Back in the early 2000s, specifically 2005, the humble Xbox 360 was released. And just like the Sony counterpart, this console marked the start of the seventh generation of home gaming, and there were massive changes underway. Better storage capabilities and graphical processors rendered out some of the fat from the games, polishing off the rough polygons and providing developers with a pixel playground ready to develop a host of new games.
Microsoft’sconsoles may be infamous for their lack of JRPGs, unlike their other competitors, however, that does not mean they were devoid of them completely. The company did make some moves to try and break into the market and create a foothold for themselves as capable of delivering a Japanese role-playing experience. Featuring some heavy hitters and under-the-radar classics, the Xbox 360 did have some JRPG games on offer for the fans of the genre and even created some unrivaled moments players will not want to miss. Which games should players try first, and what will fit the audience’s tastes the best?
10 Resonance Of Fate
A fast-paced JRPG that flew under the radar for many role-play lovers during its release on the Xbox 360. Published by SEGA and developed by tri-Ace, this game had an incredible hybrid combat system featuring both turn-based and action-RPG elements. Unlike its other RPG brethren, this game decided to steer clear of swords and magic, opting for handguns and bullets instead.
With a compelling narrative focused on a steampunk-esque society, the players followed three protagonists trying to take on the injustices of the world. The game came to be known for its complex but satisfying gameplay, however, its visuals let it down in some regard with muddy and dimmed color palettes (hears to hoping the 4K/HD remaster helped).
9 Eternal Sonata
Sometimes games may not be pioneering in their combat, but their visuals (and the inspiration behind them) more than make up for being groundbreaking. The wheel doesn’t need reinventing, and that is what Eternal Sonata proves, sticking to tried and true JRPG elements and executing them well in a beautiful and vibrant art style.
Inspired by the musical works of Chopin, this game takes the classical compositions of Polish pianists and transforms them into a well-received game. It has satisfying combat akin to the Tales Of series, it combines both turn-based elements and action RPG mechanics to make that monster encounters all that more allegro.
8 Final Fantasy 13
This generation’s Final Fantasy entry took a risk and departed from the familiar mechanics of its predecessors. A highly anticipated game marking the JRPGs series’ introduction into the seventh generation of consoles, it was a graphical hallmark capitalizing on the system’s capabilities to deliver a spectacle of a game unlike anything seen before.
Overall the game was met with mixed reviews, with some finding the game initially disappointing with an overly complicated story, however, over time, it gained cult status. On further deliberation, few fans have even found a great game behind the critical shortcomings, with it selling well enough to have sequels and spin-offs as well.
7 Blue Dragon
Inspired by the anime of the same name, Blue Dragon, signaled the start of Microsoft’s journey to break into the Japanese (mainly RPG) market by bringing some exclusive games to their platform. Bundled with the system in Japan, the game did manage to ship a couple of hundred thousand units but did not reach the heights the company was hoping for.
A safe and solid outing in the JRPG sphere, it has a mass appeal to the general gaming audience and especially the fans of the popular anime of the same name. There are some big creators attached to the game, including a Final Fantasy alum, Hironobu Sakaguchi, whose company Mistwalkerpartnered with Xbox to release the game on the platform.
6 Final Fantasy 13-2
The sequel to Final Fantasy 13 is often cited as the best entry in the Lightning trilogy, taking the non-combat elements of the first game and refining them. This game employs a non-linear form of story-telling, allowing players to explore different narrative routes and, like a jigsaw, piece the game’s story together (think choose your own adventure).
The combat, even though expanded upon, was not as liked as the first game in the series. Adding the paradigm and monster battle systems did little to gloss over the restrictions in place as players were forced to use only two playable characters the entire game and a single recruitable monster companion.
5 The Last Remnant
Square Enix’s flagship series such as Final Fantasy has dominated the JRPG landscape since its conception, and now many of their fans make up Enix’s fan base. However, the company has a lot more to offer beyond that series. One such game: The Last Remnant, remastered in 2018 for the eighth generation consoles, brings interesting battle mechanics never before seen by the company’s games.
Introducing a group-style inspired combat system, this game was a breath of fresh air at the time straddling the line between action and turn-based combat. The graphics, which may seem dated, have only been helped with the newer releases and there is top-notch voice acting for the characters in both English and Japanese.
4 Tales Of Vepseria
Arguably one of the better JRPGs on the list and in all the Tales Of games, players follow the journey of Yuri Lowell: a former soldier who establishes his own guild, Brave Vesperia, to help a young girl, Estelle. With a roguish nature willing to do morally gray things to get the job done, Yuri is not the hero players may be used to. As with all Tales Of games, there is a diverse cast of party and side characters to interact with as the story progresses each as interesting as the last.
Fans may be used to the action-RPG combat of such games, however, when it is executed right it is still extremely satisfying to tear down enemies with combo moves, elemental attacks and resplendent anime cinematic special moves. Now remastered this game still has stunning visuals, combat and voice acting that holds up to this day.
3 Infinite Undiscovery
tri-Ace had its fingers in all the pies back in the seventh generation of gaming with multiple releases hitting the platform and many successes standing out in its vast JRPG portfolio. Infinite Undiscovery was one of those rare occasions where the Xbox 360 secured an exclusive release. The game may not be winning awards any time soon, however, it was a solid entry for the genre and the console overall.
Although the narrative may not be groundbreaking by any means, it still offered a rewarding outcome for the players who decided to stick with it until the end. Decisions players make in the game can (in real-time) affect the story, leading each play through to be an individual experience that not many other games tried at the time.
2 Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Another one of tri-Ace’s pinch hitters for the Xbox 360 system, taking a different tack with their narrative, vistas and power systems. Foregoing traditions of spells, swords and sorcery, Star Ocean opts for the science fiction route venturing into space aboard ships and equipping their heroes with weapons of the mechanical variety.
One of the more unique JRPGs on the list, players enlist as members of the Space Reconnaissance Force, akin to a space-faring militia organization. The game’s narrative may be lacking in a few areas, however, it encourages players to fully take advantage of exploration and addictive strategic, turn-based combat systems it has on offer.
1 Lost Odyssey
Even after their generation has passed, and new consoles are released with a plethora of new games to explore, some stand the test of time and become enrolled in the annals of history as great RPG experiences. Lost Odyssey is one such game; exclusive to the Xbox 360 and developed by Hironobu Sakguchi’s Mistwalker Studios (Blue Dragon) it mixes modern and traditional gameplay to deliver a unique and serious story.
Players follow characters (who cannot die) exploring their backstories through episodic flashbacks putting on display some of the best narratives in JRPGs both emotionally impactful and lasting. A huge JRPG, it spanned four game discs with tons for players to do and has one of the most debatably interesting villains to boot.
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