Underrated JRPGs that deserve a remake

Technically it’s more than 4 JRPGs that deserve a remake, but who’s counting?

By now, you may have probably finished Final Fantasy VII Remake (or if you’re lucky, just waiting for the Intergrade on your PS5). Or, you may have started playing Nier Replicant ver. 1.22 and have embarked on an adventure to cure Yonah’s Black Scrawl. If you’re playing on a Switch, you may be falling in love with Kanto all over again with Pokemon Let’s Go. It just goes to show two things: We really liked these games growing up, and having a remake brought back their appeal, but updated for a more modern playthrough.

With many old classics getting new life with remakes and remasters, we here at Variable have compiled a list of underrated JRPGs that should also get some love. It’s just wishful thinking on our part that they’ll be considered, much more given new life, but we’ve also provided a case for each of these classic games—cause this just might work.

Here we go.

Legend of Legaia

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Gala, Noa and Vahn reviving a Genesis Tree

At the time of its release, Legend of Legaia felt closer to a fighting game than a JRPG, thanks to its Tactical Arts system. This allowed players to hit their enemies using their limbs at varying heights. The game did its best to make players use it, such as having certain bosses levitate, so you can’t do a sweeping low kick, or having shorter enemies, so you can’t hit ’em with a roundhouse.

The Seru could use a well-needed makeover. Just imagine moves like Meta’s Inferno or even Puera’s Dream Illusion play out in lifelike detail in your PS4 or Xbox. That sentiment also goes for the bosses, which the game shortchanged. Given their pivotal roles, it’s just as well that they get an upgrade. It really didn’t make sense fighting a giant crab in the Drake Kingdom to find out that he’s among the chief architects of the dreaded Mist.

But that said, should it get a remake, it’s imperative that it gets an open-world treatment. How cool would it be to have Vahn, Noa and Gala walk through the Mist, where they fight with actual Seru-possessed humans, ghosts and creatures in a more active combat system, where they execute their Arts and summon their Ra-Seru in real-time? (Also, more Songi being just a bad-ass boss for this remake, please.)

Breath of Fire

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Rei, Ryu and Momo squaring off against Myria in BOF III

It’s criminal that this amazing franchise about killing dragons and gods hasn’t seen a remake. With the exception of Dragon Quarter, the Breath of Fire franchise is just begging to be retold in a massive game that can span thousands of years or travel multiple worlds.

Well, if we’re going for the multiple worlds route, then a story similar to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle could work, where Ryu and Nina travel to multiple worlds to defeat Fou-Lu. If we’re lucky enough to get it into historical lore, then it’s the story of Ryu where he jumps timelines to uncover the truth about the world, which Myria has hidden for thousands of years. (Read: I think BOF III’s Myria is a great villain—and that says something about me)

A story with such a rich history, of course, deserves a musical score to match. This also means including much more of the lore in the story—like how dragons and gods started fighting in the first place. That deserves a full-blown story arc for sure—it’s not enough to learn of it through paintings or dragon statues.

Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross

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I’ll kick yer sorry arse so hard you’ll kiss the moons!

I understand that Square Enix has the Final Fantasy franchise, I do. I also understand that they just had Final Fantasy VII Remake, and it is good.

This is also the reason why I’m making a case for both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, the company’s other classic JRPG franchise. Sure, it’s not as massively popular as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, but it still boasts of an amazing storyline and brilliant gameplay. In fact, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross are in a league of their own, complete with their trippy interpretations of time travel and multiple endings. (Read: Legend of Mana and SaGa Frontier remasters are back this year with new upgrades)

If there’s anything that a remake would improve in the series is that it would allow the games to explore the characters even more—an aspect that is often seen as the game’s weakest link. A remake would allow us to see connections beyond Kid and Schala: Anyone up for side stories where Chrono Cross characters travel to Chrono Trigger for more trippy and fun adventures?

Suikoden

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Yeah, this picture is an absolute lie.

Ah, Suikoden. This list will not be complete without this epic yet unfinished franchise. The game, an adaptation of the Chinese classic Water Margin, looked like it was set to be a classic. It had a solid and fun gameplay, ranging from turn-based combat and duels to its janken-like army battles and other side quests. If we’re talking about story, the franchise is overflowing with it—the events of each game occur at different parts of the Suiko world, with some even overlapping or continuing it.

It’s also sure to not see a remake, with Konami’s gaming division having all but abandoned the Suikoden franchise. While there’s still hope with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, the spiritual successor of the franchise, which is slated for release next year, a remake (or even a continuation) would answer a lot of things. A question that comes to mind: “What happens to Pilika?”

Of course, there are games that feel and play like Suikoden, but nothing comes close to the actual game’s storytelling. If by some chance, it gets the remake it so deserves, I guess the only request I have is to just let me have first dibs.

So there you have it, our list for overlooked JRPGs that should get a modern remake. We’ve also compiled a list of remakes that took us back to the feels.

Think we missed out on your favorite titles, or have your own JRPG that you feel should get a remake? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ralph Gurango

explainer | newsman | jrpg adventurer

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