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50 Legendary RPGs - Playstation (PSX)

By Edited Jan 13, 2014 1 2

Chrono Trigger PSX

For long have video gaming been an important and ever-growing industry in entertainment. Many genres were born through the years, and one in particular had stood out for for its focus on fantastic plots and longevity. I'm talking about the role-playing game (RPG). It's a somewhat recent genre actually, looking back into video gaming history when simulation, shooters and fighters dominated the arcades. The RPG usually has you take control of a hero, who embarks in a fantastic quest to save the world from some evil plot.

A particularity of the RPG, which I adore, is the fact that your characters suffer an evolution as you go along, an evolution that is crucial to surpass newer obstacles and defeat stronger enemies. There is usually a lot of magic, monsters and legendary weapons in these games and the length of the stories are notable. This list is a comprehensive look on many of the most popular RPG titles that came out during the Playstation years, a golden time in my opinion, and the one which I'm most familiarized with.


Squaresoft/Square EA - Maker of epics

Square, probably the most famous and regarded developer and publisher of RPG games. They are particularly known for the incredibly popular Final Fantasy series, games that introduced and addicted many players to the world of RPG games. 

-Final Fantasy VII (1997): The most popular RPG of all time. FFVII revolutionized with its epic story and gameplay.

-Parasite Eve (1998): Not your typical RPG. A sci-fi cinematic experience of a large scale.

-Xenogears (1999): There's a lot to say about Square's early titles. Xenogears used an original concept and mechas to create one of the best RPGs ever.

-Chrono Trigger (1999): Another popular gem, considered the best RPG of all time by many fans. Released later in a double-feature edition with FFIV.

-Final Fantasy VIII (1999): My very first RPG. Despite being the black sheep of the PSX final fantasy fantasy due to its different gameplay, this game is full of nostalgic value, great characters and a memorable story. 

-Final Fantasy Anthology (1999): A port of classics: FFV and FFVI. Favorites among Final Fantasy hardcore fans.

-Parasite Eve II (2000)

-Front Mission 3 (2000)

-Saga Frontier 2  (2000)

-Vagrant Story (2000): Another odd RPG that I loved. The concept of the game is not for everyone and is hard to grasp. The story is a fantastic mix of mystery and magic in a plot that ranks as one of the best ever in RPG history.

-Legend of Mana (2000) A revolution in non-linear gameplay, where the player can even shape his own world.

-Threads of Fate (2000) An action-RPG similar to Legend of Mana in gameplay, but with a charming story of its own.

-Chrono Cross (2000):  The sequel to the legendary Chrono Trigger. It also became an instant classic.

-Final Fantasy IX (2000) The FF that went back to RPG roots and created a simple, emotional and enjoyable game with unique characters.

-Final Fantasy Chronicles (2001): Another port of memorable oldies: FFIV and the classic Chrono Trigger.

-Final Fantasy Tactics (2001) Another favorite. A strategy-based RPG and the best Final Fantasy game according to fans.

-Saga Frontier (2002): A re-launch of the classic in the PS.

-Final Fantasy Origins (2003, at this time published by Square Enix):  Square going back to the origins. A port of what started it all, FFI and FFII.

For a more detailed look into the Final Fantasy games during the Playstation years, please refer to The Final Fantasy Series, or to Square EA Masterpieces, for other legendary Square RPG games not part of the Final Fantasy license.

Parasite Eve
Amazon Price: $45.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 13, 2014)
From the same team behind the scenes of FFVII, Parasite Eve is a unique RPG, or more like, a cinematic sci-fi gaming experience of unparalleled precedents, that will take you on a journey of thrills and intensity like few RPGs will ever manage to do.


Now Square Enix

If long-rival Square made RPGs popular worldwide, Enix was the company that actually launched the first game that got the RPG label. It all started with Dragon Warrior, the first title of the actual Dragon Quest series, on the NES. The game revolutionized gameplay and introduced a new genre, eventually becoming one of the leading RPG game series and the most popular RPG title in Japan. Enix merged with Square in 2003. 

-Star Ocean: The Second Story (1998)

-Valkyrie Profile (1999)

-Dragon Warrior VII (2001)

Refer to Enix Gems to learn more about these legendary titles.


It's not all about Metal Gear and Silent Hill

The number of legends in all genres that Konami released through the years is admirable. And they had their fair share in the RPG domain as well, with what became one of the most sought out RPG titles of all time, becoming an authentic relic and priceless game for RPG collectors.  

-Vandal Hearts (1996)

-Suikoden (1996): The prequel of one of the most sought out RPG games ever. Its sequel made it famous!

-Suikoden II  (1999): That relic of a game is Suikoden II. There were not many editions of the game released, but it was so talked and its demand became so high that it sells for hundreds of dollars now!

-Vandal Hearts 2 (1999)

Vandal Hearts
Amazon Price: $110.35 Buy Now
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If you lust for more gameplay in a similar fashion to that of Final Fantasy Tactics, this Konami little gem can satisfy that need to indulge in more strategy based RPG goodness, through the immersive gameplay and impressive 32-bit visuals of Vandal Hearts.


A favorite in Japan

ATLUS is another company with numerous RPG titles released, including real-time and strategy RPG games. Contrary to Square, though, ATLUS real popularity in America only started with the Shin Megami Tensei series on the PS2.  It still released real gems in America back in the PSX days.

-Persona (1996): Ridiculously expensive rare gem!

-Tactics Ogre (1998)

-Brigandine: Legend of Forsena (1998)

-Thousand Arms (1998)

-Persona 2: Innocent Sin (1999): Sadly, never released outside Japan.

-Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (2000)

-Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (2000): A continuation to Innocent Sin. This one saw an American release and was very well received for its dark and immersive plot. 


Everyone wanted to get into the RPG popularity

An arcade and horror specialist (I'm a great fan of the Resident Evil series!) that at some point, decided to delve into the RPG realm as well. The highlight was the epic Breath of Fire series with two games released on the Playstation. 

-Breath of Fire III (1998): Another rare game, only really for the collectors. 

-Breath of Fire IV (2000)

Breath of Fire 4
Amazon Price: $124.97 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 13, 2014)
A simple fantasy RPG that became immensely popular on the Playstation, bringing much deserved fame to the Breath of Fire franchising. Many fans have appointed this as the best title of the saga. It has also became one of those mandatory game choices for casual RPG gamers branching out of Square titles.
Its elusive PS prequel, became more accessible to gamers, since it got a PSP port.

Game Arts

Releasing little wonders

May seem like a smaller company compared to giants like Square or Konami, but it has a handful of games considered to be the finest and best RPGs of all time by many RPG hardcore players and collectors.

-Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (1999): Completely reworked 32-bit version of the RPG classic.

-Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (1999): Returning to the world of Lunar in another relaunch of the legend initially released for the Sega CD.

-Grandia (2000): Another contender for the best RPG ever. 80 hours of intensive gameplay in an engaging story.


From arcades to tales

Another arcade specialist, developer of my beloved fighter, Tekken. They branched out into the world of RPGs specializing in the "Tales of" series, games that I unfortunately have never had the chance to play. 

-Tales of Destiny (1998): This very popular RPG has become incredibly rare and unaffordable!

-Tales of Phantasia (1998): Unfortunately, another elusive title to westerners.

-Tales of Destiny II (2001):  Suffers from the same syndrome of its prequel. They had PS2 remakes, but they never saw American releases!

Tales of Destiny
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jan 13, 2014)
Alongside rare gems like Valkyrie Profile, Suikoden II, or Persona, this is one only for the real hardcore collectors! Though there are fewer and fewer copies available, there is always the much cheaper PS2 remake of the game available for those just wanting to play this little wonder. It must be imported, though!


Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc

Of course Sony appears when talking Playstation! As a game developer, its share of RPG titles wasn't impressive. However, they did publish a considerate number of little gems on the PSX under their logo, that are among the favorites of many RPG enthusiasts.

-Wild Arms (1997): An engaging RPG adventure that saw its popularity rise in the US.

-Alundra (1997): An interesting action-RPG that drew attention. It has a poor sequel.

-Wild Arms 2 (2000): The sequel to the popular Wild Arms was also very well received.

-The Legend of Dragoon (2000): Sony's attempt to compete with the likes of Final Fantasy! Mixed receptions aside, this RPG came to garner a large fan base.

-Arc the Lad (2010) The odd strategy RPG trilogy that redefined the genre. 

-Arc the Lad II (2010) Released in 2001 in Japan, english speakers only saw its release in 2010 through a special edition!

-Arc the Lad III (2010) You can find the trilogy available on the Playstation 3 Online Store, as many others of these classics, otherwise inaccessible.


I swear they are not just fillers!

To finish the 50 worthy titles of this Playstation dedicated RPG List, I give you these last three shadowy figures.

-Legend Of Legaia (1999): Probably the worthiest RPG game of this last bunch, Legend of Legaia offered originality and difficulty, in a RPG where character skills are combos!

-Koudelka (1999): Like Parasite Eve, this game is a deviation from the traditional RPG. It's a gothic horror tale and graphic mystery adventure that has its merits and flaws. 

-RPG Maker (2000): What better way to finish a RPG list other than with the game that allows you to create your own RPG adventure!

RPG Maker
Amazon Price: $69.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 13, 2014)
Not for the hardcore collectors since it not really an epic story or gaming experience, nor is it particularly expensive. It is really aimed at the hardcore RPG gamer at heart! With tools that allow you to create the world, towns, characters, weapons and even skills of your own playable RPG, this game can prove to be one of the most immersive and interactive games for fans of the genre! Albeit that it will be one arduous task, given the complexity of this surprisingly complete game. Again, not really for the impatient gamer, or casual RPG player!

That's it folks. A RPG list of 50 titles that any RPG collector, hardcore game, enthusiast or casual gamer can take something from. As you can imagine, I haven't played half of these games (yet), but as an avid fan of the genre and of my times with the legendary system that was the Playstation, I searched and researched and chose the 50 RPG titles that I think are the best and worthiest to mention for this classic system!

Good Game!



Apr 9, 2013 10:46pm
Aw, man. You missed the best "Tales of" Series. Tales of Symphonia.

I'm sad Radiata Stories did not make the cut, but that is by no means a legendary RPG. It is a fantastic game, but hardly anyone played it.
Apr 10, 2013 12:03am
Thanks for the comment, but this list is PSX only!
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