In the modern era of gaming, developing games the size and scale of traditional JRPGs has only grown more expensive. It’s unsurprising that for a time most JRPGs were developed on handhelds rather than consoles. But these days, the only dedicated handheld remaining is the Nintendo Switch.
With the power of a console while in docked mode, the Switch has forced companies to step their game up if they want to continue making JRPGs. They might be more expensive, but the Switch’s popularity more than makes up for it. The Switch has some of the best JRPGs ever released and is continuing to get more with the long-requested Persona ports. Anyone looking for a great JRPG experience at home or on the go has plenty of good options on the Switch.
Updated on January 19th, 2023 by Sage Ashford: The Nintendo Switch is a natural for JRPGs. Fans looking for new and classic games have plenty of titles available. With so many classics on the system, we added even more amazing games for Switch fans to give a chance.
20 Ys Origin Is An Essential Prequel To An Overlooked JRPG Franchise
The Ys series is one of the most overlooked action JRPG franchises in gaming. It’s a shame as its history dates back to its original entry in 1987. Ys Origin is a prequel to the original Ys, set over 700 years prior. Ys Origin was originally released for PC in Japan in 2006 before releasing worldwide for PC in 2012.
Ys Origin made its way to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2017 and Xbox One in 2018 before finally releasing for the Switch in 2020. Ys Origin has three main playable characters: Yunica Tovah, Hugo Fact, and Toal Fact. Adol Christin, the central character in the Ys series, is playable in Time Attack and Arena Mode.
19 Ys VIII: Lacrimosa Of Dana Is The Highest-Rated Ys Game
The Ys series is usually one of the most consistent JRPG franchises when it comes to releasing new entries. However, the length between the release of Ys Seven and an eighth entry took eight years, rivaling the gap between modern Final Fantasy games.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana was initially released in 2016 and made its way to Switch in 2018. Ys VIII begins with Adol Christin shipwrecked and marooned on an island. Adol must aid locals and explore the dangers of this island in hopes of finding a way back home. Thankfully, the wait for Ys IX: Monstrum Nox was a short one as it was released in 2019.
18 Pokémon Legends: Arceus Was Exactly What The Pokémon Franchise Needed
The saying normally goes, “don’t fix what isn’t broken.” But just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean a refresh isn’t in order. Game Freak has steadily been breaking the mold with their Pokémon series in recent generations, but Pokémon Legends: Arceus was the overhaul Pokémon needed. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set in the distant past.
The player will have to explore the vast open world and start recording some of the first Pokédex entries. Arceus updates every facet of the standard Pokémon JRPG series, becoming exactly what Pokémon fans were hoping for when the Pokémon series made the jump to Switch. It’s why many consider the game to be one of the best Switch games of 2022.
17 Chained Echoes Is A Love Letter To Classic JRPGs
Chained Echoes was released at the tail end of 2022, which is a shame because there’s a strong argument it was the best JRPG of the year. A love-letter to 16-bit J-RPGs, the game asks a group of heroes to travel to the land of Valandis to save the world.
It takes place in a fantasy world, though it has its own twist to it by allowing every character to gain their own giant robot. With gorgeous music and some nice twists on a lot of the classic JRPG tropes, this game is an absolute must-play.
16 Octopath Traveler Is Proof Square-Enix Isn’t Leaving Turn-Based Behind
With each new Final Fantasy game release, old-school Final Fantasy fans feel more alienated. Final Fantasy has amassed a large fanbase thanks in part due to classic turn-based and active time battle (ATB) combat systems. Recent Final Fantasy releases leaning toward action combat haven’t sat well with these old-school fans.
While Final Fantasy continues to distance itself from turn-based combat, that doesn’t mean Square-Enix has. One of the best Square-Enix games released in recent years is Octopath Traveler. Octopath Traveler tells the story of eight individuals with a unique skill set in the beautifully pixilated world of Orsterra. Octopath Traveler boasts eight story campaigns, fantastic voice acting, and strategic combat.
15 Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Continues Xenoblade Chronicle’s Momentum
Nintendo and Monolith Soft struck gold when they revived the Xeno series as Xenoblade Chronicles in 2010. Xenoblade Chronicles was followed up by a Nintendo 3DS and a Switch version as well as Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Nintendo Wii U. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the first dedicated Xenoblade Chronicles game for the Switch and was released in 2017.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 centers around Rex who obtains the power of Pyra, a blade that manifests herself as a woman. Rex is able to summon Pyra in battle, which is the central new gameplay mechanic in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 proved popular enough to lead to Pyra and Mythra’s inclusion as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
14 Tales of Vesperia: The Definitive Edition Is The Best Way To Experience The Best Tales Game
Tales of Vesperia was the “lost” Tales title for a long time. Tales of Vesperia launched on Xbox 360 in 2008 but never came to any other platforms in the West. But after a decade of people begging for it to release elsewhere, Bandai-Namco finally released Tales of Vesperia worldwide on every platform, console and PC included.
The Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition adds more playable characters and events and feels like a different, improved experience. Though the Tales franchise has always been a bit inconsistent in terms of quality, this is the title all the Tales hardcore fans love.
13 Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch Brings Back An Old Classic
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was hailed as a return to the days of great JRPGs when it launched on PlayStation 3 back in 2013. Since no one wants to face the harsh realities of playing PS3 games, it’s a good thing they ported Ni no Kuni to other systems. In Ni No Kuni, players are put into the role of Oliver, a young boy who sets out on a journey to save his mother.
With Ni no Kuni, Level 5 created a world that felt like a Studio Ghibli production come to life. Of course, having Studio Ghibli themselves working on the cutscenes helped. Though its sequel didn’t quite attain the heights or get the love of the original, the remastered edition provides Nintendo fans with a way to play this classic game again.
12 Nier Automata – The Game Of YoRHa Edition Is A Great Version Of A Classic Game
Unsurprisingly, a great game is great on any console. Nier: Automata was well-received when it launched, and the Switch port manages to make the same game portable with minimal changes to how the game runs. Coming out years after release also meant players got everything included in the game at launch.
The game’s DLC that added new costumes and hair options, plus boss fights against the Presidents of Square and PlatinumGames are all included from the beginning. While the game’s been out for years, there’s no limit on when people can enjoy a classic.
11 Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout Perfects The Atelier Formula
The Atelier series has been around since the PlayStation era, but they didn’t start getting popular until PlayStation 2’s Atelier Iris. The entire time though, GUST has continued refining and working on its unique universe that focuses as much on the process of crafting as it does combat.
Finally, the Atelier series took off with the release of Atelier Ryza, which focuses on a young alchemist eager to go on her own adventures. Everything is reworked from the combat to the alchemy, and it makes for an experience that’s bound to be more welcoming to newcomers.
10 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 Tells A Story Of War & Headpats
Falcom’s Trails of Cold Steel series was a hit for the company, allowing it to continue telling one of the longest-running stories in JRPGs. The third part of the series continues with the Patron Saint of Headpats, Rean Schwarzer, a few years after the events of Trails of Cold Steel II. But now, things are different: the student has become the teacher.
Rean is now in charge of an all-new Class VII at the Thors Military Branch Campus. Though he’s in charge of some new students, Cold Steel III also includes lengthy appearances from Rean’s original Class VII as well. The only unfortunate part about this game is the first two parts aren’t available on the Switch in the West yet. But for those who’ve been following along, portable is the perfect way to experience the game, another must-play RPG from Falcom.
9 Shin Megami Tensei V Is A Long-Awaited Return To A Historic Franchise
Shin Megami Tensei V was a major selling point for JRPG fans who bought the Nintendo Switch. SMTV was revealed when the Switch was announced, but eager players had to wait five years to finally get their hands on it. Fortunately, SMTV is just as engaging as previous Shin Megami Tensei games and just as challenging.
It might be a bit off-putting for newcomers, but anyone who’s tried the Shin Megami Tensei games in the past and enjoyed them will find plenty to love here. It’s also worth a try for Persona fans, so they can see where the franchise they love got a ton of its swag from.
8 Live A Live Remakes A JRPG For A New Generation
Live A Live went from a game no one in the West had heard of to being one of the best JRPGs of 2022. Originally a game for the Super Famicom, Square finally decided to localize the title, but with some major improvements.
Rather than just bringing over a 16-bit RPG and dealing with the trouble of finding a way to market it, Square turned the game into an HD-2D project. With this makeover, Live A Live looks like an all-new game, perfectly conveying all of its different settings across time. They even added voice acting, making this game a must-play regardless of whether people experienced it already or not.
7 Dragon Quest Builders 2 Is Great For Fans Of Dragon Quest & Minecraft Alike
The original Dragon Quest Builders came as a welcome surprise to fans of Dragon Quest. It was a brand-new RPG that managed to add in Minecraft elements while still feeling wholly Dragon Quest. The sequel, Dragon Quest Builders 2, is much the same; it’s an improvement in every way on the original.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 adds multiplayer and more things available to build while also improving on storytelling. The biggest flaw with this sequel is that as good as it is, there’s no Dragon Quest Builders 3 coming any time soon. It’s really too bad this subseries didn’t catch on more, as they are among the many Dragon Quest games that would make amazing anime series.
6 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Updates An Overlooked Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy XII is an overlooked gem of a JRPG. It came out at the tail end of the PlayStation 2 generation, and while it experienced a bit of time in the spotlight, fans were mostly mad about all the changes it made.
But The Zodiac Ageimproves on an already great game with quality-of-life improvements and resolution upgrades. There’s even a fast-forward mode to speed up any monotonous grinding. There’s no better time to try this game out, get lost in the gambit system, and experience all the hunts that are better than the final boss.
5 The Legend of Heroes: Trails From Zero Introduces Trails Fans To An All-New Cast
Falcom has been doing the Legend of Heroes series for decades now, but most of them have unfortunately missed Nintendo consoles. That’s changing though, and one of their best titles came to the Nintendo Switch in 2022 with Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero.
Players join Lloyd Bannings and the Special Support Section, an organization designed specifically to help the citizens of the independent city of Crossbell. Though most Trails games are great, Trails from Zero has one of the best stories in the entire franchise, and a likable cast that will make playing through the forty or fifty hours it’ll take to finish the game feel like a breeze.
4 Monster Hunter Rise Brings Monster Hunter To The Switch
Monster Hunter fans couldn’t wait to get their hands on Monster Hunter Rise, the first Monster Hunter game for the Nintendo Switch, which is why Metacritic called it one of the ten best games so far. The Monster Hunter franchise had achieved most of its success as a handheld game, so having it come to the hybrid system felt like a return home.
Rise takes place in Kamura Village, where the players take on the role of hunters to protect the village from a potential calamity. Where Monster Hunter World simplified things for newcomers and console players, Rise takes what worked with World and combines it with classic Monster Hunter gameplay. The result? The best Monster Hunter game yet — at least until World 2 releases.
3 Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Remasters An All-Time Classic
Xenoblade Chronicles is a long way from being a Final Fantasy killer. However, it’s quickly becoming one of the best new JRPG franchises on the market. Alongside Fire Emblem, it’s Nintendo’s best JRPG franchise. After releasing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to amazing success in the launch year of the Switch, Monolith announced the first game was getting remastered for the Switch as well.
The remastered version provides better character models, quality of life improvements, and an epilogue story called “Future Connected.” Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition provided enough momentum to lead to Xenoblade Chronicles 3‘s resounding success, and ensure the mainline Xenoblade Chronicles games can all be played on Switch.
2 Dragon Quest XI S Is The Best Introduction To The Dragon Quest Series
There’s no JRPG series better to start with than Dragon Quest, and Dragon Quest XI is the best way to get involved in the franchise. Dragon Quest XI was already amazing when it was released on PlayStation 4, but the Switch version continues to improve on greatness. It adds new story content for several characters, some additional side quests, and plenty of other content.
An already great game, Dragon Quest XI is the one JRPG every fan with a Switch needs to try. But be prepared; it’s one of the longest JRPGs out there, even without getting involved in the side quests.
1 Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Presents A New Twist On The Xenoblade Series
Xenoblade 3 goes down a darker path than any of the prior Xenoblade games. In this world, the nations of Keves and Agnus have been at war for years, feeding on each other’s life forces to remain alive.
When a group of soldiers from both nations are forced to work together though, they set themselves on a path to discover secrets about the very creation of their world. Monolith Software has turned Xenoblade from a relative unknown into a massive franchise over the last few years. Now, with Xenoblade 3, they’ve created what might be their best game yet.
NEXT: 10 Best Secrets In JRPGs, Ranked
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