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The Top 10 Best RPGs For Nintendo DS

Updated on February 21, 2013

The Nintendo DS and 3DS have been home to a renaissance of traditional role playing games. What was once thought a lost art has seen dozens and dozens of top tier role playing games over the past generation. The DS features high quality RPGs including releases in the popular Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Etrian Oddysey series.

By making these games mobile and allowing players to simply put their games to sleep whenever they're done with a fight removes many of the obstacles preventing players from enjoying RPGs at home. Take portable fun on the go with these top Nintendo DS RPGs, each with a unique story and a one of a kind battle system.

Read on to find out about the top 10 best RPGs available for the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS!

10- Pokemon Black/White

One of the most popular franchises in the world and the most important titles in the series's canon are all on Nintendo handheld consoles. The DS's Pokemon Black and White takes everything you love about the Pokemon series and takes it to the next level. You can spend hours relaxing, wandering the world and capturing new Pokemon friends to train.

Or you can be like me and get extremely serious about being the best Pokemon trainer in your social circle. Connect with friends, battle to the death, and make sure they know whose Chimchar is the best.

Pokemon Black and White were so popular it will be the first game in the series to have an official sequel. Black and White 2 is expected to be released this fall.

9- Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)

One of the few 3DS exclusive titles on the list, this is the latest entry in the Paper Mario saga. This delightful game once again features Mario and friends going on a grand adventure with highly-stylized 2D graphics helping to add a one of a kind visual flair to the proceedings.

Featuring sticker-based combat, plenty of adventure, and the Paper Mario series's trademark sense of whimsical humor, Sticker Star makes great use of the system's 3D screen without making it a chore to play.

8 - Chrono Trigger

This one is a no-brianer. One of the best RPGs of all time, this better-than-perfect port of the SNES classic has become the definitive version. Chrono Trigger features lush music often cited as an all time greatest video game soundtrack, a party of loveable and unique characters and one of the best battle systems ever.

In addition to all of the old-school goodness, there are two new quests and one new ending which ties the game into the PSX sequel Chrono Cross. Buy this today if you're looking for a top DS RPG.

7- Contact

Created by the twisted masterminds at Grasshoper, Contact is a post-modern action RPG where the themes of control and free will are subtly explored against the backdrop of a traditional sci-fi adventure. With you, the player, put in control of the life of an other worldly hero through your DS, can you do the right thing while still manipulating the thoughts and feelings of a living person?

An engrossing story, an incredibly deep level-up system, and hours of gameplay make Contact one of the most interest RPGs for the Nintendo DS.

6- Dragon Quest IX

Here's a fun fact about the Dragon Quest series. Each of the main releases in the series are always put out on what the publishers consider to be the most popular console currently available. That's why Dragon Quest IX was released on the DS after having been on the PlayStation for the last two releases.

Create a character, team up with friends, and explore the world in this old school throwback. Not everything as it was in the 80s, though: your DS's wireless features allow you to interact with other players, even when you're not playing. See who you stumble into as you go about your day and earn special bonuses and dungeons by interacting with strangers.

Read on for the Top 5 DS RPGs!

5- Radiant Historia

Atlus's Radiant Historia the best parts of dozens of RPGs and mixes them all together in a stew pot and serves it hot and fresh to gamers. Featuring the exciting time travel plot device of Chrono Trigger, the intense political drama of a Final Fantasy game, and a unique and challenging battle system, Radiant HIstoria is without a doubt one of the best DS RPGs.

Watch a convoluted story slowly reveal itself as you hop between multiple timelines and fiddle with past and future to create a happy ending for the entire planet. While the planet slowly withers and forests are replaced by infertile deserts, two nations war for water and farmland. Take your hero and a handful of party members on an exciting journey that will take them to the brink of the apocalypse.

Featuring a turn-based battle system, players can build combos for higher damage and experience bonuses. This near perfect DS RPG has dozens and dozens of hours of gameplay for the dedicated role playing game fan.

4- Etrian Odyssey III

The Etrian Odyssey series is a DS-exclusive series but it can definitely hang with the big boys. Eschewing a lot of the annoying anime story tropes and heartfelt declaration of love, Etrian Oddysey is for gamers who wants to dive right into the dungeon crawling. Featuring sprawling, often brutal, dungeons played form a first person perspective, a good sense of direction is a must.

If you're looking for a true hardcore JRPG, hit up Etrian Oddysey III, the most recent release. Get your graph and pencil ready, get ready to make some maps, and grind out some battles. This title is expertly designed to maximize fun and challenge which makes it one of the best Nintendo DS RPGs.

Choose a wife in Dragon Quest 5!
Choose a wife in Dragon Quest 5!

3 - Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

Yep, a second Dragon Quest title! This classic series really translates well to the Nintendo DS. Dragon Quest V is a complete overhaul of the SNES title. DQ5 has one of the most ambitious stories in the history of the genre. Follow a young hero from childhood to adulthood and then all the way into fatherhood!

Dragon Quest V is a true family affair. Your father, your wife, and even your children will all eventually join your party as you seek to find the legendary hero and extinguish evil from the world. Featuring classic gameplay augmented by a modern rebalancing, this is one of the top DS RPGs for sure.

2. Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)

The second and final 3DS exclusive title on the list, Fire Emblem Awakening finally brings the beloved strategy-RPG series back to the United States. Take control of a massive army and do battle against a seemingly endless horde of foes.Be careful with your troops - just like in real life, there's no coming back from a fatal wound!

Fire Emblem Awakening has hundreds of hours of gameplay and a branching storyline that changes depending on whether you've managed to keep your friends alive in battle. Follow the epic story to its conclusion and see if you have the smarts to be a master general in this amazing RPG.

1 - The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You is a Square Enix joint, but it feels more like something published by Atlus. Starring a disaffected young hipster living in Tokyo, The World Ends With You is an entrancing and moving RPG which transcends its genre. More so than any other title on this list, TWEWY takes full advantage of all the unique tools the Nintendo DS has available.

For instance, players are always in charge of a two person party. One member of the party fights on the top screen and the other on the bottom. Using a combination of rhythm gaming and and the touch screen, each party member has a completely different battle system from one another.

The story provides an intentionally unlikable protagonist who seethes with youthful disaffection. Struggle alongside the other characters to understand his personality and watch him break through his neurosis and begin to come out the other side a better person.

This is without a doubt the best RPG on the Nintendo DS. If you haven't played The World Ends With You yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up today.

Agree? Disagree?

Any questions or comments? Got your own top 10 DS RPG list you'd like to share? Post a message in the comments and let us know!

What's your favorite Nintendo DS RPG?

What's your favorite Nintendo DS RPG?

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