It has been a long and arduous journey for the Xbox when it came to acquiring JRPGs. Previous console generations saw scant few JRPG titles gracing Xbox consoles, but nowadays, we’re frankly spoiled for choice. From JRPGs that feature classic turn-based combat to others with an action-RPG approach, all enrich the grand tales these games aim to tell.
There’s an abundance of games to pick from, so we’ve put together a list of the finest JRPGs currently available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Whether they’re beloved titles dating back as far as the Xbox 360 or modern-day hits on the Xbox Series X|S, these are the best out there. We also plan to update this list over time with new Xbox titles, with more Japanese games headed to the platform soon.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the best JRPGs available through the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, including some must-try hits on Xbox Game Pass.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the seventh major entry in SEGA’s Like a Dragon series (until now, known as Yakuza in the west) that takes the series in a bold new direction. It features a new protagonist and eschews the series’ iconic beat em’ up combat for turn-based JRPG gameplay.
This game tells the story of Ichiban Kasuga, an ex-yakuza grunt who spent 18 years in prison, taking the fall for his yakuza gang, the Tojo Clan. When he is released, Ichiban is shocked to find that his clan is gone and that he has been betrayed by the man whom he idolized since he was a teenager. With nowhere left to go, Ichiban sets off on a quest with his new friends of misfits to rebuild his life and discover why the man he looked up to betrayed their clan.
While Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s controversial genre shift was seen with massive trepidation, it ultimately paid off. The turn-based gameplay is expertly woven into the narrative, and it stays true to the series’ dramatic yet charmingly bizarre storytelling and pulse-pounding action of its predecessors. Yakuza: Like a Dragon, like all other Like a Dragon/Yakuza games, is available on Xbox Game Pass. However, if you’re a newcomer looking for an entry point into the franchise, this is a great place to start, as its story is a self-contained adventure.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition is the eleventh main entry in the Dragon Quest, one of the longest-running JRPG franchises that helped shape the genre into what it is today. Set in the land of Erdrea, you play as a young man who, one day, discovers he is the Luminary, a hero of legend prophesied to save the world from a great evil. Our hero sets off from his humble village to fulfill his destiny while exploring rich environments, befriending charming allies, and battling dastardly villains.
Dragon Quest XI refines the series’ trademark gameplay to near perfection with a hundred hours’ worth of content, an engaging story with memorable characters, and a vast, gorgeous world to tour. While it may tread familiar ground for those experienced with fantasy stories, it is still a well-crafted adventure that will pull at your heartstrings when you least expect it. Not to mention, Dragon Quest XI is a standalone game that doesn’t require newcomers to play any of the previous games to enjoy the ride.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is the fifth major installment of Atlus’ Persona franchise and is the most stylish and popular entry in the series to date. You play as the Phantom Thieves, a group of high school kids moonlighting as vigilantes shunned and abused by Japan’s corrupt society. They aim to reform it by infiltrating an alternate dimension where mankind’s darkest desires are given physical form, and steal them to cause criminals in the real-world to have a change of heart and confess their sins.
Persona 5 Royal takes the series’ trademark gameplay loop of balancing high school life with dungeon crawling to near perfection with a myriad of quality-of-life improvements, diverse gameplay mechanics, and nearly over a hundred hours of content. The plot may take some time to get going, with several hours’ worth of setup and world-building. But once it kicks off, it becomes a roller coaster thrill ride that explores the dark side of humanity and rebelling against it alongside a memorable and relatable cast of characters.
If you’re new to the Persona series, you can’t go wrong starting with Persona 5, as each game’s story is self-contained and doesn’t require players to play any of the other entries. In addition, Persona 5 Royal and its predecessors, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable, are coming to Xbox Game Pass, bringing an entire generation of JRPG classics to the Xbox platform.
NieR: Automata BECOME AS GODS Edition
When it comes to modern-day classics, few games are regarded as highly as NieR: Automata, an action-JRPG directed by acclaimed game director Yoko Taro and developed in collaboration with Platinum Games.
This game takes place in a dystopian future where otherworldly mechanical life forms have invaded and ruined planet Earth. Driven from their home, humanity has developed intelligent android soldiers armed with super-human strength and advanced weaponry to strike back at the invaders. As androids 2B, 9S, and A2, your goal is to charge into the fray to battle the robot invaders and reclaim the Earth for the glory of mankind.
As you journey into this war-torn world, you will engage the machines in epic battles using an intuitive combat system laden with complex and rewarding mechanics for those willing to master it. NieR: Automata starts with a simple premise and quickly builds upon it with a captivating narrative, intriguing world-building, and complex characterization that will make you emotionally invested in our androids’ struggle.
NieR: Automata is a standalone title in Yoko Taro’s NieR series that doesn’t require new players to play any of the previous games like NieR: Replicant to understand what is at stake. So, if you’re looking for a good entry point into the insane, bleak, and yet beautiful world of NieR, NieR: Automata is an excellent gateway entry into the franchise.
Scarlet Nexus is an action-JRPG with a self-styled “Brainpunk” aesthetic brought to you by Bandai Namco Entertainment. You play as Yuito Sumeragi or Kasane Randall, two psychic soldiers serving the Other Suppression Force (a.k.a. OSF), and your goal is to protect humanity from being hunted by disturbing, bloodthirsty alien monsters codenamed the “Others.”
Your mission to destroy the “Others” will be harsh as you must master your psychic abilities and martial arts skills to overwhelm your foes, lest you wish to have your brain devoured. While some of its game design may be considered outdated, it is nonetheless a delightful title that fans of Bandai Namco’s anime action-JRPGs will enjoy greatly.
Octopath Traveller is a turn-based JRPG that harkens back to Square Enix’s golden age of 16-bit JRPGs with gorgeous HD-2D sprite artwork presented in a lush 3D world. In this game, you experience the lives of eight characters, each with their own unique and fascinating tales to share within the fantastical world of Orsterra.
Octopath Traveller takes the tried-and-true formula of turn-based combat and expands upon it with advanced mechanics where you can break an enemy’s guard by exploiting their weaknesses and using Boost Points to unleash super powerful attacks while they’re vulnerable. Though take heed as the enemies can pull the same strategies on you if you’re not careful.
If you’re a casual fan looking for great stories or a long-time fan who grew up during the 1990s playing landmark JRPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, then Octopath Traveller is for you.
Lost Odyssey is a critically acclaimed JRPG from the Xbox 360 made by Mistwalker, a development studio founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series. This game follows Kaim Argonar, a stoic immortal warrior who has lost his memories. After helping the nation of Uhra claim a decisive victory in their war against the beastmen of Khent, Kaim encounters another immortal named Seth Balmore.
Their meeting causes Kaim’s memories to slowly return, and his aimless life suddenly takes a dramatic turn from there. Our hero becomes entangled in an epic journey tinged with political intrigue, deep introspection, and monumental conflicts that will determine the country’s fate.
In addition to fighting enemies using a traditional turn-based combat system, the gameplay of Lost Odyssey revolves around the “Thousand Years of Dreams.” This gameplay feature tells short stories of Kaim’s past as he slowly regains his memories, and they are tragic tales that will make you emotional weep for our poor hero and question if some things are best left forgotten.
Fuga: Melodies of Steel
Fuga: Melodies of Steel is a side-scrolling strategy JRPG developed by CyberConnect2, known for the cult PlayStation 2 action-JRPG series, .hack, and creating a myriad of fighting games based on popular anime franchises such as Naruto, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Dragon Ball Z.
Fuga takes place on Gasco, a floating isle that the tyrannical Berman Empire is currently conquering. The only thing that can stop them is a group of war orphans piloting the Taranis, a gigantic, ancient tank that can annihilate armies of enemies if used correctly. It is a charming yet dark story of children banding together in a bleak world and using their newfound weapons to try and rescue their families from the horrors of war.
The gameplay also features an addicting combat system inspired by the Advance Wars series. You will march across battlefields mowing down mechanical marauders looking to destroy you while making difficult decisions to secure victory. Some situations may even require sacrifices for the greater good, but at what emotional cost?
In a world filled with big-name AAA JRPGs taking the spotlight, Fuga: Melodies of Steel is a hidden gem that stands out from the crowd with eye-pleasing artwork, charming characters, and a rewarding combat system. If you’re a fan of tactical JRPGs such as Advance Wars or Valkyria Chronicles, then Fuga: Melodies of Steel deserves your undivided attention.
Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise is the latest entry in Bandai Namco’s Tales series, an action-JRPG franchise that has been around since Tales of Phantasia for the Super Nintendo in 1995. The story of Arise is set on the planet of Dahna, a world that has suffered over 300 years of oppression at the hands of an evil empire hailing from their neighboring planet, Renan.
You play as Alphen, a vagabond of Dahna who has been afflicted with a curse that has robbed him of his memories and his ability to feel physical pain. While wandering, he runs into Shionne, a Renan noblewoman who was also cursed, but hers’ brings pain to anyone that touches her. After a few misadventures and realizing their curses have no effect on each other, Alphen and Shionne form an unlikely alliance and set out on a journey to undo their grim predicament.
While Tales of Arise may lack variety in enemy designs and the plot contains cliché anime tropes, they do not take away the sheer amount of fun one can have in this title. The visuals powered by Unreal Engine 4 are sublime, the world has a host of diverse biomes to explore, and the game’s combat system is a gratifying mash-up between strategic team management and over-the-top hack n’ slash mayhem.
If you’re a fan of action-JRPGs or a veteran Tales fan that can overlook Tales of Arise’s flaws, you will find one of the best titles in this franchise’s storied history.
Which JRPGs will you play?
With each passing year, Xbox continues to grow its ever-expanding selection of high-quality JRPGs, some of which have become some of the best games on the platform. Many of these titles have even made it into Microsoft’s vaunted Xbox Game Pass subscription service, so players can indulge in their engrossing stories on Xbox consoles, PC via Windows, and mobile devices with the aid of Xbox Cloud Gaming.
It is a wonderful time to be a fan of JRPGs on Xbox, and as we move forward into the future, we continue to highlight the best of the best this genre has to offer. If you feel like there are other JRPGs that warrant a place on this list, be sure to leave a thread in our Windows Central Discord forum.