The recent Suikoden I & II Remaster announcement sent shockwaves across the gaming sphere. Even though it was a matter of “when” rather than “if”, classic gamers surely lost their collective minds when this bombshell dropped.
With this duology out of the way and several JRPGs getting remade or remastered, one must beg the question of what else is left in the space that needs to be brought into the modern era. Well, it turns out there are a few more classic Japanese-made RPGs that could come back with a bit of a facelift.
The Legend of Dragoon
When this plucky PS1 JRPG first hit game store shelves, it was quickly written off as an FFVII wannabe. Oh, how wrong people were. The Legend of Dragoon was an excellent title that hit all the high notes.
The story was a gripping tale of reclamation with incredibly high stakes. Dart, the protagonist, was a highly likable character that, we dare say, was more relatable than Cloud Strife. The music and sound design felt epic with some very memorable tracks. All of these elements still paled in comparison to the gameplay. It married classic JRPG turn-based combat with fighting game mechanics that gave players a more active role during battle.
And, to top it all off, each party member could transform into a freaking dragon. We can’t sell this game any more than we have and it absolutely should come back as a remaster or remake.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Believe it or not, one of the best Mario games is the least Mario-like game ever made. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a turn-based JRPG that can be considered one of the best of the SNES era.
Borne out of a collaboration between Nintendo and Square (before they united with Enix), Super Mario RPG is one of the greatest stories the Italian Plumber has ever starred in. The game goes against so many conventions you are likely used to from his platforming adventures, including having Bowser as an actual party member.
The game feels fairly standard fare when compared to other Square JRPGs. However, it features the best Mario villain that never made an actual return, making it a game with a big baddie you actually want to go and punch in the face. If that’s not enough to hype this game up for a remaster or remake, we don’t know what else is.
It’s a JRPG in a Wild West setting. What else can we say? Wild Arms takes all of the classic JRPG tropes and bits you know and love and marries it with every Western storyline you can think of, creating one of the greatest genre mashups of all time.
The writing of the story feels very much like it came out of a series of mangas. However, the plot lines and threads that you follow throughout the game are distinctly reminiscent of old West films. The game was followed up four more times, with its second and third running being amazing pieces of gaming history.
The combat is tight and never gets old. The soundtrack is an intense mix of traditional JRPG tracks with Wild West undertones. It’s a title that is beyond worthy of being brought back with a remake or remaster.
Xenogears is a bit of a fever dream of a JRPG. It contains highly mature themes, such as religious fanaticism, child abuse, and what it even means to be alive. If the xeno prefix is giving you Xenoblade vibes then you wouldn’t be entirely far off. The creator of Xenogears and that of Xenoblade are one and the same, a man named Tetsuya Takahashi.
Although the game’s second half is considered to be largely unfinished and rushed, the first 50-60 hours are just chock full of quests, towns, and dungeons filled with content and plot points. The combat is also quite unique. Battles play out in two different types with the first having party members use their abilities to take down foes and, in the latter, they pilot giant robots, changing up the way combat flows entirely.
This one may not quite ever see the light of day as a remake or remaster but it’s definitely fun to dream about it happening.