Aside from a few exceptions (mainly Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix and Tales of Symphonia Chronicles), there hasn’t been a lot of JRPGs from the PS2 era to be remastered in HD for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. This is especially troubling for fans of the Japanese role-playing games as that particular genre has been declining on the console space, in terms of new high-profile releases, since the advent of high-definition gaming.
As a result, a lot of the new JRPG fans who started gaming on the PS3 and PS4 missed out on some of the best games the genre has to offer. Below is our top 10 PS2 JRPG series and games that should be remastered for the PS4 and PS3.
10. Shadow Hearts, Shadow Hearts: Covenant and Shadow Hearts: From the New World
Shadow Hearts is one of the most underrated JRPG series. For those unfamiliar with the games, the series is set in the early 1900s and stars a family of vampires. As if the unique setting wasn’t enough, the combat system is quite fun as well as you will need to time your button presses just right by using the Judgment Ring to get the most out of your action. The second game, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, is considered to the best out of the group.
9. Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2
Before developing Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and White Knight Chronicles, Level-5 gain notoriety with the Dark Cloud series on the PlayStation 2. In these games, you get to explore procedurally generated dungeons to find special items that will help you rebuild the worlds. The second game was able to perfect the formula from the first game, making the sequel a hit among fans of the genre who were looking for an unique experience in the JRPG genre.
8. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
The last major release for the Breath of Fire series, Dragon Quarter took a lot of risks from the gameplay perspective. Instead of one long continuous journey, the game is designed to be played in multiple playthroughs (as certain areas and scenes can only be unlocked based on a certain stat). You also have to deal limited amount of permanent saves and more. These unique twists made the fifth Breath of Fire installment one of the more unique experience in the genre.
Order Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, which was released in 2013, here.
7. Suikoden III, Suikoden IV and Suikoden V
While not as highly regarded as Suikoden II, the trilogy of PS2 Suikoden games are still great RPGs that provide some epic scenarios. Just like the previous games, you can recruit 108 characters to your army in addition to participating in large-scale battles. While Suikoden IV is considered a minor disappointment, III and V more than makes up for it if Konami ever decide to release a HD remastered trilogy for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.
6. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
The sequel to excellent PS1 game, Silmeria uses the same mix of 2D exploration with a combo-based battle system that maps your party members to the face buttons of your controller. It also has some of the Einherjar elements from the first game as you can send off select members of your party to earn rewards. With that said, you can now target specific parts of the enemy’s body, which adds another layer of strategy to an already deep and addicting experience. Not to mention that Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is already one of the better looking games on the PS2 that should look even better in HD.
Get Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria with this link.
5. Grandia 2, Grandia 3 and Grandia Xtreme
The Grandia series is home to one of the best battle systems for JRPG games. In addition to a time meter, you also have to take into account disctance of your party members along with being able to cancel out an opponent’ strikes. Once you get the hang of it, these fights are quite engaging as they will keep you on your toes. Grandia 2, while the best out of the PS2 releases, ran poorly on Sony’s second PlayStation console. So a remastered release for the PS4 and PS3 will do it wonders.
4. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse and Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra
Before the Xenoblade Chronicles series, Monolith Soft developed the Xenosaga trilogy for the PlayStation 2. The sci-fi role-playing games features an intricate plot with a lot of memorable characters. It even has some ties to Xenogears, another excellent RPG. Even though the series ended being half as long as intended, it is still pretty complete as it wrapped up the plot for the first three games. While the third installment is the best, including all three in a HD remastered collection is for the best due to the continuous storyline.
If you aren’t willing to wait, you can buy the PS2 versions right now on Amazon: Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse and Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra.
3. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Although both Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 were released near the end of the PS2’s lifespan, the two JRPGs left big marks for the system. The products combined social elements, such as building relationships with characters, with addicting role-playing gameplay. Not to mention that both titles have an excellent story backed by stellar presentations. While Persona 3 and Persona 4 have gotten remastered releases on portables, a lot of fans won’t mind a HD port to the PS3 and PS4 as well.
2. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
While the Dragon Quest series (also known in Japan as Dragon Warrior) has been a big hit in Japan, the JRPG series never really captured the imagination of western audiences. That is, until the release of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. The above-mentioned Level-5 did a stellar job by creating a stunning cel-shaded world that fits in perfectly with the epic journey vibe from the time-tested gameplay. With Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Heroes 2 arriving on the PS3 and PS4, perhaps Square Enix may think about a HD remastered release of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King as well to please PlayStation fans.
Order the eight mainline installment for the Dragon Quest series here.
1. Final Fantasy XII
Speaking of Square Enix, the publisher has already released several high-profile HD remastered collections such as Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix. So it would make a lot of sense for them to do a Final Fantasy XII Remaster as well for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
The original Final Fantasy XII was released near the end of the PS2 lifespan. As a result, it was overshadowed by the looming launch of the PS3. Those who skipped the game missed out on an excellent experience with a massive world to explore and plenty of content to delve into. The combat system was also deep as you can set how your team responds to any given situation. This can result in a lot of thrilling battles.
With a bit of luck, Square Enix will release a HD remastered version of Final Fantasy XII in the future. For now, you can order the PS2 game with this page.Hopefully, the upcoming Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 games will help revitalize the JRPG genre enough that companies will consider porting the above-mentioned PS2 games to the PS4 and/or PS3.