PlayStation 1, a classic video game console released in Japan in 1994, has introduced people to the peak of a video game’s capability at the time. The console is famous for introducing role-playing games (RPGs) with intricate storylines and fantastic battle scenes.
The PS1 gaming console was a fortress for many great RPGs that even newly developed ones cannot compare. It’s no wonder that playing RPGs on a Play Station 1 is part of most millennials’ fond childhood memories/
Ready for some blast from the past? Here are some of the best RPG games released in the PS1 era that every JRPG fan should try.
The Legend of Dragoon
- Release Date: December 2, 1999
The game follows the adventure of Dart, along with his fellow comrade warriors, as they journey Endiness to stop the destruction of the world.
Aside from a good story and solid characters, what makes this game stand apart from other RPGs are two-fold—its detailed character design and its unique combat.
The game’s combat is a mix between turn-based and timed-hit approach that allows for real-time attacks. Not only does this makes battles more exciting, but this approach also allows players to cause significant damage to opponents. Also, transformation using dragoon powers was not only eye-candy, it increases individual characters’ contributions while in combat.
Final Fantasy IX
- Release Date: July 17, 2000
Final Fantasy IX brings players back to the series’ roots after giving players a more sophisticated setting and high-tech robotics from its predecessors. The game is set in a classic traditional medieval magical setting, with a colorful cast of characters.
The player plays the main character Zidane, an actor and a thief with a monkey tail, as he leads a group consisting of the royal princess Garnet, Vivi, the Black Mage, and Steiner, a royal knight.
The gameplay plot becomes increasingly complicated as the plot thickens with power struggles between kingdoms, the emergence of villains, magic, summoned monster, and most importantly, the development of each character’s personalities.
- Release Date: February 11, 1998
What makes Xenogears superior to its contemporaries is its rich and deep storyline. Largely inspired by the works of known names like Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung, the game wrestles with topics like psychology, philosophy, and religion. It has a mature take as a video game and challenges your convictions, and makes you introspect about the essence of life.
To add, it comes with really lovely cutscenes and animations and a soundtrack that plays throughout the game. The game’s combat system, which is split between character and gear combat, is also worth noting.
- Release Date: December 17, 1998
Similar to Xenogears, Suikoden II offers its players a mature storyline. It gives players a taste of how wars impact both ends of the battlefield. The story also touches on the characters’ story, the causes they pursue, and the struggles they have against power and authority.
Suikoden II is focused on a single continent and delves around the war that is building up between two countries, the Highland Kingdom and the City-States of Jowston. The story is built around a hero who aims to raise an army to defend his country against Luca Blight, the heir to the throne of Highland.
Another exciting feature about the game is that it has 108 recruitable characters that the hero can recruit to become potential party members. In the game, players take over a castle and a battered and worn-out town. As the hero continues to build its party, the castle headquarters become livened up with new recruits.
The game has three combat systems: one-on-one battles, where the protagonist duels against another character; regular battles, which consists of the player’s party is pitted against 1-6 enemies; and massive battles, which operate similar to a rock-and-scissors battle style.
Unite Attacks are special moves that depend on the characters that are included in the battling party. The Unite system does not only bring up characters’ backstories and personalities, they are a great way to experiment in combat. Adding up the use of mystical runes, the combat system in Suikoden II is worth the experimentation.
- Release Date: November 18, 1999
While Chrono Cross is related to and referred to as a sequel to Chrono Trigger, it isn’t a direct sequel. Both games are indeed in the same world. But if you have played both, you will see that they have different characters and a different battle system. Chrono Cross also has a different atmosphere and a darker storyline.
If you are interested in time travel, the idea of having parallel worlds, and the chance to change your future. The game centers on Serge and on his quest to understand the divergence of two worlds.
As Serge travels around El Nido, he is joined by many other characters –45 characters with detailed backstories—as he tries to uncover his past where he died as a child in an alternate reality.
In the game, enemies are visible were touching a monster instantly switches the screen to a battle screen. Its combat system is similar to Xenogears and uses a stamina system instead of the traditional turn-based combat system. The game uses an Element system. Elements can be used by the party or against enemies. These are allocated to each character in grids which are ranked in tiers.
Each character and enemy has its own innate color. This concept of elements is similar to the types that Pokemon uses. There are six elements (with specific colors) that have complementary opposites. For example, the blue element, which corresponds to water or ice, is opposed to red which corresponds to fire.
Chrono Cross has excellent visuals for its time. To add, it comes with a fantastic soundtrack. Overall, Chrono Cross has a complex, wonderful setup. To add, it has high replayability and has 12 endings.
Have You Tried Them?
Nothing quite captures a millennial’s childhood that sipping juice while playing an RPG game for long hours. There are a lot more worthy RPG games that did not make this list. Go ahead and share your favorite RPG games in the comment section!