Hardest PS1 RPGs | Games Rants
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Hardest PS1 RPGs | Games Rants

Video games, in general, have become much easier over time as different generations of gamers develop different tastes and preferences from their predecessors. While there are a number of modern games that are as hard as ones from twenty years ago, the more common case will find that difficulty has been reduced across the industry.

Related: JRPGs That Encourage Multiple Playthroughs

This means revisiting PS1 games, particularly RPG games on the PS1, can be quite a shock to modern gamers as they see how much higher the difficulty was back in those days. Many gamers love the old-school challenge of games like this, while others revile it and want a more relaxed experience in their games.

7 Vagrant Story

The cover of Vagrant Story

Dealing with subjects far different from the normal RPG, especially for its time, Vagrant Story featured a “Riskbreaker” agent being framed for a murder while trying to uncover a secret plot between a cult and a senior member of parliament. Players get to explore the catacombs beneath the ruined city of Lea Monde in a beautiful world filled with amazing cutscenes.

However, Vagrant Story is known for being much more difficult than many modern RPGs. Players have to think much more strategically about combat throughout the game, and the level of difficulty of many puzzles is surprisingly high. There are also no shops for players to visit, instead, the game chose to put a huge emphasis on players creating their own weapons and having to keep customizing them during their adventure.

6 Persona 1

Persona 1 Cover

Gamers nowadays poke some fun at the legendary recent entries in the Persona franchise for being so much easier than the early games. This is never truer than with Persona 1, a game that provided such a dense number of enemy encounters with such random inconsistency that it became much more difficult than it needed to be, a difficulty that may stay through the upcoming remake.

The real difficulty behind Persona 1 came from the sheer number of opponents that needed to be faced, particularly in later dungeons. Players found themselves grinding more than they do in most RPGs, however, there are some points that help with this, such as the overall game not being as long as some of the massive later entries in the franchise.

5 King’s Field

An army of skeletons rising up in King's Field: The Ancient City

It is unsurprising to find that one of the toughest challenges in any PS1 RPG came from the team that would go on to create the Dark Souls franchise. FromSoftware’s debut video game, King’s Field was a challenging early version of the 3D RPG console game. Although development began for PC, the FromSoftware team decided to move to PlayStation instead.

King’s Field sets players inside a dungeon filled with monsters and tasks them with finding the dark door that is being used to fill the Kingdom with great evil. While there is a fair amount of lore behind this dark adventure, King’s Field doesn’t hugely resemble the later FromSoftware games, except perhaps in the difficulty category.

4 Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross Cover

A similar game set in a similar world to Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross was released in 1999 and became a much beloved, though difficult, JRPG. The main character Serge accidentally travels to a parallel dimension where he died ten years earlier, leading to a much-changed world now. The story of Chrono Cross may be complex, especially for its time, but the difficulty is even more so.

Related: Best Forgotten One-Off RPGs That Need Revisited

Without the traditional leveling system of an RPG, Chrono Cross forces players to utilize a lot more strategy with their party in combat. Players can certainly beat the game, but it will be shocking for players to revisit the original version due to the differences between Chrono Cross and many modern RPGs.

3 Dragon Quest 7

Dragon Quest 7 Art

The Dragon Quest franchise is one of the most long-running JRPG franchises in the history of gaming. Shown by the fact that the seventh entry came out in 2000 for the PlayStation 1. Between the giant open-world which takes hundreds of hours to navigate even without completing any side quests, and the huge difficulty of the turn-based combat, Dragon Quest 7 is on another level even for this franchise.

The plot involves the unnamed protagonist going back in time to save various continents, so they still exist in the modern world, which previously only consisted of one small remaining island. This leads to a massive world opening up over the course of the game, with many players never managing to complete Dragon Quest 7 as a result.

2 Alundra

Alundra Original Art

Alundra was originally released in 1997 and focused on another silent protagonist, as so many RPGs do, and featured Alundra journeying to a village plagued by murderous nightmares, where Alundra discovers his power as a dream walker. Going between the dreams of the villagers, Alundra works against a demonic force to save the village.

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Alundra is a beautiful throwback sort of game, which has never been updated, and players today still struggle with the incredible puzzles that are found throughout it. Alundra has been praised for decades mostly because of the various difficult, well-thought-out puzzles involved in progressing through the game.

1 SaGa Frontier


SaGa Frontier is a fascinating game and is part of an incredibly difficult franchise, which allows players to choose from seven potential protagonists at the beginning of the game. What makes SaGa Frontier unique compared to other RPGs is that each of these seven characters has its own completely different storyline.

Set in a group of planets called The Regions, players can adventure across the system and run into parts of other characters’ storylines. While the game gets easier with each character’s story being completed, at the beginning and throughout as players learn the difficult controls and deal with the hard combat, they will be challenged like few PS1 games ever managed, and a remaster has eventually been done as well.

More: PlayStation 1 Games That Need Remastered

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