13. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Why it’s good for beginners: It’s designed by the same dude who drew the art for Dragon Ball Z, so it’ll feel familiar to you if you were the sort of nerd who spent a lot of time watching Toonami in the ‘90s. To be honest, this is one of the entries on this list that’s going to feel the most traditional, so maybe save it for when you’ve built up some momentum for JRPGs.
How to play it: OK, so hear me out…the version for iPhone is pretty good on this one! They’ve adapted the game so you can play it with one hand, which is really nice for those times when you want to make it look like you’re reading emails or whatever but you’re actually 30 hours deep into an RPG. If you want the full experience, you’ll need a PlayStation 2, but there’s supposedly a 3DS remake coming out sometime soon.
14. Mass Effect
Why it’s good for beginners: It’s really great science fiction, for starters. The later games get a little full of themselves, but the first Mass Effect is a lot of good, old-fashioned cowboying around space with your giant frog friend. You could also seduce your shipmates and have sex with them, if awkward softcore computer sex with blue tentacle-headed aliens is the kind of thing that gets you going.
How to play it: It should still be pretty easy to get your hands on a copy for Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. (The two sequels should also be pretty widely available.)
15. The World Ends With You (and the “Solo Remix”)
The World Ends With You (and the "Solo Remix”)
Why it’s good for beginners: The game is about a bunch of dead Hot Topic teens who YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND AND NEVER WILL, UGH as they compete in a series of afterlife contests to win back their mortality. Sounds bananas, I know, but the mechanics and pacing are like no other JRPG out there. (Which is a good thing.)
How to play it: The truest version of the game, which lets you control two battles simultaneously, can only be found on the Nintendo DS cartridge, which is still pretty easy to get ahold of. There is a stripped-down but still totally fun and satisfying version of the game for iPhone and iPad.
16. Paper Mario
Why it’s good for beginners: See the “why it’s good for beginners” section of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, but then add in the fact that this has a neat 2D paper aesthetic that it occasionally uses in interesting ways. It’s not the most difficult game ever made, but if you think Mario nostalgia will help the RPG parts go down a little easier, Paper Mario is a good place to start.
How to play it: It was originally made for the N64 system, but they’ve made it available for download for the Virtual Console on both the Wii and the Wii U.