1. Suikoden series (1997)
The series itself focus on a silent hero and gathering of 108 stars of destiny often during a time of conflict and war in their country (exception being Suikoden III). The gameplay is turn based and simple to pick up. Runes act as your magic system in the game. You want someone with wind magic? There is a rune for that and your lovely rune mistress will be happy to equip for you. This allow you to pick and choose who get what in terms of skills. Where this series really shine and why it remain one of my favorite is the story and the music. It also has multiple endings and side quests that made you want to play again and again. While technically, you can dive into this series with any of the five entries. All of the entries take place in the same world and there is overlapping history with the exception being Tierksis. This OP suggest to start with one which is a quick play of 20 hours or less.
Favorite in the series: Suikoden II
One That We Don't Like to Talk About: Suikoden IV
Others in the series: Suikoden I-V, Suikoden Tierksis, and Suikoden Tatics
2. Wild ARMS series (1997)
While almost all of the entries have different stories, there is a common theme among them. Each game use Western motif and set in the world of Filgara. It also carries the theme of power in the form of ARMs. Is it good? Is it evil? It is a question that constantly asked in the series. Another theme is the dying world and what will you do save it. Can it be save? Is worth saving?
Favorite in the series: Wild ARMS
One That We Don't Like to Talk About: Wild Arms II
Others in the series: Wild ARMS I-V and Wild ARMS XF
This game is near and dear to this Mouse's heart. This game that made me fall in love with Role Playing Games. While it has a turn based system like many RPGs, the difference lies in their strike system. You have a directional arrows on where you want to strike and if you put the right sequence, you unlock an "art." It also have a pokemon theme of capture some monsters and able to level up their abilities which acts as your magic for this game. The story involves three main characters who have bond to Ra-Serus (Power ups that came from trees.) in order to save the world from the mist which had made the monsters crazy and making communication and travel difficult in the world. As you may notice, it share some common themes with Final Fantasy 9, another game release around the same time.
Favorite in the series: Legend of Legaia
One That I Want My Money Back: Legend of Legaia II
Mouse doesn't know to describle these games without a power point and possible a very large diagram chart. So, we are going with themes here.
Common Themes: Parallal Dimersions/Time Jumps
A lot of WTF moments
Turn based battle system...as much I love Chrono Cross...I am not going to try to describle its battle system.
Favorite in the series: Chrono Cross
One That ONTD will talk about: Chrono Trigger
5. Grandia Series (1997)
Grandia takes a page out of Lunar series with its battle system. The placement of characters depends on the effective of your attacks. Each of the game in the series seem to build on system, which keeps you on your toes. While it doesn't have a common story between each game, it deals with classic RPG themes of adventure (Grandia), saving the world (Grandia 2), and saving yourself (Grandia 2/3).
Favorite in the series: Grandia
One That I Can't Remember Playing: Grandia III
Others in the series: Grandia I, II, III
All of the games in this series is set in Lunar, a livable "Blue" moon. Each story takes place on different point of its history. Lunar series tend to have a textbook elements of going on an adventure and have to save the world a lot. Don't let that stop you from playing. One of the best elements in the game is the characters and totally worth checking out for them alone. They will make you laugh and cry...and most of all, smile. Another common element in their games is their dragons...which until they claim their powers are winged, talking cats. (Don't ask.) The battle system is similar to Grandia series which Mouse can tell you will keep you on your toes during battles.
Favorite in the series: Lunar: Eternal Blue
One That ONTD will Probably Fight Me On: Lunar: The Silver Star
Others in The Series: Lunar: Eternal Blue, Lunar: The Silver Star, and Lunar: Dragon Song.
Okay, typically, I should put this 80s but I didn't start playing it until the 90s. So....here it is! I blame Square for this confusion of Quest/Warrior. Dragon Quest published as Dragon Warrior until 2005. Mouse will also like to note that she still calling it Dragon Warrior Series. Moving on....the most common elements of saving the world from evil and a turn based battle system in this series. It is old school but that is part of its charm. Since there are no common stories between games, you can jump right in with any games.
Favorite Quest: Dragon Quest: VIII
Not so Favorite Quest: Dragon Quest: V
Others in the series: Dragon Quest I-X, Dragon Quest Monsters, Dragon Quest Rocket Slime (<3), Dragon Quest Builders, Dragon Quest: Heroes Series
As a RPG player, I couldn't reallly get into Arc The Lad Series. I remember quiting in the middle of the third game and Twilight of Spirits because how much of the plot annoy me. I like the battle system well enough but not enough to continue these games. Everyone has different taste and I won't stop you from trying it out. :D
Favorite in the Series: Arc The Lad 2
One That We Don't Talk About: Arc the Lad: Twilight of Spirits
Others in the Series: Arc The Lad I-III, Twilight of Spirits and End of Darkness
Honorable Mentions: Legend of Dragoon, Breath of Fire Series, Fallout, Diablo, Earthbound...and I suppose that should add it: Final Fantasy Series
Source: 1, 2,3,4,5,6, 7, 8