling one character at a time, but you can switch out which character that is at any moment with the push of a button. Since each character has different strengths and abilities, you can be strategic about who to use for each enemy you encounter. Genshin Impact also allows for multiplayer, so you can play with up to three other friends.

Tales of Arise

Tales of Arise cover photo featuring a main character.
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Imagine two different worlds—one still in the Medieval times, and one that has advanced. As you’d expect, the advanced world of Rena has taken over the Medieval world of Dahna. The lords from Rena that are ruling over Dahna exploit the land and citizens, causing rebel groups to form. The story follows a slave known as “Iron Mask” so named because he can’t feel pain, who joins together with a Renan woman named Shionne Imeris. Together, they seek to free Dahna from Rena’s control.

Tales of Arise includes live-action combat and a linear motion battle system (the ability for characters to move throughout the battlefield and interact with allies and enemies). Tales of Arise plays like most of the other Tales games, though this one specifically includes a “Boost Strike” which allows you to perform critical hits in combination with other party members at times. The combat is centered around evading and countering rather than button mashing. Players will also need to strategize when using healing spells, as they take limited Cure Points to cast.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy Seven Remake cover photo with main character facing away with weapon.
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As stated in the title, this game is a remake of the original Final Fantasy 7, which launched in 1997. Gai is a planet completely dominated by technology. Specifically, the Shinra Electric Power Company dominates all through using energy from the planet to create electricity to make everyday life easier for people. However, there is something much darker going on beneath the surface of this picture. What Shinra is doing could lead to the end of the world, and Cloud—the main protagonist—will work with his companions to stop this.

Like in Genshin Impact, combat in Final Fantasy 7 Remake is in real-time and allows you to switch between party members on the fly. By bringing up the in-battle menu, time will be slowed so you can be more strategic and decide on what moves you want to make next. You are also able to command party members that you aren’t controlling. You have the option of playing Standard or Classic mode, with Classic mode allowing you to solely focus on selecting commands. The game also allows for both character and weapon upgrades throughout.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3

Trails of Cold Steel Three cover photo featuring many of the main characters.
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Admittedly, you might want to play the first two games leading up to this one before you start it, as this one is a direct continuation of the last two. The game does give a summary though, so you wouldn’t be completely lost if you jumped in with Trails of Cold Steel 3. Trails of Cold Steel 3 takes place a year after the events in Trails of Cold Steel 2. The game is focused on Rean Schwarzer, who is now a military professor. Rean and his former classmates are sent to end conflicts happening across Erebonia, leading to a discovery that could be devastating for the entire world.

The gameplay for Trails of Cold Steel 2 is much like the last two: turn-based with a focus on strategy. Battles in Trails of Cold Steel 3 are quicker, and there is a new system called “Brave Order.” This allows players to build up Brave Points during battle, which allows you to use different spells or abilities. You can also Break enemies in Trails of Cold Steel 3, causing them to be weakened for one turn. The Trails games all have a heavy emphasis on the story elements, and this makes them stand out from other JRPGs.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

Shadowbringers cover photo featuring shadow holding a sword.
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This is specifically the third expansion to the core Final Fantasy XIV game. Final Fantasy XIV is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game, and Shadowbringers builds upon its content. In Final Fantasy XIV, there are several main story arcs that eventually converge. The game is extremely rich in lore, so you will have to do some extensive reading or jump into the game to get the best sense of what it’s about. That said, the game begins with the player joining up with the Adventure’s Guild which leads down a long trail of events. Shadowbringers specifically takes place on the First, a parallel dimension that has seemingly suffered an apocalypse. This expansion is by far the best one due to the engaging story, music, and unique dungeons.

Shadowbringers was praised for its accessibility to new players and its story. The gameplay is much like the base game, a live-action RPG where players can interact with each other in this virtual world. Shadowbringers adds to the class and ability options that you get in Final Fantasy XIV. You also get the option to go through dungeons with “Trust” Companions (NPCs) rather than other players. These Trust Companions are helpful for those who aren’t familiar with online gaming. You get to customize your character, and you’re able to change your class at will.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon cover photo featuring main characters with center character holding a bat.
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Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the first game in the Yakuza series to not feature Kazuma Kiryu as the main protagonist. You don’t need to play the previous Yakuza games to play Like a Dragon, as the story is easily stand-alone. The story focuses on Ichiban Kasuga, a man who was pressured to confess to a murder he didn’t commit. He has just been released from 18 years in prison. Unfortunately, he finds that the man who convinced him to confess, his clan’s leader, has abandoned the clan. Still, Ichiban continues to work with his clan to make money by helping people. This ultimately leads down a discovered trail of murder, betrayal, and corruption that you must navigate your way through.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is one of the most unique JRPGs, as it takes a genre you don’t often see in JRPGs and combines it with the turn-based system. However, this turn-based system is a bit different, as it’s still in real-time, and characters can use items in their surroundings during the battles. You also have the option to change any of your party members’ jobs to fit your playstyle. Like other Yakuza games, you can still do side activities, such as Karaoke, and you can explore around Yokohama district. This game also includes a new side activity—Dragon Kart—which plays like most kart racing games. Yakuza: Like a Dragon was extremely well received upon launch, especially for its narrative.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

Dragon Quest Eleven Definitive Edition cover photo featuring a forest landscape and a river.
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You do not need to play previous Dragon Quest games to play Dragon Quest XI – Definitive Edition. The story is centered around a boy who survives an attack on his village as an infant. He is adopted and raised in another family and is told of his past after his coming-of-age ceremony years later. The boy is clearly special, so his parents send him to meet with the king in Heliodor. Unfortunately, the king ultimately ends up throwing him in a dungeon for being an “evil entity.” This leads to the boy meeting up with different companions through breaking out and journeying with them throughout the world to find his destined weapon and defeat evil.

Dragon Quest XI – Definitive Edition has the same combat as the other Dragon Quest games—classic turn-based combat. What makes Dragon Quest XI – Definitive Edition unique is that you can switch between playing in 2D or 3D. There are no random encounters, rather you can see the monsters lurking around in the overworld that you explore. Different characters work better in battle with certain other characters, so you’ll have to be strategic about your pairings. The Definitive Edition specifically adds some features to the base game including tons of new gameplay elements and new story content.

Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal cover photo featuring a collage of the main characters.
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Persona 5 Royal is an extended version of the game Persona 5. New characters, adjustments to everyday life, and dungeons have been added. In this game, you play as Joker, a high school student who found himself unjustly charged with assault. He moves to stay with a guardian near Shibuya and attends the university there. However, there is a whole other dimension, the Metaverse, that comes into play. Joker teams up with numerous companions to change the hearts of corrupted adults by taking them down in the Metaverse.

Before you pick up this game, you should know that it is quite a time commitment, with an average of around 100 hours required to complete. That said, the game is packed with different content. You can explore different cities, hang out with friends, fight your way through dungeons, and much more. The combat is turn-based, and the members of your team use “Personas,” or physical manifestations of their will, to use magic abilities and defeat enemies. You can even capture new Personas and combine them to make new ones with Joker’s power.