• Several PS1 RPGs have aged well and can still be enjoyed today, thanks to advancements in technology during the console’s era.
  • These games may not have open worlds like modern RPGs, but they offer great replayability and nostalgic appeal for many fans.
  • Each game mentioned in the article has unique elements that contribute to its enduring popularity, such as innovative gameplay mechanics, memorable narratives, and immersive worlds.

The role-playing game genre has been huge in the video gaming industry for a long time, but the capabilities of early devices meant that many of the earliest RPGs don’t manage to hold up well today. However, by the time the first PlayStation console rolled around, technology had already advanced quite a bit within the industry.



12 Turn-Based JRPGs With The Best Stories

Turn-based JRPGs are often known for their stories, and these fantastic games really shine in the storytelling department.

This means that several PS1 RPGs manage to hold up well even against the epic, wide-ranging RPGs that players are used to in today’s world. While these games may not have the huge open worlds of modern games, they have great replayability, not to mention plenty of nostalgia for many fans.

Updated on March 22nd, 2024 by Chris Harkin: The PlayStation 1 is a console that has long been gone from the minds of many gamers, but this doesn’t stop dedicated retro game lovers from digging up some more classics that play just as well as they did decades ago when they were first released. As the popularity of video game remakes continues to rise, more of these games are likely to make a return and prove that their stories and characters are truly timeless, even if their graphics and gameplay remain throwbacks to the early era of gaming. With this in mind, more classic PS1 games have made their way onto this list with its latest update.

12 Legend Of Mana

Metacritic Score: 72/100

Hero approaching a Rabite

Legend of Mana
PlayStation 4 , Nintendo Switch , iOS , Android , PC , Microsoft Windows

July 15, 1999

Action RPG , Adventure

Square made an incredible number of RPGs for the PlayStation, and a lot of them have remained significant to the genre and world of gaming today. Legend Of Mana was the fourth game in the long-running Mana series, and while it incorporated many elements from previous Mana games, it was credited for having a style all its own.

The unnamed protagonist and their companions adventure across a series of story arcs, creating a style of RPG that would only grow more popular in the future as open-world games made it easier for developers to overlap multiple story arcs across large games. This, along with its timeless RPG mechanics, helped Legend Of Mana stay highly relevant today.

11 Mega Man Legends 2

Metacritic Score: 76/100

Roll and Mega Man in Mega Man Legends 2

Mega Man Legends 2
October 25, 2000
Action-Adventure , RPG

The idea of turning the long-running Mega Man franchise into an RPG with Mega Man Legends was truly ambitious, and the idea managed to achieve a much more natural feel and state by the time the sequel was released.

The RPG elements added to the story of MegaMan Volnutt and Roll Caskett attempting to find a legendary treasure were more fully realized than in its predecessor. While it ended somewhat tragically, and the intended sequel was canceled, Mega Man Legends 2 remains a classic of the PS1 that deserves more recognition today.

10 Diablo

Metacritic Score: 94/100

diablo ps1 game

November 30, 1996

Blizzard North, Climax Group

Action RPG

In the wake of the Diablo 4 release, it may seem like fans of the franchise are unlikely to return to the PS1 port of the original. After all, it would be fair to say that the PC release was the better one, but Diablo branching out immediately to include a PS1 release was huge for the future of the franchise.

In a time when JRPGs ruled and Western ones couldn’t break into the market often, this was a massive victory. The original story of saving Tristram by the player sacrificing himself to contain the essence of Diablo was an amazing early RPG narrative and has helped the game to remain hugely playable today.

9 Parasite Eve

Metacritic Score: 81/100

Parasite Eve Main Character Looking in the Mirror

Parasite Eve
September 9, 1998


An idea that never caught on but should be revisited, Parasite Eve is a bold game that made a survival horror into an RPG. Boldly taking the rapidly improving cinematic style of horror games for the PS1 and adding more traditional RPG elements, Parasite Eve was a hugely underrated, innovative game that played somewhat like an early Soulslike.

With a fascinating story about mitochondria being manipulated by a monstrous villain, and a rookie NYPD cop trying to stop her, Parasite Eve created one of the most memorable gaming experiences of its time, helping it stay timeless today as so few games have effectively duplicated the unique style.

8 Breath Of Fire 3

Metacritic Score: TBD

Breath Of Fire 3

Breath of Fire 3
April 30, 1998


There is a lot of debate over which game from the Breath of Fire series is the best overall, but Breath of Fire 3 made the leap for the series to become the adored IP it was on the PS1, introducing many formidable elements that helped it stay relevant and highly enjoyable to play today.

Continuing the story of Ryu, whereas the next entry tried a soft reboot of the franchise, Breath of Fire 3 added voice actors and three-dimensional graphics to the franchise, which already had combat and characters that remain highly enjoyable for a ride through one of the longest Capcom games ever.

7 Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Metacritic Score: 89/100

Alucard exploring inside Dracula's castle, fighting off against a winged demonic beast.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
October 2, 1997

Metroidvania , Action RPG

Considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time, Symphony of the Night remains excellent for players to revisit today, mostly because this was the game that added role-playing elements to the franchise, forming the basis of what would later be known as a Metroidvania game.


8 Easy Metroidvania Games That Are Perfect For Beginners

These Metroidvania games are great for beginners of the genre due to their welcomeness, ease of gameplay, and exciting narratives.

Symphony of the Night tells the story of Alucard, the son of Dracula, who attempts to stop the force controlling Richter Belmont as he traverses a castle and defeats enemies. The simple style is familiar to Metroidvania players, as many aspects of these games have remained unchanged from Symphony of the Night.

6 The Legend Of Dragoon

Metacritic Score: 74/100

The Legend Of Dragoon PS1

The Legend of Dragoon
June 14, 2000


A game that was actually put down by critics upon release, The Legend of Dragoon has aged incredibly well for how it dared to stand out from other RPGs at the time it was initially released, and yet despite this, it never managed to get a sequel.

The intricate combat system in The Legend of Dragoon was one of the very best on the PS1 system, and the initially ambitious cutscenes helped make this a true epic of its time, needing several discs for the PS1 but playable on other systems today with much less hassle.

5 Suikoden 2

Metacritic Score: 82/100

Final battle of Suikoden 2

Suikoden 2
September 29, 1999


One of the biggest cult classics to come out of the PS1 era, Suikoden 2, didn’t find a huge audience because the first game in the series wasn’t that impressive, and it was lost among other big releases around the same time, but this game has more imagination and ambition than almost any game to be released in the decades since.

Suikoden 2 features a huge volume of recruitable characters that players must get together to fight in battles that range hugely in variety, sometimes only involving two participants and other times entire armies. The bold style of this RPG is completely unmatched and should have been copied by more games than it has been in many ways.

4 Final Fantasy Tactics

Metacritic Score: 88/100

final fantasy tactics ps1 box art

Final Fantasy Tactics
June 20, 1997


There are a lot of memorable things about Final Fantasy Tactics. The game introduced the world of Ivalice, one of the better remembered and more frequently used worlds in Final Fantasy, and Tactics is without a doubt one of the best tactical RPGs of all time.

Though Tactics has released enhanced ports since the original release there hasn’t yet been a full remake, but the PS1 version remains hugely fun because the narrative makes up for anything lacking in graphics, and the tactical style doesn’t feel like it needs strong graphics as much as other types of games. Final Fantasy Tactics is still considered by many to be one of the best video games of all time, easily making it timeless.

3 Chrono Cross

Metacritic Score: 94/100

Chrono Cross screenshot (PS1)

Chrono Cross
November 18, 1999



Just recently having been remastered, the definitive edition of Chrono Cross proves that this game is truly timeless, because most of the remastering felt fairly unnecessary. This game already had many great elements of Square RPGs that helped make it the best in the world at creating games in that genre.



7 Hardest PS1 RPGs

The PlayStation 1 era was filled with difficult RPG games, but none more so than this list!

There are 45 possible party members spread across the worlds that Serge explores as he tries to uncover the truth behind the parallel world where he died as a child. The fight against the Lynx remains a fantastic narrative, and the gameplay manages to match it, so players can just as easily pick up the original version as the remaster today.

2 Vagrant Story

Metacritic Score: 92/100

An Image From Vagrant Story

Vagrant Story
May 15, 2000



Another hugely underrated game that has gained a cult status over the years, Vagrant Story was worked on by most of the team at Square who were responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics, and it was bold enough to eliminate many traditional RPG elements.

Not including any interaction with other characters or shops, Vagrant Story focused on adding more puzzle elements, strategy, and weapon modification. All of these are elements that have made themselves much more apparent in modern RPGs, and Vagrant Story still plays wonderfully as a prime early example of a game that is often forgotten but deserves a replay.

1 Final Fantasy 7

Metacritic Score: 92/100


Final Fantasy 7
January 31, 1997

Called by many the greatest game of all time, Final Fantasy 7 is the pinnacle of Square’s PS1-era style of RPGs. Players can easily take on one of the remakes or remasters for this game but the PS1 original version is still incredible to play through.

The battle against Sephiroth and the brilliant narrative around it, in addition to the gameplay elements, are all fairly similar to modern Final Fantasy entries. Square changes with each installment, but the main components of the games were all here, and the lower quality PS1 graphics do nothing to take away from the amazing experience if replayed today.


Square PS1 Release Tier List

Square’s legendary PS1-era output is one of the greatest libraries of games from a single developer, making it worthy of a ranking.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *