Turn-based RPGs are very popular in the past and are still extremely relevant in today’s game design. It is a genre that is catered to the intelligent and is seen as a more elegant way of playing a video game.
With so many titles to choose from, today, we’ve narrowed down the sea of turn-based RPGs into a list of 7 that you should definitely give a go during your gaming journey.
Of course, this list may or may not have your favourite titles in it as it is strictly opinion-based. Do take it with a grain of salt! And with that out of the way, let us begin with our picks of the best turn-based RPGs that you should be playing!
1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Usually, we would recommend the franchise instead of a title from the franchise but for newcomers, Three Houses is easily the more accessible of the FE games.
The combat system and game mechanics are much more modernised and streamlined than its predecessor which is great for players that are venturing into the genre for the first time. It’s much more accommodating and the game does well in holding a new player’s hand.
Also, fret not if you haven’t touched any of the previous FE titles. Three Houses is a title that is a standalone from the other FE games, so you will not miss out on any potential references.
Hence, if you’re looking for a place to start your FE adventure, you should definitely try out Three Houses first. Exclusively on the Switch, you can purchase the game using our Nintendo eShop card here!
2. Darkest Dungeon
Darkest Dungeon is possibly the hardest turn-based RPG there is. It’s super punishing and unforgiving, even for veteran players of the genre.
While its difficulty is often seen as its unique point, we like to think that Darkest Dungeon has other features that separate it from other RPGs. For instance, its grim and sinister aesthetic is ironically pleasing and its sound effects are super on point with its attack animations.
That said, Darkest Dungeon is a game where you need to keep on playing and experimenting to be good at it. It’s challenging but once you’ve beaten it, the sense of victory is very satisfying.
The Persona franchise is one of the few spin-offs that has overtaken its own main title and for good reason. The Persona games are designed to be more relevant for adult-teenagers with their inclusion of social elements and modern-day themes.
The general premise of the modern Persona games is that you play as this nameless high school student that has their fate intertwined with a series of events. As you progress, you will make invaluable connections that are indispensable to your journey.
For first-time Persona players, we recommend starting with Persona 5 Royal as it has the most welcoming mechanics and has way more content than its predecessors. And if you still need help with Royal, you can also check out our beginner’s guide for assistance.
For tactical-turn-based RPGs, the Disgaea games are severely underrated. The games have a good balance in difficulty and its cynical writing borders brilliantly between fun and mischievous.
Set within the Underworld, the Disgaea titles centre around unique characters that are associated with power, greed and ambition like Laharl, Etna and Adell. Gameplay-wise, the game is easy to learn and hard to master which is perfect for beginners and veterans alike.
For Disgaea, we recommend playing the game chronologically. This is because despite having their plot on its own, there are some contextual references that you might miss from past games.
The traditional Pokemon games are easily one of the most recognised RPGs out there and ‘to date, are still played by many gamers. The games are super easy to get into and combined with amazing soundtracks and visuals, there’s very little to dislike about the franchise.
With more than a decade of stellar track record, you can pick any Pokemon title from the franchise and it would still be enjoyable today. All of their games stood the test of time and for battle-hardened RPG players, these games can be seen as a good breather.
Of course, if you feel like the Pokemon games are too easy, there are many self-imposed challenges that you can try like speedrunning and the many variations of Nuzlockes.
6. Dragon Quest
Dragon Quest is another franchise that has been around forever and we’re not complaining. Similar to Fire Emblem, the DQ games have their own stories and their own set of characters. This means players will not need to have played the other DQ games to enjoy the entirety of these games.
As such, you can basically jump into any of the DQ titles without missing anything. Are you a big fan of retro RPGs with old-school aesthetics? Try out either Chapters of the Chosen or The Seeds of Salvation.
For more modernised and polished DQ titles, we recommend Echoes of an Elusive Age or the remake version of the Journey of the Cursed King for the 3DS.
7. Final Fantasy
It would be a crime to leave out the FF games on the list when we are talking about RPGs. Before Final Fantasy blew up on the main stage, the earlier FF titles were all turn-based RPGs and most of them had a place in veteran gamers’ hearts.
Although most current FF games are leaning more towards the action-RPG side, there are still remakes and remasters of the older games that are worth trying, even today.
What’s more, these older FF games are now made available on multiple platforms after being Nintendo-exclusive for so long. We figure that our younger audience might not have the chance to experience these classics, but they are certainly much more accessible now!
Wow! We’ve finally made it to the end! Hopefully, this list has inspired you to pick up some turn-based RPGs or even reignite your love for them! Also, if you got some recommendations of your own, feel free to leave down your suggestions in the comments below!