50 games like odin sphere leifthrasir for pc windows


The past year has brought Yakuza, Bayonetta, Ni no Kuni II and many other Japanese series to lớn PC for the first time. In light of that, it"s tempting khổng lồ dem& that every classic và everything new & exciting from Japan gets ported over from its original console home.

There"s nothing wrong with that, but anyone can ask for Personas 3-5. I"m here lớn advocate for the swathes of great, older Japanese games that would feel at trang chính on PC, but which haven"t yet been canonised. Games which break the mould, and which aren"t filled with the usual JRPG tropes. I’ve picked out eight that feel like less obvious choices, all of which deserve khổng lồ find a new audience on PC.

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Mystery Dungeon: Shiren The Wanderer

Chunsoft, 1995 (Super Nintendo), 2008 (Nintenvì chưng DS)


Over the past few decades we’ve had countless games where you take on enemy hordes again and again, hoovering up the loot they drop khổng lồ kit yourself out against ever stronger foes. But Dragon Quest co-creator Koibỏ ra Nakamura came up with the Mystery Dungeon series as a more accessible version of Rogue – the venerable text-based dungeon-crawler – years before Diablo, or Borderlands, or Destiny. There’s been a steady stream of releases over the twenty-five sầu years since, and aao ước the best of those were Chunsoft’s own Shiren The Wanderer games. Chunsoft cut bachồng on Rogue’s enemies and its staggering menu of items, but introduced linear stories & continuity.

The silent nhân vật Shiren and his best friend, the talking weasel Koppa, adventure through a charming world that strikes just the right balance between anime slapstichồng and a wistful take on Japanese mythology. The emergent chaos is still there, along with the difficulty. You’re constantly aware that every run is moments from disaster should a quái dị that you’re not ready for turn up, and while you don’t die per se, defeat still sends you baông chồng khổng lồ the start minus your inventory. The story isn’t just set-dressing, either. Allies can be unlocked who persist over each new attempt, each with their own little side stories. Chunsoft have still only brought one Mystery Dungeon game to lớn PC, but it was an unrelated indie game they slapped with the brvà. Any of Shiren’s adventures would be right at home and the very first still holds up today.

Vagrant Story

Squaresoft, 1999 (PlayStation)


People tkết thúc to lớn rubbish older consoles’ first attempts at building a world with a meagre handful of polygons, but I still consider Vagrant Story one of the most beautiful games ever created. There’s a unifying artistry lớn the textures, the colour palette, the characters and the level designs that still shines through, even with the original PlayStation’s wobbly 3 chiều.

On one cấp độ Vagrant Story is a straightforward dungeon crawler, albeit with heavy emphasis on some truly esoteric combat, crafting & personalising your equipment. The story is about a lone bounty hunter chasing a fleeing cult leader after a hostage crisis goes badly wrong, with other parties also hot on his trail. There’s not a great deal of lô ghích behind the interlocking systems but the depth & the drip-feed of progression still impress. That visual flair, though, comes across as much more than style over substance.

It was cinematic, before that became a dirty word, và not simply epic for the sake of it. The cutscenes boast some stellar writing và direction, from action movie wisecracks lớn sharply observed political intrigue, và they’re all rendered in real-time (save one). I’d hold this up as far more adventurous storytelling than anything Hideo Kojima was doing at the time. Fans have been begging for a sequel or remake for years, but I’d happily pay for a straight port of the PlayStation version if that was the only option.

Valkyrie Profile

Squaresoft, 1999 (PlayStation), 2006 (PlayStation Portable) (as Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth)


Most JRPGs try to lớn convince you that if you persevere, then everybody will get the ending they deserve. Not so Valkyrie Protệp tin, which dips at times inlớn outright misery. This is Japanese pop culture taking on Norse myths and legends, with the player cast as one of Odin’s iconic winged warriors. The apocalypse is right around the corner and the All-Father’s army is looking a little thin, so off you go, swooping khổng lồ và fro across the world bản đồ, homing in on prospective sầu recruits. Either these people only just died, or they’re about to lớn, but none of their stories prove especially heartening. Do you hang on to these poor souls to lớn keep your tiệc nhỏ strong, or ship them off to lớn Valhalla?

As you hack your way through dungeon after dungeon, you rethành viên the protagonist, too, has a backstory she seems khổng lồ have sầu clean forgotten about. Valkyrie Protệp tin is too melodramatic khổng lồ be depressing, really, but its relentless parade of could-haves, would-haves và should-haves can still feel exhausting. There’s something captivating about its sheer bloody-minded commitment khổng lồ maximising pathos, all the same.

The combat is great fun, part turn-based strategy, part fighting game button-mashing, & Motoi Sakuraba never wrote a more fitting score, for such an operatic story. The visuals have dated, but Square Enix have kept the brvà alive sầu on smartphones (as a premium release, no less), so presumably they think there’s still money in it.

Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter

Capcom, 2002 (PlayStation 2)


Capcom never quite hit the big time with Breath Of Fire, but bachồng in the day these were nice, comfortable JRPGs trading on familiarity và recurring motifs. There’s always a girl, there’s always a Long (along with hissable villains, line-nhảy combat, pleasantly colourful art design and a cheery sense of adventure). Then series veteran Makoto lớn Ikehara decided khổng lồ turn turn the fifth game, Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter, inlớn a grlặng death march through a post-apocalyptic hellscape – a tonal shift so drastic it effectively killed the series.

In Dragon Quarter, Humans have fled beneath the surface of a ruined planet, eking out a pitiful existence in a rigidly stratified society deep underground. The protagonist stumbles across a terrible experiment: a young girl bred to lớn be a living air filter in the hope of staving off this crumbling, polluted world’s inevitable collapse.

Along with a friendly resistance fighter, our anh hùng deserts his posting to accompany the girl on a seemingly futile climb towards the “sky”. Long before Dead Rising or Dark Souls, Dragon Quarter encouraged you to lớn die & restart repeatedly in the face of seemingly impossible odds, patiently building your stats & unlocking more of the narrative with each new playthrough. Despite the difficulty, it also offered a win button, a super-powered transformation that potentially made any battle a formality but which killed the anh hùng if you abused it. It’s a game I’d say richly deserves another shot at success. The clunky PlayStation 2 3D feels dated, but the roguelượt thích mechanics and that mournful, almost elegiac storyline are practically contemporary.

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Phường.N. 03

Capcom, 2003 (Nintenbởi vì GameCube)


The “Capcom Five” project was a rare case of a third-tiệc nhỏ developer throwing its weight behind a Nintenbởi console long before the Switch, and aimed khổng lồ bring five Capcom games exclusively to the struggling GameCube. The project fell flat when one was cancelled, three were ported to lớn the PlayStation 2 & one of those, Resident Evil 4, was such a success it arguably eclipsed all the others. Only P..N.03 remained exclusive sầu lớn the GameCube. A literal cash grab, largely intended to shore up Capcom’s finances, Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami came up with a third-person shooter so perversely different khổng lồ anything else the publisher had put out that it ended up a critical và commercial failure.

The tank controls, in line with classic Resident Evil games, emphasise slow & considered play rather than frantically hammering out combos. The heroine’s animation reinforces how combat is a dance, where you watch the enemies’ movements then launch inkhổng lồ action as if you’re following stage directions, and – ideally – slide to a halternative text at the end of the routine without a scratch on you. Mikamày went on lớn build on many of the ideas & the kiến thiết language with Vanquish for Platinum Games, but there’s an elegance lớn the original once you start khổng lồ get the hang of it which few other games have ever matched. Screenshot artist Duncan Harris (sometimes of this parish) produced a gallery for P.N.03 which shows that gorgeous stark white minimalism still holds up. A remaster would be nice, but a simple resolution bump would almost bring it up to lớn date.

Tales Of Legendia

Namco, 2005 (PlayStation 2)


The Tales Of... action role-playing games are pretty well established on PC at this point, và despite some glaring missteps publisher Bandai Namteo have sầu generally put a fair amount of effort into lớn releasing on the platkhung. But the one time they dipped into lớn their baông xã catalogue they chose to port the bạn favourite Tales Of Symphonia. Tales games have a reputation as comfort food, & Symphonia is about as shop-bought vanilla as JRPGs get. Tales Of Legendia, on the other hvà, was a holdout, the last game khổng lồ use the series’ traditional 2.5D view for combat. It went largely ignored in the long run (especially after the next game, Tales Of the Abyss, was a roaring success) but it’s arguably the best, and the bravest, in the series.

The premise might not seem lượt thích much: a runaway soldier & a mysterious girl wash up on a giant floating isl& where everybody toàn thân wants the secret she’s carrying. But what starts out as a Saturday morning cartoon marries twists upon twists lớn some of the smartest, most thoughtful characterisation the genre has ever had. It’s far from perfect – much of the humour fails to l& and the lone character of colour is both a noble savage and a literal spear-chucker who’s the butt of everyone’s jokes far too often. But the maturity on display elsewhere still puts the competition to lớn shame. The charming doll-house aesthetic và a stunning score mean it wouldn’t need too much work khổng lồ stand up to lớn anything else on Steam.

Odin Sphere

Vanillaware, 2007 (PlayStation 2), 2016 (PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4) (as Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir)


Vanillaware have been making games in lush, painterly 2 chiều since the days of the Sega Saturn, with a vibrant house style that riffs on everything from classical Japanese woodblochồng prints khổng lồ the Pre-Raphaelites to Frank Frazetta. Later releases pushed this khổng lồ ever more lurid extremes (Dragon’s Crown, their tribute khổng lồ the glory days of four-player co-operative sầu arcade games, is infamous for its wildly stylised player characters and some pretty brazen tín đồ service). But going back khổng lồ Odin Sphere, the game that put them on the map, what surprises me most is how restrained it is. While it’s basically a side-scrolling brawler with skill trees, stat boosts và crafting under the hood, the writing is as studied as any of the classic PC RPGs.

Five sầu characters’ stories intertwine in a fantasy kingdom on the brink of apocalypse, but it’s less the scope & scale that impresses, more the flawed humanity of the cast. They bicker và squabble with passion, và frequently make the wrong decisions as a result, ones they can never quite take baông xã. Calling it Shakespearian doesn’t seem lượt thích a lazy superlative; this is a world away from the typical JRPG’s upward march khổng lồ glory. No empty titillation here, either. There are some scanty costumes and exaggerated anatomy but the female characters are still given considerably more agency than the norm. Atlus already remastered the game for the current console generation as Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – a PC port would hardly be a great stretch.

Knights In The Nightmare

Sting, 2008 (Nintenbởi DS), 2009 (PlayStation Portable)


Sting Entertainment have sầu been toiling away quietly on the margins of the industry since the early nineties, with a bachồng catalogue that’s part work-for-hire, part passion projects. Several of their games, known as the Department Heaven series, mô tả the same epic fantasy universe and the strangest of these is arguably Knights In The Nightmare. Even compared to lớn other genre mashups, Knights still takes some explaining. It’s a turn-based strategy game played on small, abstract grids, but your units have extremely limited movement, & while you’re only a cursor the enemies will still intermittently attachồng you in a bullet hell mini-game, và repeatedly getting hit means the kết thúc of the round, but that’s not necessarily the end of the fight because every round also sees you trying to lớn play tic-tac-toe with your accumulated kills which is how you actually pass the level, and, and…

Even completing the tutorial feels lượt thích an achievement, inasmuch as you start to think “How am I ever going lớn keep all this straight?” Some of it is smoke & mirrors. Many of the stats arguably become superfluous over time. But there’s still little, if anything quite like positioning troops and wielding their attacks as best you can while dodging fountains of neon projectiles. It started out on DS but there was a PSP port, so it can definitely work on a single screen. I doubt something this esoteric would ever draw a huge crowd on PC, but I’d imagine it would find some very dedicated fans.