Japanese role-playing games (or JRPGs for short) give a lasting impression even after the first glance. A lot of the time this is due to an amazing presentation and visual art style which is unsurprisingly often inspired by anime. Nonetheless, once you actually get one of these games and begin playing, you might discover that JRPG design often differs from western role-playing games in a significant way.
The characteristic quality of these games is that they pretty much assume that the player is already familiar with all the intricacies of the mechanics and an abundance of micromanaging menus, making them quite challenging for the beginners. For this reason, we suggest three newcomer-friendly JRPG options to consider if you are new to the genre. A Steam gift card might also come in handy here, as all of these titles are available on the Steam platform.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
The recently game in the Dragon Ball Z franchise – Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – is a very good starting place for anyone who‘s new to JRPGs as this game is a mix of genres. The game was published by Bandai Namco Entertainment and developed by CyberConnect2, latter if which have built their reputation on creating critically acclaimed anime-themed video games like Asura’s Wrath and the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series.
DBZ: Kakarot has you playing through the classic Dragon Ball Z storyline millions of people around the world are fondly familiar with, beginning with the arrival of Goku’s brother Raditz and ending with the fight against Majin Buu. You can play as multiple DBZ characters, have teammates and explore an entire open world filled with collectibles and side-activities. However, as soon as the encounter with an enemy happens, the game quickly shifts to a destructive 3D arena fighter with the camera being locked on the opponent, pretty much like in DBZ: Xenoverse.
Final Fantasy XIII
This is an older title from 2010 but its far from being obsolete. Final Fantasy XIII is a classic with a self-contained story and rich fictional universe which makes it a very good introduction to Final Fantasy series for the beginners. Final Fantasy, after all, is a king among JRPG and the 13th installment in the series solidified that fact and still continues to offer an exciting adventure for those who are willing to take the ride. There a reason this installment of the franchise had two direct sequels: Final Fantasy XIII – 2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
The game presents six distinct main characters, awesome soundtrack and features one of the most iconic female protagonists ever – Lightning. The game gives Lightning the most focus as other characters join her on her journey to find her sister and rescue her sister Serah. All of this takes place on a strange fictional universe that mixes both elements of magic fantasy and science fiction. It‘s a strange but attractive mix of genres very characteristic to the series, as you‘ll both high-tech airships as well as people using combat spells or the world being controlled by polytheistic deities called the Fal‘Cie.
Another great JRPG for the beginners is NieR: Automata. This title was created by Platinum Games, a video game developer famous for being the masters of action games. Their accomplishments include critically acclaimed masterpieces like the fast-paced third-person shooter Vanquish, hack n‘ slash joy ride Bayonetta and a stunning Nintendo Switch exclusive Astral Chain. NieR: Automata is one of the best, if not the best titles created by Platinum Games once again combining the elements of action and classic JRPGs.
The game puts you in a role of a human-like female android designated as 2B who is deployed on Earth to fight sentient machines on a post-apocalyptic Earth of the far future. Mankind was driven out of their home planet by robots and androids like 2B or her companions are humanity‘s only fighting chance. The game has amazing action sequences as it is expected from Platinum Games but it will also surprise you with stylish platforming sections. One of the best things about Nier: Automata is the replay value, since you‘ll be able to play through the campaign multiple times as different characters!
Considering JRPGs? Consider a Steam gift card as well!
Since all these games are on Steam, one of the cheaper ways to enjoy them is by increasing the value of your Steam account through purchasing a Steam gift card on a retail store like Eneba.com. You‘ll often find a great selection of cards, so, simply choose the one carrying your preferred value and save money in the process! Overall, it’s a great idea for any occasion, that is, if you happen to have a friend or family member with a Steam account. So go ahead, explore the world of JRPGs cheaper!