This generation started with all signs indicating that the JRPG would find a solid home on Xbox 360. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The Xbox 360 does have a lot of Western-developed RPGs and a handful of solid JRPGs (not as many as the Wii or PS3, though), however, that will definitely keep RPG fans happy. Here are our picks for the best RPGs on Xbox 360.
The best JRPG of the generation is (in the U.S. at least) exclusive to Xbox 360. Tales of Vesperia is a gorgeous game with a great battle system and some of the best music of any game this gen. The story is also great and the cast of characters are wonderful and memorable. Tales of Vesperia also offers New Game+ with some ingenious hooks to keep you interested for another long playthrough, so it is more than worth your time to play multiple times.
Fallout 3's vast open world nuclear wasteland is one of the coolest settings in any game on Xbox 360. There is so much to see and do and so many hidden things to discover off of the beaten path that you'll be hooked for hundreds of hours. The follow-up, Fallout: New Vegas offers better gameplay and better quests, but Fallout 3 has a far more interesting world to explore, which is why it comes out on top for us.
Skyrim takes everything its predecessor, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, did and makes it a little more streamlined and a little bit better. The world is huge and full of varied landscapes and interesting ruins to explore. The graphics and sound are excellent. And the sheer amount of things you can do mean you'll happily be lost in this world for hundreds of hours.
Borderlands 2 is a loot-RPG in the guise of an open world shooter, which sounds strange, but works fantastically well. The shooting isn't great, but the character building process is outstanding and the wealth of worthwhile randomly generated loot keeps you playing for hours because you never know if the next enemy or item box might drop some fantastic new treasure. It is a massive game as well offering 5 characters with three worthwhile playtrhoughs each (each playtrhough bumps the difficulty up), so there is a ton of gameplay here.
This spot could honestly go to the whole Mass Effect series - all three games are excellent - but the best of the three is definitely Mass Effect 2. This sci-fi romp around the galaxy to save the human race from extinction is absolutely fascinating and features great graphics, seriously excellent music, and one of the best casts of any Western-developed RPG yet. Mass Effect 2 is simply phenomenal.
One of the forgotten exclusive gems of the Xbox 360's library, Lost Odyssey does "Final Fantasy" better than this generation's actual Final Fantasy games did. The game is gorgeous and tells a fantastic story. The gameplay is actually remarkably challenging too, much moreso than most turn-based JRPGs, which makes it much more interesting than your typical menu-driven RPGs.
The console version of PC action-RPG king Diablo III isn't just competent, it is arguably the best version of the game yet. The controls are brilliant. The combat is fun. And the piles of loot you collect are deliciously addictive. Playing it in local co-op is also simply amazing. Diablo III has a bit of a bad reputation on PC, but we absolutely love it on Xbox 360.
Nier is a tricky game to describe, because it does some things surprisingly poorly, yet does other things so amazingly well that you can't help but love it in spite of those flaws. It has a lot of obvious problems that you can't ignore like awful mission design, a tiny bland world to explore, and so-so combat. But it tells an incredible story, has some awesome characters, and has by far the best soundtrack of this generation and perhaps any generation. It is a game that will stick with you and make you think about it years down the line. Nier is simply amazing and we cannot recommend it enough.
Brutally difficult, but at the same time rewarding and fun and wonderful, Dark Souls is a hardcore action RPG for true fans of the genre. It will frustrate you to no end, but when you get a great new piece of gear, or see a grand new vista in a new area, or finally beat a tough enemy, all of that frustration disappears. It will test you, but it will also greatly reward you. It isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy a challenge, Dark Souls is a solid RPG.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope has probably the best real-time combat system of any JRPG on Xbox 360, but a so-so story and awful voice acting turn away some people pretty quickly. The story and characters are heavily, heavily anime influenced, so if you have watched a lot of anime you'll know what to expect. Which is probably why none of it bothers me that much. It is all just par for the anime course. It is a shame more people don't give it a chance, though, because the gameplay is outstanding, the graphics are excellent, and the wealth of content on offer is extraordinary. And when you beat it, there are dozens more hours worth of post game extra dungeons to explore.