Final Fantasy XVI was released last week, receiving very good reviews from both the press and the public.
But for some, Final Fantasy XVI represents a certain amount of grief; While the series had already been moving away from its turn-based role-playing roots for quite some time, this 16th installment in Square Enix’s franchise has taken the final step, while there are almost no role-playing elements left.
Fortunately, all is not lost for those who lament the more action-oriented turn of the famous Final Fantasy franchise; many developers still create turn-based role-playing games inspired by the Final Fantasy of yesteryear and other Dragon Quest of this world.
We present you 5 of the best recent titles that will satisfy your thirst for turn-based role-playing games.
5. Dragon Quest XI (2017)
Available on Switch, Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC and Nintendo 3DS (Japan only for the 3DS version)
Well, we cheat a little. You’ve been promised some recent role-playing games, and this one is already starting to get a little old. But when it’s SO good, we forget about wrinkles.
Dragon Quest 11 is a classic role-playing game. The game mechanics of the franchise have barely changed since the very first episode released in 1986. If you’ve never played a role-playing game before, Dragon Quest 11 is a perfect game to get started with the genre.
We play as The Enlightened, a hero of prophecy who must stand in the way of an evil force that threatens the world. Throughout his adventures, your hero will meet a host of characters all more endearing than the others, and will discover a host of magical and beautiful places.
Dragon Quest 11 is a game that would be described as “cozy”. The story is not the most surprising, but playing Dragon Quest 11 is like reading a book of fairy tales. We play it an hour before bed, then we have dreams full of heroic heroes and demonic demons.
4. Yakuza: Like a Dragon (2020)
Available on Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series
We naturally continue with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, a game largely inspired by… Dragon Quest. Technically, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the eighth main installment in the Yakuza series, but it is the first to use a turn-based combat system, and the first to feature Ichiban Kasuga as a hero. It is therefore not necessary to have played the previous episodes.
Role-playing games often tend to be set in a medieval fantasy universe, but in Like a Dragon, we evolve in the world of Japanese yakuza in a contemporary Yokohama. Our hero, Ichiban, is a mega fan of Dragon Quest, and he imagines in his head the fights he leads against other criminals as fantasy role-playing game confrontations. Except that here, swords and magic are replaced by baseball bats and office supplies like bedbugs.
A game brimming with humor, with a unique and endearing universe.
To learn more, read our test here.
3. Live a Live (2022)
Available on Switch, Playstation 4 and 5, PC
In recent years, Square Enix (a developer and publisher particularly known for its role-playing games) has been launching games in the visual style they have nicknamed “HD-2D”, a style that mixes two-dimensional characters in a three-dimensional setting with modern lighting.
This style has given us several high-quality games (Octopath Traveler I & II, Triangle Strategy), but Live a Live is the most interesting. It is a remake of a game released for the Super Nintendo in 1994, only in Japan.
Why is Live a Live such a unique title? Because we play 8 protagonists from different eras (the Wild West, prehistory, the contemporary world) in 9 scenarios. In each of these scenarios, the game mechanics are slightly different, which allows for an experience that is constantly renewed.
A unique game to discover for the first time in the West!
2. Triangle Strategy (2022)
Available on Switch, PC
We just mentioned it, so we might as well talk about it.
Triangle Strategy also uses this famous HD-2D style, but instead of a classic turn-based RPG, we find instead a turn-based strategy game largely inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics.
We play Serenoa Wolffort, the heir to House Wolffort, and childhood friend of Roland, Prince of Glenbrook. A war breaks out between the kingdoms of Aesfrost, Hyzante and Glenbrook, and you and your small band of fighters will have to take a stand in the conflict. All your decisions are important, because they could change the destiny of the continent and its people.
Triangle Strategy is an excellent turn-based strategy game, with a complex but fascinating story.
To learn more, read our test here.
1. Cassette Beasts (2023)
Available on Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC, and Linux
We have offered you several role-playing games by big players in the industry like Sega and Square Enix, but we offer you to close this list a small role-playing game developed by an independent studio, Bytten Studio.
You play a character who wakes up in a parallel world, an island populated by other humans from a host of different universes who do not know more than you how they ended up there.
But this is not the end of the challenges: the island is populated by monsters with terrifying abilities. Fortunately, the locals have found a way to defend themselves: thanks to a cassette player, they can “record” monsters and then copy and transform them.
Inspired by Pokémon, but with a slightly more complex story, Cassette Beasts is a small monster capture role-playing game that should satisfy fans of role-playing games, at a low price on top of the market ($25.99 CAD, €19.99)!