Top 10 Action RPG Anime Games [Best Recommendations]

Fostering our childhood memories is most certainly important in life, and when it comes to specific genres that stood out among the vast array of choices, action RPG games took up a lot of our time. With so much diversity in terms of gameplay, along with mesmerizing tales of tragedy and triumph, action RPG’s are the true gamer’s favorite genre to dive into because you’re never at loss when playing, and hours just somehow fly by without notice. Whether you’re battling evil creatures in hopes to return planet Earth back to normal, immersing yourself in a breathtaking plot, or using magical spells to unlocking new environments, action anime RPGs combine two of the more exciting genres out there to create a thrilling emotional ride that anyone can enjoy.

10. Monster Hunter Stories

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Release Date: October 18, 2016

The Monster Hunter franchise has certainly made its mark on the gaming world, with much of its popularity stemming from Japan. Capcom recently announced that they’d be bringing more of their titles to the western audience, and Monster Hunter Stories is one of them. This series still incorporates much of what you’d find in your typical Monster Hunter adventure in terms of the appearance, but provides a more anime feel along with players taking on the role of a rider instead of a hunter.

Monster Hunter Stories throws you into a new world along with a more turn based approach to the RPG method of play, while still maintaining the action and free roaming you’d expect but in an original way. So much has been thrown into this series to cater more to a wider audience such as giving players the chance to breed and hatch eggs they find along their journey, fight alongside monsters while also allowing players to become friends with and customize these monsters too. Despite only having a choice of four weapons to choose from, it’s the monster customization features known as Transmission Ceremony in game, that will keep you occupied for some time.


9. The World Ends With You

  • System/Platform: Nintendo DS, iOs, Android
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix | Jupiter
  • Release Date: July 27, 2007

The World Ends With You is a timeless classic that takes place in an urban Shibuya setting, while incorporating the city’s unique youthful style into the game. Neku and his colleagues are thrown into a game forcefully and must now determine their fate through a series of events that take place over time. Using special methods in order to progress such as shouting into the DS microphone, or tapping the touch screen, players need to rely on their sound judgement to clear missions while using objects such as cell phones to provide hints along the way.

Despite the game having somewhat of a challenging approach to learning the ins and outs of how to play, once you got the hang of it the game totally blows you away with its fun puzzles, while its unique Noise symbol battle system will keep you coming back with its increasing difficulty. Using various items such as pins that you’ll find along your journey, will help to boost your stats, while you’ll have to pay close attention to certain fashion trends happening in each district since it can also affect you in battle. With various mini games thrown into the mix and a plethora of features to wrap your head around, The World Ends With You is a game you don’t want to sleep on if you want something new and challenging in your action RPG collection.


8. Persona 4 Golden

  • System/Platform: Playstation Vita
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release Date: November 2012

Persona 4 Golden is the much improved remake of the successful Persona 4 title, which released on the PS Vita shortly after the original. Golden threw in some extra added features along with story elements to keep fans of the series busy, along with introducing a new character known as Marie into the plot.

Much of the original game is still in tact but now with so much more to offer players who perhaps want to go back and replay the game again. The additions that were added included new Personas, animated cutscenes, character outfits, along with added dialogues for the new characters. One truly unique feature that could only be found on the Vita version was that players could even use the microphone to call for assistance when in danger in a number of dungeons. Persona 4 Golden was certainly a great addition to the already diverse selection of RPG titles for the Vita at the time, which provided die hard fans with added touches that truly made the game feel brand new.


7. Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope

  • System/Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: tri-Ace
  • Release Date: December 12, 2013

The Star Ocean franchise is yet another notable action RPG franchise that we simply cannot ignore, and Star Ocean 4 is the title that truly amalgamates all of the series’ best features which cements it as perhaps the best in the series overall. Also known as Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope, the title concentrated on a more team oriented approach along with a more sci-fi feel compared to the general fantasy type we’re used to. It’s the prequel to the original Star Ocean and looks at the world as it’s on the brink of destruction, with majority of Earth’s population being eradicated and natural resources fading away rapidly. Edge Maverick must now embark on a dark and uncertain journey to ensure the world stays in tact, destroying The Grigori, while teaming up with allies to discover more about the Star Ocean.

The franchise has been quite notorious for taking players on this sensational adventure, with so many paths that lead players in all directions to keep you on your toes. Showing off new features that weren’t found in other titles such as the BEAT(Battle Enhancement Attribute Type), that allowed you to perform unique preemptive strikes against the enemy and choose prefered fighting styles for your allies, Star Ocean 4 had a nice handful of options which stood out and encouraged creative ways of approach from the player. It really felt like an action packed adventure with a wide variety of ways to take out the enemy and create an exciting experience overall.


6. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

  • System/Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo SPD
  • Release Date: October 17, 2005

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is the ninth installment in the already well known franchise, and takes place in a separate world from other Fire Emblem games. In the Tellius, Ike encounters a woman named Elincia Ridell Crimea who then becomes his ally as they fight to bring down the evil Daein empire, seek revenge for the death of his father, and relieve racial conflicts between the Beroc and Laguz.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance places much of its attention on its tactical approach to play, while still bringing together some action elements to reshape the overall feel of the game. The game is known for its challenging difficulty in the Japanese version, while the western version had been toned down a bit. While many complained about this gap in difficulty, it didn’t stop players from engaging in a 19 character battle that truly tested your ability to think on the fly. Allies would be removed from the game completely once they died, along with revival items having no effect. Weapons could be customized in a completely cool way also, with certain elements such as fire being added to them which only injected more difficulty over time. Paired along with a wonderful story and the introduction of full-motion movies, Path of Radiance is a title fans of the series must play.


5. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: March 20, 1997

Castlevania has been a long running series spanning back a few decades, and since its initial release the franchise has had its ups and downs but most certainly has made the mark it intended to with so many classics. One of those classics and arguably the best Castlevania title of all time, is none other than Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

What makes Symphony of the Night stand out far more than its predecessors is that it incorporates just about every positive thing about the other titles, and gives you this new exciting experience that the other titles seemed to lack. While most fans of the series would agree that the voice acting in the game is far from spectacular, the simple story was enough to keep players intrigued while throwing you into incredibly challenging boss fights and thrilling platforming gameplay which the series is mainly known for. Taking bits and pieces from other legendary titles such as Super Metroid now famously known as Metroidvania, Symphony of the Night demonstrated just how an action RPG should feel like in every possible way.


4. Tales of Symphonia

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developer: Namco Tales Studio
  • Release Date: August 29, 2003

The Tales of series has seen countless sequels and spinoffs that we simply couldn’t count with our fingers, but none held the spotlight more than Tales of Symphonia as it has become the best selling title, with Xillia and Destiny taking second and third respectively. You play as Lloyd Irving, who is accompanied by his close colleague Colette as the two learn of a startling truth that has a huge impact on their world of Sylvarant and its parallel world Tethe’alla. Now the two must use their strengths along with the help from other allies in the game to help restore balance in both worlds.

Much of the game’s premise revolves around being able to resonate with the game, and feel as if you’re truly apart of the universe you’re playing in. Everything that you loved in other Tales games is what you’ll find in Symphonia, along with a real time battle system which allowed players a little bit more freedom and accessibility. With a variety of gameplay options to choose from such as being able to cook food to sustain health, equipping EX Gems to further strengthen your team’s skills along your journey, a new steam version of the series, and a handful of side quests to keep you busy, Tales of Symphonia will be a treat to many.


3. Kingdom Hearts II

  • System/Platform: Playstation 2
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date: March 28, 2006

Kingdom Hearts is an unforgettable series that has captured the hearts of many around the world, and with every die hard fan waiting for the next installment it’s clear that the franchise will please fans for years to come. Kingdom Hearts II continues where the original left off, embracing a more darker presence than before and takes place a year after the events of Kingdom Hearts:Chain of Memories. The evil organization known as Organization XIII reappears and is determined to ensure they can prevent Sora from rescuing his lost friends.

While incorporating many of the traditional RPG formats that are known in titles such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts II threw in a few new additions such as Reaction Command, which is an attack feature that’s enemy specific and using a timed approach the player can press the triangle button to unleash big damage. This feature was a necessity in progressing through the game as fighting certain bosses required you to use it, but it could also be used to avoid damage as well. Other great features such as the Drive Gauge were introduced which allowed a lot more flexibility throughout your adventure, and just gave the game a fresh feel with its already exciting gameplay.


2. Final Fantasy XV

  • System/Platform: PS4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date: November 29, 2016

You’ve probably seen this game on our previous lists already and perhaps for good reason, since it’s a title that’s been long awaited for ten years. Final Fantasy XV is the latest installment in the globally popular franchise developed by Square Enix, and takes you on an incredibly new adventure in the world of Eos as Noctis must band together with his friends in order to reclaim his homeland and magical crystal, after it had been seized from the corrupt empire of Niflheim.

FFXV combines the same playstyle that you’d find in Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy Type-0, but now gives you a much larger open world to wander around with many quests that you’ll have to partake in to progress through the deep and enriching story. Whether you’re battling monsters on foot, running around on the adorable Chocobos, or traveling by the stylish Regalia, FFXV gives players a freedom unlike no other Final Fantasy title could provide and with the Active Cross Battle System in place, tearing through your enemies never felt so satisfying.


1. Chrono Trigger

  • System/Platform: SNES, PS1, Nintendo DS, Mobile
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date: March 11, 1995

Chrono Trigger is arguably one of the greatest RPGs ever made, and is an all time classic that most certainly sits atop a vast array of titles in your collection. While it certainly isn’t a true action RPG in terms of flashy cutscenes, there’s plenty of action in terms of its plot, and gameplay as you progress further through the game. This revolutionary title incorporated multiple endings, side quests that had a deep connection to the gripping main plot, along with a plethora of other amazing features that simply make this game a masterpiece.

With a unique battle system, far beyond that of the typical system that was around at the time, Chrono Trigger is a title that truly deserves its own throne in the upper echelon of the RPG genre, and with the artistic direction of famed mangaka Akira Toriyama behind it all, it was very clear that the game would not be forgotten. Despite being released just over 20 years ago, Chrono Trigger has seen ports on the Nintendo DS, Playstation, as well as mobile devices. That further cements the fact that with a magnificently written story, graphics that were beyond its time, and gameplay that transcended other hits at the time, Chrono Trigger is a treasured item that every fan needs to play at least once.


Closing Statement

It’s becoming increasingly harder these days to live up to the success that these classics have achieved, but with anime becoming more and more accessible to a global market and technology continues to evolve, we may see another major hit action anime RPG come our way very soon. Akiba’s Trip is an honorable mention we can’t forget, along with it’s upcoming release Akiba’s Beat. With a strong emphasis on gameplay more than pristine graphics, action anime RPG’s will continue to rise so long as we dish out the money to support them. Which action anime RPG did you enjoy the most? Any titles you want to see come back? Let us know in the comments section down below!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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