Back in January, I wrote a list of the top 7 PSX RPGs that everyone should play (here). Well, the original PlayStation had such a wealth of role-playing games that we couldn’t just leave it at those first 7, now could we? I mean, the console has an ocean of RPGs to tap into!
With that in mind, I decided to revisit the topic and present to you, all of my lovely readers, 7 more great PSX RPGs that everyone should play at least once in their life!
Starting off the list, we have Wild Arms. This is a tremendous J-RPG that fuses Spaghetti Western visuals and music with more traditional J-RPG game mechanics and story elements. That is, admittedly, a mix that shouldn’t work very well, but it just does! The developers did a wonderful job at combining these two seemingly unrelatable genres together into a cohesive story and excellent game.
There are a few odd design choices, like using the Mode 7 style graphical effect on the World Map, but they are all minimal and minor. As a whole, Wild Arms is a brilliant little PSX RPG that paved the way for one of the most underrated and overlooked series in PlayStation history! Oh, and it is also coming out on the PlayStation Classic as well, so now you’ll be able to play it on an HD TV without any problem!
Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
Moving on, we have one that you’ve probably heard a huge amount of talk about, but surprisingly, a lot of people never played it. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is widely considered one of the best Metroidvania games ever made, as well as one of the best RPGs on the original PlayStation. It is a challenging game that features incredibly entertaining gameplay, as well as a lot of exploration.
There is even a huge twist halfway through the game that will blow your mind! Not a story twist, mind you, but a gameplay twist. I won’t say any more in case you haven’t played it. But you really should, just to experience this great game yourself.
You may know that I adore experimentation in game design and development. That’s why Parasite Eve is on this list. Squaresoft managed to merge the Survival Horror and RPG genres into a wonderfully successful game. Based upon the Parasite Eve novel written by Hideaki Sena, the game features some of the most scientifically grounded body horror that I have ever seen. Hideaki Sena is actually a pharmacologist as well as a novelist and used that knowledge to create the horror in the novel.
This is transferred over to the Parasite Eve game series as well (except for the spin-off, 3rd Birthday). The characterisation in the game is phenomenal and the plot is exceedingly well executed. I really hope that this game gets brought over to Europe with the PlayStation Classic, but either way, you owe it to yourself to play this game.
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Now, if you’re a fan of RPGs for the PlayStation consoles, or RPGs in general, you’ll have probably heard of the Persona series. However, most people have only played Persona 3, 4 or 5. The first three games (yes, three) have been largely forgotten. Revelations: Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment are all outstanding games, but they are massively different from the later three games released on the PS2, PS3 and PS4.
That said, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment remains my favourite in this Shin Megami Tensei spin-off series. It is mature, gory and features a very dark storyline dealing with demons, serial killers and rumour spreading. If that doesn’t sound intriguing enough, then it also has a very tactical and strategic, yet challenging battle system!
Front Mission 3
On to the first tactical RPG on this list, we have Front Mission 3; a tactical role-playing game from Squaresoft filled with realistic portrayals of war, death and violence. Oh, and it also features giant robots, just to make sure that you realise how awesome the game is. The level of customisation that Front Mission 3 gives you is absolutely crazy, meaning that you’ll probably end up completely engrossed in try to make the perfect party of characters and mecha for you.
If you are a fan of character customisation but also want a deep and rich storyline, then you really need to get your hands on Font Mission 3. You will not be disappointed!
I’m pretty sure everyone has played a Pokemon game. However, if you’ve ever felt that they were a little too happy and child-friendly for your taste, then Jade Cocoon could be the perfect answer for you. You play as a young man trying to save his village and loved one from a truly terrible fate by capturing the monsters in the lands around you and using them to progress in the game. You can merge them, upgrade them and battle them, just like Pokemon, or any other monster-catching RPG.
However, the game is far more mature, dealing with very depressing and heartfelt themes whilst also offering a definite challenge. For anyone who enjoys monster-catching games, Jade Cacoon is an absolute must play!
Kartia: The Word of Fate
The last entry in this list goes to another tactical RPG for the PSX; Kartia: The Word of Fate. This is a largely ignored PSX RPG, but honestly, it really deserves far more attention than it got. The tactical battles are complex, need evolving strategies and will take a lot of getting used to, which can put some people off. However, if you enjoy tactical thinking and coming up against a challenge, then Kartia could be perfect for you.
There is even some replay value as you can play through the story from the viewpoint of two very different characters. This only adds to the game, as it feels like a different game depending on which character you choose.
And That’s All Folks
So those were 7 more PSX RPGs that you really need to play. Each one is a work of gaming art in its own right, offering unique takes on traditional RPG gameplay. If you enjoy the RPG genre in general, I would definitely recommend giving each of these games a try.
What PSX RPGs would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!