Nintendo's gaming consoles have always been home to great JRPGs, starting with the original NES all the way to the Nintendo Switch.
Thanks to an endless stream of remakes and remasters, the Nintendo Switch has become the console of choice for fans of classic Japanese RPGs, with all manner of old and new JRPGs available to play.
With Nintendo Switch Online, you can play classic SNES games—of which many still reign as some of the best JRPGs of all time. But what if you don't care much for retro games? Well, there's still plenty for you!
Here are our picks for the best JRPGs available on the Nintendo Switch, that you can play at home or on the go.
6. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
The Pokémon series has been stuck in a rut since its inception, with each generation doing little more than apply a fresh coat of paint on the same formula, save for a few deviations (like Pokémon Snap or Pokémon Stadium).
That all changed with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which took the franchise in a direction that many fans had always wanted to see: an open-world Pokémon experience where trainers set out to complete their Pokédex.
That change alone isn't what makes it one of the best JRPGs on the Nintendo Switch, but the mechanics are so fresh and well-implemented that it elevates the story and worldbuilding in ways unlike ever before.
For the first time, Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings a sense of wonder with a world that's primal and feral. It's a Pokémon game with none of the original rules or limits, and that makes it infinitely better.
5. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age might be a controversial pick, but we stand by it. You don't want to miss out on this remaster of one of the most underrated Final Fantasy games of the franchise.
In The Zodiac Age, we saw changes to the License Board that adds a job system to make it easier to change your party composition on the fly. For that alone, it's easily the best version of the game, period.
The characters in Final Fantasy XII remain one of its strongest points, with the sky pirates Balthier and Fran feeling so reminiscent of Han and Chewie that we're surprised Square Enix never got a stern letter from Disney. Plus, the world feels both tense and beautiful at the same time.
Even if you played the original Final Fantasy XII on the PlayStation 2, you owe it to yourself to try out this newer version. It's that good.
4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
If you want a game with a lot of content, Fire Emblem: Three Houses will surely deliver. With each of the four routes taking around 35–40 hours to complete, you're in for at least 150 hours of solid gameplay. (And that's not even including the Ashen Wolves DLC.)
Each playthrough of Fire Emblem: Three Houses will unfold differently, as it depends on which house you choose to teach and what decisions you make at certain key plot points.
Tactical combat has never looked or felt better than in this game, complete with brightly colorful maps that make it easy to see what you're doing without sacrificing difficulty.
Each game unit has so much personality that you'll almost feel bad about sending them into the fray, especially when you finally decide which one you plan to romance.
3. Persona 5 Royal
Bet you didn't see this one coming, did you? It almost feels like cheating to include Persona 5 Royal on this list. Persona 5 has long been considered one of the best JRPGs of all time, and Persona 5 Royal is an even better version of it.
The Nintendo Switch feels like the perfect home for this incredible roleplaying experience. The graphics and sound transition perfectly to the console, and the overall experience is fantastic whether you're playing the game docked or in handheld mode.
You simply can't go wrong with Persona 5 Royal. It's the most stylish JRPG of all time, with characters and music that never get old. There are multiple romance options, and the story of rebellion and disillusionment only gets more poignant as time goes on.
The Nintendo Switch version is one of the best ports the system has ever seen. If you've been on the fence about it, do yourself a favor and play it!
2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was one of the biggest JRPG releases of 2022. This mammoth of a game will take you more than 120 hours to complete, plus many more hours if you're a completionist type.
JRPGs fans looking for a meaty experience will find plenty to enjoy here. The game's combat system is simple enough that you can pick it up quickly, while introducing enough wrinkles and layers over time that you won't grow bored. There's always more depth to explore.
Also, the story is brilliant and the music a real highlight, as has often been the case with the Xenoblade Chronicles series.
The only downside? You need to play at least 10 hours before you really get to freely explore the world—that's when the whole game really takes off.
1. Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata is a kind of visual spectacle you wouldn't expect on the Nintendo Switch, with countless particle effects and relentless action. The fact that this game runs so well on the Switch? Astonishing.
Seriously, there's no visual downgrade here compared to other gaming consoles. This isn't a lesser version of the game—it's the game.
Yoko Taro is the best in the business at creating mind-bending twists and playing with the very concept of what a video game is. You'll have to play Nier: Automata multiple times to unravel all the mysteries and endings, culminating in one of the greatest video game endings of all time.
If you've never played Nier: Automata before, now is the time to jump in. The Nintendo Switch version—called The End of YorHa Edition—is now the best way to experience this legendary game.