The JRPG genre has since a resurgence lately. Titles like Monster Hunter World, Octopath Traveler, and Dragon Quest XI all released to great critical and fan acclaim in 2018 alone. Next year promises to bring even more promising games like Code Vein and long-awaited sequels to the Kingdom Hearts and Shin Megami Tensei franchises. Check out what other 2019 JRPGs you should keep on your radar below. Please don’t forget to get some fresh air in between all these major releases.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Kingdom Hearts III
If you’re a JRPG fan, then you’ve heard of Kingdom Hearts III by now. Since the last main entry’s release on PlayStation 2 back in 2005, passionate Keyblade wielders have gotten tons of spin-offs, prequels, and remasters across home console, handheld, and mobile platforms. The long-awaited sequel brings all these narrative threads and characters together to finally conclude the Dark Seeker Saga that began nearly two decades ago, and (hopefully) provide some clarity to everything that’s happened so far.
Transforming weapons, larger parties, and new Disney worlds inspired by Frozen, Big Hero 6, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc. look to usher the franchise into modernity when the game launches for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019. Let’s hope the Donald heals us more this time.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Code Vein
If you ever wanted an anime version of Dark Souls, Bandai Namco’s upcoming Code Vein for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC has got you covered. Made by the team that brought us the God Eater series, this post-apocalyptic JRPG will allow players to take on the role of a customizable vampire who gave up his or her humanity to live forever. From what fans have seen so far, Code Vein‘s dark, gothic world seems appropriate given its challenging gameplay, which tasks players with consuming enemy blood in order to acquire special abilities called Gifts. It’s creepy in the right way.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
If you have yet to discover what the Tales franchise is all about, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition may be a good place to start when it launches next year for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in celebration of its tenth anniversary. Even though its battle system is fairly accessible, the main draw of Vesperia is its strong cast of characters. This new version of the game promises to include an additional party member called Patty Fleur and introduces new cutscenes and skits that even diehard fans have never seen before. It may be worth checking out even if you’ve played it in the past.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Set for spring 2019, Fire Emblem: Three Houses will be the series’ first foray on Nintendo Switch. Fans of the franchise’s 3DS entries already know how addictive its turn-based strategy elements are, especially in the midst of battle. War could change in the blink of an eye if players don’t pay careful attention to where fighters are placed on a map. Three Houses promises to expand on this formula by introducing troop formulations and more training interactions with teammates. All of this added intricacy may help usher the tactics genre to more intelligent heights.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Shin Megami Tensei V
Originally announced at the Nintendo Switch reveal event last year, Shin Megami Tensei V will finally launch in 2019 and hopefully build on the greatness of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. The franchise’s signature demons will return, though developer Atlus has said that one of the team’s goals is to depict realistic characters struggling with issues like unemployment or early retirement.
Alongside the ability to fuse monsters together, players will be introduced to new mechanics that haven’t been featured in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise before. Unreal Engine 4 will expand upon what fans already know to potentially deliver on a worthwhile JRPG experience at home and on the go.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Yo-kai Watch 4
Yo-kai Watch 4 will look to revitalize Level-5’s popular series when it releases exclusively for Nintendo Switch in 2019. Nathan Adams will return alongside new characters from the Shadowside anime series and Shin Shimomachi and Nekomata from the recent Forever Friends film. The game will be playable entirely from a third-person perspective, which is a first for the series along with the ability to switch between protagonists whenever players see fit. It also won’t be split into two versions, meaning players will be able to get their Yo-kai Watch fix all in one convenient package.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – Town
Developer Game Freak knows how to make great JRPGs. It’s evident in the fun, addictive nature of its Pokemon series, which has scores of trainers around the world flock to stores each time a new entry in the franchise releases. Though we don’t know much about the game yet, Town looks like it’ll be a departure from the studio’s other games, namely in how players will be tasked with protecting a small village from monsters rather than encouraged to go on a journey of self-discovery. It’s an interesting concept that shakes up the genre’s story conventions. Here’s hoping it lives up to Game Freak’s pedigree whenever it releases for Nintendo Switch next year.
Best 2019 JRPGs to Look Forward To – The Eighth Generation of Pokemon Games
Game Freak is also cooking up a new mainline Pokemon JRPG for Nintendo Switch next year. We also don’t know much about this project either, though it’s a safe to assume that the game will build on the fantastic visuals of this year’s Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. There are also new monsters to consider like Zeraora, Meltan, and Melmetal. With Pokemon Go still doing well, it’ll be interesting to see if 2019’s Pokemon entries will continue to incorporate the mobile game to some degree or keep its new Pokedex entries solely on the hybrid console. Whatever the case may be, there are undoubtedly tons of fans out there who are hoping that these generation’s starters are as cute as Alola’s Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio.
Be it trips down memory lane or exciting new properties to sink our teeth into, each JRPG slated for next year looks like it will continue the genre’s popularity streak internationally. Though these games aren’t for everyone, their presence on marketplaces worldwide encourages the spread of ideas that we may not always consider in the West. Imagination is one of the best part of this medium. More of it is always a good thing.