What's the Difference?

JRPG, or Japanese Role-Playing Game, and RPG, or Role-Playing Game, are two subgenres of the larger role-playing game genre. While both types of games involve players taking on the roles of characters in a fictional world and making decisions that affect the outcome of the game, there are some key differences between the two. JRPGs typically feature more linear storylines, turn-based combat systems, and a focus on character development and narrative. RPGs, on the other hand, tend to offer more open-world exploration, real-time combat, and a greater emphasis on player choice and customization. Ultimately, both JRPGs and RPGs offer unique gaming experiences that cater to different preferences and playstyles.


GameplayTurn-based combatVaries (turn-based, real-time, etc.)
StorytellingEmphasis on narrative and character developmentVaries (can focus on story or gameplay)
Art StyleAnime-inspiredVaries
Character DevelopmentLeveling up, skill trees, etc.Varies (can include similar mechanics)

Further Detail


Role-playing games (RPGs) have been a popular genre in the gaming world for decades, offering players the chance to immerse themselves in fantastical worlds and take on the roles of powerful heroes. Within the RPG genre, there is a subcategory known as Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs), which have their own unique characteristics and gameplay elements. In this article, we will explore the attributes of both JRPGs and RPGs, highlighting their similarities and differences.


One of the key attributes of both JRPGs and RPGs is their emphasis on storytelling. Both genres typically feature rich, immersive narratives that draw players into the game world and keep them engaged throughout the experience. However, JRPGs are known for their intricate and often convoluted storylines, which can involve complex character relationships, political intrigue, and philosophical themes. In contrast, traditional RPGs tend to focus more on the player's individual journey and personal growth, with a greater emphasis on player choice and decision-making.

Character Development

Another important aspect of both JRPGs and RPGs is character development. In both genres, players have the opportunity to customize their characters, choosing their abilities, skills, and equipment to suit their playstyle. However, JRPGs often feature a larger cast of characters, each with their own unique abilities and personalities. Players must strategically manage their party members and their relationships in order to succeed in battles and advance the story. In contrast, traditional RPGs typically focus on a single protagonist, allowing players to delve deep into that character's development and growth.

Combat System

The combat systems in JRPGs and RPGs also differ in significant ways. JRPGs often feature turn-based combat, where players take turns selecting actions for their characters to perform. These battles can be highly strategic, requiring players to carefully plan their moves and anticipate their opponents' actions. In contrast, traditional RPGs may feature real-time combat, where players must react quickly to enemy attacks and make split-second decisions. This can create a more fast-paced and adrenaline-fueled gameplay experience.

Art Style

One of the most noticeable differences between JRPGs and RPGs is their art style. JRPGs are known for their colorful, anime-inspired graphics, featuring vibrant character designs and fantastical landscapes. These games often have a distinct visual style that sets them apart from other genres. In contrast, traditional RPGs may have a more realistic or gritty art style, with detailed environments and character models that aim for a sense of immersion and authenticity.


Exploration is a key element of both JRPGs and RPGs, allowing players to discover hidden treasures, complete side quests, and uncover the secrets of the game world. In JRPGs, exploration is often more linear, with players following a predetermined path through the story. However, there are usually plenty of optional areas to explore and secrets to uncover along the way. In traditional RPGs, exploration is typically more open-ended, with players free to roam the game world at their own pace and tackle quests in any order they choose.


While JRPGs and RPGs share many similarities, such as their focus on storytelling, character development, and exploration, they also have distinct attributes that set them apart. JRPGs are known for their intricate storylines, colorful art style, and strategic turn-based combat, while traditional RPGs often feature more personal narratives, realistic graphics, and fast-paced real-time combat. Both genres offer unique and engaging gameplay experiences for fans of the role-playing genre, catering to different preferences and playstyles.

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