JRPGs are evolving. They aren’t limited to turn-based adventures that send a party of teenagers around the world to fight evil, all because of a burned-down village. When it came time for Michibiku to salute its favorite JRPGs of 2015, we realized how the genre has diversified. This was a year full of enjoyment-rich Japanese RPGs, but we felt these two innovative titles deserved our highest honors.
Best JRPG of 2015: Xenoblade Chronicles X
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a beautiful game. People find themselves abruptly abandoned on a lush, gigantic world. You’re one of humanity’s last hopes, but the burden on your shoulders isn’t too great. This open world game lets you do what you want, when you want. You set the schedule and the only goal is to have fun. Whether that means powering through the story to learn the fate of the humans on Mira or exploring every region to pick fights with monsters and see every sight, it’s up to you. There’s tons to do in this JRPG, which is why it’s so awesome. – Jenni
Runner-up: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker
Sure, it’s an enhanced port. But here’s the thing: it’s a really good one. Record Breaker takes the original Devil Survivor 2 and adds some more content, but the best thing it does is give what was there already a better audience than it got the first time as a post-3DS release DS title. The combination of demon fusion and tactical play works so well because it gives you more opportunities to build different sorts of teams, and it makes for a game you can’t put down even after it ends. – Graham