2021 was yet another good year for role-playing games on PlayStation. Granted, a lot of them were actually PS5 re-releases, but there were still plenty of top quality titles to go around.
As decided by the Push Square editorial team, these are the best RPGs of 2021.
Bronze Trophy: Persona 5 Strikers
Persona 5 Strikers is often mistaken for a Dynasty Warriors-style Persona spinoff, but it's actually much, much more than that. This is a full-on action RPG that expands on the tale of the Phantom Thieves. The story takes place just months after the events of Persona 5, and does a surprisingly expansive job of providing each party member with additional character development. What's more, the fast-paced but often quite tactical gameplay is a real homerun. A fantastic, typically stylish companion piece to Persona 5.
You can read our full Persona 5 Strikers PS4 review here.
Silver Trophy: Mass Effect Legendary Edition
One of gaming's most beloved trilogies made a return in 2021, and simply put, playing through the engrossing adventures of Commander Shepard has never felt better. BioWare went above and beyond with this remastered collection, reworking gameplay mechanics and adding some welcome graphical improvements to games that many would consider all-time classics. A stellar (pardon the pun) experience from top to bottom, and one of the best value packages of the year.
You can read our full Mass Effect Legendary Edition PS4 review here.
Gold Trophy: Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
After all of the praise that Disco Elysium received on other platforms, we couldn't wait to see what all of the fuss was about with Final Cut on PS5 and PS4. As it turns out, this utterly engrossing RPG is well worth the critical acclaim. In terms of pure role-playing mechanics, no other game from 2021 comes close, as Disco Elysium lets you walk a completely unique path through a gripping murder mystery. Choice and consequence are at the forefront of what is a haunting experience — a truly memorable game.
You can read our full Disco Elysium: The Final Cut PS5 review here.
Platinum Trophy: Tales of Arise
We've been big fans of the Tales series for what feels like an age, but we think there's an argument to be made for Tales of Arise being the best of the bunch. Bandai Namco finally gave its role-playing property the budget that it deserves, and the result is an emotional, brilliantly paced, and often stunning adventure. In its memorable locations, endearing party members, and rewarding combat system, Tales of Arise is easily one of the greatest Japanese RPGs on PS5 and PS4.
You can read our full Tales of Arise PS5 review here.
- Lost Judgment
- Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
- Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy
- Dodgeball Academia
What was your favourite PS5, PS4 RPG of 2021? Have your own say in our poll, and then recall your adventures in the comments section below.
Mass Effect and it isn't close. Replaying these games at thier fullest on PS5 was such an amazing experience.
@Splat I wish I could forget everything about the story and start fresh to enjoy the trilogy again.
Yep, fully agree with the list and the order!
Absolutely disagree. God tales of arise is mediocre.
Story sucks, enemies are all the same, battle system is braindead.
One of the biggest disappointments of the last few years.
Final fantasy 7...was about to buy it but got it as a ps+ give away..just recently got the ps5 upgrade and god knows when i'll have the time to continue playing..i'll make it my new years resolution.
I do think FF7R is better but I played it last year so ToA for me too.
I’m just happy to see some honorable mention love for Atelier Ryza 2. The Atelier games are always pleasant, and Ryza’s two adventures were great fun to play through. Looking forward to seeing what they do with the Sophie sequel in 2022.
Yes to P5S and ToA. but let's not forget about Ys IX Monstrum Nox.
Also, Mass Effect?!? Like, yes we get it, I get it, I played em already back then. Also, same for Disco Elysium.
Let's give some love to newer games.
No Ys IX? No SMT V? suspect...
@Oscarjpc for reals...I can't say anything about SMT V (cuz I don't have a Switch) but Ys IX was really fun.
It would definitely be a Switch game if I could include them as they had Bravely Default II and more importantly, Shin Megami Tensei V. The latter is one of the best RPGs since Persona 5!
Finally some love it deserves, one of the best JRPG's within the last 10 years aside from persona 5 and dragon quest 11
Hopefully the next tales of game is as good and stunning graphically as this one
Tales of arise for the win.one of the best combat in a video games ever.amazing graphics and storie.word up son
@Ashkorsair I was underwhelmed by Tales of Arise too.
Graphically, while good looking and shiny with a lot of particles, the absolutely horrendous pop in issues made it impossible for me to invest in the world.
The characters (the main part of any good JRPG) were far from being likeable from the start. I mean, main character with amnesia? again?
But the worse part was the pacing : in a span of a few hours, I went from being a slave to killing one of the biggest foe the world has ever seen, while flaunting big ass spells and actions.
A good JRPG makes you fell you've evolved, you've become something you weren't at the start. Tales of Arise failed to do that and therefore failed to want me to achieve anything. It made me think like there were no risk to my characters, as if it was impossible to see them fail in their quest.
@Oscarjpc SMT V isn't even on playstation, and YS 9 was average and no where near as good as YS 8, the world was just so boring and the same looking areas.
"Bandai Namco finally gave its role-playing property the budget that it deserves, and the result is an emotional, brilliantly paced, and often stunning adventure."
I guess my copy was defective. I didnt experience any of that.
Mass effect lol, oook... real rpgs aren't even mentioned.
Naming Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade my pick was tempting, but the original PS4 release was my 2020 Game of the Year, so that rules that out. Mass Effect Legendary Edition easily then. While it was a remastered collection, it was still a fantastic release and one of the best of the year regardless of genre.
Is tales of arise much better than berseria? Because berseria is a poor game, simply horrible....
YS IX was incredibly mediocre though, almost bordering on bad.
Shallow soundtrack, boring story, dull city to roam around in.. the only decent aspect is the cast of characters, but that's not enough to save the game. YS VIII was ALOT better.
Last year was terrible for JRPG's, but Tales of Arise was a breathe of fresh air. Granted, I absolutely HATE Shionne, but the rest of the characters are fun and the gameplay is great.
@Mauzuri why are we comparing IX to VIII?
That's not what this is about. It's about JRPGs that came out (to the west at least) in 2021.
Your quick review of Ys IX also kind of sounds like you didn't play the game all the way through. Maybe you did, but you know there's more than just the city setting, there's verticality in the game that lends to fun exploration, the cast is cool, the story was good with a little tinge of nostalgia and an interesting twist, the combat is always fantastic and the music was quite good as well.
But to each their own.
I'm a big RPG guy. Its what I do, and I've been really into the genre since the late 80s. And so its sad that we're in a long stretch right now without and really good new additions.
What I want, more than anything, is a party based game with realistic or at least semi realistic graphics and a big open or semi-open world. We went the entire PS4 generation with only a handful of games like that, and I'm hoping I don't have to wait until Dragon Age 4 to get another one.
@TheRealist it's called an opinion. People are entitled to them. Play nice!
@Corc11 Im entitled to mine too.
I did play through the whole game. And I'm comparing it to VIII because a critical portion of that game - somehow - made it into IX as well.
Spoiler alert for those who haven't finished it yet:
I mean.. in VIII, you play as both Adol in the present and then Dana in the past, which was awesome and it worked wonderfully. But then in IX, you play as both Adol and Crimson King (which is also Adol and.. from what I remember.. a clone made by alchemy or something, right?) It's such a stupid and ridiculous plot ''twist'' that I got so annoyed that I nearly gave up on the game. Include that oh-so ''dreadful'' last Grimwald Nox and it's just setting itself up for disappointment. There was never a real sense of urgency like there was in VIII (or even in IV Memories of Celceta). Granted, VIII's story isn't perfect and kind of lost tracktion near the end, but it still far outshines the ridiculous and kind of forced story they tried to tell in IX. But again, the party members were loveable and quite frankly better than the ones in VIII.
And, ah, the exploration outside of the city was far too short and not good enough, especially with how diverse the other two YS games were that I played (Them being Memories of Celceta and Lacrimosa of Dana). I get that was the whole point of the ''story'' they were trying to tell, but still. Yuk.
Well for me, the overall game as a whole being transferred to PS5 specs makes FF7 Remake Integrade the best of both worlds. No more load screens = RPG GOTY 2021!!!
Tales of arise and lost judgement
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