10 Best PS1 JRPG Games of All Time

Milan Zagorac
Milan Zagorac
8 Min Read

Given the sheer number of titles, a list of the best PS1 JRPG games would have to be huge, and even then it would be impossible to account for everyone’s tastes.

The following games stand out but are not in any way the only good JRPGs for the PlayStation.


Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross is one of the best PS1 JRPGs ever.

Release: 1999
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square/Square Electronic Arts

Take Serge on a journey that will make your head spin. The Chrono series takes its title seriously and has an immersive narrative that takes some time to decipher. Once you do, you can appreciate everything that went into the game.

Back once more is Yasunori Mitsuda, who composed for Chrono Trigger, as well. It plays like a typical RPG of the time, but with its story and complexity, you can say that it is one of the best PS1 RPGs in general.


Breath of Fire IV

The Breath of Fire franchise is great and Breath of Fire IV excels at storytelling.

Release: 2000
Developer: Capcom Development Studio 3
Publisher: Capcom

The Breath of Fire franchise had many successful titles, with most people citing the third and fourth as the best. The game has a pre-rendered 3D world, but the sprites are 2D and hand-drawn. The camera can be rotated horizontally.

From an isometric perspective, you control Ryu, a mysterious boy who can transform into dragons. As it happens, Ryu doesn’t remember much of his past, which adds to the drama and narrative.


Suikoden II

Suikoden II is a great JRPG, and a solid sequel to an already decent game.

Release: 1998
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Publisher: Konami

Unlike other RPGs of the time, Suikoden II features multiple combat systems. You can battle another army, or on the other end, you can have a one-on-one battle. The game allows you to recruit up to 100 characters.

Character leveling is not like in other video games of the time. Low-level characters have catch-up XP so that you don’t have to grind later in the game. The protagonist is silent which is a throwback to earlier RPGs.


Vagrant Story

Vagrant Story is a unique combination of platformer and RPG.

Release: 2000
Developer: Square Product Development Division 4
Publisher: Square/Square Electronic Arts

A platformer with action RPG elements, Vagrant Story attempts to innovate the genre and does so successfully. It plays like a platformer, and you can enter combat mode at any time by equipping your weapons. 

The RPG elements include leveling up, crafting, and modding gear. Ashley Riot is the protagonist, who explores the city of Lea Monde, though primarily its catacombs. Puzzles are also included, as befits an RPG title.


Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile is an amazing game, one of the better PS1 JRPGs.

Release: 1999
Developer: tri-Ace
Publisher: Enix

Platformers plus RPGs seemed to be the combo at the time, as many developers were experimenting to create a title that would stand out in a way. Valkyrie Profile has two distinct game modes, exploration and combat.

During exploration, you pilot Lenneth as she searches for einherjar, souls of fallen warriors, shooting and freezing enemies. Combat is turn-based, if you engage an enemy. This game was re-released for the PlayStation 4 and 5.


Azure Dreams

Azure Dreams is a solid JRPG, and this is the start of the game.

Release: 1997
Developer: KCET
Publisher: Konami

Azure Dreams puts us in a desert town called Monsbaiya. We follow Koh, a 15-year-old boy who enters the Tower of Monsters in search of his father. The tower is obviously full of monsters, but also riches.

These can be used to develop the town of Monsbaiya, thus gaining access to more shops, items, NPCs, and ways to progress the story. Will he find the truth behind his father’s disappearance? Well, it’s up to you to find out.


Star Ocean: The Second Story

One of the first battles in Star Ocean: The Second Story

Release: 1998
Developer: tri-Ace
Publisher: Enix/Sony Computer Entertainment

Some 20 years after the events of the first game, we follow Claude C. Kenny and Rena Lanford. We can pick either of the two characters and traverse the planet Expel in search of answers. 10 companions are available, 6 of which can be recruited.

Combat is real-time, but the rest of the game plays like a standard RPG. You get quests, visit towns, and dungeons, and advance the story through quest completion. However, it is a unique game and a worthy candidate for being one of the best PS1 games.


Front Mission 3

Not all JRPGs, thankfully, are set in a fantasy world. Front Mission 3 is set in a more modern, sci-fi world.

Release: 1999
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square/Square Electronic Arts

The Front Mission series always puts an emphasis on strategy, though this game takes more of an RPG turn. Combat is still turn-based, where you choose weapons, and have a limited number of action and movement points to execute on a grid.

The plot is complex and follows two protagonists, both scientists, Aliciana Takemura, and Emir Klamsky. Even though the scenarios are separate, locations are shared. Unique characters are present in each of the two stories.


Persona 2: Innocent Sin

Persona II Innocent Sin is a great JRPG, one that you should play, including the rest of the Persona series.

Release: 1999
Developer: Altus
Publisher: Altus/Altus USA/Ghostlight

The Persona series is known for being a part of the Megami Tensei franchise, and this is the second Persona game. We follow a party of high-schoolers as they explore the city of Sumaru. From an overhead perspective, we move through dungeons and safe zones.

Unique to the game is the Rumor system, where the party can hear rumors and then spread them through an agency, thus influencing and changing reality. Words have power, so keep that in mind as you explore Sumaru.


Lunar: Eternal Blue

Lunar: Eternal Blue is a great game, one of the best PS1 JRPGs.

Release: 1994/1999
Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: Game Arts/Kadokawa Shoten/Working Designs

Released primarily for Sega CD, Lunar: Eternal Blue was ported to the Saturn and PlayStation, and is the sequel to Lunar: The Silver Star. It plays like a traditional RPG with a 2D environment and 2D sprites.

The story follows Hiro and Ruby as they explore an ancient temple. Picking up some treasure sets off a trap and off they go. This marks the start of an adventure that uncovers a threat to the world, but also allies and comrades in arms.

JRPGs were common on the PlayStation, so much so that picking the best means omitting other great titles. Consider this list a way to dip your toes in the ocean of RPGs that the original PlayStation supports.

Playable through remasters or with an emulator, or even on the actual PS1, JRPGs offer a story-rich experience, challenges, and lots of plot twists.

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With over 1650 hours of Apex Legends, and 2100 of League of Legends, Milan is an avid gamer. When he's not indoors, he climbs mountains or does urban acrobatics. Add a passion for writing to the mix and you get a hopefully interesting broth.
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