5 Must-Play PS4 JRPGs For Newcomers To The Genre

A mix of solid entry-level choices for those who want to get into the genre.
Here are the absolute must-play JRPGs for the PlayStation 4.
Here are the absolute must-play JRPGs for the PlayStation 4. Atlus

Atlus' recent Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster announcement for the PlayStation 4 served as a reminder that the platform is still one of the best when it comes to the genre of JRPG games. With a wide selection that comes out every generation, it may be a daunting task for newcomers to the genre to look for solid recommendations; that said, there are ones that are very good representations of well-written and engaging Japanese role-playing games. Without further ado, here are the absolute must-plays for the JRPG genre on the PlayStation 4.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

The PlayStation console line has always been known to house some of the industry’s most iconic JRPGs and franchises of all time. The first entry on this list is no slouch either as it comes from JRPG royalty. Released earlier this year, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a reimagined vision of the 1997 PlayStation classic.

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After years of speculation on when (or whether) it would be released, Final Fantasy VII Remake's launch was greeted with critical and commercial acclaim, citing its striking visuals and narrative that remained faithful to the original as some of its strongest suits. The game puts the player in the shoes of one of, if not the most iconic character in the franchise: Cloud Strife. Cloud is a former member of SOLDIER, an elite mercenary group of the evil Shinra Electric Power Company. Following a change of heart, he now fights for Avalanche, an eco-terrorist organization that is hellbent on stopping Shinra and its evil plot that involves the destruction of their home planet.

Whether you’re someone looking to get a classic title for the PlayStation 4 or just someone looking to explore other genres, Final Fantasy VII Remake should be a no brainer.

Tales of Vesperia

The next title on this list is also another remake, so to speak, of another classic. Tales of Vesperia, which was released in 2008 by Namco Bandai Games, received a ‘Definitive Edition’ early last year for multiple platforms, one of which is the PlayStation 4.

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The 10th entry in a long-running RPG series, Tales of Vesperia is set in the world of Terca Lumireis. Players assume control of Yuri Lowell. Similar to the previous entry on this list, Yuri is a former Imperial Soldier who undergoes a complete 180-degree turn and starts a guild called the Brave Vesperia whose main goal is to stop blastia thefts. Blastia, which is the main energy source of the people of Teca Lumireis, can cause catastrophic events on a major scale if it falls into the wrong hands.

Since its release, Tales of Vesperia has received positive reception mostly due to its exceptional character building and the game’s innovative use of the series’ Linear Motion Battle System. Contending for the best title in its franchise, Tales of Vesperia is a must-play for any JRPG fanatic.

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout

Another title from an established franchise, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the series’ 21st entry. The game follows the story of the teenage Ryza and her dreams of escaping the ennui of her mundane village life. One day, she decides to escape the village with her friends, but as fate decides it, it will be the decision that will change the course of her life, or maybe just her summer.

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Filled with likable characters, a strong plot, and solid gameplay mechanics, most critics praised Atelier Ryza's revamped and improved Alchemy System. Its turn-based mixed with real-time combat mechanics have also been lauded. And while it gained favorable reception upon its initial release in 2019, it is still holding a middling status when compared to its stronger franchise colleagues (Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland and Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book are both considered to be the series’ high point). Despite that, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is still a solid title both for new players of the series and long-time fans looking for a much more modern and streamlined Atelier experience.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

Probably one of the lesser known out of all the JRPG titles and franchises on this list, but definitely a heavyweight in its own right, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is an entry in a series of role-playing titles which was initially released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2013. Trails of Cold Steel received critical acclaim at its launch, with reviewers citing its strong narrative and worldbuilding as the game’s main selling points.

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The game takes place in the Erebonian Empire and follows Rean Schwarzer, his fellow classmates, and their adventures at Thors Military Academy. The structure of the plot mostly follows Class VII throughout the rest of their school year. With both field activities and school work at hand, Trails of Cold Steel will take players on a journey spanning the various cities and areas of the Erebonian Empire. As they are slowly exposed more to the realities of their divided society, a threat only known as the Imperial Liberation Front arises, which makes things more challenging for the group.

The game’s recently released Decisive Edition contains tons of bonuses for old and new players alike such as the addition of Turbo Mode, cross-save capabilities, limited-edition merchandise, and loads of improvements over its PlayStation 3 counterpart.

Persona 5

The final entry on this list should come as no surprise as a must-buy JRPG for the PlayStation 4. The sixth installment in the Persona series is touted as the best among them, if not one of the best of all-time. Persona 5 is a masterclass in the JRPG genre. Its ability to balance storytelling, character development, gameplay, and a high fun factor is unparalleled and is arguably the best role-playing game of its generation.

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The Atlus-developed game follows the story of a high school student who gains the codename of Joker. Over the course of the school year, he and other students discover their special powers and form a group of secret vigilantes known as the Phantom Thieves of Heart. Their powers allow them to explore the Metaverse and battle metaphysical creatures that reside within it using their titular Personas. Gameplay wise, it combines social simulation, dungeon crawling elements, and turn-based combat with real-time elements. Critics have lauded its unique aesthetics, music, and storytelling.

Persona 5 is currently available exclusively for the PlayStation 3 and 4. A new edition released in 2019 which includes brand-new content dubbed Persona 5: Royal is also available exclusively for the PS4.

So, what do you think? Which of these amazing JRPGs for the PlayStation 4 will you be picking up? Let us know and stay tuned for more recommendations from us for the best deals on the best things in gaming, from peripherals and hardware, to toys and various accessories.

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