When it comes to video games, anime, and fantasy, MMORPGs are common in Japan. From super Mario, Legend of Mana, Mario Party, and mobile games, MMORPGs are not only popular in Japan but also in the world at large.
The most popular MMORPGs in Japan are Phantasy Star Online 2 and Final Fantasy XIV amongst others. As a player myself, I would love to try new and popular games at this time. It brings a lot of challenges as well as entertainment that I wouldn’t ask for more!
You should know that most of the MMORPGs that have their origin in Japan are based on popular anime and manga series which have very interesting storylines. It is one reason why they are popular among Japanese folks. Imagine role-playing your favorite characters.
In this post, we will look at the most popular MMORPGs in Japan in 2023. But before we do that, let us talk briefly about MMORPG.
What is an MMORPG?
MMORPG is an acronym for a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. It was coined by Richard Garriott. This online video game combines aspects of RPGs and a massively multiplayer online game (MMO).
In MMORPGs, each player takes on the role of a character from a fantasy world and controls most of the actions of that character in the game. The competitiveness of the game makes players more keen and interested in the game.
What differentiates the MMORPGs from other Role Playing Games is the number of players that are able to interact with each other and how characters continue to evolve even when players are offline or not playing.
The following games are the most popular MMORPGs in Japan in 2023, in no particular order.
5 Popular MMORPGs in Japan
1. Phantasy Star Online 2
Phantasy Star Online 2 is one of the most popular games in Japan, combining both traditional anime style and pulse-pounding combat-oriented gameplay. With Phantasy Star Online, players can seek missions and team up with other players.
This MMORPG is a free-to-play series produced by Sega. The story focuses primarily on the exploits of a space-faring organization known as an oracle. Though it is basic, it is fast-paced and has a unique combat style.
The game was first released in Japan in 2012 but took a while before it was released in other parts of the world like North America. There are so many versions of this gameplay that are available on Xbox one, windows, Nintendo, and PlayStation 4 in Japan.
You should know that the versions in Japan are slightly different from the ones released in other parts of the world. Phantasy Star Online 2 is a great game choice if you’re looking for exciting combat.
While you wait for the new release “New Genesis” coming up this year, there are other versions available to play.
2. Final Fantasy XIV
This online video game is one of the most popular MMORPGs. In fact, it has been topping the charts for a while and has been labeled as one of the best MMORPGs. It is definitely a game worth playing.
It combines an amazing anime story with classic combat that keeps players interested. It has the latest extension pack known as the Shadow Bringers. It was released in Japan in 2019 and had a total player count of more than 18 million.
With Final Fantasy XIV, you control a customized avatar from any of the playable races. Each race has two tribes. In this game, there is no auto action. Each action requires manual input. With this, the player gets full control of the actions carried out.
You should know, however, that the first and original release of this game in 2010 was a failure. But after its relaunch in 2013, it received widespread positive reviews. What’s more, it won Destructoid’s Gamescom Community Choice Awards and the “Best Online Game” award at the Famitsu Dengeki Game Awards 2019 in Japan.
If you are looking for something adventurous, with classic combat, then the Final Fantasy XIV series is for you. It is available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.
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3. Dragon Quest X
With the Dragon Quest X game, you experience a range of MMORPG traditional combat styles and active battle systems. This online game was published by Square Enix and is the tenth mainline entry in the Dragon Quest series.
It gained a wide range of acceptance shortly after its release and is quite a chart-topper in Japan gaming world.
Dragon Quest X is set in the world of Astoltia where players complete quests and fight monsters. In this game, battles are triggered when a player encounters an enemy in the underworld. One very salient enemy is the Lord of Hell, Nigel who changes the player’s body.
Usually, the player takes a character that is initially human before being attacked by Nelgel, the Lord of Hell. What Nelgel does is force the soul of the character into the body of another race.
These races are of five tribes: aquatic Weddie, inquisitive Puklipo, mining dwarfs, forest-dwelling elves, and powerful Ogre. The player must find magical gems to seal Nelgel once again. So he takes on different challenges to achieve that.
If you are a novice player, you can easily become a pro by just playing Dragon Quest X. That is if you understand the language and can overcome the barriers that come with it.
Since the launch of Dragon Quest X, it has upgraded to quite a number of expansion packs and updates. It was originally released in 2012 and can be played on Nintendo, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and others.
It is quite a popular game during this period among Japanese folks well until new MMORPGs come to the market. This online role-playing game is not entirely free so if you want to have this experience, you can buy it.
4. Izanagi Online
This is another online game that is great for mobile gamers. It combines both ninja warfare and fantasy. This gameplay drips high-quality graphics and is quite popular among Japanese folks.
What makes this game a go-to, is the solid battles. This gameplay has tough boss battles that would challenge even veteran players. The action and good storyline of fantasy this game embodies make it a thrilling game to try.
In this fantasy world where monsters roam freely, it is the job of the players to defeat them. With the Izanagi Online game, there are a variety of storylines to try out. The players in the game can come from four different classes with each one having special skills.
If you are looking for an online role-playing game with a variety of monsters to defeat, then this gameplay is your best bet. It was released in 2015 and was directed by Takashi Okazaki who is a graphics designer.
5. Dungeon Fighter Online
Dungeon Fighter Online is one of the highest-grossing and most-played video games in Japan currently. It is also a popular role-playing game and has received positive acclaim since its release. What makes this game unique is the fact that it is one of the many rare games adopted as anime and manga adaptations.
Though it was first developed by a South Korean Company, It was released in Japan with the name Arad Senki. Dungeon Fighter Online received a mass following of more than 600 million players in 2019.
What’s more, in 2018 and 2019, it was rated the second-highest-grossing digital game. And in 2020, it exceeded $15 billion in gross revenue. It is a classic 2D game that captures characters fighting gangs of monsters.
In this MMORPG gameplay, a player joins the classic “beat ’em up” combat set to fight a variety of monsters. The expansions of this game have been kept simple. Its retro styling makes it an addictive game for anyone who tries it.
It is a fun game to try. It is popular in Japan, so it is a game you should look out for when you visit or relocate. The most recent season is Dungeon Fighter Online: Echoes of the Abyss. It is available on Microsoft Windows.
Final Fantasy XIV: ShadowBringers is one of the most popular MMORPGs in Japan currently and in this post, we have selected it as the best choice based on reviews, and ratings. You can try out this video game, it will most definitely be worth your money.
What are the Most Popular MMORPGs in Japan?
Since a lot of new games have not been released in Japan yet, these are the popular games available. If you moved to Japan quite recently and you are looking for good gameplay, these popular MMORPGs will help you blend in quite nicely.
They contain interesting game stories and you can learn a thing or two about Japanese culture and lifestyle just by playing these games. You do not want to be left out so hurry to get yours. Most of them are free to download and free to play.