Five RPGs from the 90s That Should be Remastered on Switch

Azure Dreams back Cover

The 90s decade, the golden era of the Japanese RPG. In those wonderful days it seemed like SquareEnix (Squaresoft at the time) could do no wrong. Good to great JRPGs were a common sight on (what seemed to be) a monthly basis on the PlayStation 1.

Even the Nintendo 64 with its Zelda games (and the underrated Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber) had a few all time great experiences in its mostly barren RPG catalogue.

In a sea of great RPGs, some games got lost in the shuffle. The Nintendo Switch has turned into my RPG machine of choice, as grinding is so much easier when it can be done anywhere, and at anytime. The following list details a few games I would like to see re-released as remasters on the system:

1. Azure Dreams

Azure Dreams RPG

This game is personal choice of mine. The Roguelike, dungeon crawler genre has gained traction over the last few years. Supergiant Games’ Hades is the latest example of the genre done right.

Truth is, I prefer Azure Dream’s brand of dungeon crawling, and its deep town building system. This system even featured some early examples of dating sim components, as our protagonist, Koh, progressed through the game.

While Koh’s level always returned to level 1 when he entered the Monster Tower, collecting and hatching monster eggs to earn “Familiars” was key to succeeding as these creatures kept their earned levels for the duration of the game.

The Monster Tower’s floor layout changes every time Koh enters, as does the treasure placement, making the game a consistently fresh experience.

Why it should be remastered:

First, in order to play the game today you would have to own a functioning PlayStation 1, PS2, or Early PlayStation 3 model. That requirement is simple enough, however, the game itself will run you over $100 dollars, with the game consistently being sold within the $200-300 price range on Amazon. It is unfortunately a expensive endevour to play the game today as things stand right now.

Finally, the game is awesome. Konami’s underrated ‘Roguelike’ title had the necessary dungeon crawling requirements for a title within its genre, but the added town building, dating, and Pokemon like collecting monster features made it a joyous and refreshing ride in its time. Definitely, Azure Dreams is a game that modern, and old-time players who missed it, or sold it back to Electronic’s Boutique (as stupidly yours-truly did), deserve to experience today.

2. Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross RPG

Chrono Cross‘ only flaw? It wasn’t quite as great as its flawless predessesor. Other than that, Chrono Cross was quite possibly the greatest RPG released in 2000 on PS1 (Final Fantasy IX might have something to say about that of course). Chrono Cross features wonderful artwork accompanied by an interesting storyline, which is framed by one of the greatest soundtracks ever made.

Why it should be remastered:

The game is on PlayStation network, so there are different ways to play it today, and even the original copy can be bought for under $50 dollars online. However, the Switch seems to be a perfect landing spot for the title, as the PS1 Final Fantasy entries are already there. A ‘Chrono Collection’ featuring both Trigger, and Cross would be just what the doctor ordered.

3. Vagrant Story

vagrant story RPG

Unlike Azure Dreams, Vagrant Story is not underrated. The game holds a 92 Metacritic score, and was hailed as a bonafide masterpiece in its heyday. That said, it didn’t set the world on fire in terms of sales. Thus, many have yet to play this action-RPG classic.

The story, artwork, and sound design package in the game was one of Square’s finest efforts in an era where making fine efforts was the company’s calling card. The battle system took some time to get accustomed to, as it was difficult to master. At the same time, the game targeted an older more mature RPG audience, and thus, the combat seemed to perfectly fall in line with everything else in the game.

Why it should be remastered:

While the game did see a PS Network re-release, it is not currently available on PS4. Because Vagrant Story is a full 3-D game (unlike the PS1 FF games), an HD remaster treatment on the Nintendo Switch would fit it perfectly. Considering how Soulsborne games have turned into a popular past time for many gamers these days, Vagrant Story’s artwork, and deep combat system would find a home with many Switch owners.

4. Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile is, perhaps, Tri-Ace’s (Star Ocean) finest game. The game is heavily based on Norse Mythology. It features a character progression, and game progression system that are both unique, and deep. The game encourages multiple play-throughs, as some of its characters can only be unlocked when played in its harder modes, and there are two endings.

The story is also probably one of the better, if not the best effort released under the Enix banner in the entire 90’s decade. For its story alone, Valkyrie Profile would have rated well, but the game itself was expertly crafted. The game, however, wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, due to its relative difficulty to other JRPGs of the time period.

Why it should be remastered:

If you want an original copy of the game, it will run you over $100 similarly to Azure Dreams’ case. However, unlike Konami’s obscure title, VP has been re-released in other platforms, such as iOS and Android in 2018. That said, I am not much of a cell phone gamer, and I would like Square Enix to properly release the game on the Switch.

Valkyrie Profile is one of the better gems of the 1990’s, and it is fitting that it gets a proper place on Nintendo’s eShop courtesy of Square Enix.

5. Panzer Dragoon Saga

Panzer Dragoon Saga

Sega’s answer to Final Fantasy VII, might be critically the Sega Saturn’s highest scoring game (92 GameRankings) ever. PDS took the Panzer Dragoon universe into the RPG realm. Team Andromeda delivered a fully voice acted technical marvel that is perhaps the most impressive looking JRPG of its time (it is fully 3-D). Considering how difficult it was to code for the Sega Saturn, Panzer Dragoon Saga was an impressive game in more ways than one.

If it hadn’t been for Ocarina of Time, and Metal Gear Solid arriving in the same year, PDS would have been the consensus game of the year in 1998. Sega did its best to bury the game underground before it even arrived on the west by not spending any money on marketing, and releasing a few copies among other miscues. Despite all that, the game retains a legendary reputation within the gaming community.

Why it should be remastered:

In reality, Sega Saturn’s Panzer Dragoon Saga, should be number one on this list.  The game easily costs $1000+ in online shops, and most people do not own a working Sega Saturn.

The reason why this game is not number 1 on the list is quite simple. Sega, in a historical blunder of indescribable proportions lost the source code. So, ports of any kind are unlikely to ever arrive. Unless Sega makes an (unlikely) effort to remake the game, it is likely that we will never see an official port running on any modern device. As it stands, Panzer Dragoon Saga is the greatest game that almost no one ever played, and it is a sad thing to see.

The rest

There are numerous 1990s, early 2000s RPGs that I would like to see remastered into Switch games. Suikoden, Wild Arms, and even some of the average faring RPGs of the time like Legend of Legaia would all be welcomed in my current Switch Digital library.

Please let us know in your comments which games you want remastered or even remade on modern systems.

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.