Top 10 RPG Series I've Never Played
There are a lot of video game genres out there. Puzzle games, action games, life simulation games, racing games…the list goes on. I enjoy many types of games, but I especially love RPGs. Yet despite my self-professed love of the genre, there are so many beloved RPG series that I’ve never played before! In fact…there’s easily enough to make a Top 10 list…!
The ranking is here is loosely based on a combination of how influential I feel the series is and how excited I am to try it. Just a quick disclaimer, there will be some ARPGs and SRPGs in here too, not just classic turn-based RPGs. Since I haven’t played any games from these series yet, screenshots have been sourced from store pages and GameFAQs. With that said, let’s get started!
Despite ranking it lowest on this list, I’m actually really curious about the Atelier series. I don’t know if it will be the kind of thing I enjoy or not, but I want to find out! I’m not sure where I’m going to start with it, or when. There are a ton of games in the series, including a few trilogies. Several of the more recent titles are on Steam now, so chances are one of those will be my entry point into the Atelier series someday.
9. Yo-kai Watch
I have to find out what this series is all about! It was once touted as the “Pokémon Killer” franchise by some, and while Pokémon still seems to be selling as well as ever, Yokai Watch has grown into reasonably a successful franchise as well, releasing 4 “generations” of games beginning with the 2013 Japanese release of the first game. Plus, there’s Yo-kai Watch merchandise, manga, and anime. It sounds like gameplay differs substantially from Pokémon, with the main similarity being that you collect some kind of monster in both series. Yo-kai Watch 2 will probably be where I start with this series.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games I’ve played have given me a lot of respect for Falcom as a developer, and for Falcom Sound Team for their ability to craft great music. Ys is another Falcom-developed series, but these are ARPGs instead of turn-based RPGs. Ys has been around since 1987, but the games I’m mainly interested in are the games for PSP and onward. These are the ones with music from Falcom Sound Team, and many of them have PC releases on Steam as well.
7. Star Ocean
As a big fan of the Tales games, the Star Ocean series should be an obvious choice for me. Despite this, I’ve never played a game in the series! Well, technically I started Star Ocean: The Last Hope once and embarrassingly got stuck in the first area after finishing the combat tutorial. I’m still not really sure how that happened. I don’t think that counts as playing the series, since all I experienced was the basics of combat and didn’t get far enough to appreciate the characters or story. Anyway, since I already own a copy of Star Ocean: The Last Hope on PS3, that’s where I plan to start!
The games in this series switch genres, but are united by a common game world and titles that begin with the word “Shining.” I think of the SRPG Shining Force games when I think of the series, but there is also the first-person dungeon crawler Shining in the Darkness and the ARPG Shining Soul duology. My plan is to start with Shining Force II!
Whether it’s Xenogears, the Xenosaga trilogy, or Xenoblade Chronicles games, I’ve never played any of the “Xeno” series. It definitely has an interesting history given that the rights holder for each sub-series is different. Xenogears is owned by Square Enix, Xenosaga is owned by Bandai Namco, and Xenoblade is owned by Nintendo. Since each of the sub-series are isolated in terms of setting, I’m not sure where I’ll start with these. I already have a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 sitting on my shelf, so that might end up being where I start.
4. Wild Arms
Wild Arms is basically a “Wild West JRPG” series and was quite prolific in the PS1 and PS2 era, releasing 5 mainline games across the PS1 and PS2. I wrote more about the first game in my Top 10 PS1 Games in my Backlog post, so I won’t say too much more about it here. I’m planning to start with the first game in the series, and based on my experience with it I might tackle more games in the series at some point in the distant future.
The Suikoden series spans 5 games between PS1 and PS2, with a few spin-off games besides. Many of the games in the Suikoden series get a lot of respect and recommendations online, especially the first two games. Once you get to the third game and onward, opinions seem less unanimously positive, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any disdain for Suikoden 1 and 2. Well, besides people becoming irritated at how expensive physical copies of Suikoden II can be. Based on the positive buzz surrounding the beginning of the series, I’m planning on starting this series at the beginning, and if I’m really hooked I’ll continue on with it from there!
2. Shin Megami Tensei
I’ve never played a mainline Shin Megami Tensei game, despite my love of its Persona spin-off series! I’ve played a few of the Persona games and they’re some of my favorite games of all time, so I think it’s only logical that I try the series that it spawned from at some point. Of course, the themes and stories of Persona and Shin Megami Tensei are quite different, but that’s fine with me. I think the battle system in Persona was largely inspired by the battle system from Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne and onward, so that seems like a good place for me to start.
1. Dragon Quest
One of the grandfathers of the JRPG genre: Dragon Quest. Yes, I’ve never played a mainline Dragon Quest game! I’ve played one of the Dragon Quest Monsters spin-off and a bit of Dragon Quest Builders, but that’s it! I also watched a speedrun of the first game, but I’m pretty sure that’s not indicative of what the game or series is normally like due to all the weird speedrun strategies. I still can’t believe I haven’t tried a series as influential as Dragon Quest, and I plan to rectify that…eventually! I really don’t know which game I’ll start with here. It’ll probably be either Dragon Quest VIII or Dragon Quest XI, unless I go the complete opposite route and start with one of the updated ports of the original Dragon Quest.