Last week we listed the top 5 JRPGs of the 2000s based on their (Metacritic) Metascores. This week, we want to continue that list to complete the top ten.
Golden Sun – Metascore 91
Golden Sun was originally released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. With it’s Metascore of 91, it is sixth on this list. The game was published by Nintendo and developed by Camelot Software Planning. It marked the beginning of the Golden Sun franchise, and was received quite well.
The game is notable for its use of special Djinn that can give the player certain powers and be used against enemies. Development began as a Nintendo 64 game but later changed into a mobile game. That hardware change forced developers to split the game into two.
Golden Sun’s gameplay is just like that of the JRPG’s of its time. It features a cast of four, turn-based battles, and random enemy encounters. It ended up being a great RPG for the Game Boy Advance, and wonderful franchise.
Shin Megami Tensei : Persona 4 – Metascore 90
Persona 4 was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2008. Its Metascore of 90 puts this title in seventh place on this list. The game was published and developed by Atlus. Later, the game was ported to both the PlayStation Vita and PC.
As with the rest of the Persona series, the game features both RPG and life simulation elements, allowing the player to interact with their party members outside of battle. Building relationships and managing your time is just as important as battling Shadows.
Persona 4’s antagonist, Tohru Adachi, is one of the most memorable as he pretends to be good throughout the entire game. Meanwhile, he is actually the puppet master behind all of the killings you investigate during the game. It was received well by both critics and players alike.
Grandia II – Metascore 90
Grandia II was released for the Dreamcast in 2000. The game was later ported to the PlayStation 2 (though it must be noted that PS2 port suffers from performance and visual issues). You can now even play it as part of the Grandia HD Collection on the Nintendo Switch. It is tied with Persona 4 with a Metascore of 90.
The original release of this JRPG on the Dreamcast in Japan was pretty well-received. However, sales of the game were not as high as they had hoped for, which lead to the later ports of the title. The game’s English release was very well-received also.
The game’s battle system is rather unique, featuring a real-time turn-based system that supports some movement during battle. This allows the player to move characters around while waiting for their turns to come around.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King – Metascore 89
Dragon Quest VIII is up next with a Metascore of 89. Originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004, this game was developed by Level-5 and published by Square Enix. It is the first title to drop the “Dragon Warrior” title in English regions.
The game uses cel shading in its animation and it the first game in the series to have fully 3D environments as well as character models. The game holds on to its turn-based roots and character progression is still tied to EXP points.
Dragon Quest VIII sold over three million copies within its first week, which made it the fastest-selling PlayStation 2 game in Japan. Critics were quick to praise the game’s cel shading, and 3D backgrounds. The US release of the game was also met with positive reviews.
Kingdom Hearts II – Metascore 87
Last but not least, we have Kingdom Hearts II. With its Metascore of 87, Kingdom Hearts II is the highest rated Kingdom Hearts game by Metacritic. Released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005, Kingdom Hearts II was developed and published by Square Enix.
Despite the name, this title is actually the third in the franchise, following the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Sora is much older now and awakens with Donald and Goofy with yet another world that needs saving. Visit old friends and make new ones as you dive into this instant classic that combines Disney and Final Fantasy characters.
The franchise as a whole was wildly successful and is still very much alive today. As for Kingdom Hearts II, it was very well-received. In its first week in Japan, it sold one million copies. By 2007, the game managed to sell over 4 million copies. It received a 39/40 score from Famitsu magazine.
Conclusion on the Top Ten JRPGs of the 2000s
That wraps up the top ten JRPGs of the 2000s based on their Metascores. are any of your favorites listed or forgotten? The 2000s was a great time for RPGs, and with that, gives us a lot of different games to look at. However, we just wanted to look at what critics thought were the best of the best for the time period.
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