By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Close

Games #50 - #46:

Games #45 - #41:

Games #40 - #36:

Games #35 - #32:

Games #31 - #27:

Games #26 - #21:

Games #20 - #16:

Games #15 - #11:

Games #10 - #6:

And, to finish, the top 5:

#5 - Kingdom Hearts II / Final Mix

KHII has my favorite battle system from any J-RPG ever, thanks to the insane amount of depth it has, which becomes even more evident when you play in Critical Mode (the game's highest difficulty level). One of the best things about it is that it’s perfectly balanced, so there’s no movement/attack that breaks the game, or that is completely useless (though this may not be too evident in lower difficulty modes). Overall, controlling Sora in this game feels really good, a vast improvement over KH1. This takes me to the enemy encounter design and the boss battle design, which are just so incredibly well made, every enemy will require different tactics to beat them and, in particular, the boss battles added in the Final Mix version of the game are some of the most masterfully designed bosses I've seen in J-RPGs.

This game has a lot of moments that were really memorable to me and that I’m really fond of, certain events like when

Roxas returns inside Sora and says that this summer vacation is over,

did truly hit some of the most sensible strings of my heart . Just like in other KH games, one of my favorite aspects of KH2 are the interactions that Sora, Donald and Goofy have with the Disney characters. Overall, I love the Disney movies that they chose to have as worlds in this game (the world based on the classic Disney movie Steamboat Willie is so charming). KH2 also has a lot of side content, especially in its Final Mix version, such as tons of optional boss battles and even a huge optional area which has some really good level design. The game's art style is beautiful and timeless, and the soundtrack is masterful (queen Yoko Shimomura never disappoints). I have so many great memories from playing this game for the first time (though, gameplay wise, my first playthrough in Critical Mode in the Final Mix version was such a revelation because I could finally see the true greatness of the game's combat).

#4 - Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is a memorable experience from beginning to ending (the scene in the image above is one of my favorites in video games), and it's one of those games that truly make you feel like you are in an epic adventure, which is partly thanks to the time travel story, I think that if I had to describe this game with a single word it would be epic. CT's story is perfectly paced, no moment feels like it was added just for filler and the time travel concept is executed masterfully. The game's cast of characters is wonderful, memorable and very charming, definitely one of my favorites in J-RPGs, they all have their share of struggles that the game does a great job at showing in a way that makes you feel attached to them. Both the main characters and the NPC's, as well as the game's world, are fleshed out by the sidequests, which are some of the most memorable in any J-RPG I've played and have a lot of moving moments,  something that I particularly love about them is that your actions during a certain era cause changes in the future of the place where you performed said actions.

The combat in this game uses a turn-based ATB system similar to the one in the old FF games, and it feels very fast paced and dynamic; a gameplay element that I really like are the Double and Triple techniques, which are more powerful movements than your usual attacks/spells but, to use them, you’ll have to wait until the ATB bars of all the characters involved in the attack fill-up, which adds an  extra  layer of strategy to the battle system. Another thing that I really like about the gameplay is that, unlike many other J-RPGs from that time, the enemies are visible on the fields, rather than there being random encounters. Just like in FFVI, this game's sprite art is timeless, and the soundtrack is one of my top 3 video game soundtracks ever, I still remember how blowed away I was by the Zeal Kingdom theme the first time I heard it.

#3 - NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata has my favorite story from any video game ever, thanks to all the thought-provoking moments it has, the themes of existentialism that it touches, as well as all the truly unexpected plot twists it got. No video game story before had the kind of impact that this game’s story had in me, and even now that it's been 2 years since I finished the game, I still think about it. This game also has a lot of memorable characters and it does a fantastic job at making you feel truly attached to them, I particularly love the special relationship between characters YoRHa 2B and YorRHa 9S. I also love the post-apocalyptic setting and the desolate atmosphere of the game’s world, which has a very well-developed lore. The sidequests in NieR: Automata do a fantastic job at showing the background of both the main and the side characters, and at giving even more depth to the world’s lore. I love how the sidequests can be as thought-provoking as the main story.

The battle system is overall very fun, fluid, and it has many sub-systems to play around with, for example, the different special movements that you can use by equipping different pod programs (a pod is a little robot that helps you in battle). Also, I love how these gameplay sub-systems are deeply tied to the game's story and lore. In this game, you'll be playing as 3 different characters, all of whom feel very different to control and have completely different playstyles and even unique gameplay features (for example, 9S is able to control the machine enemies). Something interesting about the gameplay flow that helps to give it some good variety is that the game will sometimes change the perspective of the camera in a way that you’ll feel like you’re playing a side-scrolling game or a top-down game, and there’s even some sections similar to a shoot-‘em-up. This game's soundtrack is masterful and is in my top 3 soundtracks ever.

#2 - Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

DQVIII is simply a magical experience, one of those that truly make you feel transported to another world, and that's the main reason it's so high in this list. The game's world is wonderful, as it has a great variety of beautiful places to explore and secrets to find and, overall, it really nails the feeling of being in a grand adventure, I love how you're given freedom to explore all the time. The cast of characters is another aspect that I love about this game, they are memorable, charming and have their own, well developed, backstories, which are also highly tied to the main plot, so they all have believable motivations to travel with you. The story, while relatively simple, has a lot of focus on the characters, both the main ones and the side ones, which is something that I really like. The amount of unforgettable, charming and sometimes sad moments that its story has is an aspect where this game truly shines. DQVIII also shines thanks its memorable side characters and side quests, which help to give more life to the world and will keep you entertained for hours. The gameplay is your traditional turn-based battle system, with an additional layer of depth given by the Tension system, which allows you to spend one turn charging up tension so your attack in the next turn will be more powerful (you can charge your tension for several turns to get an even more powerful attack). Also, the item synthesis system in this game (the Alchemy pot) is incredibly deep. Visually, DQVIII is one of the most gorgeous games I've played, thanks to its ageless cel-shaded art style. The OST is amazing, the main field theme gives me so much nostalgia. I think DQVIII is the epitome of the old school J-RPG.

#1 - Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade is at the top of this list thanks to the way it utterly blowed me away like no other game had done before the first time I played it (and I also have a lot of great of memories from the first time I played it). Firstly, the game's world (one of my favorite things about it) is truly mind-blowing, so many times it made me feel completely amazed by its beautiful locations and its sheer scale. Monolith Soft did an incredible job at making it feel truly alive both in the fields and in the towns, where there are lots of NPCs who have their own schedules and activities. The monsters in the fields also change their behavior according to the time of the day. I must mention that the whole concept of people/monsters living on the bodies of two dead titans is my favorite world concept in any video game. Xenoblade’s story is incredibly engaging and the events are overall well-paced, there's so many amazing moments and plot twists that made me have all kinds of emotions. The cast of characters is very well developed, with all of them having believable motivations to travel with Shulk, the gam'es protagonist. Overall, they're very likeable and have great chemistry together.

The battle system is very engaging and deep, with all the characters having their unique play style; also, systems such as gem crafting, the Skill Tree and Skill Links help to give the gameplay a lot of depth. I must mention that I love how certain gameplay elements, for example, Shulk's visions, are deeply tied to the story. The sidequests are probably one of the most divisive aspects of the game, but they have a lot of interesting mini stories that give so much life to the NPCs and give more insight into the personalities of the main playable characters. Xenoblade has a fantastic art direction, which makes up for its technical shortcomings, and it has one of my top 3 soundtracks in video games, along with Chrono Trigger and NieR: Automata.

Last edited by Keybladewielder - on 02 January 2020