The PlayStation 1 was more than a definitive era of video games, it was the golden age of RPGs, boasting classic titles that still define the genre.
For many console fans, the PlayStation 1 represents a golden age of RPGs and JRPGs. Even without nostalgia goggles on, these games have stood the test of time remarkably well. It was a time of innovation and creativity in which PS1 RPGs were consistently raising the bar.
The PlayStation has a long reputation as one of the greatest homes to RPGs on the market, but a few stand above the rest. No matter what kind of RPG adventure you’re looking for, there really is something for everyone on Sony’s original console.
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During an era where turn-based battles dominated the RPG genre, Diablo stood out with an isometric view and real-time combat. The result was an immersive gameplay experience you couldn’t take your eyes off of, complemented by impressive graphics and a gripping story. The game boasts procedurally generated dungeons, each beautifully dark setting with a unique feeling, accentuated by a simple but effective soundtrack that instantly sets a creepy and disturbing tone for your adventure. You’ll interact with several NPC’s that further enhance the atmosphere by offering sidequests, selling valuable items or expanding upon the story and lore of Diablo.
Xenogears is often an overlooked JRPG, despite being a huge success at release with over 1.2m copies sold. It presents a science-fiction world in which you control giant robots called Gears. The story is epic in every sense of the word – you journey across land, sea, air, space, and even multiple dimensions to unfold the mystery of your true identity. As the story unfolds, the ambitious plot gets ever more intricate, with several world religions and characters with multiple personalities. Further making Xenogears stand out is the two distinct styles of battle: martial arts combat and massive Gears combat. With such complex battle mechanics, you’ll never tire of discovering new combos and upgrading your Gear.
Dragon Quest VII
Being the first game in the series to be released on PlayStation, Dragon Quest VII had high expectations and still managed to deliver. While the graphics are underwhelming compared to many other PS1 RPGs, the 3D environments and a rotatable camera add another layer to exploring new towns, caves and dungeons. Puzzles and mazes also take advantage of this feature, with intricate and clever puzzle designs making dungeon exploration genuinely fun, especially with the removal of random enemy encounters. These elements combine to create an epic story that takes around 100 hours to complete – plenty of time to immerse yourself in the world.
Legend of Legaia
A much lesser-known JRPG, Legend of Legaia has become somewhat of a cult classic in recent years. It’s your task to save the world from a deadly mist that is turning Seru – unique and creatively designed benevolent creatures – into your enemies. This provides an incentive to keep exploring new dungeons because discovering rare Ra-Seru enables you to cast and summon magic. Combat is driven by the Tactical Arts System; combining low, med and high attacks grant you new “Arts,” devastating attacks which deal massive damage. For a PS1 game, Legend of Legaia utilizes an incredibly dynamic combat system, with a seemingly unending number of different combos you can learn.
Final Fantasy IX
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