Among a whole different kinds of JRPG out there, there are some games that is considered to be harder than the other. The difficulty points to whether it is hardly adaptable in gameplay, the existence of strong bosses and tough secret bosses or maybe the effort needed to complete it at 100%. While most of the troubles can be solved by leveling, the grinding needed is really time-consuming.
For example, if you are going to face what they called ultimate secret boss, many of the experienced players will suggest you to be at the max level or implementing some complex method to make things easier. Even so, things will not go the way you wish because the game itself was made to be harder. And here are 7 hardest JRPG you should try playing if you consider yourself a challenge seeker.
1. Persona 3 (PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2)
This game is the fourth installment of the Persona series. Released in 2006, this game initially was made for PlayStation 2 console. An enhanced version titled Persona 3 FES was made on the same console with bonus chapter: The Answer (this version also available for PlayStation 3). There is also a PlayStation Portable version with an optional female protagonist titled Persona 3 Portable.
The story follows a group of high school students with the name of SEES who were trying to cooperate with each other in a world where death is acceptable. Together, they investigate a mysterious time period called Dark Hour and found out Tartarus, a huge tower containing Shadows. To fight them the members of SEES summons Persona as a manifestation of their inner self.
Reasons why it is hard: Basically Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series are harder than most RPG out there, but in this game we have Elizabeth (a character in the Persona series and a tough secret boss in Persona 3 FES). If players choose to start the second cycle of the game, Elizabeth will offer an extra sidequest of challenging her at the top of the bonus dungeon.
2. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PlayStation 2)
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is the third installment of the Shin Megami Tensei series which was released for PlayStation 2. It was developed and published by Atlus in Japan and North America, and by Ghostlight in Europe. It has multiple versions of the game: the original version was initially published in 2003 by Atlus, while a director’s cut version was released in the next year.
The main protagonist is a high school student living in modern-day Tokyo who transformed into a half-demon when the world undergoes an apocalyptic event called Conception. On the brink of rebirth, Tokyo transformed into a world filled with demons. The protagonist becomes the key to change the fate of humanity. To do that, he recruits demons in Vortex World to fight alongside him.
Reasons why it is hard: The insanely strong ultimate boss: Lucifer. Lucifer is the True Demon Ending final boss. Aside from the ultimate boss, you can also find strong enemies in the latter half of the game with the existence of Labyrinth of Amala where you can fight stronger bosses for more challenge.
3. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PlayStation 2)
This game is actually a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series which was released for PlayStation 2 in 2004. The game itself is an upgrade for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne with the same engine, graphics, and assets but some differences in gameplay elements. Not only that, Digital Devil Saga also brings back the demons that were absent in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.
The story of this game is about the constant war that was happening in the land called The Junkyard. We will control Serph, a silent protagonist and also the leader of Embryon, a tribe engaged in battle against its rival, Vanguard. Serph’s adventure begins when he found a mysterious egg-like artifact that exploded during the war and changed the tribe members into demons.
Reasons why it is hard: The existence of Demi-fiend as an overpowered ultimate secret boss. As an ultimate boss, he can only be challenged in New Cycle+. He can be found in the Anahata underground dungeon.
4. Star Ocean: The Second Story (PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4)
Star Ocean: The Second Story is the second installment of the Star Ocean series made for PlayStation in 1998. Although it has been ported to some platforms, this amazing game started its debut in the classic console such as PlayStation. This game gives the player a choice to play as Claude C. Kenny or Rena Lanford (the two main protagonists) with all its consequences to the story in-game.
This game gives different sensation in playing RPG where you choose which character’s scenario you will play on; resulting in different possibility of recruitable characters. Star Ocean: The Second Story has the real-time combat system that tri-Ace is famous for, and making it as a pioneer of the modern RPG’s real-time battle system. This game is one of tri-Ace’s most critical and commercial successes.
Reasons why it is hard: Indalecio, or also known as Gabriel Celeste, as a recurring hidden superboss from the Star Ocean series and some other tri-Ace games. In this game we can fight him with his limiter OFF, which means that he will be unbelievably harder to kill way more than his limiter ON mode. Trust me; his limiter OFF mode can decimates you easily with all of his godlike abilities.
5. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4)
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is the third main game of the Star Ocean series which was released for PlayStation 2 in 2003. Nobody has questioned tri-Ace’s quality since the first Star Ocean game made in 1996. The graphics, the gameplay, and especially the battle system astonished the players ever since the beginning up until now. And I think, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has the best plot twist.
The game starts with Fayt Leingod, the main protagonist having vacation on a giant spaceship. Later, he was forced to escape through an escape pod when the ship was attacked and ended up in an underdeveloped planet. His story continues until one day he learned that outside of their 3D world they live in, there were 4D beings in the fourth dimension that they have to defeat to protect their own existence.
Reasons why it is hard: Literally, it is easy to die in this game. For some situation, we can die for stupid reason such as MP deficiency. Most of the bosses are also challenging, and not to forget the famous secret boss of the series, Gabriel Celeste is also present in this game.
6. Resonance of Fate (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PC)
Resonance of Fate is another RPG developed by tri-Ace and published by Sega for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Released in 2010, this game delivers fast-pace strategic combat involving different firearms and combination moves of the three playable character. Resonance of Fate is set in a steampunk environment where the main character is trying to fight the ruling Cardinal causing crisis.
Like most of tri-Ace’s creations, the selling point in this game is the battle system. It unifies turn-based and real-time combat in a good way. Even the equipment system and leveling system is somewhat complex that it might turn off some excitement like when you play standard RPG. This game has brought the turn-based battle into a higher level of innovation.
Reasons why it is hard: It has a beautiful and complex battle system that makes this game is exciting but challenging at the same time. The battle system has a huge learning curve to it, and it will take time for players to adapt with the combat. Not only that, this game will provide you with difficult bosses and secret bosses.
7. The Last Remnant (Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PC)
The Last Remnant is a JRPG style game developed and published by Square Enix. It was released worldwide for Xbox 360 in 2008 and Microsoft Windows in 2009. The remastered version of the game was released near the end of 2018 for PlayStation 4. Back then, The Last Remnant was the first Square Enix game to use the Unreal Engine.
Rush Sykes, the main protagonist try to save his sister Irina with the help of his multi-racial teammates from the bad guys. By using ancient weapon and accessories called Remnants, Rush and the unions tries to stop The Conqueror who is trying to conquer the world under his command. This time, Rush must battle with The Conqueror and his generals who also uses Remnant weapons and accessories.
Reasons why it is hard: Even the regular battle can be tough at times. We will have the party on full health each battle, but that also means that the developer has prepared another hardship for you in the gameplay. It also has Battle Rank that works like levels, but as we enganged in battles the number will increase and results in the harder the enemies we will face.
Read also: 7 Overpowered Bosses in JRPG
Atlus with Shin Megami Tensei series and Persona series, tri-Ace with Star Ocean series are known to have an above-average difficulty in gameplay while hiding an ultimate boss. My favorite from the list above are the Star Ocean series, because the gameplay is addictive and not to forget the secrets, including the secret bosses which were totally unforgettable.
Which one do you think is the hardest JRPG? Have you tried completing it? Please share your thoughts in the comment below.