While Sony's seventh-gen console hasn't quite matched its two immediate predecessors when it comes to JRPGs, the PlayStation 3 is still home to some brilliant titles. Along with the return of franchises like Final Fantasy and Tales, this era saw the release of many unique games that attempted to combine the familiar with something a little more unusual.
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It's fair to say that the interesting, if deeply flawed, folklore of 2007 set the tone for an intriguing, if not entirely satisfying, time for JRPG fans. What are the best JRPGs on the Sony console?
Updated March 23, 2021 by Mark Sammut:As PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S slowly build libraries, there will be times when there's just nothing new to play on these consoles, especially when it comes to certain genres. Luckily, there's always an opportunity to revisit previous generations and relive titles you originally missed. While the PS3 JRPG roster is arguably not as strong as its two predecessors, Sony's system nonetheless produced plenty of delicious games that should satisfy genre newcomers and veterans alike. Also, some of these JRPGs didn't get much attention when they were first released.
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Enchanted Arms is a deeply flawed game that has one big advantage: an all-Golem crafting system. With dozens of creatures waiting to join your ranks, Enchanted Arms offers enough rewards to be entertaining. Turn-based battles use a grid system that leaves room for experimentation and strategy, even though the battles themselves can be pretty boring.
Enchanted Arms' storyline is unremarkable and features poor voice acting for the most part, but the progression loop is enjoyable.
19/20Defeat Hyperdimension Neptunia
Neptunia's games tend to polarize, but offer a kind of respite from the genre's generally overly serious tone. While Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is a bit darker than most other entries in the franchise, it still packs plenty of humor, gameplay references, and over-the-top gimmicks. The characters are also very lovable, especially the four main goddesses.
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The combat system is fast, deceptively deep, and satisfyingly flashy. Unfortunately, the repetitive and boring dungeons leave a lot to be desired.
On the other side of the Atelier and Disgaea franchises, Trinity Universe is mainly for those who have always longed to see Pamela interact with Etna. In itself, Trinity Universe is a useful turn-based JRPG with a cool setting, lots of content, and likeable protagonists.
The Trinity universe moves at a rather icy pace, so some patience is required. While Cross Edge offers a larger roster of characters from other franchises, Trinity Universe is the better game overall.
17/20The paradox of guided destiny
Released towards the end of the PS3's lifespan, The Guided Fate Paradox flew almost unnoticed, which is a shame. Developed by Nippon Ichi Software, The Guided Fate Paradox features grid-based gameplay similar to that of the Disgaea license. However, its roguelike structure separates it from the studio's most popular property.
A light-hearted and often funny story gives way to dungeon-crawling gameplay that can be overwhelmingly difficult. The fights are really challenging and require a full understanding of deep game mechanics and tools.
16/20Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
Released after the PS4 release, Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star never had much of a chance to make a big impact. A story-driven game with visual novel elements, Ar Nosurge focuses squarely on its characters, all of whom are fully fleshed out.
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Battles take the form of turn-based combat, albeit with a unique twist that pits the party against waves of enemies. Despite being a niche product, Ar Nosurge is worth recommending for JRPG fans with its excellent soundtrack, memorable characters and solid gameplay.
15/20Chronicles of the White Knight II
A small entry inThe impressive portfolio of Level-5, the ambition of White Knight Chronicles that doesn't quite translate into a fully satisfactory product. With a combat system that combines real-time combat with strategic planning, White Knight Chronicles constantly teeters on the brink of greatness without ever reaching that point.
White Knight Chronicles II is a remastered version of its predecessor with slightly improved gameplay and some additional chapters. While it's quite disappointing as a sequel, it's still the only game of the two that's worth playing.
Folklore, which debuted less than a year after the PS3's release, was one of the console's best exclusives in its early days. Folklore not only has two protagonists, but also divides its playing time between an Irish town and the fantastic underworld. Both areas are fully realized and stand well side by side, with the underworld areas being particularly imaginative.
Folklore features a Pokemon-like catching system that works well for what it is, although a repetitive combat system lets it down a bit.
13/20Final Fantasy XIII
The PS3 failed to bring out the best in the Square Enix franchise, producing a trilogy of games that are nothing but polarizing. While the sequels improve in certain areas,Final FantasyXIII is still the most complete adventure ofDer Lightning-Gaming-Streak.
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With a deceptively deep combat system that's not immediately satisfying, and linear levels that take too long to implement for any player's freedom, Final Fantasy XIII's success hinges on world building and character building. Like the rest of the game, both elements are either loved or hated.
Yoko Taro's wonderfully strange Drakengard has appearedno, a spin-off somewhat overshadowed by its sequel,Nier: Automata. Nier's story lures players into a false sense of security through a first act that doesn't hold too many surprises before the game emerges as much more than a typical JRPG.
Strengthening a fantastic cast of flawed characters that feel real despite the dark madness that permeates the overarching story, Nier is worth playing for everything but its combat and visuals.
20/11Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Twilight Sky
The PS3 welcomed seven different Atelier games, all of which are playable to some extent. The Arland and Dusk trilogies reached their peak with their second entries, Atelier Totori and Atelier Escha & Logy, respectively. Of these two, the latter's more forgiving time limit, refined gameplay, and excellent synthesis system make it a better entry point into the series.
TuUnlike most JRPGs, the Atelier series has never prioritized its stories, opting for a more franchise-like tone of life centered around alchemists.
The setting of Eternal Sonata is its most unique feature as the JRPG is set in Chopin's dream world. As such, music plays a major role throughout the relatively short adventure, which features a fun cast of twelve playable characters. Unfortunately, while the setting is interesting, the actual story seems content to be rehashing genre tropes.
Eternal Sonata's combat system combines traditional turn-based combat with real-world action, as characters can be strategically placed on the battlefield to gain tactical advantages over enemies.
9/20Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Star Ocean: The Last Hope refines its predecessor's real-time combat system by adding some notable new features, most notably "Blindside", which effectively acts as a cool dodge mechanic. Visually, The Last Hope looked decent for the time and has some impressive terrain. Also, the bosses are generally exciting and often quite challenging.
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While the game is usually brilliant, The Last Hope is marred by subpar voice acting, annoying characters, and an unforgettable story. Come for the sweet fight, tolerate all the rest.
When it comes to Compile Hearts games, there is no middle ground. People tend to love or hate them. Of all the studio's PlayStation 3 games, Fairy Fencer Fi is arguably the most welcoming to newcomers.
While the enhanced version (Advent Dark Force) offers the best way to experience this JRPG, the PS3 original isn't terrible. The story is unlikely to win awards, but the characters themselves are likable enough. Combat is fast and lots of fun.
7/20Disgaea D2: A Lighter Darkness
A direct sequel to 2003's Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, A Brighter Darkness represents everything that is great about the JRPG strategy franchise. Unsurprisingly, humor is given the upper hand, but the jokes are never made at the expense of characters or story being interesting enough to warrant a game.
The gameplay is top-notch and introduces some interesting components, including the ability to stack monsters on top of each other and a cheat shop that allows players to choose whether to prioritize gaining experience or other attributes. Disgaea 5 improves on D2 in almost every way, but A Brighter Darkness is still pretty good.
20.06resonance of fate
Focused on guns and set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world, Resonance of Fate is nothing but unique, at least in the JRPG realm. While still turn-based, the combat system combines elements of real-time combat to create a more dynamic experience, although it comes with a steep learning curve.
Combat won't be for everyone, but Resonance of Fate's setting and narrative, which focuses on a party of hunters willing to take on almost any type of quest, more than makes up for the game's growing pains .
5/20Tales of xillia
Isthe best seventh generation of the franchiseOffering from isTales of Vesperia; Unfortunately, if you only have a PlayStation 3, good luck finding a copy. Of the others, Tales of Xillia comes second.
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Tales of Graces f combat is usually highly regarded by fans, but Xillia's dual raid linear-motion combat system is almost as awesome. The latter also has the added benefit of having a genuinely likable cast and a story that takes us to some pretty odd places. The progression system allows for a degree of player control, while the characters' conversations are constantly entertaining.
Not only was Valkyria Chronicles the most underrated JRPG on Sony's console at the time, it was also a masterpiece. All of the previous entries would have struggled to make it onto this list had they been released in a different generation, but the same cannot be said for Sega's tactical RPG.
Set in an alternate reality set in the 1930's, Valkyria Chronicles tells a mature story that never shies away from depicting the human cost of war. As the conflict between two fictional superpowers takes place, the entire game feels rooted in the real world. The cel-shaded graphics are also impressive.
Trotzpersonality 5Mostly associated with the PlayStation 4, Atlus released the JRPG on the PlayStation 3 as well. Surprisingly, the differences between the two versions are relatively small and mainly result from a jump in resolution.
Persona 5's turn-based combat is fairly derivative, but benefits from a bombastic and elegant presentation that carries over to the rest of the title.Persona 5 is a much better social simulationthan a traditional JRPG, but the two elements blend together relatively well to create a thoroughly entertaining package.
2/20Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch brought together the talents of Level-5, a studio known for producing delightful JRPGs, with animation giant Studio Ghibli. Did the ending work? A visual and narrative masterpiece! The kind of game that comes out once a generation.
The PlayStation 3 has plenty of good but unremarkable JRPGs, some of which are even further down this list. Wrath of the White Witch might take inspiration from other games, including a Pokémon-like monster catching system, but the end product is truly unique. The only downside is that the story and combat system are designed to suit players of all ages; Thankfully, that doesn't diminish the impact of the narrative's emotional beats or the likeability of the game.
1/20The Legend of Heroes: Traces of Cold Steel I and II
Two for the price of one! Trails of Cold Steel incorporates the epic of aFinal Fantasy, the social component of aPersona, and the mature storytelling of aLost Odyssey. The sequel is slightly better because much of the narrative doesn't revolve around a central axis; With that in mind, the 2013 original should be considered a must-read for any fan of the genre.
Turn-based combat is the perfect happy medium between familiarity and innovation, the latter largely stemming from a fun linking system that injects a strategic element into battles. Completing both campaigns can take around 120 hours, but every minute is well spent.
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