We could all use a little break from our lives every once in a while, amirite? Anybody in the mood for some of the best Sega RPGs for an escape?
I am sure many of you can relate when I say that video games are a really comforting way to step into a new world, whether it is for ten minutes or ten hours.
And if there were any game genre that can provide maximum time in a different world, it’s the role-playing genre.
Games that create giant worlds with their own ecosystems, cultures, and lives of characters.
Let’s dive into the absolute 10 best Sega RPGs of all time, so we all have a few new worlds to dive into.
10. Rings of Power (1991)
Rings of Power is a quite unique RPG game created by a developer you should all be familiar with: Naughty Dog.
Not to be mistaken with the title of the new Lord of the Rings television series, the game follows a young sorcerer whose mission is to collect rings throughout the land to defeat an evil god.
So yeah… probably borrowing ideas from Lord of the Rings.
The game was originally intended to be made for PC, but as legend goes…
Naughty Dog was brought in on secret endeavors by EA to make games using the Genesis dev kit that they obtained without Sega’s knowledge or permission.
Rings of Power became Naughty Dog’s first project made for a home video game console (something they were later known for with some of the Best PS3 Exclusives).
The unique feature of this game was in its very different approach to an isometric view and the way that the game board scrolls as you move throughout the world.
It feels like a table top game in the truest sense.
With the graphics and the sound design, the whole thing is just a perfect example of early 90s RPGs. And it is exactly why we love this game and recommend it to anyone looking for that super old school feel.
Definitely one of the most unique and best Sega RPGs of all time.
9. Elemental Gimmick Gear (1999)
Elemental Gimmick Gear is a quite interesting RPG made for the Sega Dreamcast.
The game features beautiful hand drawn art mixed with 3d graphics, giving it an aesthetic entirely different than any other game on this list.
You play a man who was found sleeping inside E.G.G., a mysterious robot exoskeleton that was discovered in ancient ruins.
And in typical RPG fashion, things start to go wrong and you must save the town from the evil creatures making their way in.
E.G.G. Has a bunch of unique abilities, making it a very interesting top-down action RPG.
And the star of the show here is really the unique graphics.
This makes for a really unique ply on the Dreamcast, and one not to be missed for anybody looking for a cool RPG for Sega.
8. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (1991)
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys is an action RPG that was originally released for PC and later released on the TurboGrafx-CD, Famicom, Super NES, and Sega Genesis.
My own personal exposure to the Ys series came in the form of Ys VII on the PSP, so my own image of the franchise is a 3d JRPG in the style of Final Fantasy 10-15.
But like the Final Fantasy series, Ys actually had its start in an entirely different format.
Ys III is actually a platforming title, that shares much more in common with Castlevania than Final Fantasy.
It is a pretty unique gameplay experience. All paired with a pretty intense soundtrack, resulting in a very tense experience. You always kind of feel like you are in the heat of battle. And really… you usually are.
It is a pretty cool game to try out, and is likely gonna feel unlike anything you know.
One we had to mention on our list of the best Sega RPGs of all time.
7. Grandia II (2000)
Grandia is yet another amazing RPG created for the Sega Dreamcast.
Play in a full 3d top-down world, and engage in a unique timed battle system that feels familiar, but fresh. It is kind of turn-based meets tactical combat.
The storytelling is incredible.. focusing on a more adult plotline and giving some very heartfelt moments.
It is a game that gives everything we hope for in a JRPG while also having its own identity.
The game was very well received, especially for its intuitive play style and innovative combat system.
The title warranted a Playstation 2 and PC re-release in 2002 and an HD remaster for PC in 2015.
6. The Legend of Oasis (1996)
The Legend of Oasis is the successor to the 1994 Sega Genesis classic Beyond Oasis.
Like Beyond Oasis, “The Legend…” is an action RPG with real time combat (no combat jump scenes).
Your goal is to located six elemental spirits and use their power to restore peace to the kingdom.
There is a bit of humor and light-heartedness to the game, and the whole thing feels a bit like a Disney production. Perhaps some slight Kingdom Hearts vibes.
The game was well received, with reviewers loving the detailed graphics, smooth game play, and blend of play styles in the game.
A bit of an unknown gem that needs some love, cause it shares a lot in common with some of our favorite game franchises.
Definitely check this one out if you are looking for a cool Sega RPG.
5. Evolution: The World of Sacred Device (1999)
The Evolution series is the epitome of cute JRPG and will pretty much hit all the marks if that is your thing.
Cute chibi characters, cutesy Japanese voice acting, playful soundtrack, colorful 3d graphics, and just good old fashioned 90s JRPG turn-based battles.
The thing that stands out to me about the Evolution series is just how sweet it is. Almost like an animal crossing RPG (with all human cast).
And for a game with a scale that always felt kind of small (literally and figuratively), it sure has a big heart.
This is a great game to play if you are looking for something really light-hearted, innocent, not a lot of serious looming evil happening, and just a fun play.
Both games in the series are super cute, and they are basically just a part 1 and part 2 with not a lot of differences. So I have to give the edge to the original, since it set the stage for the series.
A must-play game for anybody interested in Sega RPGs.
4. Crusader of Centy (1994)
Crusader of Centy will feel very familiar territory if you have had any experience in the SNES era of The Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, or Final Fantasy.
As part of Sega’s “Mega Role-Play Project” campaign to launch a handful of RPGs in a short period of time to catch up to the strong RPG selection on the Nintendo consoles.
Really, it is quite obvious that the game was directly inspired by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of my favorite games of all time.
But inspirations aside, Crusader of Centy is actually unique and beautiful in its own right.
It has a ton of really great graphic details that make it stand out.
And one of the coolest features of the title: the unique animal companion system. You can equip up to two animal/monster type companions that give you new abilities to help you progress through the dangerous world.
Really… this game is pretty awesome. It has always had a reputation as a Zelda-clone. But I have one really important question about that: So?
The Zelda franchise is my number one of all time.. so heck yeah, give me a very well made clone.
This is an amazing title that really deserves a lot more love.
So I am happy to include it on this list of the best Sega RPGs of all time.
3. Shining The Holy Ark (1997)
Shining The Holy Ark is an amazing first person RPG for the Sega Saturn, released in 1997.
Combining elements that would be seen as new and innovative with ones that would feel classic and familiar made for a perfect game play experience.
Developers wanted to push the Shining game franchise to new heights with “The Holy Ark” and introduced 3d graphics to the series.
They also brought back turn-based combat and a focus on dungeon crawling, which were themes lost in the previous iteration on the Sega Saturn.
“The Holy Ark” also moved the series into more mature writing, perhaps recognizing their strong customer base of adult players.
Overall the game was very well received by critics, who commended the new mature style and upgraded graphic style in the series.
And obviously the title did well enough to carry the franchise on into the future, as we have seen entries all the way up to current day (their most recent coming to PS4 and Switch).
It also happened to take the number one spot on our list of the Best Sega Saturn RPGs Of All Time.
So we think it is safe to say that Shining The Holy Ark is definitely one of the best Sega RPGs of all time, and we are happy to include it on this list.
2. Shenmue (1999)
The first two Shenmue titles on Dreamcast are some of the best RPGs created for the system. But if we have to choose, it’s gotta be the original that really set the stage for an incredible franchise.
Where every other title on this list delves into fantasy worlds, Shenmue takes us on a much more “real life” experience in the world we know.
Play as a martial artist bent on revenge in a gorgeous open-world RPG experience in 1980s Japan.
Those are a lot of descriptors, and all of them sound pretty awesome. So mix em all up, and you get one heck of a cool game.
Widely considered some of the best graphics created for the Sega Dreamcast, and very impressive storytelling to match.
But unfortunately, the game was sort of setup to fail from the beginning as Sega invested a looooot of money into the development and promotion, and sales could never quite live up to the expectations they had.
Apparently it was the most expensive video game ever made, at that time.
So it was considered a commercial failure, but it had quite a large cult following that considered the title one of the best video games ever created.
The game garnered enough love to follow it up with sequel. And the third installation was also ordered, though it went through development hell for nearly 20 years before we eventually saw its release. Needless to say, that release could never quite live up to the magic of the first two entries.
But it was Shenmue numero uno that showed us just how great an open-world action RPG could be, and for that reason… we are giving it a strong spot on our list of the best Sega RPGs of all time.
1. Skies of Arcadia (2000)
Skies of Arcadia is a wonderful RPG for the Sega Dreamcast that hits on so many of the things we love about RPGs of the 90s and 00s.
Play the role of a sky pirate tasked with saving a princess who runs into a bunch of obstacles along the way.
Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s a familiar game trope. But trust us, this is a perfect example of why these kinds of stories are told over and over again.
The game reminds me of some of my favorites from the Final Fantasy franchise (VII, IX and XII).
With incredible graphics, cheerful storytelling, and exciting game play that will keep you coming back for hours at a time.
All of that, and you can fly an airship! Oh and not just fly it.. full on air battles.
It should come as no surprise, we have mentioned this game before. In fact, it took the number one spot on our list of the best Dreamcast RPGs as well.
I guess we are still quite in love with it, since it takes the number one spot as the best Sega RPG of all time.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.