5 JRPGs that Deserve a Second Life on Steam

5 JRPGs that Deserve a Second Life on Steam

The PC has recently become a wonderland for overlooked or MIA RPGs from Japanese developers. Here are a few that haven't made it yet, but definitely should.

In recent years, Japanese publishers have discovered One Weird Fact: people actually use their computers to play video games. Astounding, I know.

Along with Square-Enix moving a good chunk of their Final Fantasy catalog to this platform, we've also seen a few completely unexpected surprises over the past year, like Valkyria Chronicles and Grandia II appearing on Steam. Still, there's plenty of games still waiting for their chance to shine on the PC, and plenty of people willing to pay for experiences they either missed or want to relive again. Here are some currently MIA titles that seem pretty viable for a second chance in the brave new world of digital distribution.

Resonance of Fate

I don't need to say a whole lot about this ill-fated tri-Ace RPG from 2010. Why? Because you can read my account of its many virtues elsewhere on this site. Thankfully, Resonance saw a digital rerelease on PSN last year—making it much easier to track down a copy—but the PC crowd would definitely get a kick out of this fascinatingly complex and weird little RPG. Resonance of Fate offers a nearly limitless number of meaningful weapon customizations, and a great little battle system to try out your many absurd and lethal pieces of weaponry. These enemy encounters aren't quite turn-based, and aren't quite full-on action—they're something altogether unique, which really makes Resonance of Fate special. Simply put, this overlooked RPG deserves a much bigger audience.

Dragon's Dogma

2012's Dragon's Dogma stood as a pretty ambitious project from Capcom: a massive, Western-style RPG directed by the guy best known for his work on the Devil May Cry series. It found an audience, but went on to be mostly forgotten—most likely because Dark Souls stole much of its fire. Dragon's Dogma isn't a bad-looking game, but you can tell it was absolutely scraping against the limits of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hardware, leaving players to imagine how improved the experience could be when divorced from circa-2005 hardware. Capcom could definitely see more of a return on their undoubtedly massive investment if Dragon's Dogma made it to the PC—and get some free advertising for the new free-to-play sequel that launched in late August. (And currently isn't available in the United States.)

Nier

Nier is weird, and that's cool. And what's even weirder is the fact that this cult hit went on to make some major waves, and even saw a sequel announcement at this year's E3. So why not let PC gamers understand what all the fuss is about? Despite its flaws, Nier stands as an extremely memorable experience, quite possibly worth it for the soundtrack alone. A PC port might not convince a new group of players to pick up a PS4 for the next game, but more Nier fans in this world can never be a bad thing.

Kingdom Hearts

I may not care for Kingdom Hearts, but I know a lot of people who aren't me certainly do. It's a series with plenty of cross-generational appeal: Adults play it for the nostalgic throwbacks, teens play it for the PG-13 romance and heightened melodrama, and kids play it for... well, it's a simple RPG full of colorful Disney characters, so you figure it out. Despite its worldwide success, Kingdom Hearts has never graced the PC, and now that every game in the series has made the transition to HD, there's no reason why these games shouldn't sneak off their Sony platforms and meet a whole new audience. And with the addition of new fans, maybe someone out there can finally figure out what the hell's happening in its inordinately complex story.

Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII is no stranger to ports. In 2014, it saw a mobile version—which we didn't really like—and this summer gave Japan a 3DS port that, by all accounts, looks reasonably good. Even if a beefy RPG like this seems perfect for the portable format, Dragon Quest VIII practically demands a big-screen experience; there's just something missing when you peer past those endless stretches of rolling hills on a tiny screen. A Dragon Quest VIII PC port won't just introduce PC gamers to a series approaching its 30th birthday; it'll also give the game an HD upgrade, which will make it look even more like one of your Japanese animes. Given the state of Dragon Quest in America, though, I wouldn't hold my breath.

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