Conventional wisdom suggests that Japanese development has been losing steam in recent years. And while we don’t see the same number of titles emerging from across the Pacific as we once did, some amazing titles are making their way stateside. With the big release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on the horizon, we pick ten titles that have us especially stoked.

10. Street Fighter V

Only a few characters have been announced for the latest iteration of this classic fighting game, but early glimpses show off a continued evolution of Capcom’s beautiful painterly style for the series, exhibiting familiar characters like Chun-Li and newcomers like Necalli. The new V-System promises to add a new layer of strategy to combat, letting players pull off new character-specific moves, or even counter certain attacks while blocking. We’re also happy to see that the game is doing more to distinguish its long-time characters from one another; in particular, Ken will now feel even more distinct from Ryu.

9. Kingdom Hearts III

If you’ve been following along with the story since 2002, then congratulations are in order. Your persistence will hopefully pay off when Square Enix’s Disney/Final Fantasy mash-up series concludes its story arc in Kingdom Hearts III. New attractions are set to make battles even crazier, letting you fling out everything from teacups to pirate boats into the midst of the fray. We’ve also been promised new worlds, like the premiere of the Tangled universe. It’s been a long wait, but Kingdom Hearts III is looking beautiful, giving us high hopes.

8. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Metroid helped premiere the genre, but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night refined the formula of the gear-gated 2D exploration experience. That’s why we are so enthused about Castlevania mastermind Igarashi’s latest project, a spiritual successor to Symphony at his new developer, Inti Creates. The new game follows a young woman named Miriam as she explores a demonic castle on a quest to end a curse transforming her into crystal. Early looks at the wildly successful Kickstarter project are very promising, leaving us eager to learn more.

7. Persona 5

The Persona series has always prided itself on tackling some weightier subject matter than many other JRPGs, and that trend doesn’t look to be changing in Persona 5. While the top level storyline follows a young man at a new high school, the broader themes of the game revolve around fighting against societal norms. The turn-based combat seems to borrow liberally from previous installments, which is great news, as we had few complaints about that structure. But for fans, the real excitement lies in meeting a whole new cast of unusual characters – the Persona 4 crew is ready for a break.

6. Final Fantasy XV

If you count back to when this game was originally called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, then we’ve had a very long wait for this installment of the iconic RPG franchise. At long last, Final Fantasy XV is steering towards an actual release, and our early play sessions have given us reason to be very enthusiastic. The story we’ve seen so far seems to focus strongly on the friendship between several young men, which is a departure from standard JRPG story content. The action-focused battle system and some awesome summons are just the tip of the iceberg as far as new mechanics to explore, but it’s the large explorable world that looks the most thrilling.

[Next Page: Two Nintendo games, and the atmospheric, challenging title at the top of our must-have list]