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Best JRPGs for Xbox One, Series X, and Series S 2022

Yakuza Like A Dragon Source Sega
Yakuza Like A Dragon Source Sega (Image credit: SEGA)

It has been a long and arduous journey for the Xbox when it came to acquiring JRPGs. Previous console generations saw scant few JRPG titles gracing Xbox consoles, but nowadays, we’re frankly spoiled for choice. From JRPGs that feature classic turn-based combat to others with an action-RPG approach, all enrich the grand tales these games aim to tell.

There's an abundance of games to pick from, so we've put together a list of the finest JRPGs currently available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Whether they’re beloved titles dating back as far as the Xbox 360 or modern-day hits on the Xbox Series X|S, these are the best out there. We also plan to update this list over time with new Xbox titles, with more Japanese games headed to the platform soon.

So, without further ado, here is our list of the best JRPGs available through the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, including some must-try hits on Xbox Game Pass.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the seventh major entry in SEGA’s Like a Dragon series (until now, known as Yakuza in the west) that takes the series in a bold new direction. It features a new protagonist and eschews the series’ iconic beat em’ up combat for turn-based JRPG gameplay.

This game tells the story of Ichiban Kasuga, an ex-yakuza grunt who spent 18 years in prison, taking the fall for his yakuza gang, the Tojo Clan. When he is released, Ichiban is shocked to find that his clan is gone and that he has been betrayed by the man whom he idolized since he was a teenager. With nowhere left to go, Ichiban sets off on a quest with his new friends of misfits to rebuild his life and discover why the man he looked up to betrayed their clan.

While Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s controversial genre shift was seen with massive trepidation, it ultimately paid off. The turn-based gameplay is expertly woven into the narrative, and it stays true to the series’ dramatic yet charmingly bizarre storytelling and pulse-pounding action of its predecessors. Yakuza: Like a Dragon, like all other Like a Dragon/Yakuza games, is available on Xbox Game Pass. However, if you’re a newcomer looking for an entry point into the franchise, this is a great place to start, as its story is a self-contained adventure.

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Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Rise from rock bottom and begin a new life in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Embark on an epic quest as Ichiban Kasuga and explore the streets of Yokohama fighting evil yakuza, helping downtrodden citizens, and uncovering an underworld conspiracy. 

Buy from: Amazon (opens in new tab) 

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is the eleventh main entry in the Dragon Quest, one of the longest-running JRPG franchises that helped shape the genre into what it is today. Set in the land of Erdrea, you play as a young man who, one day, discovers he is the Luminary, a hero of legend prophesied to save the world from a great evil. Our hero sets off from his humble village to fulfill his destiny while exploring rich environments, befriending charming allies, and battling dastardly villains.

Dragon Quest XI refines the series’ trademark gameplay to near perfection with a hundred hours’ worth of content, an engaging story with memorable characters, and a vast, gorgeous world to tour. While it may tread familiar ground for those experienced with fantasy stories, it is still a well-crafted adventure that will pull at your heartstrings when you least expect it. Not to mention, Dragon Quest XI is a standalone game that doesn’t require newcomers to play any of the previous games to enjoy the ride.

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Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition

Journey across the Erdrea to fulfill your duty as the Luminary in Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition. The Definitive Edition adds brand new storylines to the base game, new sidequests, the option to play in 3D or retro 16-bit graphics, and quality-of-life improvements like being able to fast forward during battle.

Buy from: Amazon (opens in new tab) | Microsoft (opens in new tab)

NieR: Automata BECOME AS GODS Edition

When it comes to modern-day classics, few games are regarded as highly as NieR: Automata, an action-JRPG directed by acclaimed game director Yoko Taro and developed in collaboration with Platinum Games. 

This game takes place in a dystopian future where otherworldly mechanical life forms have invaded and ruined planet Earth. Driven from their home, humanity has developed intelligent android soldiers armed with super-human strength and advanced weaponry to strike back at the invaders. As androids 2B, 9S, and A2, your goal is to charge into the fray to battle the robot invaders and reclaim the Earth for the glory of mankind.

As you journey into this war-torn world, you will engage the machines in epic battles using an intuitive combat system laden with complex and rewarding mechanics for those willing to master it. NieR: Automata starts with a simple premise and quickly builds upon it with a captivating narrative, intriguing world-building, and complex characterization that will make you emotionally invested in our androids’ struggle.

NieR: Automata is a standalone title in Yoko Taro’s NieR series that doesn’t require new players to play any of the previous games like NieR: Replicant to understand what is at stake. So, if you’re looking for a good entry point into the insane, bleak, and yet beautiful world of NieR, NieR: Automata is an excellent gateway entry into the franchise.

 

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NieR: Automata BECOME AS GODS Edition

Fight for the glory of mankind in NieR: Automata BECOME AS GODS Edition. The BECOME AS GODS Edition contains the base game packaged with all its DLC content, like extra costumes, accessories, and new side-quests to complete.

Buy from: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Scarlet Nexus

Scarlet Nexus is an action-JRPG with a self-styled "Brainpunk" aesthetic brought to you by Bandai Namco Entertainment. You play as Yuito Sumeragi or Kasane Randall, two psychic soldiers serving the Other Suppression Force (a.k.a. OSF), and your goal is to protect humanity from being hunted by disturbing, bloodthirsty alien monsters codenamed the "Others."

Your mission to destroy the "Others" will be harsh as you must master your psychic abilities and martial arts skills to overwhelm your foes, lest you wish to have your brain devoured. While some of its game design may be considered outdated, it is nonetheless a delightful title that fans of Bandai Namco's anime action-JRPGs will enjoy greatly.

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Scarlet Nexus

Harness your psychic powers to save humanity from having their minds devoured by horrifying monsters in Scarlet Nexus. Explore a ruined world packed with hidden secrets, form bonds with your fellow psychic soldiers, and become embroiled in plots of dual protagonists Yuito and Kasane as they strive to complete their goals.

Buy from: Amazon (opens in new tab)

Octopath Traveller

Octopath Traveller is a turn-based JRPG that harkens back to Square Enix’s golden age of 16-bit JRPGs with gorgeous HD-2D sprite artwork presented in a lush 3D world. In this game, you experience the lives of eight characters, each with their own unique and fascinating tales to share within the fantastical world of Orsterra.

Octopath Traveller takes the tried-and-true formula of turn-based combat and expands upon it with advanced mechanics where you can break an enemy’s guard by exploiting their weaknesses and using Boost Points to unleash super powerful attacks while they’re vulnerable. Though take heed as the enemies can pull the same strategies on you if you’re not careful.

If you’re a casual fan looking for great stories or a long-time fan who grew up during the 1990s playing landmark JRPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, then Octopath Traveller is for you.

 

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Octopath Traveller

Embark on eight adventures throughout the world of Osterra to witness the stories of eight protagonists in Octopath Traveller. Whether it's a dancer seeking revenge against a crime syndicate, a fallen knight seeking a new purpose in life, or a merchant seeking adventure, this award-winning anthology has tales fit for everyone.

Buy from: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Lost Odyssey

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Lost Odyssey is a critically acclaimed JRPG from the Xbox 360 made by Mistwalker, a development studio founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series. This game follows Kaim Argonar, a stoic immortal warrior who has lost his memories. After helping the nation of Uhra claim a decisive victory in their war against the beastmen of Khent, Kaim encounters another immortal named Seth Balmore.

Their meeting causes Kaim's memories to slowly return, and his aimless life suddenly takes a dramatic turn from there. Our hero becomes entangled in an epic journey tinged with political intrigue, deep introspection, and monumental conflicts that will determine the country's fate.

In addition to fighting enemies using a traditional turn-based combat system, the gameplay of Lost Odyssey revolves around the "Thousand Years of Dreams." This gameplay feature tells short stories of Kaim's past as he slowly regains his memories, and they are tragic tales that will make you emotional weep for our poor hero and question if some things are best left forgotten.

 

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Lost Odyssey

Wander the land in search of your lost past in the Lost Odyssey. Battle fearsome foes in challenging turn-based battles, unravel a political power struggle and experience the tragic life of a thousand-year-old immortal as he remembers what led him to become the cold drifter he is today.

Buy from: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Fuga: Melodies of Steel

Fuga: Melodies of Steel is a side-scrolling strategy JRPG developed by CyberConnect2, known for the cult PlayStation 2 action-JRPG series, .hack, and creating a myriad of fighting games based on popular anime franchises such as Naruto, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Dragon Ball Z.

Fuga takes place on Gasco, a floating isle that the tyrannical Berman Empire is currently conquering. The only thing that can stop them is a group of war orphans piloting the Taranis, a gigantic, ancient tank that can annihilate armies of enemies if used correctly. It is a charming yet dark story of children banding together in a bleak world and using their newfound weapons to try and rescue their families from the horrors of war.

The gameplay also features an addicting combat system inspired by the Advance Wars series. You will march across battlefields mowing down mechanical marauders looking to destroy you while making difficult decisions to secure victory. Some situations may even require sacrifices for the greater good, but at what emotional cost?

In a world filled with big-name AAA JRPGs taking the spotlight, Fuga: Melodies of Steel is a hidden gem that stands out from the crowd with eye-pleasing artwork, charming characters, and a rewarding combat system. If you’re a fan of tactical JRPGs such as Advance Wars or Valkyria Chronicles, then Fuga: Melodies of Steel deserves your undivided attention.

 

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Fuga: Melodies of Steel

Take control of the ancient war machine Taranis and strike back against the Berman Empire in Fuga: Melodies of Steel. Form unbreakable bonds with your crew mates, engage in advanced tank warfare with enemies, and steel your nerves when you are faced with moral dilemmas that save or doom your team.

Buy from: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Tales of Arise

Tales of Arise is the latest entry in Bandai Namco’s Tales series, an action-JRPG franchise that has been around since Tales of Phantasia for the Super Nintendo in 1995. The story of Arise is set on the planet of Dahna, a world that has suffered over 300 years of oppression at the hands of an evil empire hailing from their neighboring planet, Renan.

You play as Alphen, a vagabond of Dahna who has been afflicted with a curse that has robbed him of his memories and his ability to feel physical pain. While wandering, he runs into Shionne, a Renan noblewoman who was also cursed, but hers’ brings pain to anyone that touches her. After a few misadventures and realizing their curses have no effect on each other, Alphen and Shionne form an unlikely alliance and set out on a journey to undo their grim predicament.

While Tales of Arise may lack variety in enemy designs and the plot contains cliché anime tropes, they do not take away the sheer amount of fun one can have in this title. The visuals powered by Unreal Engine 4 are sublime, the world has a host of diverse biomes to explore, and the game’s combat system is a gratifying mash-up between strategic team management and over-the-top hack n’ slash mayhem.

If you’re a fan of action-JRPGs or a veteran Tales fan that can overlook Tales of Arise’s flaws, you will find one of the best titles in this franchise’s storied history.

 

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Tales of Arise

Determine the destiny of two worlds and two accursed souls in Tales of Arise. Venture into a wonderous fantasy world, form a band of mighty heroes, and do battle against evildoers and bloodthirsty monsters alike in this next-gen entry of the Tales franchise.

Buy from: Amazon (opens in new tab) | Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Which JRPGs will you play?

With each passing year, Xbox continues to grow its ever-expanding selection of high-quality JRPGs, some of which have become some of the best games on the platform. Many of these titles have even made it into Microsoft’s vaunted Xbox Game Pass subscription service, so players can indulge in their engrossing stories on Xbox consoles, PC via Windows, and mobile devices with the aid of Xbox Cloud Gaming.

It is a wonderful time to be a fan of JRPGs on Xbox, and as we move forward into the future, we continue to highlight the best of the best this genre has to offer. If you feel like there are other JRPGs that warrant a place on this list, be sure to leave a thread in our Windows Central Discord forum.

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All of Xbox gaming's greatest hits for a low price

With the power of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can experience hundreds of the greatest video games at a meager monthly cost. This subscription service is too good to miss out for any gamer, whether they want AAA blockbuster extravaganzas or artistic, thought-provoking indie treasures.

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Alexander Cope is a writer for Windows Central and iMore that has been gaming since the 16-bit era.