RPG is my favorite genre ever. I've played hundreds over the years. I like so much. I love many I have played. I wanted to make a list of my faves. To keep this list manageable I avoided some sub-genres like side-scrolling RPGs or beat em up RPGs and such like Guardian Heroes, Dragon's Crown and the like. You can include whatever you want. I'm just going to stick to more traditional RPGs for my own benefit. I even skipped some WRPGs as I feel that could be its own list. Again you can list whatever sub-genre or not.
I don't know why I love this game so much but I do. The opening on the Turbo 16 CD gives me chills every time. Yuzo Koshiro's music is amazing. On paper, this game sounds like every other RPG. The teenage boy saves the day from an evil ruler. There is just something about the combination of music and atmosphere that makes this feel like a grand and fun adventure. Not to mention the speed of this game. Ys series plays fast and furiously. A short game as well. 6-10 hours. This game is quietly one of the most ported and remade games in history. It's been ported and remade on more systems than I can count. The best remake is on Steam with Ys Chronicles.
These IMO are some of the better RPGs of their era but got overlooked for being on SEGA consoles and then poor ports on PlayStation systems. Grandia 1 has one of the best main themes in RPG history. It's up with Skies of Arcadia as the best sense of adventure an RPG has ever had. English version has some of the worst VA in history tho. Grandia 2 is a little darker game in tone but still great fun with great music and enjoyable characters. It came out a year before FFX and at the time considered the best looking RPG ever in 2000 lol. Grandia II improved on the VA as well. Hiring mostly Metal Gear Solid Actors. Jennifer Hale( Every game ever). Cam Clarke (Leo/Rocksteady in TMNT/Liquid Snake in MGS). Paul Eiding(Roy Cambell in MGS). Jodi Benson (Ariel in Little Mermaid) Grandia II may not be the most original but it has a lot of charm and strong performances in well-done characters. On Switch now.
Skies of Arcadia.
One of the best RPGs ever that no one has played. No game has taken place in the clouds as fun as this one. This game is not one you play for the story. It's very simple. What it does have is a real adventure feel like pirates. Energetic cast. Fun as hell ship battles. Fantastic music. This your fave Saturday morning cartoon as an RPG game. Sadly it's only on Dreamcast and Gamecube and quite expensive. An emulator is the best bet right now.
Final Fantasy IX
This is my fave FF game of all time. The themes. The music. Story and characters. Art. You name it. I love it...except the tetra card battles but that gave me as trouble as the battles in FF7 Gold saucer so whatever. For every reason this is Sakaguchi's fave FF it is also mine. It feels like the purest form of the soul of what FF is supposed to be. That is coming from Sakaguchi and I agree with him.
The scope and imagination of the unique setting to this series are amazing. They are well written. I care deeply about the characters. Monolith is possibly the best at world-building narratives. I'm super hyped to play the remake next month.
Final Fantasy VII
Nothing I can say that has not been said. It's a great game tho some parts have aged like trying to figure out where I am to navigate pre-rendered areas.
Tales of Vesperia
Only Tales game I ever liked and I adored this game. In many ways, it reminded me of Grandia II. If you play 1 Tales game this is it. Yuri is one of my fave JRPG protagonists ever. He really breaks a mold. He's not spunky. He's not a teenage silent orphan or only has his mom. He's not a dark edgelord either. He's really well done.
Persona 4 G
P5 may have a slicker presentation but IMO P4 has a better story and cast. I feel this has a better sense of comradery. I feel their hurdles are larger. P5 is "cool" where P4 feels they really are overcoming something huge. A string of murders. More complex characters. I love every Persona I played this stands above all IMO
Again not much can be said that has already been said. One of the best RPGs of all time. Possible the best FF game ever made.