Japanese RPGs have come a long way in the past decade or so. Once accused of being too formulaic and linear, we have seen them embrace more progressive and open-ended design with recent titles such as Final Fantasy XV, Nier: Automata, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
It is into this zeitgeist that Romancing Saga 2 released when it arrived on Steam at the end of last year, fitting in easily with its JRPG peers. But while it does go some way to present its world as a playground to explore, it doesn’t actually hail from modern times.
If retro JRPGs aren't your thing then perhaps the best RPGs on PC are.
This is a retro JRPG that never got its chance to shine in the West in the same way Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Zelda did, because it didn’t officially make the journey overseas until 2016 when it was released on mobile. Now that it is on PC, though, we can make amends and give it the credit that it is due.
Originally released in 1993 for the Super Famicom, Romancing SaGa 2 does not faff around when it comes to turning what are - even back then, in the early ‘90s - well-worn JRPG tropes on their head. It starts straight away by casting you not as a single hero but as an entire lineage of emperors with which you work towards expanding your benevolent empire. That is not the only challenge, however, as you are also doing battle with a team of seven “heroes” who, it turns out, are secretly evil.