We'll start off with a personal favorite: Echoes of Aetheria. It features a strong FF6 vibe, and it's set in a fantasy world with a bit of tech thrown in for good measure. While much more a standard JRPG than a full-blown tactical RPG, Echoes Of Atheria brings big changes to combat by adding a grid.
Area attacks hit specific squares, and there's a good deal of strategy to play with when moving characters around. Another twist sees each character swapping out a range of skills, and you have full freedom to level or de-level skills as needed.
With a robust crafting system included, there's plenty to explore in the realm mechanics, all completely independent of the story.
Adding character, Echoes of Aetheria makes sure to sprinkle in the silly and cheesy dialog that's a staple of the classic JRPG genre. But there's a seriously dark edge to many of the interactions between party members as the story progresses.
The game's characters set it apart, too, as Echoes Of Aetheria really doesn't have damsels in distress. Although it opens with the princess getting kidnapped at her wedding, things take a turn pretty quickly and said princess becomes one of the most dangerous party members in the game.
As icing on the cake, EoA is one of the few RPGs where shifting alliances and regional backstories make some level of sense, and the characters often ask questions that people in the real world would ask about why governments are doing awful things.