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10 Best JRPGs of 2022 So Far, Ranked By Metacritic

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For a genre that isn’t always the most popular, JRPGs had an incredible year. What JRPGs lack in sheer number of fans, they make up for in a passionate fanbase that’s always looking for the next great JRPG experience, whether it comes from Square-Enix or not. To Square-Enix’s credit, they had a fantastic year, mixing classic franchises like Star Ocean with a good helping of new games for their growing fanbase.

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Elsewhere, other developers like Falcom brought another must-play RPG in their beloved Kiseki series over to the West with Trails of Zero, and Nintendo continuedreleasing entries within their Fire Emblem and Xenoblade franchises.

10/10 Relayer Brings Strategy RPG Fans Into Space

Metascore: 77

The developers at Kadokawa Games came out with the highly anticipated Relayer early in the year. From the people that brought fans God Wars, the title had the potential to be a mess of a game. Instead, Relayer gave fans a solid science fiction story, blending together space opera, giant robots, and Greek mythology.

Fans looking for a lengthy experiencewill find it here, with dozens of missions and side stories available plus dozens of jobs to customize the characters however they like. Relayer is not a perfect title, but considering how much the game’s trying to do on its first attempt, it manages quite well.

9/10 The DioField Chronicle Is An Impressive First Attempt

Metascore: 78

One thing Square-Enix has proven throughout 2022 is their willingness to take chances. While Square’s roots in strategy RPGs tends to be turn-based, The DioField Chronicle looked to enter the realm of real-time strategy.

Visually resembling Final Fantasy Tactics, DioField Chronicle presents a story of a continent at war, with a group of mercenaries looking to defend their home continent. Although DC wasn’t received as well as some of Square’s other releases, it’s still a diamond in the rough that any fan of RTS games and anime will want to try. It’s just too bad Square released DioField Chronicles during the busy parts of the year.

8/10 Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Shows There’s Still Life In The Warriors Genre

Metascore: 80

Nintendo’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses game in 2019 was the developer’s most successful entry in the franchise. So the existence of a sequel set in the same universe isn’t a surprise. What was surprising was the company chose to make the next game part of the Fire Emblem Warriors franchise, making the switch from turn-based strategy into hack-and-slash RPG.

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Developer Omega Force has been collaborating with Nintendo for some time now, each time proving the Musou genre is capable of more than what people are used to with Dynasty Warriors. While Three Hopes isn’t perfect, it’s a must-play for fans of the Three Houses universe.

7/10 Live A Live’s Remake Is One Of 2022’s Best Surprises

Metascore: 81

After decades of being a Japan exclusive, Square-Enix finally brought the 1994 classic Live A Live to the West in 2022. It wasn’t just a port of the SNES game, however – instead Square remade the game from the ground up in the HD-2D style popularized by Octopath Traveler. It was a fitting change, considering Octopath Traveler is something of a successor RPG to Live A Live. Both games rely on the use of multiple protagonists, each with their own story separate from the others.

Live A Live‘s remake featured a number of other improvements aside from graphics changes as well: an orchestral version of the soundtrack, and quality of life additions like gameplay balance changes and an in-game map were added as well. The result was one of the strongest RPGs of the year, with its main weakness being that it’s locked to the Switch.

6/10 Pokémon Legends Arceus Took Fans Into A New Era

Metascore: 83

Pokémon Legends: Arceus looked like it was going to be everything Pokémon fans were wanting from a new era for the franchise. Set in the distant past of the Hisui Region, Arceus offered a massive open world with hundreds of Pokémon to catch. Critics pointed out the less impressive graphics, owed largely to the dated Nintendo Switch hardware, but otherwise praised everything else about the game.

Many of the older systems in the franchise received a much-needed overhaul, while others were taken out entirely. The result was one of the best Pokémon games in years, one that felt like a fusion between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Monster Hunter, but with the recognizable Pokémon fans have known and loved for years.

5/10 Atelier Sophie 2 – The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream Continues The Trend Of Incredible Atelier Titles

Metascore: 83

With a focus on fluffy adventure and alchemical crafting, the Atelier series has been a mainstay in JRPGs since the PlayStation era began. While most fans have ignored it for years, the series has its share of stellar titles, with the Atelier Ryza series becoming hugely successful.

Atelier Sophie continued that trend with their sequel, which improved on everything that worked about the original. The world is more fleshed out, there are more allies to get to know, and they even added the ability to change the weather. Gust’s unique style brings a gorgeous world to life for people who are looking for something more light-hearted than the average JRPG.

4/10 Triangle Strategy Proves Square Is Still The Master Of The Strategy RPG Genre

Metascore: 86

Square-Enix’s Team Asano is one of the most valuable studios the company has. Between the Bravely Default series and Octopath Traveler, they keep developing top tier experiences in a style unlike anything else.

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With their latest game, Triangle Strategy, they managed to show they can be masters of tactical RPGs as well. They created a game that looks familiar in the grid-based combat system, but added branching storylines to impact decisions made outside of combat. Boasting a compelling storyline and beautiful character designs, Triangle Strategy is a must-play for any JRPG fan.

3/10 Monster Hunter Rise Is The One Of Most Approachable MHs Yet

Metascore: 86

Capcom’s Monster Hunter World proved anyone who believed Monster Hunter couldn’t work on consoles wrong, becoming Capcom’s best-selling game of all time. That said, Capcom still had tricks up its sleeve when they brought the franchise back to portable systems with Monster Hunter Rise. Rise adds the one thing that could make fans choose it over World: pets.

With the addition of the Palamutes, giant wolf-like animals players could ride, and the Wirebugs to basically Spider-Man across the skies, just going from enemy to enemy became fun. Though the game isn’t nearly as pretty as World, Monster Hunter Rise’s quality of life additions and different ways to hunt monsters makes the series more approachable than ever.

2/10 Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Elevates The Franchise Even More

Metascore: 89

With Monolith Software’s latest entry in the Xenoblade franchise, they’ve established the series as a major player among JRPG legends ala Final Fantasy and Persona. Despite working on the Switch’s ancient hardware, XC3 was still capable of featuring massive worlds with breathtakingly beautiful environments.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s biggest flaw is that for many, it’ll simply be too much content. Combined with the game’s boatload of systems, this can feel overwhelming for fans. That said, players who can put the time in will find one of the best experiences the Nintendo Switch has to offer.

1/10 The Legend Of Heroes: Trails From Zero Is A Master Class In Storytelling

Metascore: 90

Falcom’s Trails from Zero might be old, but international fans weren’t able to play it without fan translations until recently. The series is the next title in the Kiseki franchise after the Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky trilogy. This means Zero canonically comes before Trails of Cold Steel, the series responsible for bringing the franchise into HD.

Fans who want to get into Trails from Zero will have to be fans of PlayStation Portable graphics. Aside from the visuals, this is one of the strongest RPGs of the year. The story of Lloyd Bannings and the Special Support Section’s battle to protect Crossbell City is nothing short of compelling, one that even people who missed the original Trails in the Sky trilogy can get into easily.

NEXT: 10 Biggest Disappointments In Gaming In 2022

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