The RPG genre is one with a deep history that dates back to the earliest years of gaming. While RPGs now take on a myriad of forms, with each franchise bringing something different to the table, traditional RPGs of the '80s and '90s most often utilized turn-based combat.
Related: Best PlayStation 4 Games For Couples
While many modern developers have strayed away from such combat, there are still a plethora of video games that use classic turn-based systems. As modern games are able to draw on the success and failures of the past, many modern turn-based RPGs tend to be some of the best that the genre has to offer. We're going to see which turn-based RPGs for the PS4 are the best.
Updated on March 29, 2023 by Jacob Whaling: Turn-based RPGs are still one of the most varied genres of games, with so many options to choose from. We've updated this list to include a few more picks for some of the best turn-based RPGs on the PS4.
19 Dungeon Encounters
An incredibly underrated JRPG released by Square Enix in 2021, Dungeon Encounters is a game that prioritizes gameplay and exploration, utilizing a rather bare-bones visual presentation.
Far from a flashy RPG, Dungeon Encounters is a game based around the exploration of a massive Labyrinth, utilizing a deceptively rich and rewarding combat system that rewards strategic planning. For those interested in a fully realized RPG with a minimalist aesthetic, Dungeon Encounters may be for you.
18 Valkyria Chronicles 4
The fourth main entry in the Valkyria Chronicles franchise, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a massive turn-based tactical JRPG. Rather than utilizing a fantasy-based theme like many other JRPGs, Valkyria Chronicles features a much more modern, World War II-esque setting, memorable characters and an engaging plot. The game uniquely blends strategic turn-based mechanics with third-person shooting.
Related: Best Tactical RPGs Released In The 2010s
As one would expect from a Tactical RPG, the game greatly rewards players who develop well-thought-out strategies, planning several turns ahead, while punishing those who fail to account for enemy units.
17 Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark
Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is an impressive indie tactical RPG reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics. In addition to a high-quality story, the combat of Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark provides players with a significant degree of freedom when it comes to customizing their characters and concocting their own strategies thanks to the game's class system.
While some RPGs are criticized for their overly complex narratives, this game's easy-to-follow narrative complements the game's cast, allowing for an easily digestible experience.
The Banner Saga is a series of tactical RPGs based around a Viking-inspired aesthetic. The game is among the most visually impressive tactical RPGs on the market, featuring gorgeous 2D animation and hand-painted backgrounds. Between solid TRPG gameplay and solid writing, each of the Banner Saga games are incredibly well-rounded experiences.
Related: Best RPGs Where You Can Build A Town
As all three entries in the series have been released together as a bundle as the Banner Saga Trilogy, the entire experience can be played consecutively, providing an absolutely massive tactical RPG experience.
15 Final Fantasy 9
While Final Fantasy 7 has a wide-spread reputation as one of the greatest turn-based RPGs of all time, Final Fantasy 9 is a strong contender for one of the strongest entries in the franchise as well.
After Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 had each utilized aesthetics that were much more sci-fi than fantasy, Final Fantasy 9 was a return to form for the series. In addition to its memorable character-driven story and expressive cast, Final Fantasy 9's gameplay provides players with a notable degree of freedom to build and customize their party members to their liking, providing them with new skills in combat through abilities that can be gained via utilizing specific pieces of equipment.
14 South Park: The Stick Of Truth
There's a surprising amount of things to appreciate about South Park: The Stick of Truth. On the surface, the game is a faithful video game spin-off of the South Park series, maintaining the same consistent writing as the show, as many of the same people worked on both the game and the show.
However, the game takes the form of a shockingly solid traditional turn-based RPG, blending the humor that one would expect from South Park with jokes and jabs at classic fantasy tropes.
13 Child Of Light
Child of Light is a visually stunning RPG that blends its drop-dead-gorgeous art direction with an active time turn-based battle system akin to that found within many entries in the Final Fantasy series.
The game uniquely features a firefly that can be used to manipulate the flow of this active time battle system, even allowing said firefly to be controlled by another player, meaning the game can be played cooperatively.
12 Cris Tales
Cris Tales is another turn-based RPG with notably impressive visuals and style. A game based around time manipulation and the impact on one's actions on the flow of time, the game allows you to simultaneously view the past, present, and future of locations you explore, immediately seeing how your actions impact the future.
Related: Popular JRPG Games You Never Knew Existed
Additionally, the game distinctly implements this time manipulation into combat, allowing the player to alter their foes' forms by throwing them into the past or future. This mechanic can be used in a variety of ways, such as fast-forwarding the effects of time-based damage like poisons.
11 Slay The Spire
Slay the Spire is an interesting take on the roguelike RPG formula. Using a card-based combat system in which a player's starting attributes are based on their choice of one of four playable characters.
However, as the player progresses through the game, the types of cards that they acquire and the shape their deck takes can vary drastically from playthrough to playthrough, giving the game a notable degree of replay value as different cards open up different strategies and synergies.
The sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is a sci-fi tactical RPG that pits the player against an alien invasion. With the player in control of a tactician, you have control over a customizable squad of characters that can come in the form of five distinct classes with their own specialties.
Related: Iconic Monsters From JRPGs, Ranked
The game uniquely includes an optional "Ironman Mode" that routinely automatically saves the game, locking the player into every choice they make and preventing decisions and misplays from being undone.
9 Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a turn-based RPG that can be played with up to four players, possessing plenty of similarities to classic tabletop RPGs like . The game provides players with a great deal of freedom, allowing them to travel together or opt to split their party entirely.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 truly excels in the area of multiplayer, allowing the game's entirety to be played co-operatively, even featuring competitive elements. With its deep story and lore, you can immerse yourself entirely in its world for long periods of time.
8 Final Fantasy 7
It's no secret that Final Fantasy 7 is one of the most iconic turn-based RPGs of all time. Originally released for the PS1 in 1997, while a full-fledged remake of the game is available to play on PS4, the original version of the game has also been ported to the console.
Though aspects such as the game's visuals haven't held up particularly well, the game's core gameplay and story are some of the strongest in this time-tested franchise.
7 Darkest Dungeon
First released in 2016, Darkest Dungeon is one of the most difficult entries on this list. Having a player construct a party of premade characters before venturing into dungeons, the game's use of hidden information and RNG can blindside unprepared players.
Related: Best Turn-Based RPGs On Xbox Series X|S
As each character has a multitude of abilities, many of which can only be used in certain positions in one's party, planning one's exploit into a dungeon is just as (if not more) important than the dungeon run itself.
6 Dragon Quest 11
The Dragon Quest franchise is one of the longest-enduring and most influential RPG franchises around, with its first entry released in 1996. The most recent entry in the series, Dragon Quest 11, is a beautiful and stylized RPG that, like the rest of the series, features character and monster designs by Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama.
The game serves as a stellar blend of old and new, maintaining the classic turn-based combat the series is known for, while including a wide range of quality-of-life improvements and gorgeous visuals. When paired with a memorable cast and a tone that can successfully keep things generally lighthearted while being able to be serious when needed, Dragon Quest 11 is one of the most complete RPG packages on the PS4.
5 Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is the most recent entry in the Persona series of JRPGs, and is a game that absolutely oozes style and flair. Persona 5 Royal is effectively two games; a turn-based RPG in which the player wields manifestations of their innermost self called a persona, and a more laid-back life simulator set in Tokyo that is more akin to a visual novel.
The game masterfully blends these two elements through great writing, memorable characters, and one of the best soundtracks in the genre's history.
4 Tactics Ogre: Reborn
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a modern remaster of the original, genre-defining strategy RPG from 1995. With updated graphics, quality-of-life features, added character customization depth, and full English and Japanese voice acting, Tactics Ogre: Reborn is still one of the best strategy RPGs out there.
Related: Best Turn-Based RPGS on the Switch
If you're a fan of classic tactical RPGs with deep character-building and lore, branching story, and satisfying combat, Tactics Ogre: Reborn is the game to play.
3 Trails Of Cold Steel Series
Set in the massive Legend of Heroes world, Trails of Cold Steel follows a group of students at the Thors Military Academy, where they learn to use their abilities in a variety of situations. Although Trails of Cold Steel is just one part in a much larger story, it begins as a relatively stand-alone story that can be experienced without playing the other games in the series.
Trails of Cold Steel features turn-based combat that utilizes Combat Links to pair characters together, enabling them to use follow-up attacks and combos. Trails of Cold Steel has tons of build customization, and a deep and engaging story that transitions perfectly into the second, third, and fourth games.
2 Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a turn-based RPG set in the world of Digimon. You play as a hacker living in Tokyo, using digital monsters to uncover the truth of the mysteries occurring in the city. You can capture, level up, and evolve over two hundred different Digimon, with tons of options for optimizing your perfect team.
If you're a fan of monster-capturing games like Pokemon, but are looking for something with a bit more depth and a more mature story, Cyber Sleuth is perfect for you.
1 Octopath Traveler 2
In Octopath Traveler 2, you control eight different travelers through their stories. Featuring intertwining stories, more character depth, and deeper combat, Octopath Traveler 2 improves everything that made the first game great.
Octopath Traveler 2 shakes up the classic turn-based system with its Break and Boost mechanic, allowing you to save up turns before spending them all at once to put the enemy into a vulnerable state and gain the advantage. With its beautiful 2D-HD aesthetic, Octopath Traveler 2 is a must-play for fans of turn-based RPGs, new and old.
Next: Underrated RPGs That Need Remakes