Final Fantasy VI (Wii Virtual Console, PlayStation Network, Game Boy Advance)
If you're going to jump into JRPGs, where better to start than the most famous RPG series of all time? Final Fantasy VI
is both my personal favorite and the most accessible of Square Enix's ubiquitous franchise, a game that holds up today despite its 16-bit aesthetics
. It's a lot of fun and not too challenging, and the perfect entry point for anyone who wants to see what all that "Final Fantasy
" fuss is all about.
Afterwards, try: Final Fantasy VII
, Final Fantasy IX
, Final Fantasy X Dragon Quest IX
Though Square Enix's slime-filled series has a reputation for being filled with mundane level-grinding, the ninth entry is surprisingly accessible
. It's an exciting adventure filled with many hours worth of charming towns to see and pun-laden monsters to destroy. Best of all, it's portable; spending a solid 60 hours with a game is much easier when you can take it on the go.
Afterwards, try: Dragon Quest VIII
, Dragon Quest III Super Mario RPG (Wii Virtual Console)
Mario might not seem like the most obvious choice for an RPG hero, but it turns out he's pretty much awesome at just about everything he does, including teaming up with Princess Peach and Bowser to defeat a gang of marauding swords and axes. Stuffed with platforms, puzzles and hilarious writing, Super Mario RPG
is non-stop charm -- and a really good starting point for genre newcomers.
Afterwards, try: Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
, Paper Mario Tales of Vesperia
It can be grating if you're not a fan of anime styles, but the Tales series is a lot of fun thanks to its action-stuffed real-time combat system. Vesperia is one of the best in the series despite some annoying voice actors and an oft-incoherent story. The characters are entertaining, bantering constantly in breakaway cut-scenes as they adventure across the game's sizable world, and battling is more about timing and skill than grinding up your stats. It looks good, too. Radiant Historia (Nintendo DS)
Afterwards, try: Tales of Phantasia
One of 2011's best JRPGs and a modern take on the genre, Radiant Historia
has lots to offer newcomers. There's time travel, betrayal and a grid-based strategic combat system that takes some thinking to master. And there's one hell of a soundtrack
Afterwards, try: Chrono Trigger