Get ready for an ‘out of this world’ experience as we check out the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time!
That was meant to be a fantasy game reference and a nod to the planet Saturn, just in case you didn’t get where I was going…
Yes, it’s time to take a trip back to the Mega Drive’s successor, the console that many believe heralded the end of Sega’s reign.
The first in a long line of dominos… you get the picture.
No matter what your thoughts are on the Saturn, it had some cracking titles, many of them fantasy classics like the ones listed below.
You see, picking the best Sega Saturn RPGs wasn’t that difficult as the console had some epic stand-out adventures, games that we often crack out in Retro Dodo Towers whenever we need to clear our heads…
… because nothing says de-stressing and cognitive exercise like the best Sega Saturn RPGs.
The battle has begun, brave reader. Check out which games made the cut below!
The nerdalicious Dungeons and Dragons Collection kickstarts this list of the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time!
Hopefully you’re reading this thinking ‘I have a copy of that game up in my attic’, because it’s suddenly become very expensive to buy.
Copies regularly sell for anything between $150 and $300 for this sought after Japanese import, and it’s certainly worth the money!
Nothing says RPG like two back-to-back D&D games. This collection features Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, two epic arcade games that feel like a combination of Golden Axe and Streets of Rage.
Ok, so it’s more of a scrolling fighter than an RPG game, but there are some heavy RPG elements in it. Plus, the series is dripping with more dungeon exploring than Mr Digger lost in the Mines of Moria.
The co-op mode also allowed for you and a mate to experience all of the action side-by-side. What more could a person want? It’s actually one of the best co-op titles on the Saturn and a credit to any collection… if you have the money!
Soul Hackers is part of the Shin Megami Tensei series, a spin off from the main canon and the successor to Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner.
And, like a quality brand that you know you can trust, SMT games are always epic RPGs.
Yes, this does look like aliens auditioning for a punk band, but I’ll leave you to figure out what’s going on here when you play the game yourself.
Fans of the SMT series shouldn’t have any problem figuring out controls or the general feel of the game. Wield all manor of weapons and spells as you fight in hundreds of random encounters and coax enemies to join your team.
Like Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, choosing the right words when conversing with enemies and other NPCs can turn them into allies, strengthening your team with an otherworldly presence.
It’s almost like Pokemon with demons and guns… sounds ace, doesn’t it!
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together takes the 13th spot in this list of the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time.
Fans of the GBA title Tactics Ogre: The Knights Of Lodis need this game in their lives. It’s a tacticians best friend, a real brain ticklet, and Let Us Cling Together is no exception.
Trust me when I tell you that these games are seriously difficult to understand, let alone complete. It’s what I like to call an RPG for ‘advanced players’, or those that understand string theory.
So, what’s this game all about? Well, there’s no hack and slash button-mashing like in the Dungeons and Dragons collection. We’re talking Risk, Strategeo, and Wizard’s Chess all rolled into one here, with players considering every move until their brain explodes.
Ok, maybe that’s just how I feel, but it certainly provides a good mental work out!
This isometric 3D game has a total of 8 possible outcomes. Build an army, pick from a whole host of human and demi-human classes, fight alongside powerful men and women, and recruit the strongest fighters into your party.
They can take your lives, but they’ll never take… YOUR FREEEEDOM!
How about we take things up a notch and talk about a game with 108 recruitable characters? Genso Suikoden has one of the largest character selection pools in any RPG on the Saturn.
It’s a fast-paced adventure with oodles of turn-based battles and more magic than a rave in Olivander’s wand shop.
If you’re a big fan of controlling squadrons of troops in games like Advance Wars, then you’ll like the army battle stages in Genso Suikoden. It makes a nice change from standard duels and gives players a real challenge to sink their teeth into.
Build a castle and fight to defend it using weapons, spells, and plenty of other tricks besides. The characters you encounter are based on the 108 stars of Destiny in ‘Water Margins’, a Chinese novel that the developers used as inspiration for the game.
Politics plays a big role in this game, but we’re not talking the debacle over Brexit or whether a certain President wore a wig or not. we’re talking about the struggles of governing the land of Toran and a rebellion aimed at the ruling Empire.
While only the first game in the title, the Suikoden series would go from strength to strength. Still, if you want to see where the story first began and have $100 in your pocket, then check it out!
Langrisser III takes the 11th spot in this list of the best Sega Saturn games of all time!
This is a game for those players that don’t like to get their hands dirty. Ok, they’ve still got to actually play the game, but there’s a twist.
Instead of controlling soldiers or whole armies, players control army generals.
Imagine if two King pieces met on the chessboard and had to do battle. When the generals come face to face, battle happens, and you lose if your general dies.
In a weird twist, there’s also a love sim element to this game too. Players must wine and dine female characters…
… it sounds a little like some of the best PC FX games, except there’s 100% less naked elf girls.
So what’s the story here? Well, the Langrisser is a powerful sword made for chosen descendants of the light. You must wield this epic blade on a quest to defeat the villain Boser, who I assume is a relative of the koopa chap that Mario hates so much.
If you like your strategy games (why else would you be here), then grab a copy of Langrisser III before checking out the other titles in the cannon.
10. Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
Oi, I heard what you just said! Castlevania is an RPG. It’s an Action/Role-Playing-Game, which means it’s still an RPG and it’s staying in this list, savvy?
I’m glad we got that cleared up straight away, because this epic title is one of my favourite games on the Sega Saturn.
Some of you may well have come across it in our list of the best PS1 games ever made. Either way, this adventure featuring Dracula’s son battling through the castle in which he was resurrected is a classic title with big levels and gnarly enemies.
This game is popular now, but it was a bit of a dud when it first hit the scene. I think it might have been a bit too different at the time. Still, once gamers cottoned on to the epic characters and innovative gameplay, it soon received the respect it deserved.
It’s one of those games that throws something different at gamers with every play too. Discover previously unexplored areas, secret rooms, and lots of items, adding to the replayability factor (definitely not a real word).
Listen; if you’re looking for a gory, blood-thirsty, pixelated RPG, then look no further!
Lunar: The Silver Story takes the 9th spot in this list of the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time.
It might have been 25 years at the time of writing since this game came out, but people are still clamouring for a Lunar 3 game to carry on the story. This was an epic title back in the day with players edging towards becoming a ‘Dragonmaster’.
Yeah, any game with dragons and a mythical-looking sword will always score highly in my book.
(I really should make this ‘book’ I keep talking about one day).
This Sega Saturn remake made the most of the consoles 32bit graphics processor, adding new elements and cutscenes to the original Sega CD title.
Thankfully, enemies now appear on the screen too, so there’s no walking in funny lines to try and miss out the random battles. The magic system has had an overhaul, and everything feels slicker and tighter.
If you enjoyed the original but want to experience it as it should have been back in 92, then grab a copy and relive the adventure.
Dragons were all the rage back in the 90s, and Dragon Force is another one of our best Sega Saturn RPGs that never left my console as a kid.
Don’t you just hate it when a kingdom is at peace, and then one idiot tries to conquer it all and ends up unleashing a terrible evil.
It happend with Melkor and Ungoliant (shout out to the Tolkien fans), and now it’s happening with Goldark and the Evil Madruk.
It must be something to do with having the letters ‘K’ and ‘L’ in your name… it practically spells kill, after all.
Those of you that aren’t big fans of turn-based battling will be all over Dragon Force like my dog on a tuna fish. It’s real-time action with players choosing a monarch of Legendra and managing elements of the kingdom.
Players must prepare for war against Goldark and the rebirth of Madruk. It’s as close to the world of Game of Thrones as you could possibly get, with monarchs organising the transportation of troops, the punishment of those captured, and the downfall of their foes.
Like Langrisser III, generals are usually the last men standing. You can opt for a fight to the death with an opposing general if all soldiers are destroyed if you’re brave enough; that’s the sign of a true leader… or so I’m told.
Guardian Heroes takes the next spot in this list of the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time. It’s one for the Golden Axe crew and fans of side-scrolling punch-up titles such as Double Dragon and Viewtiful Joe.
It’s an RPG title with a difference, that difference being that it looks a lot like the popular Disney games Aladdin and the Lion King in design.
Remember Fable, too? Well, like my favourite original Xbox game, Guardian Heroes has a cool morality engine in it. The fate of your character changes dependant on the actions you make in the game. Keep an eye on your Karma meter as you make good or bad decisions along the way.
There are a host of multiple endings to discover as well depending on how you play. If that’s not a reason to complete this game a dozen times over, then I don’t know what is!
Just look at the characters in the still above. Every warrior and enemy has a huge personality, especially the larger than life ones. The weapons are grand, the levels are grander still, and the 6-player battle mode was a royal rumble to be proud of.
If you like games brimming with wizards, magic, spells, and characters with bigger muscles than you’ll ever have, then Guardian Heroes is the game for you.
It’s been almost 35 seconds since we talked about a game with a dragon in it, so I guess it’s time to introduce Panzer Dragoon Saga!
This Sega Saturn RPG is a critically acclaimed gem. You could go as far as to say that it’s one of Sega’s most successful titles (even though we put it at Number 6).
And the premise behind the adventure? Players take a dude named Edge (not the guy from U2) on a mission in a vast world… and he rides a dragon.
Panzer Dragoon Saga is a bit of a mixed basket as it has turn-based and real-time skirmishes.
Every RPG element you can think of is in this game. From explorative gameplay to item hoarding, it’s a solid title that you’ll really struggle to put down.
And once again… you ride about on a dragon! That’s way cooler than Link riding a horse or the little dude from Biomutant riding around in a mechanical hand!
Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits Bushidō Retsuden is up next on our list of the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time. Some of you might refer to it as Samurai Shodown RPG, but this title is way better!
On the surface, this game is the same as pretty much every other RPG out of Japan. Grab collectibles, battle enemies, and pick up items that increase your power as the game goes on.
You know the drill.
It’s the fighting system, however, that sets this title apart from others in the field…
… quite literally a field in the pic below too.
Players must bash out a series of button combos in order to pull off epic, battle winning moves.
Strangely, players start and finish the game with the same weapon. And you know what; it’s a feature that I kind of like.
In a world where we throw stuff away after one use, I like the fact that these warriors adapt and improve their existing weapons instead of replacing it after every battle.
That’s the mark of a responsible Samurai right there!
Vandal Hearts is one of a few titles in our list of the best Sega Saturn games to use an isometric top-down view. It’s turn-based strategy with a heavy emphasis on plotting battles, the kind of title that Fire Emblem fans would enjoy.
Like Fire Emblem, combat happens on a series of gridded battlefields. Characters come and go throughout the game, and there are options for developing fighters along the way.
It wouldn’t be an RPG without NPC interaction either. Some of the game’s finest elements are in its dialogue; it’s a little like an interactive novel in many ways!
Battles aren’t always as straight forward as just destroying all the soldiers on the field either.
Some fights require just one single person to be killed, while others have criteria such as ‘save those guys but make sure these ones don’t get out alive’ etc.
And if your army leader dies, it’s an instant fail. Keep those guys safe!
Albert Odyssey: Legend Of Eldean takes the bronze medal in this list of the best Sega Saturn RPGs of all time (there is no medal, don’t get too excited).
And don’t be fooled by the name, either. Albert might not be the most dangerous of names (unless you’re an old-school WWF fan), but it doesn’t matter anyway as the main character is called Pike.
Talk about a confusing start!
Fans of traditional RPGs will be as happy as a Charmander in a lava pool right now. We’re talking in-depth menu sub-screens organised with military precision alongside proper side-facing, turn-based battles.
And don’t forget any other RPG feature with a hyphon in it either.
So, what’s Pike up to in this game? Well, it’s a revenge story, and his whole family has gone to sh… I mean, his family is ruined.
His parents have been eaten, his sister’s a statue, and the Harpies that raised him reveal that a bunch of sorcerers are planning on reincarnating a mysterious god called Vlag…
… and you think you had a rough time as a kid!
In true Terry Pratchett fashion, Pike wields a talking magical sword. It’s much better than Fi jumping out of your sword all the time in Skyward Sword and is a lot better at slaying monsters and villains too!
I should probably prepare you for how amazing the soundtrack in this game is too. Unlike some of the best Sega CD games that championed FMV clips over an engaging musical score, this game has some incredible tracks that will make you want to go into battle yourself!
The Legend Of Oasis almost took the top spot in this list, but I just didn’t feel right ending a list of the best Sega Saturn RPGS with an action RPG. I love it so much, but we need a bonafide RPG in the top spot…
… sorry, Leon, but that’s just how it is.
Leon is the protagonist in The Legend of Oasis, a game that feels so much Link’s Awakening that it should have credited it in the end sequence. It’s definitely one of the best games for the console, RPG or otherwise, and a real meaty title with hidden features around every corner.
Can you stop the wizard Agito from causing havoc, summoning spirits in battle to stop him and his minions from reigning supreme?
I hope so, otherwise it’s going to be a pretty short game!
Leon can use a blade or summon ghosties to do his fighting for him. Heal him with fairies (Zelda) while collecting mystical items (Zelda) in this top-down, dungeon crawling, masterpiece!
I’ve gotta say; the graphics are spectacular in this game. The Saturn created some bright, vibrant levels with some stunning graphics. If this had been a fully 3D game, I reckon it would have been an even bigger hit!
Shining the Holy Ark is the best Sega Saturn RPG!
It’s official; you heard it here first! It’s one of the most immersive fantasy titles I’ve ever played and comes with the biggest blade I’ve seen in any game apart from Knightmare’s sword in SoulCalibur 2.
Anyone looking to go back in time to experience a propper, good-old-fashioned RPG with dangerous dungeons, lethal enemies, and magical powers that Dumbledore look like a squib should definitely grab a copy ASAP.
The turn-based battles in Shining The Holy Ark are fantastic too. For me, it’s a big improvement on Shining Wisdom, even though that was also a fantastic game.
STHA was also a bit of a stunner in the graphics department back in the day. The developers did things with sprites and polygons that shouldn’t have been possible back in ’96, and both reviewers and fantasy fans lost their freaking minds over it.
Enjoy random battles with mythical beasts, training pixies to care to your every whim, and journeying through one of the most richly textured games on the Sega Saturn.
For me, Shining The Holy Ark is a worthy winner of this best Sega Saturn RPGs list, and long may it’s popularity reign!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.