10 JRPGs where the story is completely optional

Japanese role-playing games are one of the only game genres explicitly played for their stories. The long campaigns and detailed fantasy worlds that define the typical JRPG style are perfect for weaving powerful storytelling webs to keep gamers glued to their consoles like flies.

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But sooner or later fans will inevitably be fed up with going through the same old adventure with the same spiky-haired amnesiac, the same dead parents, the same themes of fate and fate, the same battle between good and evil, same buttons for speed through text boxes, and the same repulsed female love interest. The following games deliver the classic JRPG experience without even having to think about advancing the central story.

ten My world, my way

The pout menu in My World My Way

Most JRPGs require players to save a princess, but My World, My Way is one of the few to pick one as the main playable character. As a wealthy teenage girl in a royal family with no responsibilities, the heroine Elise’s unparalleled talent is her pout, which turns her quest to find a boyfriend from an intrigue into a suggested intrigue.

Any obstacle in this game can be bypassed by spending the princess pout points. This applies to item prices, death penalties, and, as you might have guessed, story restrictions.

9 Ragnarok DS

A combat encounter in Ragnarok DS

This forgotten title is a Japanese Nintendo DS player adaptation of the once popular Korean MMO Ragnarok Online and it shows. Ask any fan to name their favorite thing about MMOs and the chances of them saying this is the main storyline are slim, as these games are at their best when they focus on various interactions. multiplayer between users instead of guiding them through linear story rhythms.

Ragnarok DS follows a similar philosophy, presenting players with an open world positively brimming with digressions for the player to skip the main quest. This nonchalance towards the game’s story is even verbalized by the protagonist, who reacts to the completion of the plot progression segments with a “good that was unnecessary”.

8 Dragon Quest Builders 2

Dragon Quest Builders 2 Farming Cinematic Main Character Plowing Soil

The main Dragon Quest games have always featured JRPGs in their purest forms, but aren’t afraid to combine them with other styles for their spinoffs. For example, the Dragon Quest Builders games took a classic Dragon Quest story and art direction with a few light gameplay elements and put them into a Minecraft-esque building set.

RELATED: Dragon Quest: 5 Things About The Series That Changed (& 5 Ways It Has Stayed The Same)

While the second game is much more story-driven than your typical block game, it also opens up creation options for players who want a freer experience. Those who want to forget the intrigue and get lost in their construction projects can do so easily.

7 Fantastic Star Online

Phantasy Star Online 2000 Dreamcast

There is some sort of plot that runs through all of the Phantasy Star Online games and fans could engage with it if they really wanted to, but none really did. While not the MMO the name might suggest, the original PSO was all about experiencing the whole new frontier of online gaming by pursuing small quests with your friends and their cool customizable characters, without saving. worlds or fulfill destinies. .

Those who have spent countless summer vacation days searching for rare levels and gear through the game’s unprecedented multiplayer JRPG action will attest that the game didn’t need a complex plot to be anything. beautiful.

6 Mario tennis

It might not seem like a tennis game can be an RPG, but in this case, it surprisingly is. Mario is no stranger to sports games or JRPGs, as strange as it may sound for developer Camelot to think about combining the two genres for the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis, the fact that it works so well is not surprisingly in hindsight.

The game’s story mode puts players in the shoes of an aspiring tennis star and tasks them with improving his stats, recruiting party members, and defeating bosses like in any normal RPG in order to keep up. Prepare for a trip to the Mushroom Kingdom to face off against Mario and his friends. But with no end of mini-games, NPC conversations, or normal tennis games to play, this goal is far from a necessity.

5 Mario Golf: advanced tour

Mario Golf Advance Tour gameplay screenshot

Camelot took everything they learned from Mario Tennis and took it to the extreme for this Game Boy Advance golf game.

While the story mode puts even more emphasis on an original character on an RPG golf trip, it also featured more mini-games, more skill tests, more secondary content, and more ways to play. to a good old fashioned game of golf for those interested. Advance Tour appropriately advances the formula established in the previous tennis game to give players more JRPGs and more things to ignore it with.

4 Xenoblade Chronicles X

A few party members and a flight upgrade for their flyable mechs are pretty much all behind the story progression for players in this game. After completing the introductory hours of Xenoblade Chronicles X , Mira’s entire planet opens up for players to explore.

But the Wii U killer app doesn’t just leave players alone to find their own fun (unless they want to) as it provides hundreds of hours of secondary content with quests, raids, social links and much more. It is one of the most open JRPGS ever created by volume alone.

3 Rune factory

Some crops are watered in Rune Factory

This underrated Nintendo DS gem from developer Neverland Co. comes across as “a Harvest Moon fantasy,” and that’s probably the best way to describe it in one sentence. Part action RPG and dungeon crawling adventure and character-based life simulator, the beauty of this game is in its ability to conform to the player’s desires.

RELATED: 5 Things Rune Factory Does Better Than Animal Crossing (& 5 That Animal Crossing Is Best For)

Rune Factory’s two playstyles are expertly balanced to the point that players who want more farming experience, more JRPGs, or a mix of the two can have what they want. Whether you want to go on an adventure and save the day, or just take care of your crops, this is one of the best DS offerings.

2 Atelier Ryza 2: The Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy

Synthesis material in Atelier Ryza 2

Atelier Ryza games do indeed like to let players leave their critical paths alone, to the point where doing it for several hours is sometimes necessary to avoid struggling – not because it requires leveling up, but rather because it requires a mastery of his system of alchemy. .

This crafting mechanic is pretty much a game in itself, opening up countless possibilities for customization, character creation, and side quests. While the typical JRPG formula is present, it almost feels like a simple way to advance your chemistry.

1 Fantastic life

If there was ever a JRPG that treated its story as just an option, it would be Fantasy Life. Everything in this game is determined by the construction of the character, especially through the classes which determine the professional orientation. Classic staples like paladins and wizards are all present of course, but so are others like the fisherman, carpenter or miner.

The game is all about contributing to a fleshed-out medieval fantasy society and allows you to do so as you see fit. Whether you help your fellow citizens by accepting the royal quest and protecting the land from the monsters that threaten it or spending a relaxing day fishing in the pond, it’s all up to you. After all, this is your Fantasy Life.

NEXT: Nintendo Switch: 10 Best JRPGs Of 2020, Ranked According To Metacritic

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