The JRPG genre has captured the hearts of millions with its deep battle systems and intuitive storytelling capabilities. You only have to look at the Persona games, the Final Fantasy series, and Pokemon. These games aren’t just among the best JRPGs ever made, they are among the best games in history. However, for every great JRPG, there will be a stinker that hides among the cluster. These are the games that bring shame to the great genre. Here are the top 5 worst JRPGs of all time.
Final Fantasy: All The Bravest
On paper, Final Fantasy: All The Bravest feels like the fever dream of every FF fan out there. It takes our favorite characters from all existing Final Fantasy games and merged them into one title. Imagine the interactions between Cloud and the Warrior of Light. The banter between the series’ greatest villains, particularly Kefka and Garland. Sadly, what we got cannot be any further than that.
All the Bravest, despite brandishing the name of the JRPG king, isn’t a JRPG at all! This supposed mobile JRPG isn’t even worth calling a game. All the Bravest is but a predatory cash-grab title that targets the diehard fans of the legendary series. This is one of those games that tarnishes the legacy of all its predecessors. It is just so disheartening for JRPG fans that it has the Final Fantasy name.
Digimon World Data Squad
Unlike its rival franchise, Pokemon, Digimon has struggled to make a mark in the gaming world. Despite releasing several titles now, none of them has even come close to the success Pokemon games have received. Their turn-based JRPG entries, in particular, are so inconsistent that none of them feels memorable.
Digimon World Data Squad certainly did not help. We honestly believe this game has the most clunky and counter-intuitive battle system graphical user interface (GUI). It is downright perplexing how they thought filling the whole screen with ugly commands is a good thing. To look cutesy, they just enraged players. And don’t let us begin with the outrageously long load times.
One Piece: Romance Dawn
One Piece: Romance Dawn has some interesting systems going for it but ultimately failed to capitalize on them. It feels as if for every good decision its developers made, a couple of bad ones follow after. As lovely as it could have been to experience legendary mangaka Eichiro Oda’s tale in this game, best you stick with the anime or manga instead.
We understand that the graphical capabilities of handheld systems such as the Nintendo 3DS and PSP are extremely limited. However, Romance Dawn just looks ugly—painful in the eyes even. The environment feels dead and the character models are dishearteningly bad. Furthermore, the game’s turn-based combat can also get very tiring quickly.
Game developers love to shoot for the moon. They always strive to be ahead of everyone else with every release. While that mindset can deliver several good things, it can also be the precise reason why a title may crash and burn. Take, for example, Square’s 2002 JRPG Unlimited Saga. It is the very definition of an ambitious game back in the day. Whereas most of its competitors stuck with what was working, this game introduced mechanics that have never been seen before.
However, the execution of these innovative concepts did not land cleanly. Instead of captivating players with its unique systems, it frustrated them to the point of giving up. To be ahead of its time, Unlimited Saga forgot to pay attention to players’ enjoyment. Nevertheless, aspiring game developers can use this game as a remembrance to never lift their feet off the ground even when shooting for the stars.
We get that grinding is something JRPGs cannot live without. Besides, grinding can sometimes be fun when utilized as a complement to the main story itself. However, to make it mandatory just feels like you are pushing players away.
Chronus Arc does just that! Its several inexplicable difficulty spikes require players to spend significant amounts of time grinding. No matter how patient you are, spending hours doing the same thing can just get so tiring. We go to games to escape the monotonous life, but Chornus Arc just pulls us back to it instead. And for that, it deserves a spot in the worst JRPGs ever made.