I can’t lie, PlayStation 1 nostalgia hits me hard and often. There was something about that little blocky grey console that took video games beyond cartridges and into much more dynamic experiences. Clearly, the best PS1 RPGs took home console roleplaying to the next level.
And this was definitely THE era for Square, so don’t be surprised if you find a recurring theme in this Top 10 list. What can we say? They were on fire!
So, dust off that old console, pop in a disc, enjoy that iconic boot sound, and prepare to check our the best PlayStation 1 RPGs of all time!
Read More: The Best RPGs for the PSP
10. Star Ocean: The Second Story
Our intergalactic adventure begins with Star Ocean: The Second Story.
You’re tasked with exploring the vastness of space. You’ll recruit a diverse cast of characters. You and your team will work to prevent an impending cosmic disaster. The gameplay centers on real-time combat and private actions that shape character relationships. There are multiple story paths based on your chosen protagonist.
What makes it shine? The ambitious scope of its narrative with its detailed and varied character arcs. The innovative real-time combat system makes this a beloved entry in the RPG genre.
9. Wild Arms
Saddle up, cowboy, because Wild Arms invites you to a world of gunslingers, ancient technology, and mystical creatures.
You aim to prevent the resurrection of an ancient evil. More so than six shooters, you’ll use the power of ARMs, ancient relics with magical properties. The gameplay is a mix of turn-based combat and puzzle-solving with unique tools. You’ll also explore the immersive Wild West-inspired world.
Why is this game so beloved? First, it’s the fusion of Playstation 1 RPG elements with a Western aesthetic. Next, it’s the memorable characters and the fantastic soundtrack. All this makes it a standout title in the PlayStation 1 library.
8. Breath of Fire IV
Breath of Fire IV takes you on a journey through a beautifully animated world where dragons and humans coexist.
Your objective is to navigate political intrigue and unravel the mysteries of the Endless. They’re powerful beings with the ability to shape reality. The play fuses turn-based combat and dragon transformations. The narrative unfolds through the perspectives of two protagonists.
What makes it a standout? Its vibrant hand-drawn visuals and the strategic depth of combat. The emotional resonance of the characters makes it a classic in the RPG pantheon.
7. Parasite Eve
Enter the world of mitochondria and mutated horrors in Parasite Eve.
Your assignment is to unravel the mysteries behind Eve. She’s a woman with the power to manipulate DNA and set the world ablaze. The gameplay combines real-time combat, blending gunplay with Playstation 1 RPG elements. Along the way, you’ll navigate a beautifully recreated New York City.
What makes this game shine? The fusion of survival horror and RPG elements. The chillingly atmospheric soundtrack will haunt your memory. The cinematic storytelling will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Get ready for the enigmatic and philosophical journey of Xenogears.
Your goal is to uncover the mysteries of ancient civilizations. As you do, you’ll have to grapple with existential questions that would make Sartre proud. The play features turn-based combat and giant mech battles. The narrative weaves elements of religion, psychology, and giant robot anime.
Why do gamers cherish it? The intricate plot, the complex characters, and the sheer ambition of the game. This one has become a cult classic.
5. Legend of Mana
Continuing our RPG extravaganza is Legend of Mana, a game that’s like an interactive work of art.
Your responsibility is to restore a world using magical items called Artifacts. The gameplay combines real-time combat and a unique system of placing locations on a world map. You’ll craft your own golems and magical instruments.
What makes this game special? Firstly, its hand-drawn art style. There’s also its non-linear narrative that lets you shape the world. Last but certainly not least, is the whimsical charm that permeates every pixel.
Read More: The Best RPGs For Playstation 3
4. Vagrant Story
Vagrant Story is not your typical RPG, but it’s a masterpiece nonetheless.
You’ll find yourself navigating a haunted city. You’ll uncover the mysteries of an ancient cult. The gameplay fuses real-time combat with a unique Risk and Reward system. There’s puzzle-solving to be done. You’ll also craft your own weapons and armor.
What draws people in? For sure, it’s the dark and atmospheric setting. Gamers love the complex weapon customization system. The narrative unfolds like a Gothic novel, rich with political intrigue and supernatural horrors.
3. Suikoden II
In the realm of epic tales, Suikoden II stands tall.
You’re given the mission to thwart a political conspiracy. It’s your job to prevent a war that could tear the world apart. The play involves turn-based combat. You’ll do so with a massive party of 108 recruitable characters and participate in large-scale battles. You also have to manage your own castle.
What makes this game special? The interconnected world, for sure. The emotional depth of its characters is engaging. Most of all, there’s the sheer audacity of assembling an army that could blot out the sun.
2. Chrono Cross
Chrono Cross is a mind-bending journey through parallel worlds and temporal paradoxes.
You’ll find yourself navigating a world on the brink of dimensional collapse. The gameplay is centered on turn-based combat. You’ll recruit a cast of 45 playable characters. You’re constantly challenged to solve puzzles that warp your understanding of reality.
Why is it revered? Lots of reasons. The dreamlike art style. The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. A narrative that blurs the lines between hero and villain — need I say more?
1. Final Fantasy VII
Topping the list is the game that practically needs its own holiday — Final Fantasy VII.
Your mission is to save the planet from the megalomaniacal Sephiroth. The gameplay offers enough combinations to make your head spin. Foremost is turn-based combat and a sprawling world map to explore.
What makes this game #1 with hordes of gamers? It starts with unforgettable characters. Next, there’s the mind-blowing plot twists in the narrative. I’m sure you all remember that one little moment that made fully grown gamers shed a tear.