30 Best RPG Games For PlayStation 1 (Ranked) – Axiom Games
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FF9 Screenshot for PSX Fight Scene
The Super Nintendo RPG library could not be surpassed in any way, no one figured. But with a huge library of games that helped the genre thrive, the PS1 proved everyone wrong.
PRGs were able to shed the “niche” skin that was becoming too close with the PlayStation.
The original PlayStation role-playing library will not fail to monopolise your attention, with fast-paced action role-playing games, tactical titles, and conventional RPGs that twist the formula in clever ways.
Have a look at our top picks below if you’re trying to re-live those days.
30. The Legend of Legaia
Release Date: 29th of October, 1998
Like a well-worn glove, some games suit you. They’re doing just what you want them to do, but they’re doing it right.
What makes Legend of Legaia an enjoyable game is not the storey, characters, plot, or mechanics.
In favour of a system that allows players to unleash special attacks by combining two different forms of attack, much as in a fighting game, it is the brilliant battle system that removes the menu-based interface.
A true godsend is the many special attacks available. You’re going to spend a lot of time battling, all while traversing the globe to hunt for the Genesis Trees and save the planet from a mysterious illness.
It’s a lot of fun once you get there.
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29. Wild Guns
Wild Weapons PlayStation 1 Screenshot for Gameplay Red Redemption
Published Date: 20th of December, 1996
The Old, the Fierce West. Outlaws. Outlaws. With revolvers. Hunters of treasure. Of magic. Uh, castles. Oh. Dragons.
In a nutshell, Wild Guns.
A romantic atmosphere that blends Old West aesthetics with European fantasy elements is featured in Wild Weapons.
It produces a rare combination that to this day is still unrivalled.
Although the PS1 game’s plot eventually becomes the standard good vs. evil affair, the gameplay makes the entire experience unforgettable.
Complete with clever puzzles that will continuously drive your knowledge of the mechanics further, if you have good turn-based combat and Zelda-inspired dungeon exploration.
If you dig this tag, then definitely take a look at our choices for the whole series. The Wild Arms franchise has a lotta jewels.
28. Eve Parasite
Parasite Eve PlayStation 1 Screenshot for Gaming
Release Date: 29th of March, 1998
A game of survival-horror-role-playing? That’s a mouthful now!
Parasite Eve is among the most unique role-playing games ever released, mixing traditional RPG Tekken mechanics with the cinematic approach of horror games.
Players must unravel the events linked to a very enigmatic living being named Eve, pursuing New York cop Aya Brea.
Finally, we seem to find that it is always human beings who are the only dangers to themselves.
The battle system and the great storey make Parasite Eve a game worth playing, although the RPG setup is not especially deep. In the dark, please don’t play it all alone. Eve can make the decision to pay a visit.
27. The Lad Collection Arc
Arc the Lad PlayStation 1 Gameplay List Screenshot
Release Date: 18th of April, 2002
We are cheating the scheme with the Arc The Lad Set.
But when you have three fantastic games so closely entangled, what are we going to do?
Packing the first three entries in the Arc the Lad series together was a rather clever step that demonstrated one of the best characteristics of the series: continuity.
The series’ rather conventional tactical role-playing experience is elevated by the great development of worldbuilding and character, which begins in Arc the Lad relatively easy, then reaches unprecedented heights in its sequels.
Of course, the game does not look as amazing as other PlayStation 1 role-playing games.
But would you really complain if you had too much quality on your hands?
26. Hearts Vandal
Vandal Hearts PlayStation 1 Screenshot for Gaming
Release Date: 25th of October, 1996
To be fun, tactical RPGs don’t always need to be complex.
And this is clearly shown by Vandal Hearts to be real.
A very basic tactical role-playing game that rides on the coattails of the Shining Force series is Vandal Hearts.
Players must take down a corrupt government and save a country from shame in a simple turn-based tactical combat system by controlling a band of warriors led by Ash.
Although limited customization and map design options sound dated, Vandal Hearts’ rock-paper-scissor framework and fast-pace is an engaging experience. Even if it won’t exactly make you a master of tactics.
Alundra PlayStation 1 Screenshot for Gameplay
Release Date: 11th April, 1997
What’s going to happen in our dreams has to remain there. The subconscious can be a place of risk.
For a very long time, with its top-down view, detailed 2D graphics, emphasis on dungeon discovery, and puzzle-solving, Alundra has been regarded as the poor man’s Legend of Zelda.
This analogy, while fitting, does not do justice to the great puzzle and dungeon design of the game.
Some of them are set within the dreams of characters!
Take this along with light elements of platforming, excellent combat, tight controls, and a tale that will pull your heart strings mercilessly.
24. Mana’s Legend
Legend of Mana PlayStation 1 Screenshot Gameplay
Release Date: 15th of July, 1999
Mana’s Legend does a lot of things right.
In particular, it doesn’t rest on the laurels of its legacy.
Mana’s legend takes any trait seen in its predecessors to a whole new level.
With a hand-drawn 2D style that oozes charm, graphics are gorgeous; combat is as engaging as ever, simple and thrilling, featuring various styles of weapons and unique special attacks.
The mechanics of discovery are also highly innovative. This allows the world map to be generated and the elemental properties of each place to be influenced.
With such great consistency, one has to wonder why the Legend of Mana is not as celebrated as the Mystery of Mana.
The response is straightforward: nostalgia.
23. Dragoon’s Legend
Dragoon’s Legend PlayStation 1 Gameplay Screenshot
Date of Release: December 2, 1999
There’s a certain allure to the color-coded heroes, clear bad guys, and streamlined storey.
Controlling Dart as he sets out on a quest for vengeance, you have to lead a party of heroes in Legend of Dragoon with the ability to transform into winged warriors clearly identified by colours.
Which dampens the development of characters and storeys a little bit.
But for a cause, this game is revered: it’s fun to play.
While the turn-based fighting scheme is the only thing that rises from the ordinary, if you don’t have too high standards, Legend of Dragoon is still a very enjoyable RPG.
22. Search of the Dragon VII
Dragon Quest VII PlayStation 1 Screenshot for Gameplay
Release Date: 26th of August, 2000
Evem, with a leap to 3D graphics, does not get more classic than in the Dragon Quest series.
Dragon Quest VII is certainly a title that rewards commitment, with one of the longest intros ever seen in a role-playing game.
This is because, like the robust work system, many features open up after hours of play.
It doesn’t make it a game for beginners with the classic turn-based fighting system with first-person camera view and the episodic feel of the plot.
But if you’re willing to commit, you’re going to find a more-than-satisfactory game with a storey that hits the human heart a little more than normal.
21. Frontier II of SaGa
SaGa Frontier II Gameplay for PlayStation 1 Screenshot
Date of Release: April 1, 1999
You never get your route handed down in life.
You have to forge your own, as in the SaGa film,
However, in a somewhat surprising twist, this notion is eliminated by SaGa Frontier II.
Instead it offers a more linear adventure that results all the way through in a tighter experience.
However more linear doesn’t mean straightforward. As you have two distinct storeys to follow, which are not always portrayed in chronological order.
Same with the fighting system: while it was made easier to grasp the turn-based combat system, you still have to deal with some obscure levelling mechanics, assigning battle positions, finding techs, and blowing out those destructive combo assaults.
Twenty. Fire Breath IV
Breath of Fire IV Gameplay for PlayStation 1 Screenshot
Release Date: 27th of April, 2000
Traditions are significant. And no one honours them as much as the franchise’s Breath of Fire.
The wheel does not reinvent Breath of Fire IV. He’s not really trying to do that.
Starring Ryu, a young man who can become a dragon, the players follow Wyndia Nina’s princess on her quest to find her missing sister.
And what a voyage it is!
Packed with fun characters, like a living armour suit, beautiful areas, and plenty to fight enemies.
All of this is bundled in a classic turn-based combat system that allows you to move characters on the fly and combine special attacks for huge damage together.
A typical day’s work in any hardcore RPG fan’s lifetime.
19. Destiny II Tales
Tales of Destiny II PlayStation 1 Screenshot of Gameplay
Release Date: 11th of September, 2001
There is absolutely little in common with fighting games and role-playing games.
And yet a creator worked some magic right here to mash them together masterfully.
Tales of Destiny II, also known as Tales of Eternia, at first glance, is a very by-the-books JRPG.
But appearances are very deceiving here as during fights, the game actually plays like a 2D fighting game.
You can unleash up to one playable character in real time by controlling any of the playable characters.
Published Date: 18th December, 1997
No other PlayStation 1 RPG, like Grandia, manages to capture the true spirit of adventure.
The sound of the entire adventure is what makes Grandia so unforgettable.
It is whimsical, it is joyous, and like no other game does it conveys a feeling of excitement.
You are also left curious about what lies on the other side, with the planet separated by a giant wall. And once you get there, all of your aspirations are still met.
This will keep you hooked with solid RPG gameplay that enables deep customization of every charming and well-developed character.
It also features a turn-based combat system with real-time elements and a great deal of additional content, and it’s really just a fun experience.
Grandia is an experience that will stay with you for so long that your adventurous spirit is never hindered by any wall.
17. Lunar: Story of the Silver Star Complete
Release Date: 25th of October, 1996
In 1992, coming of age storeys likely hit their height, making for perfect material for a great remake!
Lunar: A remake of an older SEGA CD RPG, Silver Star Story Complete, is as classic as it comes.
Together with his childhood friend Luna, a young boy named Alex ventures out into the world, encountering a charming cast of characters on the way.
And in order to gain legendary status as the new Dragonmaster, they end up having to take on a great evil (it seems like a standard RPG here).
With its clunky inventory system, and a progression that needs a bit of grinding, the game shows its era. Not to mention a fairly sluggish turn-based combat system… so you can not completely appreciate this one if you’re tight on time.
But if you let these little bugs deter you, one of the most adorable storeys from the classic JRPG title will be missing.
16. VIII Final Fantasy
Published Date: 11th of February, 1999
The first of the numerous entries in the series that you can find here is Final Fantasy VIII.
I’m not biassed, though. It’s just that there are such good FF games.
Due to some gameplay design decisions that make it very easy to break the difficulty level of the game, Final Fantasy VIII is undoubtedly among the most contentious entries in the series.
The game is still a great RPG even with these problems, however.
The adventure of Squall is a memorable journey told through various timelines that explore themes such as duty, honour, and love.
It might not hit the Final Fantasy VII and IX standards of perfection, but it’s always deserving of the name Final Fantasy. And completely worth playing if you haven’t already.
And you can grab the remastered edition to give it a try if you have a newer PS console.
A fifteen. Persona 2: Eternal Retribution
Release Date: 29th of June, 2000
Does it sound odd to dial your own number to invoke the enigmatic Joker?
You really haven’t seen anything!
In Persona 2: Eternal Retribution, Maya Amano’s pursuit of the awful Joker is one of the most unforgettable RPG encounters on PlayStation 1.
Thanks mainly to the elegant way it is portrayed, the deep characters, and the themes.
With contemporary problems such as information manipulation, the game resounds, it will keep you hooked.
It has some fantastic gameplay elements, like most RPGs, such as the ability to negotiate with demons in combat.
The slow turn-based combat system feels dated, but everything else is on a completely different level. Making Persona 2: Eternal Punishment a stronger game than the rest of the series, in certain respects.
Uh. 14. Mission 3 of the Front
Date of Release: September 2, 1999
For a long time, controlling big colourful mechs has been every kid’s dream.
Will it be the same with tank-like mechanics?
Front Mission 3 is a huge tactical role-playing game set in the near future with an intricate, political-focused storey.
It’s complete with two branching plots that will place you on the side of either the Cooperative Union of Oceania or the Da Han Zhong People’s Republic.
You’ll be driving powerful mechs called Wanzers, no matter what faction you choose, and you’ll love it.
With different parts and guns, you can easily customise them and unleash hell on your enemies at every step.
They do not fire rockets from their fingers or their eyes with laser beams. But they still constitute a power to be dealt with.
13. 13. Musashi’s Courageous Fencer
Release Date: 16th of July 1998
The legendary roaming samurai Miyamoto Musashi, in a single duel, not only killed 50 warriors.
He saved the kingdom of Allucaneet, too. Yes: everything-you-can-eat.
A lighthearted action RPG that never fails to bring a smile to the face of everyone, particularly hardcore fans, is Brave Fencer Musashi.
There’s a lot to love, with its vibrant world, an excellent cast of characters, whimsical prose, a catchy soundtrack, and fantastic gameplay mechanics.
Musashi, having been summoned from another world to the Allucaneet Empire, must battle an army of baddies & huge bosses, all to steal their right to enter more places.
You will discover secrets along the way and steal even more skills, building a gameplay loop that feels unbelievably addictive.
So much so that you would wish that you could be the one to be summoned to the kingdom.
12. Cross of Chrono
Published Date: 18th of November, 1999
It can be very disheartening to have an older brother who’s considered great at all as Chrono Cross knows well.
Though Chrono Trigger is definitely not iconic, Chrono Cross is an outstanding role-playing game that doesn’t deserve to be as undervalued as it is.
Of course, the excessive number of characters meant that most of them were not properly created.
But unforgettable is the main cast. It has a terrific soundtrack. And in some very fascinating ways, the storey extends the world introduced in Chrono Trigger, all without falling into the normal trappings of unreliable time travel.
Chrono Cross has every right to be regarded as a worthy successor to Chrono Trigger, with a special growth mechanism and experimental turn-based fighting. No matter what others might suggest, it’s worth a playthrough.
11. Ogre Tactics: Let Us All Cling
Ogre Tactics: Let Us Cling Together PlayStation 1 Screenshot of Gameplay
Date of Release: October 6, 1995
Do 2D graphics and easy character creation carry your mind to simple role-playing games? Yeah, how incorrect you are.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together explores some of the most mature concepts a tactical role-playing game has ever seen.
And it evolves them in the best possible way: you have no choice but to do things right if you have to negotiate with warring kingdoms that use ethnic cleansing as an excuse.
And if this wasn’t enough, you’ll be pushed in the game to make some morally grey decisions.
Not only can these actions impact the storey going forward, but they also test your beliefs. This is an actual page-gaming turner’s counterpart.
Tactics Ogre: LUCT is certainly perfect for those who want a game that puts it all on the line, combined with a demanding tactical RPG experience.
10. Vagrant Story Vagrant Story
Release Date: 10th of February, 2000
A one-man badass army. Magical town.
Conspirators who dress as the world’s saviours.
One of the most thrilling RPGs ever released.
With a fantasy world, Vagrant Tale almost feels like a Metal Gear Solid game.
We meet Riskbreaker Ashley, who alone must enter the abandoned town of Lea Monde, armed only with his wits and his experience. The city is a sanctuary for dragons, the undead, and a plethora of deadly creatures to battle in a highly strategic manner.
And it will become second nature with the battle system. To target particular body parts, you can even stop time!
Vagrant Story is not exactly a game that is available. But if you’re not afraid to learn complicated mechanics, you can choose your mystical Grimoire right now and go straight to Lea Monde.
9. The Ocean of Stars: The Second Story
Release Date: 30th of July, 1998
RPGs are not necessarily just about complex structures of war.
They’re all about mashing keys and smashing enemies occasionally.
Star Ocean: The Second Story greatly propelled the series forward with further outer space travel and action on underdeveloped worlds.
Not to mention an expanded combat environment where characters are managed to unleash special attacks and spells in real-time. And the special method of Private Action, which enables players to complete side quests based on individual party members. In the game, these side-quests almost feel like a staple.
Star Ocean: The Second Story is as fantastic a playthrough as it is one of the strongest in the entire game, with two separate main plots, and a large variety of potential endings. The best on the PS1, certainly.
8. III Breath of Fire
Release Date: 11th September, 1997
They all love dragons. So everyone should also love Breath of Fire III.
For Breath of Fire III, the jump to 3D graphics did wonders, enabling developers to enrich a fairly standard JRPG with a massively detailed environment.
The setting feels so inhabited by a lively cast of characters and NPCs that exploring it is really a nice treat.
You will encounter a charming coming of age storey with the world at stake, controlled by Ryu, a young boy who can transform into a dragon.
With him and his mates, you’ll laugh and weep. The boundless world will amaze you.
To build the ideal dragon shape, you’ll splice genes and I’d say you’re most certainly going to rage as you burn down your enemies in turn-based combat.
Intense. Intense. Breath of Fire III is what it is.
7. Profile Valkyrie
Odin may be the Allfather, but for him he always needs someone to do his filthy job.
In favour of a more open-ended scheme, Valkyrie Profile breaks up the linear progression seen in most games. And it works beautifully.
Controlling the Chooser of the Slain Lenneth, in search of brave souls to train, players discover a wide world and then send them to Valhalla. Anything so that they can fight in the incoming .
Training these warriors means fighting enemies in a strange combat systRagnarokem that assigns one of the face buttons to each player, each to unleash attacks that can also be combined together.
It takes a little time to get used to it, but it’s really fun.
However, failure is still around the corner. And if you do not satisfy the Father, you will be punished. When in service of the gods, no slacking is tolerated.
6. Castlevania: The Night’s Symphony
What’s a guy? A wretched pile of secrets.
What’s that vampire? The protagonist of one of the finest games ever made.
A masterful blend of platform, action, and role-playing game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night defies any classification under the sun.
Players explore a massive castle to avoid a ritual that would bring the count back to life, manipulating Count Dracula’s son Alucard. Possibly before feeding on them to deliver those really corny lines about humans.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is rightly considered one of the best video games ever made, with tight controls, excellent platforming, a wide range of weapons, and epic boss battles.
And one of the best RPGs of the PS1 era, no doubt.
5. II Suikoden
Published Date: 17th of December, 1998
Not quite a revolutionary game is the original Suikoden.
But its foundations were so good that this masterpiece resulted from only a few tweaks.
Like its predecessor, Suikoden II plays a lot. In order to defeat a tyrannical government that has threatened peace, you power a young revolutionary and his army once more. But the execution is the one that makes all the difference.
Incredible is the scale of the universe. No longer are the 108 Stars of Destiny all glorified castle butlers.
In addition, the turn-based fighting has been further refined, making it feel much better than previous games.
And the bond between the main trio is so well formed that it is difficult to hold back tears just to see how their once easy lives were affected by the war.
It strikes hard when Suikoden II hits.
4. IX of Final Fantasy
The movie, Final Fantasy, is like a river.
It flows, but it still returns to the sea from which it originated.
Final Fantasy IX goes back to the origins of the series with a lovely mediaeval setting full of character, away from the steampunk setting seen in the seventh and eight entries.
It offers a tale that combines humour and drama masterfully, and holds you hooked to the very end.
It really has a good and well-developed main cast as well and a simpler customization framework.
FF9 is still an epic journey that no self-respecting RPG fan can miss, despite the drastic shift in sound. The Tantalus Theater Troupe does not set its eyes on its wealth and its princesses.
3. Tactics for Final Fantasy
Release Date: 20th of June, 1997
A spin-off, rather than a numbered main entry, is one of the best Final Fantasy games ever.
That’s going to teach you to underestimate them as minor games!
Players get to discover a plot that is going to alter Ivalice’s political environment and the essence of the planet itself, after the estranged nobleman Ramza Beoulve.
You can use them as an excuse to indulge in the great tactical turn-based combat system and the awesome job system, if you’re not really into all these machinations.
Seriously, it’s all about playability in this game.
Jobs have so many customization possibilities that you will be sucked into a vacuum by designing the ideal device, which will emerge just tens of hours later, broadsword in hand and Black Mage hat on your head.
2. Xenogears Xenogears
Published Date: 11th of February, 1998
It’s never been as engaging as in Xenogears to contemplate the nature of the universe.
22 years have passed since the game’s release. And no other RPG in terms of plot complexity has since tried to come close to it.
Fei’s journey through the world outside of Lahan, heavily inspired by the works of Friederich Nietzsche, Carl Jung, and many other thinkers, does not only turn into a journey to maintain humanity and a journey into the deepest recesses of the mind.
It is here that we understand that it is easier to leave certain stuff untouched.
There is a lot to the excellent plot, combined with a wonderful world and character design. It has a very unique perspective on turn-based fighting that provides a more hands-on approach to players as well.
And a soundtrack that melts your ears with pleasure. The whole way to Classic JRPG songs.
This makes Xenogears one of the greatest, and undoubtedly the most profound, Japanese role-playing games ever published.
1. Final Fantasy VII The Final Fantasy
Release Date: 31st of January, 1997
Final Fantasy VII is a game that has stood the test of time so well that its prestige can not be dented, even by its new remake.
Final Fantasy VII, on PlayStation 1, is not just the best Japanese role-playing game ever released.
But it’s probably one of the best video games ever made.
The tale is as deep as the Pacific, tracking the mercenary Cloud Strife and his companions as they embark on a quest to save the world. It deals with subjects such as politics & the nature of life and death, none of which is impeded by the extremely dry localization of English.
The playable cast is unforgettable and well created, and I urge everyone who has played the game to state that they have not shed a tear witnessing a single event. The one, you know.
The excellent combat system of FF7 offers a lot of options for customization, exactly as you would expect from a top-tier JRPG.
And this sounds like the icing on a very tasty cake that should be eaten by any fan of role-playing games until they are finished, then ask for seconds.