If you, like me, don’t have a big library of Xbox games on digital or physical, Game Pass has you covered. Game Pass has been a godsend for newcomers to the Xbox platform. All you have to do is pick a game genre and I can start getting into it. And surprisingly, some of the best JRPGs are on Xbox Game Pass.
It’s interesting because Japan turned a cold shoulder towards Xbox when it first launched, as they already favored homegrown platforms like Nintendo and PlayStation. This led to a situation where few Japanese devs were willing to risk relationships with Red and Blue to put games on Green. Microsoft had to go above and beyond to secure warm treatment from Japanese devs.
Xbox saw the most success in JRPGs with games like Lost Odyssey and The Last Remnant. And though some relationships with Japanese devs, Japan remains important to Microsoft. As such it has continued to court devs to put some of the best JRPGs on Xbox Game Pass not just on console but on PC too.
If you have Xbox Game Pass for PC as a standalone subscription or as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you have access to plenty of JRPGs. Here are some of the best JRPGs Xbox Game Pass has to offer for PC.
Octopath Traveler is a beautiful homage to the older JRPG classics. You follow the stories of 8 characters that each have their own struggles and challenges to overcome. It runs on a turn-based combat system as well as a job system that lets you tailor characters to your adventure. This game was known as one of the best JRPGs when it launched on Nintendo Switch and now it’s on Xbox Game Pass.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The latest in the long-running Yakuza series. Play as Ichiban Kasuga with his gang and beatdown thugs in Yokohama as he tries to cope after being released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Yakuza, which is famously known for being an action brawler game, switches it up by changing its genre into a tactical turn-based JRPG, with the Yakuza series’ own style and flair.
Eiyuden Chronicle Rising
A prequel to next year’s Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes, this side-scrolling action RPG features fast-paced combat and some beautiful looking backgrounds. It’s got a smaller scale than your average JRPG. The biggest highlight here are the characters, who all have wonderful personalities and engaging stories. This game is a wonderful and cozy change of pace from the usual epic sensibilities of the genre.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
Starting off strong, Dragon Quest XI is a masterclass in the traditional JRPG style of gameplay. You can expect a turn-based combat system against some of the most colorful and quirky enemies as well as a silent protagonist to go on an adventure as. And yes, if you’ve only just noticed, the art style is indeed from Akira Toriyama the maker of Dragon Ball.
Another anime stylized action JRPG, Scarlet Nexus features flashy combat and an interesting story to boot. This Tales meets Devil May Cry game boasts a surprising mix of character development, plot twists and interactions with each person in the story. There are two playable characters with their own playstyle and story perspective, laying claim to best JRPG on Xbox Game Pass by virtue of replayability.
Final Fantasy XIII
Once upon a time considered the black sheep of the franchise, Final Fantasy XIII is now something of a cult favorite. With a cast of complex characters and a novel battle system that is both fast-paced and tactical with a focus on exploiting enemy weaknesses. The story is interesting too, you lead a ragtag party of renegades that have been chosen or cursed as they try to defy fate. Just make sure to read all the supplemental lore to understand the story.
Some people will tell you to start the Yakuza series with Yakuza 0, but those people are fools. The epic gangland saga begins with this extreme remake of the original first Yakuza game. The tale of Kiryu Kazuma begins after he serves a 10-year long prison sentence to return to a world he no longer recognizes, but soon he’s in the middle of a brewing war between rival crime organizations.
And there you have it, 7 unique JRPGs, each with their own twists and aesthetics that can soothe that JRPG itch. We’re all surprised with the amount of amazing titles the Game Pass has and look forward to seeing more titles enter the fold, but maybe we shouldn’t given that there’re almost 400 games on the service for PC alone. That being said, I’m off to hit those slimes.
UPDATE, April 9, 2022: With the removal of Code Vein and Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age from Game Pass we’ve revised this list.
UPDATE, August 1, 2022:Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster left the service in the months since this list was last updated.