[Top 25] Best Japanese Games For PC

JRPG, Japanese Horror, Horror Games, RPG, Visual Novel, PC Games
Japan doesn't just make anime, they also make some top tier video games.

Finally, a number of Japanese games have made their PC debuts, and more and more are coming out already playable on PC. 

Japanese games have long been a part of the console gaming experience, and many are still console exclusives. With the rise of Steam and other gaming platforms, however, a number are being released and/or adapted for Windows and other PC systems. This is great news for gamers out there who primarily play on PC, like myself. 

Alongside anime, Japanese games have risen in popularity, with many great titles out there. While I recognize that a lot of the games on here are part of major franchises that have a plethora of awe-inspiring games to their name, such as Final Fantasy, I intentionally decided to include only one game per major name. This is for the sake of variety, but also from the recognition that if you play one game you like in a franchise, you will likely seek the others out on your own. You won’t need anyone to tell you where to look. 

Before we get into the main list, I just wanted to give a shout out to Toukiden 2. While the game wasn’t as well-received as many others, it takes popular RPG gameplay and melds it with ideas of Japanese culture. Consider it a lesser version of Monster Hunter, but with the added touch of including Japanese Yokai as the monsters. In my opinion, it’s well worth giving a chance. 

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are 25 of the top Japanese games for PC.

Attack on Titan 2

Attack on Titan 2 Trailer. 

This is a shoutout to all my gamers out there who also enjoy anime. There are plenty of anime games out there, such as My Hero Academia or Naruto Shippuden games, but to me the Attack on Titan games stand out. Insert yourself into the Attack on Titan world as you become a member of the survey corps. The events around you unfold just as they do in the anime, but from the perspective of your own character.

Play by yourself or join friends as you soar through the air and clear the looming titans from the walls in this action-based game. You will become a master of the omni-directional mobility (ODM) gear as you sink your blades into the titans flesh, implementing various techniques to take them down quickly. Either play as an avatar of your choosing or pick your favorite character to fully immerse yourself in this anime gaming experience. 

What's Fun About Attack on Titan 2:

  • You get to play the familiar story we all know and love, but with the added bonus of placing yourself within it and experiencing it from your own perspective
  • Amazing detail combines with the characters, settings, and story to create highly immersive gameplay
  • The suspense of being in “danger zones” and having to take down titans before they take you out is rather enthralling (especially for a fan)
  • The second game increased the cast of playable characters from 10 to 37 allowing players the opportunity to play as the characters they love 
  • Get to experience the game solo or co-op; create your own crew within the survey corps and take down titans in a team effort, just as in the show  

Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World Trailer. 

In Monster Hunter World, you traverse through the New World alongside a field party. The Research Commission has dispatched large fleets to explore the New World and learn about the phenomena that are occurring there. As a hunter, your task is to both study and hunt the monsters that inhabit the area. The primary goal is to complete the expedition to learn about the Elder Dragons and why they migrate. 

As you take on the role of a monster hunter, you will traverse through a world that feels like a living, breathing, real ecosystem. The game encourages the player to take advantage of the environment around them, including the other inhabitants, to take down massive beasts. The game can be played solo, or you can create your own expedition party in co-op. After felling the monsters, you will be able to collect materials to craft new gear and advance through the wilderness, slaying bigger, stronger monsters along your journey. 

What's Fun About Monster Hunter: World:

  • Explore a variety of different biomes in order to seek world-related answers, each one unique and vividly detailed, giving off a sense of life even through a screen 
  • Intricately designed monsters that are both ferocious and gorgeously animated 
  • A well-developed crafting system that allows for smooth progression; each item typically takes only 2 materials to create, but there is still a wide variety of possible gear 
  • Fight monsters alongside your personal pets, Palicoes, that give a variety of support abilities; plus, they are cute
  • The game encourages you to prepare before each hunt, a very realistic and interesting feature; every monster is unique, and knowing how to fight them in advance, preparing the right specialized tools, etc. can really help you out

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Trailer. 

In a previous article, I discussed the masterpiece that is Final Fantasy VI, but there are plenty of games in the franchise worth mentioning. One such game is Final Fantasy X and X-2, which are conveniently combined in this remaster. Final Fantasy X follows a star blitzball player named Tidus who travels with a summoner named Yuna on a quest to save Spira from an infinite cycle of destruction and chaos. Final Fantasy X-2 returns to Spira two years after the end of X and tells the story of Yuna as she journeys around the world seeking answers to a great mystery. 

The story for both games is extremely well-developed and the gameplay does not fall short. Equipped with well-executed graphics and character design, the game implores you to become invested in its happenings. The game features an almost linear world-space through which almost every area is interconnected, giving off an open-world feel that is very modern for the release date. Unlike many previous Final Fantasy games, X introduced a Conditional Turn-Based combat system, a style of turn-based strategy that focuses more on the strategic choices rather than completing actions in a specific time frame. 

What's Fun About Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster: 

  • The remastered version features graphics updates that create highly detailed fantasy worlds for the player to become immersed in 
  • This updated version also includes all international content and, if you were to play through all of it, this two-in one game will provide 200+ hours of gameplay, despite its rather linear story
  • X-2 features a highly unique and complex job system that players will use in battle; this determines the character’s weapons, base stats, and appearance, and can be equipped and changed at will, even mid-battle. 
  • As is typical of the Final Fantasy franchise, the story is very well-developed with a cast of interesting characters
  • The summoning aspect is unique to this game and allows the player to directly control any summoned entity

Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria Trailer. 

Like the Final Fantasy series, the Tales series is another popular series of games. The most recent in the series, Tales of Berseria, tells the story of a young woman named Velvet. After a traumatic experience, she shuts her heart off from the world, becoming cold and withdrawn. However, her fate may change as she encounters a crew of pirates and joins them in their journey across the lands, encountering foes and discovering more than just treasure. The story tells of self-discovery and overcoming one’s inner darkness. 

As such, Tales of Berseria is highly story-driven and follows a relatively linear plot and quest-line. A unique feature are the beautifully animated and voiced skits that comprise the majority of character interactions; these provide comedic relief, portray the emotions of characters, and seek to build relationships and develop our characters into their three-dimensional selves. The Tales Series boasts a unique battle system known as the Linear Motion Battle System which implements real-time combat in an open field where the player is able to choose what mobs to initiate battle with. Once battle is initiated you are free to switch between party characters for sick combos and special attacks that allow you to annihilate your enemies in a timely fashion. 

What's Fun About Tales of Berseria: 

  • While the combat system may take some adjustment, it has a smooth flow and offers varying levels of complexity for players of different skill levels and investment
  • An amazing, deep, and emotional story that is backed by an extraordinary cast that grows and develops alongside the plot 
  • Gorgeously animated cutscenes and character design
  • A variety of additional game mechanics beyond questing and battling, such as cooking, voyages, sidequests, “red alert” monsters, etc., that add a lot of playtime 
  • For those crazy players (like myself) who actually enjoy fighting mobs to grind out gear, this game has plenty of playable grind time as well

Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III Trailer. 

Dark Souls III has a reputation for its unforgiving nature and tendency to make even the toughest and best of players quit in a fit of rage; the trick is, they always come back. The story is set in the Kingdom of Lotheric just when the First Flame, a fire that provides the inhabitants safety from those that lurk in the dark, is about to flicker out. Without it, the undead will rise to claim the world from the living. You will play as the Ashen One, an undead who must return the lords to their thrones and link the fire before all hope fails.

As you fight through the various undead that are beginning to form due to the quickly decreasing First Flame, your character will be equipped with a variety of items and weapons, all of which will assist in your battle. Alternate between bow, sword, shield (which is also a weapon), magic, and other throwable items in order to defeat standard undead and greuling bosses, each enemy having their own behavioral tendencies. In major fights, it is of the utmost importance that you manage mana and keep up with your charged attacks, as not doing so will spell doom. The game also includes a handy-dandy dodge move that helps you avoid powerful hits, of which there are many. And never, ever forget to stop at bonfires to save your progress, else you have to start over. 

What's Fun About Dark Souls III:

  • Another game with a very detailed world design that inspires awe and contributes to the overall feel of the world itself; it truly seems as though you will be enveloped in darkness and live among the undead
  • Each boss and type of enemy is unique and has very specific behaviors to learn and exploit, mirroring what one might expect in a real-world scenario; some enemies, especially bosses, will even alter patterns in the middle of a battle
  • The gameplay is high-risk and it is likely you will encounter some difficulties along your way; expect multiple deaths, but enjoy rising to the challenge 
  • Rather than a straight-forward and linear storyline, Dark Souls III details the story through the subtleties of the game and the world itself, rewarding players with attentive ears and eyes
  • Between the wide variety of available weaponry, skill points, gear, and weapon “skills,” you can easily customize the character to your playstyle, or even try out a new one to spice things up

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake Trailer. 

The Resident Evil games are long-standing players in the horror genre and are one of the major Japanese titles. Resident Evil 2 Remake is set in Racoon City shortly after a deadly zombie outbreak. You will play as Leon Kennedy, a rookie police officer, or Clair Redfield, a young college student. The two have been forced together due to the overwhelming threat of the undead. In order to survive, they must work together to make it through the city and uncover the truth behind the outbreak. 

It is no wonder why the Resident Evil games in general, and this one in particular, have earned a place in the heart of many gamers. The game includes intense action-based gameplay, tension-filled exploration, and puzzle solving in a way that masterfully expresses the difficulties of a zombie breakout. Resident Evil 2 Remake improves upon the best elements of each game before it not only in updated gameplay and graphics, but also a much more intricate narrative that dives deeper into the characters themselves. With three different campaigns consisting of the main story and an individual one for each character, there is an absurd amount of playtime available. Try to stay alive as you scavenge for materials, solve puzzles to clear your way through blocked or locked areas, and, of course, slay zombies. 

What’s Fun About Resident Evil 2 Remake: 

  • Enjoy the best of your typical action packed zombie-slaying game alongside survival horror elements for a gaming experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat
  • You aren’t simply shooting zombies, but navigating through a world that is inherently dangerous; you have to manage your inventory, board up weak areas, and avoid attracting attention, adding complexity and a sense of reality to the game
  • There is no music to accompany you, only the eerie sound effects of footsteps, creaking doors, and the undead groaning, contributing to the scare factor
  • The intricate lighting and hyper-realistic visuals and scenery create a wonderfully jarring atmosphere and an immersive experience
  • The different campaigns make for a significant amount of playtime and the story is not just long, but very well written

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom 

Ni No Kuni II: Revnant Kingdom Trailer. 

This is another entry that has a series associated with it, and a game that I discussed in another article (Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, another great game). The story follows a young king named Evan after he has been overthrown in a coup. He has set out on a quest to found a new kingdom and protect the world and all of its inhabitants from the menacing dark forces that threaten their livelihood. 

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is an unforgettable adventure story that exists somewhere between an animated film and a video game. While the story cannot be called unique by any means, it is well-developed with a cast of characters that encourages you to root for them. The world itself is highly immersive in no small part due to the famous artist and composer team consisting of Yoshiyuki Momose (a Ghibli artist) and Joe Hisaishi (a world-famous composer). It is easy to tell of the wondrous graphic design and music, but the combat system is also very fluid and easy to manage. This game is easily worth a try for anyone looking for a relatively laid-back JRPG experience. 

What’s Fun About Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom: 

  • Stunning visuals courtesy of the fantastic style of Studio Ghibli
  • A relatively captivating story that is accompanied by detailed and three-dimensional characters
  • The game is not overtly difficult, even at higher difficulty levels, allowing for laid-back, low-intensity gameplay
  • The combat introduces both real-time and turn-based elements for an interesting fighting-style; plus, enjoy the companionship of a type of “familiar” that gives combat bonuses
  • An overall immersive and rewarding experience with none of the hassle of more typical JRPG games (no grind!); it really will feel like watching a movie at times instead of playing a game

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata Trailer

Nier: Automata follows 3 androids, 2B, 9S and A2 on their journey to reclaim Earth from the mechanical invaders. The story is set after humanity has been driven away from the earth. The human resistance forces rest their hopes on these three androids. While a war between machines and androids rages on, the future of humanity remains uncertain. Furthermore, underneath it all lays forgotten realities and hidden secrets that are yet to be discovered.

As you rage across the land, playing as 2B, 9S, or A2, combat will unfold over the open fields in real-time. Learn the truth of it all as you complete quests and follow clues that lead you through gorgeous scenery and complex boss fights. Each time a character levels up, you unlock new weapon types that offer specific combat skills and can be customized to suit your needs. Completing the game is only the first step, as each play-through causes it to evolve, unlocking each of the characters and new story content. 

What’s Fun About Nier: Automata:

  • Action-packed battles during which you alternate between melee and ranged attacks to combo your enemies.
  • The story is expanded upon in side-quests, offering a more detailed exploration of the world and additional gameplay
  • Since each playthrough unlocks new character routes and those routes unlock new story to get to the “true” ending (and the secrets of the world), the game has an inherently high amount of play-time 
  • The story masterfully tells an all-time popular story archetype: man vs. machine
  • Considering the number of components involved in combat, it is extremely fluid; this makes it easy to learn but hard to master

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception 

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception Trailer. 

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is the second in a series of visual novel games and will take the player on an incredible journey through beautiful design and intricate story. You begin atop a snowy mountain where the main protagonist awakens in an unfamiliar wilderness, surrounded by deadly creatures, wearing nothing but a hospital gown. He is quickly rescued by Kuon, a beautiful young girl with animal ears and tail. After discovering that he has no memory, Kuon takes our protagonist into her care as they journey across the land. 

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is a combination of visual novel and a tactical role-playing game. The story unfolds in your typical Japanese visual novel style, and the combat adopts the turn-based strategy that has come to characterize JRPGs. While you experience the intricate and enchanting story, you will meet intriguing characters, build relationships, experience fast-paced combat, be immersed in a world-class soundtrack, and so much more. Whether you are a long-time fan or new to visual novel games, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is well worth your time.  

What’s Fun About Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception:

  • An extremely rich story that takes place in a world bursting with fantastical history and lore, with the added bonus of an equally well-developed cast of characters 
  • Combat takes place through a thrilling combination of turn-based tactics and attack chain mechanics 
  • As visual novels should, it comes equipped with a gorgeous art style and a thrilling musical score that work together with the story to fully immerse players in the world
  • Every decision you make will influence the way the story unfolds, lending to multiple playthroughs that enhance the already available playtime (40-50+ hours)
  • If you enjoy the game, it is meant to be continued in the next installment, Mask of Truth, which is to be released

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Trailer. 

The story of Dragon’s Dogma begins with an attack on the protagonist’s village, launched by a newly-arrived Dragon. The protagonist, upon attacking the dragon, finds that they are now missing their heart, a fact which will forever alter their path. Now marked as an “Arisen” and destined to face off against the Dragon and prevent the approaching apocalypse, you set out on your journey. As you face the trials and tribulations ahead, you will be accompanied by Pawns, human-like beings who serve the Arisen and live to fight the Dragon. Along the way, you will face a multitude of challenges, but none will be so great as the final one. 

Dragon’s Dogma is a vivid open-world game that boasts a massive amount of customizable options. As a player, you will be asked to pick one of nine available vocations, each with their own tactical advantages. On your journey, your party will consist of three other members, known as pawns, controlled primarily by an AI. Pawns are very useful in terms of combat and progression, as they will not only provide assistance through their attacks, but are also prone to yelling out useful hints and strategies that could spell the difference between victory and defeat. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen excels on a variety of fronts; story, graphics, combat, realistic and fantasy world-building, and much more. 

What’s Fun About Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen:

  • Dynamic combat that involves a variety of options, be it from vocations, party strategy, the grab mechanic, or any of the other available combat strategies; you can even fight while airborne
  • Extremely customizable to your individual preferences as a player; through vocations, skill point allocation, gear and gear enhancement, issuing orders to party members, choosing pawns, etc.
  • Gorgeous graphics in detailed, high-resolution, that work together with the open-world to really bring the game to life
  • Likeable, well-written characters that have clear motivations and goals, leaving you rooting for either their success or their demise
  • The vast world lends itself to a fair amount of playtime, not to mention the fact that you can replay the game as many times as there are vocations (at least the ones you are interested in); the main selling point of Dragon’s Dogma is the combat, so even if the story will always be the same, experiencing the different types of combat will be well worth it

Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger Trailer.

Chrono Trigger follows main protagonist Crono and his companions as they travel through time, battling enemies, recruiting allies, gathering equipment, and obtaining magic. The story is set in an alternate timeline of Earth. After an experiment has gone awry, Crono’s friend, Marle, is teleported to another time period. In order to find her and bring her back, Crono travels through time. However, in each period he becomes entangled in the lives and world of those he meets along the way. As he travels through time and dimensions alike, he ends up embarking on a journey to save the past, present, and future. 

As you traverse through various time periods, you will encounter various enemies that stand in your path. It is up to you to decide when to battle your enemies and when to pass them by. In each zone you will also encounter NPCs for trading and quests and/or find puzzles to solve. The majority of story progression happens through clearing zones. Exploring new areas, solving puzzles and defeating the enemies and bosses within them will automatically unlock more of the story and allow you to progress. 

What’s Fun About Chrono Trigger:

  • The time traveling allows you to experience various ages of history and versions of what the future might bring
  • In addition to the above point, the time travel element includes choice-based consequences, where the decisions and actions you make in the past impact the future with each time period evolves accordingly; thus, everything you do requires some thought and consideration
  • The choice-based consequences also lead to multiple endings increasing replayability 
  • The story is very unique and, honestly, a bit wild, but that’s part of what makes the game so interesting  
  • The PC version has updated sound and graphics to increase immersion and appeal to a more current audience

Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4 Golden Trailer. 

The Persona games are another great series for anyone who ventures beyond PC gaming and, luckily, 4 has been added to PC, with a new one on the way in 2021. In Persona 4, our protagonist moves to the city of Inaba to live with family for a year. Shortly after he arrives, a TV announcer is found dead and, right after this, someone else dies in a similar fashion. After hearing a rumor about the “Midnight Channel,” you find yourself in the TV world, where you meet Teddie. Using their Personas, the protagonist and their friends form an Investigation Team in order to get to the truth behind the murders and their connection to the TV world.

Persona 4 Golden tells a murder mystery, a coming of age story, and of the deep psyche of human emotions. As you play the game, you will find yourself identifying with the characters and understanding them on a higher level; each one must confront the darker side of themselves that seeks to control them in order to move forward and become the best versions of themselves. A main focus of the game are Personas, of course, which are mythological projections of the characters’ inner selves, or rather the facade that they adopt. Battle occurs in randomly generated dungeons that the player must navigate in search of the final boss, and combat is turn-based, as typical of many JRPG games. 

What’s Fun About Persona 4 Golden:

  • The most unique element of the Persona games is the blending of RPG gameplay with simulation elements; during the day, the highschool experience is simulated and you are expected to complete school-related activities, bond with characters, etc., while at night you will fight enemies and explore the TV world. 
  • Gorgeous portrait designs accompanied by emotional voice acting that work together to really bring each character to life
  • Consequence-based decision making where your choices and actions determine the way the story unfolds; an added element of this are the “Social Links,” which allow you to build relationships that can  directly or indirectly impact the way the story unfolds. 
  • Very story rich; you will find yourself engrossed as if watching a movie or reading a book. 
  • If you enjoy building character relationships and trying out all possible endings, there is quite a bit of playtime available in the game

Valkyria Chronicles 

Valkyria Chronicles Trailer.

Valkyria Chronicles (the first one, at least) is set on the continent of Europa, a land divided by two opposed superpowers: the Empire and the Federation. At the time of our story, the Empire has set its sights on invading Gallia, a principality which borders both Empire and Federation territory and is rich with an invaluable resource called Ragnite. In order to protect his land, a young hero named Welkin leads his fellow soldiers, “Squad 7,” in a fight against the Empire invasion. While he fights for Gallia’s independence and against the Empire’s attempt to unify the land under its control, he discovers a secret and ancient race known as the “Valkyrur.” While they are currently in service under the Empire, maybe they would be willing to join Squad 7 and turn the tides of battle in their favor. 

The Valkyria Chronicles games boast a unique and complex combat system that blends typical RPG turn-based and real-time combat modes for a breathtaking experience. You will be able to reap the tactical and strategic benefits that players know and love from turn-based gameplay, while also holding on to the action-filled fights of real-time. Every individual character will have different strengths and weaknesses, and battle zones are equipped with terrain that the player can use to maximize each one’s capabilities. Valkyria Chronicles is yet another anime-esque game that is story rich, with great visuals, voice acting, sound effects and sound track, and interesting character development. 

What’s Fun About Valkyria Chronicles:

  • The game boasts unique graphics that appear as if watercolor paintings have come to life
  • The “BLiTZ” tactical battle system makes the combat highly unique and enjoyable; in Command Mode you can view an overhead map of all units; you then zoom in to control each individual unit in Action Mode through real-time combat; this is then further detailed in Target Mode, where action freezes, allowing you to control the aim of each specific character in order to execute headshots or other maneuvers
  • A plot worth investing in, as you will become a part of what appears to be an individual country’s struggle for freedom, but which will determine the fate of the Europa
  • There are over 100 customizable characters, giving you the ability to strategically design platoons specific to the needs of each battle
  • For players who enjoy a challenge, there is a bit of a learning curve in terms of the strategy component, however, it is highly rewarding to progress through the more difficult battles 

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Trailer. 

In Danganronpa V3, 16 high school students are kidnapped and trapped inside a new school. The only way to “graduate” or rather, escape, is to successfully murder a fellow student and get away with it. Once a muder occurs, a class trial will be held with the remaining students, the goal of which is to determine who has committed the crime and punish (i.e. execute) them. If the majority votes correctly, they live another day, however, if they vote incorrectly, they suffer the fate of the guilty. Within this new dynamic, each of the students, yourself included, must find a way to escape the killing game without falling victim to the twisted motives of Monokuma, the headmaster, or each other. 

The majority of the game will play out as a twisted visual novel, with the exception being occasional mini-games. Playtime is split into two categories, Deadly Life and Daily Life. During Deadly Life, you will be free to explore the available section of the schools, interact and bond with fellow students, and, in doing so, gain special skills that are used during trials. During Deadly Life, a body has been discovered and you will be searching for hints and glues that will help determine who the killer is. During most of the playtime, your goal is to gather information that will lead you to the killer. Once a trial is initiated, your duty is to convince the others to vote for the guilty party, or die trying. Every decision you make will spell victory or defeat, so choose wisely.

What’s Fun About Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:

  • High-stakes, fast-paced investigation and trial scenes that require attention to detail, quick wit, and timely decision making
  • This game takes consequence-based decision making to an extreme, where making the wrong call at the wrong moment, or using an ineffective way of convincing your peers, can result in failure; you must use logic and truth, as well as deception and lies
  • You can build relationships with each of the characters, and every one has well-developed aspirations and personality traits (which are highlighted in their Ultimate abilities)
  • Interesting mini-games to pass some of the time and provide a bit of mental relief 
  • The most endgame content of any game in the series, with three different bonus modes available to play through 


Bayonetta Trailer

Bayonetta follows the story of a character by the same name. She awakens 500 years in the future with no memory of who she is. With only one clue to guide her, Beyonetta begins her journey of self-discovery, seeking answers that will uncover her past. Along the way, she will face off against countless enemies that desire her destruction, make a handful of friends, and get wrapped up in something much larger than herself. 

The Bayonetta game focuses heavily on action-style gameplay in which the player will control the shapeshifting Bayonetta as she fights against angelic and demonic enemies alike. Her fighting style uses both melee attacks and ranged gunplay. Upon dodging an enemy attack, “Witch Time” will be activated, slowing down enemies and allowing players to easily retaliate or solve environmental puzzles. If you are skillful enough, you will also be able to implement Torture Attacks, which trap your opponents in infernal devices, killing them in a gruesome and gory fashion, all while awarding extra points; these points are used to determine “grades” that denote player performance. The gameplay primarily unfolds as a hack and slash, with virtually constant battles, only interrupted by cutscenes.

What’s Fun About Bayonetta: 

  • With a setting that is inspired by Dante’s 7 Layers of Hell, the world and the story will not disappoint
  • There is a fair amount of weapon customization that allows players to equip various combinations on both Bayonetta’s hands and feet; there are guns, a bow, swords, etc.
  • While the game is a hack and slash, it avoids repetition through the creation of unique enemies and bosses; each one will require a different technique
  • The combat grading system rewards players for their skills, providing and encouraging replays, as you can repeat battles to achieve the highest grades
  • Though the game certainly is action-based, the characters are also interesting, comedic, seductive, and down-right demonic

Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V Trailer.

There really isn’t too much to say about Street Fighter V that isn’t already known. It is a 3D, side-scrolling fighting game that is simply very well executed with a great cast of characters for players to choose from. There is a main-story line and individual character background stories for the players who enjoy them, but it is by no means a focus of the game. Instead, the game is meant for players to duke it out and see who remains on top as the most skilled fighter.

In the beginning, you have access to a limited cast of characters that are automatically available to you. To unlock other characters, you can either pay a pretty penny out of pocket or earn “fight money” through completing various portions of the game, including story chapters, character background stories, and daily and weekly challenges. Each character has combination moves, known as Critical Arts, intended to deal significant damage, disable enemies, or power up the V-Gauge for even more powerful attacks. Choose and master your character(s) as you climb through the online ranking system.

What’s Fun About Street Fighter V:

  • A large pool of characters to choose from, in which you are guaranteed to find someone to fit your needs and style
  • Each season has added, and as of now, will continue to add, new characters to the game; so, it never gets old and you can always try something new
  • For those gamers who enjoy story and character development, it is available to them as well, though it will not be too vast; every character is developed through their background story and many are included in the primary storyline 
  • Satisfying visual effects
  • All skill levels are welcome, as the characters will be relatively easy to play but hard to master and the ranking system is executed in a way that allows you to play against other players at the same level as yourself to encourage improvement

Tekken 7

Tekken 7 Trailer. 

Tekken 7 is another major player in the 3D, side-scrolling fighting game scene. Unlike the Street Fighter games, Tekken has a more linear and cohesive storyline, though it is still not a main focus of the game. The story follows directly after Tekken 6. The war between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation continues to ravage the world. Caught in the crossfire, a reporter’s wife and son are killed, leading him to write an exposé on the two superpowers. Thus, the story unfolds. 

As you likely already know, the game focuses on 1v1 player versus player combat. A primary characteristic of this combat is the shifting arena that moves along with the characters during fights. Each character has specific combination attacks meant to deal significant damage and their own fighting style. Similar to Street Fighter, you can engage in LAN fights with friends in-person or battle online in a ranking system. 

What’s Fun About Tekken 7:

  • As standard for fighting games, there is a large pool of characters to choose from, allowing players to find one that fits their particular style
  • The game is easy to play but difficult to master, and players of all level are welcomed; PvP fights will remain fair due to the ranking system, allowing players to grow and improve without being dominated
  • Unlike other recent fighting games, Tekken 7 actually has an interesting and well-developed plot, especially if you follow the previous games
  • The shifting arena allows for players to use the map to their advantage, shifting the angle to force opponents into walls
  • Introduces 3 new combat techniques to the game; Screw Hits, an aerial move; Power Crush, a defensive move that allows you to absorb attacks without having to pause your own assault; and Rage Art, a critical attack that unfolds in a cinematic sequence after the initial hit

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon Trailer.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the newest installment of the Yakuza game series. It follows Ichiban Kasuga, a 24-year-old junior member of the Arakawa Family. He faces an 18-year prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, but dutifully takes the fall for. Expecting to be revered as a hero, he is met with shock when he is released and discovers that not only does no one remember him, but his clan no longer exists. The story tells of his search for answers, beginning in Kamurocho, where he seeks his former patriarch, only to be shot, awaking days later in another town with a questionable stitch job. Undeterred, he sets out again on his hunt for the truth and to take back his life, only to become entangled in the conflict that brews beneath the surface of Yokohama. 

Unlike other games of the series, Yakuza: Like a Dragon strays from the previous real-time sock-it-to-em style of combat and adopts a turn-based system more typical of Japanese RPGs. An interesting component of combat, and one that is atypical to what one expects from turn-based combat, is the ability to use the terrain and objects in it to your advantage, a nod to the previous games. To suit the RPG-esque playstyle, there are multiple “jobs” that are available for players and NPCs; in fact, you can even change the existing job of your party members to better suit the party’s needs. The underworld also has more to offer than just following the main story, and comes equipped with various forms of playable content. 

What’s Fun About Yakuza: Like a Dragon: 

  • The combat is highly engaging due to the added environmental factor, allowing players to beat enemies with all sorts of style points; smash ‘em up with anything nearby
  • There is a vast amount of content that appeals to a variety of player interests; relax in an arcade and play SEGA games, race around on go-karts, complete side-stories, take a stroll down the street, even sing some karaoke
  • The completion of side-stories is rewarded through providing assists that can strengthen you and your party in combat
  • Upon completion, the game doesn’t actually end, allowing you to continue playing in and exploring the world
  • An interesting plot that is reminiscent of a crime drama, supported by a compelling and diverse cast of characters

Devil May Cry 5

Dragon May Cry 5 Trailer. 

Just like the games before it, demonic power threatens the world once again in the 5th installment of the Devil May Cry series. After a “demon tree” takes root in Red Grave City, Dante’s group suffers a devastating loss during which Nero is forced to flee and escape. As the hellish incursion continues to ravage the city, Nero arrives with his partner Nico to fight back, equipped with a new mechanical arm. Ready to take on his enemies and hopefully reunite with his friends Nero sets out on a rampage of his own. 

Nero and Dante return as the playable characters in Devil May Cry 5, joined this time by a new character named V. Combat focuses on fast-paced, real-time “stylish action,” during which the player fights off demonic hordes with a variety of different weapons and attacks. Each character has their own unique playstyle setting them apart from each other. Of particular interest is the addition of Nero’s “Devil Breaker” arm, which introduces new mechanics to the old fighting style, including the ability to grab faraway enemies and freeze time. Just like those before it, Devil May Cry is an action-packed hack and slash that rarely calms down. 

What’s Fun About Devil May Cry 5:

  • All three players are playable, allowing you to experience all three unique fighting styles and choose the one that interests you most or alternate between them as you please
  • Devil May Cry 5 is very pleasing graphically, with flashy fights, quality character design, and complementary lighting and environmental effects
  • A well-developed story and cast that carries on the legacy of the series
  • On top of the graphics and story, the game also boasts a first-class soundtrack that evolves during combat according to player performance, contributing to the overall immersion
  • While the game is not inherently difficult, those who excel will be rewarded with a “style rating” based on factors such as move variety, combo length, and dodge success rate; this also gives less-experienced or newer players something to strive for

The Evil Within 

The Evil Within Trailer. 

The Evil Within is an amazing game that is followed up by a second equally great game. Both have received immensely positive feedback, and for good reason. The first game follows detective Sebastian Castellanos and his team as they investigate the scene of a gruesome mass murder. Upon arriving, they encounter an unknown and vastly powerful force, which makes quick work of both Sebastian and his team. Upon waking, Sebastian finds he is the only survivor and has been transported into another realm full of more than just the dead. He must find a way to navigate the world before him, avoiding the gruesome monsters that lurk within it, and hopefully make it out alive.

The story progresses through a series of chapters; each one has tasks that must be completed in order to move forward. You must learn to use the environment to your advantage and remember to scavenge for supplies at every chance you get. Supplies are limited, so using them wisely is essential to your survival. Sometimes it will be better to fight, and if you choose to do so you will need to use the most effective weaponry, others it will be better to run. Every decision you make bears consequences beyond just life and death, as they can cause the world around you will morph and change. 

What’s Fun About The Evil Within: 

  • It brings pure survival horror to a new level, with intricate decision making, scavenging, skill-reliant and limited combat, and, of course, the occasional jump scare
  • Every action and decision you make actively changes the world itself; this change is ongoing, altering the terrain and scenery, changing or creating new paths, and even teleporting you to a new location
  • Unique mechanics, including items that are not quite straight-forward; some healing items can have negative effects and you can even turn enemies against each other with certain devices
  • Sebastian’s skills and abilities are upgradable, allowing you to customize him based on your capabilities and preferences as a player
  • The story is amazing and the visual and sound design is on point, with creepy music, startling sound effects, and truly horrifying creatures; these work together to create the perfect atmosphere for a horror game

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Trailer. 

After the events of Ground Zeroes, Big Boss, our main protagonist, falls into a comma, awakening nine years later. Upon his waking, he joins and helps lead the Diamond Dogs, a mercenary group. Now referred to as the “Venom Snake,” he ventures into Afghanistan during the Angolan Civil War in search of those responsible for the MSF’s (his previous group’s) destruction. On a mission of revenge, he encounters former rivals, meets new friends, and uncovers hidden plots. 

MGS V is primarily a stealth game that plays out through an immense open-world. At your disposal is a vast, vast repertoire of gear and companions that serve to assist you in remaining undetected. The game also boasts highly realistic weather and day-night mechanics that help to assist or impede you in various ways, such as night and rain impacting both your own and enemy visibility. Overall, there is a huge, and I do not say this loosely,  amount of available content and mechanics for players to experience and enjoy. One of the strongest qualities of the game is the amount of customizability that goes into the experience; as the player, you have unusually high control over the game and story. 

What’s Fun About Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:

  • You get to choose how the story plays out, in a variety of ways; the order of missions, how they end (i.e. whether battle and destruction ensues or peaceful, stealthy supply gathering), what gear and companions you choose, how to explore (vehicle, horse, even robots), it’s all up to you
  • The open-world encourages players to explore and experience the game to its fullest, whether that be through completing missions, side quests, leisurely riding a horse, scavenging for supplies, or even rock climbing
  • The soundtrack/background music always adapts perfectly to the atmosphere and environment of the game for a higher level of immersion
  • Upon completion of the main story, additional content is unlocked, adding to the already significant amount of content and playtime
  • The game has an interesting base building system which is critical to gear allocation and development, as it allows you to research and develop upgrades and enhancements based on the supplies you can provide

God Eater 2: Rage Burst

God Eater 2: Rage Burst Trailer. 

In God Eater 2, you will begin as a new member of the elite God Eater special unit “Blood.” Three years after the events of God Eater: Resurrection, a mysterious red rain brings with it a fatal pandemic known as the “Black Plague.” Your mission is to investigate the Red Rain and defeat the Aragami, violent ravenous creatures, while gathering material to research. As you adventure further and battle these enemies of mankind, you begin to realize that not everything is as clear-cut as you once believed. 

The story of God Eater progresses through the completion of various missions, consisting of the slaying of Aragami and gathering of materials. Completing missions will not only progress the story and provide experience to your characters, but will also upgrade or your existing “Blood Arts,” attack add-ons that boost your damage, or reward you with new ones. NPC side quests will also give various rewards, such as important materials, items, and also Blood Arts. As can be expected at this point from JRPG games, combat unfolds via a turn-based system. With a variety of weapon choices, Blood Arts, and other related mechanics, God Eater 2 offers an interesting gaming experience that plays on a similar concept as the more well-known game, Monster Hunter. 

What’s Fun About God Eater 2: Rage Burst:

  • A large number of available weapon choices, Blood Arts, and link support devices that allow you to customize the characters within your party based on the needs of each battle; additionally, the weapons themselves can be customized 
  • You can alternate between weapons with the simple click of the button, allowing for split-second combat decisions and a flexible battle experience 
  • The NPC cast is comprised of fully developed characters with their own personality and motivations; after some missions you can even choose to initiate a scene that allows further interaction with them 
  • Between side quests, the variety of available playstyles, Blood Arts, and general ability to customize your gaming experience, there is a fair amount of available content to play through and replay through
  • You can choose to play via online co-op with up to four people in a party, effectively replacing your NPC team with a group of friends 

Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III 

Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III Trailer. 

Following directly on the heels of the prior two Trails of Cold Steel games, the third installment continues a year and a half after the events of Trails of Cold Steel II. The story centers around the main protagonist, Rean Schwarzer, now a military professor, his students, and his military school friends from the prior games. While training a new Class VII, Rean receives orders from the Imperial Government to resolve a number of conflicts that have begun popping up over Erebonia. As he sets out with his new students to resolve the issue, he is joined by his old classmates. Together, the group embarks on their journey of discovery as they not only attempt to get to the bottom of these strange happenings, but also learn more about each other along the way. 

The Legend of Heroes games are characterized by their rich and beautifully executed story, which continues throughout all of the games. Trails of Cold Steel III is no exception in this; every character is well-developed and many hold positions in each of the games, growing alongside the main narrative. New players should be advised that some details may be missed if you haven’t played the prior games of at least the Cold Steel series (3 games). There is a pretty hefty recap at the beginning, but there are still elements left out; if this bothers you, be sure to check out I and II first. Trails of Cold Steel III is another game that uses a turn-based combat system for each of the battles, which primarily unfold through a series of menus, and is fairly typical in the execution. 

What’s Fun About Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III:

  • The game includes a simulation of school life through the campus, which allows you to spend your free time interacting with characters, exploring the area, and generally diving further into the details of the world 
  • Each character gets their fair share of development and feels fleshed out and realistic; the ones that are known and loved from the previous games also make appearances and continue to grow as well
  • A story that is wrought with political intrigue and underlying schemes to discover; just overall a story rich game with detailed nuances that invite the player to become engaged and invested
  • The turn-based system warrants player attention, as button mashing and using random skills and abilities will not fly, creating a satisfying and relatively strategic experience
  • While the graphics are not particularly amazing compared to others on this list, they offer a unique charm and are still very pretty, encapsulating the anime-esque design that characterizes the series

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Trailer. 

Part of the well-renowned and developmentally inspiring Dragon Quest series that helped set the groundwork for JRPGs as we know them, comes the the most recent addition, Dragon Quest XI. DQ XI, despite being part of a long-running series, is a completely standalone experience that hosts a brand new cast of characters and an independent narrative. The story takes place in the world of Erdrea, beginning as the kingdom of Dundrasil is invaded by a horde of terrible monsters. The protagonist manages to survive the attack and is found floating down the river by an old man who adopts him. After he has come of age, the truth of his background is revealed and he is sent to see the King, launching him down a path of unfortunate events and, eventually, on a journey to save the world. 

The world design of Dragon Quest XI is beautifully intricate with vibrant graphics. As the protagonist, an unmanned hero, traverses the lands, he will meet both new friends and enemies. With a turn-based combat system that has been fine-tuned across all the games, you will find that battle unfolds very smoothly. If you cannot take my word for it, that DQ XI, as well as the other games in the franchise, is worth playing, it has received multiple gaming awards after its release in Japan, including Playstation’s Platinum Prize. For old and new fans alike, this game will not disappoint if you decide to pick it up. 

What’s Fun About Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age:

  • Visually appealing world and combat that truly bring out the whimsical nature of the fantastical; there are also equippable outfits now that can be worn without stat reductions
  • The ability to alternate between 2D and 3D graphic styles at any time, as you please, and a free-form camera that allows you to scan the battlefield and view it from all angles, hough this is purely aesthetic
  • An amazing story with interesting characters and tons of plot twists to keep you guessing what will happen next
  • Immersive orchestral soundtrack that coincides with the occurrences
  • Players will not be required to grind or farm for experience, materials, or items, as the game has great level-scaling and quest rewards; but, the players who enjoy the exploration and experience will be rewarded with extra equipment, materials, potions, and more if they choose to do so, and there is honestly a ridiculous amount of content in the game if you choose to go for it

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Trailer. 

In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice you will play as the ‘one-armed wolf,’ a samurai warrior who has been disgraced and disfigured. You are bound to protect a very special young lord who is a descendant of an ancient bloodline. His lineage made both of you a prime target for vicious enemies who seek to use his blood to their advantage. After being rescued and revived from the brink of death, you discover that the young lord has been captured. In order to regain your honor, you embark on a perilous rescue mission. 

Delve into the world of late 1500s Sengoku Japan, beautifully designed and animated for your gaming experience, a truly visceral depiction of this period of brutality filled with violence and turmoil. Within this world you will come face to face with powerful foes who have become dark and twisted with the lust for power. You take up battle with a variety of prosthetic tools to compliment your ninja and samurai abilities, blending stealth with direct head-to-head combat in a bloody battle to the death. With only one goal, to restore your honor, you will combat your enemies, attacking weak points to knock them off their feet before landing a single, deadly blow.

What’s Fun About Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: 

  • A wonderfully executed blend of stealth and action gameplay that allows the player to decide how to best proceed
  • Relatively challenging, but rewarding, gameplay that relies on your ability to combo and use what skills and resources are available to you to pass through each boss fight onto the next
  • Gear upgrading, a skill tree, and albeit limited ability customization, provides some variability within the confines of the main character
  • Gorgeously animated cutscenes, fight scenes, and environment, combined with a well-developed and detailed story, as well as realistic sound effects and a riveting musical score, create a truly immersive and engaging video gaming experience 
  • Provides a taste of Japan and Japanese culture through the representation of Sengoku politics and Samurai Bushido (the way of the Samurai)

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Born and raised in the mountains, I have dedicated my life to story-telling of vast and wide realms. I live to enjoy the worlds of others, through role-playing and video games.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: PVP
Top 3 Favorite Games:League of Legends, Dragon Age II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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