Essential JRPG Shame Pile

Ray’s JRPG Shame Pile:

I have spent a lot of time playing JRPGs in my game-playing years. I have played a lot of the big hits, gotten many playthroughs under my belt for some all-time classic games. I have also sought out niche titles, and evangelized them to those around me. However, there are gaps in my experience, and I wish to share those gaps with you dear readers, along with my everlasting and perpetual shame. This is a list of 20 JRPGs that I have never rolled ending credits on, which maybe I should have done instead of spending a few thousand hours in World of Warcraft. Hindsight as always, is 20/20 and I cannot turn back time. Instead, I can use this list as a guidepost, and maybe start ticking down some of these entries over the rest of 2022 and beyond. If any of these are in your piles of shame as well, feel free to join me, tell me how the list is going on Twitter. Without any further ado:

  1. Final Fantasy 1

Version I will probably play: PSP or GBA

I don’t know, this may be my biggest embarrassment. The game is not even that long, people speed run it with randomized items. I am not down with the old-school D&D magic system though, I will stick with one of the updated ones that use MP.

  1. Final Fantasy 4

Version I will probably play: PSP or SNES

This and the next entry are on the shame pile for roughly the same reason. I didn’t have a SNES as a kid, I went from a NES right to a PS1. I don’t know if I would have gotten to play this as a kid, but I know I didn’t have the chance. I tried the DS remake, but from what I understand, that version is very different, and frankly didn’t feel great. 

  1. Final Fantasy 6

Version I will probably play: SNES

I may have started this game more than any other on the list.

  1. Persona 3 Portable (Female protagonist)

Version I will probably play: PSP

I got a few hours into a file with this, and I have to say this is one in the pile I will tend to sooner rather than later. That music is absolutely amazing.

  1. Persona 2: Innocent Sin

Version I will probably play: PSP

I tried this game once, and got pretty far into it. This is a super weird one though, and I feel like to play it right you almost NEED a guide, and I hate playing games that way. This game is super quirky, and this and its sequel are the only gaps in my mainline Persona playing.

  1. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

Version I will probably play: PS1

Same stuff as above, it will just look worse because we never got the PSP version of this.

  1. Any Dragon Quest (Either 8 or 11 really)

Version I will probably play: DQ8: PS2 DQ11: Switch

I have tried to play DQ games so many times, they just never grip me. The one that held on longest was DQ9 on the Nintendo DS. The newest one, 11 seems to be well-regarded, but that PS2 version of DQ8 still looks really nice, and the music is still great sounding.

  1. Trails in the Sky 2

Version I will probably play: Vita

I started this after beating FC Evolution, and plan on continuing this really soon. It’s the same mechanically as the first one, and the story remains top-notch.

  1. Chrono Trigger

Version I will probably play: SNES

Besides FF1, this game is probably the most shameful on the pile. Often cited as the greatest game ever made, I have only ever gotten up to prehistory. Shameful.

  1. Breath of Fire 2

Version I will probably play: SNES

My first BoF game was BoF3 on the PS1, and this game seems to be the first example of the series being good. I feel like I can skip the first entry and not miss much.

  1.  Breath of Fire 4

Version I will probably play: PS1

Fou Lou seems like a great villain/maybe not a villain. The game seems very dramatic, and like it builds off the momentum of BoF3 well.

  1.  Chrono Cross

Version I will probably play: Remaster

This game seems to have new life in it now, especially with that “Radical Dreamers” remake out now. This is a game I started a few times over the years, never got far in. People rave about this game, and I dig the vibe, will be worth checking out again.

  1. Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together

Version I will probably play: PSP

If any game deserves an HD-2D remake, it is this game. Amazing writing, gripping combat, need to get through this one.

  1. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue

Version I will probably play: PS1

I absolutely loved the first game, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. This game seems like more of the same, but that is by no means bad. These games don’t really get dark, the characters are well written, and it just seems like a joy to play.

  1. Shadow Hearts

Version I will probably play: PS2

I actually got pretty far into a playthrough on this, on an actual PS2. I could dig that back out, but really starting over doesn’t seem like the worst thing. I love how this series uses the real-world setting, where everything has a deeper, monster-laden layer. Feels like some of my favorite TV, like The CW’s Supernatural.

  1. Earthbound

Version I will probably play: SNES

This is the game everyone loves now, but was in the bargain bin for much of its SNES life. I assume I will enjoy it, also I would love to get around to Mother 3.

  1. Grandia 2

Version I will probably play: Remaster on PC or Switch

I remember trying this game on the Dreamcast forever ago. It seems incredibly competent, and it has gotten remasters lately, so it is easy to get to and play. The battle system seems simple, yet engaging and holding a depth that begs to be unearthed through the file.

  1. Trails in the Sky 3

Version I will probably play: Vita

Rich said good things about this one, it is just a little different than the first two games. Also if the Evolution entries are any indication, I’ll be getting the best version on the Vita.

  1. Golden Sun

Version I will probably play: GBA

This game seems to be beloved, and I really want to see why. I know very little about it.

  1. Lost Odyssey

Version I will probably play: X360

I have started this game many times over the last 15 years. One day I will sit down and play all the way through it. I find the story compelling, the characters great, and the combat systems deep, but not opaque. Also the way the story serves different characters in combat is fantastic. One day, I promise.

-Ray McGill

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