Friday 30 October 2015

A Few Tips For Common Import Game Hurdles (for non-Japanese speakers and Japanese Learners)

Have you ever wanted a game so bad that you decided that you were okay with sitting through a language you didn't fully understand? Chances are you have if you're reading this article. It's a perfectly acceptable train of thought - localisation takes time for a majority of Japanese games, which can leave fans waiting for months or even years for some releases to hit their side of the world. It's frustrating, which is why importing can be an attractive option to some players, especially fans of genres such JRPGs and Japanese games.

Thanks to the language barrier, import games can be a daunting experience for some. After going through the trouble to find out if your foreign game of choice will work on your console or not, you also need to be able to worry about playing and understanding the game. Speaking from a JRPG and Japanese game perspective, if Japanese isn't your first language or you haven't been studying it for a long time, this is obviously difficult. Some people become motivated to learn entire languages for this purpose, while others just want to play the damn game. While there isn't a simple solution to getting past the language barrier in imported games (other than just waiting for the localisation or taking hours and hours to learn a new language), there are helpful apps to at least pull the text from the game and get a digital translation or other methods to help general understanding. While these methods aren't perfect, I use some of these to try learn new Japanese words and to make things a little easier during the tougher parts of playing import games and am sharing them in the hopes of helping others on their import game journey.

Note: I own an iPhone, so the apps mentioned here are mostly for iPhone. However, these apps may be available for Android. I may update this article to reflect this soon, but for now, please be aware when reading!

Story/Text Problems

Problem: I want to use Google Translate or something, but I can't type in Japanese + typing Japanese I've only just seen for the first time is time consuming and pretty difficult.

Solution: A photo translation app, like 'Translate Photo'.

For a long time, my biggest problem with playing import games was even if I wanted to use a translation site, typing in the Japanese was way too time consuming, which is not good if you only have a limited amount of game time every week. I remembered someone mentioning using a photo translation app to translate signs while traveling and I figured there should be an app like this for Japanese. Luckily in our lovely modern age of cool apps, there was.

I tried a free trial version for an app called 'Translate Photo' (the paid version has a red icon and the trial has a blue icon) and quickly ended up buying the full version. Translate Photo allows you to take a photo of anything or use a photo saved on your phone and as long as the photo is clear, it can usually accurately pull the text from the image into a copy and paste-able form. Using this app, you can take a photo of the screen (or send a screenshot to your phone, but that takes longer) and select the text you want to translate, crop and edit the image (which can be helpful if the text is a different colour or smaller) and let the app do the rest. This version of the text allows you to either look up the words in the dictionary, use the in app translator (which seems to work like Google Translate) or copy it into another translator to get something that's at least close to the meaning.

Problem: Translated text is kinda weird. Is there anyway I can get a more natural translation?

Solution: A Japanese dictionary that can give definitions for a bunch of typed text or copied text, such as 'Imiwa'.

If you can't find a fan translation, but the digital translation isn't perfect (which is likely), you can try working out the meaning from the context of the words, using a Japanese dictionary. I highly recommend the free Imiwa app for iPhone - it can detect words from a bunch of text, meaning you can just read the definitions and go from there. An added bonus for Japanese learners is you can favourite the words you don't know so you can add them to your vocabulary. It's so great, I don't understand why it's free.

Using Imiwa and looking up the words is my preferred method when playing games, even if it involves a little more brain work. Other than wanting to learn Japanese, I find once I scroll through the words, I can make sense of the text in a way it makes sense to me rather than becoming confused by a digital translation. However, while less natural sounding, a digital translation is the easier of the two methods as it tries to also translate grammar.

Note: Apparently JSho is a good alternative for Andriod users!

Playing the Game

Problem: Working out the story is good and all, but working out the mechanics of the game is hard without instructions.

Solution: Try a walkthrough.

Especially if your game is one that is a few years old, there's a surprising number of walkthroughs available for Japanese games. A simple Google search of the game you want to buy/already own will show this. This is especially good if you're considering buying an import game - you can gauge how easy the game will be to play just by using walkthroughs and Youtube 'Let's Play' videos.

Gameplay and Story: Alternatively, Wing It

Once I accepted the fact I wouldn't understand everything, Japanese games became instantly more fun. If you're trying to learn Japanese or you're a JRPG story junkie (I'm both), it can be tempting to pick apart every line, every word and every grammar point. However, this just isn't realistic if you actually want to play a game, not study I game. I found this gave me way too much 'stop and start' to actually enjoy the game and it took quite a long time just to get through initial cutscenes.

Nowadays, I try to only look up the sentences that really stump me or that seem important to understanding the plot. You can pick up a lot from context and cutscenes and thankfully the great button mashing method can help one learn the mechanics of a game. I think it's good to use a combination of all of these methods, but remembering that unless you're a native Japanese speaker or a master of the language, understanding everything probably isn't realistic. It's a game you probably picked because it looked fun, so just have fun!


None of these tips are perfect or a one size fits all method and this certainly isn't a comprehensive list as I'm only just finding my feet in the unlocalised game world myself. I hope this helps you guys get through your imported games, let me know what you're playing or recommend playing in the comments below!

You can buy import games online at sites such as

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games!

Note: This article does contain an affiliate links to Play-Asia to help support this site. You can read our Affiliate Link Policy here.
Note 2: Even though this article mentions some specific apps, this article is not at all sponsored or officially associated with the apps mentioned. I just use them regularly :)

Friday 23 October 2015

Figure Review: Marie from Persona 4 Golden Sega PM Figure

I have an addiction - Persona 4 character figures. They're so colourful and loveable in the games that whenever I see them (especially at a good price), I can't stop myself from buying them. During a recent visit to a pre-owned figure store, I was about to leave the store empty handed when I saw this figure of the adorable tsundere Marie for $20, boxed and all (which can be rare when shopping at pre-owned stores).

The Marie figure I purchased happens to be a 'prize' figure. Upon doing some research on the '' forums, I found that prize figures are different to scale figures. To put it simply, they're a style of figure made more cheaply than scale figures and are sometimes known to be of a lower quality. While I can maybe notice my Marie figure is shinier than my other very 'matte finished' figures and some of her accessories feel a little cheap, I'm happy to say that I love looking at my Marie figure just as much as my other figures and that's really what matters.

Marie is featured wearing her signature outfit from Persona 4 Golden, complete with her bag and her hat as removable accessories. Each piece is shaped to sit on it's intended area - the hat can be sat on Marie's head and the bottom of her bag is perfectly flattened in order to sit on top of the mini TVs included for her to be perched upon. A small complaint I have is that Marie's hat is a little difficult to put on and is guaranteed to come off when I move it - there's no proper way to secure it onto her head and balancing it can sometimes be difficult. Apart from that, I love how accurate her outfit is and am very impressed with small details (such as her belt buckle) that I had long forgotten about until inspecting this figure.

Complimenting her look and personality is her pose. On the box, she is sitting in a relaxed fashion on top of one of the two included TVs. Her body parts are not movable, but you can pose her with or without the TVs. The bigger TV is actually slightly molded and indented to perfectly fit her backside so she can sit easily, and the smaller TV sits just under one of her feet. Thanks to this pose and the smaller TV, she is well supported and easy to pose and turn after moving her. The additional display without the TVs is possible thanks to her flattened behind area to help her sit comfortably on the TVs and lean her on bench tops or against other items to have a perched cutely on a shelf or leaning back slightly on a bench.

Quality-wise, Marie is at an average level. The figure itself is visually very good, especially an average distance. Close-up though, there are a few paint smudges here and there and a tiny chip on the bottom of the back of her vest. As I mentioned, the figure was bought pre-owned so I'm not sure if these slight differences were there before her first owner had her, but I've never really noticed these kinds of things on any of my other figures. Also, the TVs Marie sits on feel like cheap plastic and are noticeably shiny. Even if this is intentional, the TVs feel incredibly light, almost hollow in fact. This does have it's benefits though, as as a lighter figure does equal lower shipping costs, but I was a little surprised. However when you factor in the price of Marie, this is probably the type of quality I would expect for price and for the low price, these things are definitely forgivable as she looks nice enough.

She may not be the most perfect or most expensive figure, but considering the cost she's pretty great. Despite some very minor chips and paint smudges, I totally appreciate the attention to detail in Marie's features and the cute customization options, thanks to the included accessories and posing options. From far away, Marie stands out against other figures thanks to her clothes and her pose that completely reflects her attitude and all the flaws I mentioned definitely aren't noticeable unless you have a very good eye. If you're a fan of the Persona 4 characters and Marie, until there's a higher grade option, this PM Figure is a fine addition to anyone's P4G character collection.

Score: 7.3/10
Not perfect, but still very cute, and totally worth the cost.


Do you dig this figure or will you buy another Persona 4 character instead? Comment below and let us know!

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games!

Friday 16 October 2015

PS Plus Review (A JRPG Fan's Perspective)

Over my adult life, I've found that I seem to gravitate towards PlayStation products. This is probably because I grew up with a PlayStation in my house and my friends owned a N64, which I was pretty jealous about until I fell in love with classics like Spyro, Tomba and Crash, which then evolved into Final Fantasy, Digimon and Kingdom Hearts as I grew older, all of which I still love now. It was because of the PS Vita (that some have lovingly dubbed the 'JRPG Machine') I discovered many great JRPGs, such as Persona, Gravity Rush and Danganronpa and because of this love of my Vita and wanting to use my PS4 more, I gave into purchasing a PS Plus subscription because of the allure of six games being adding into my game collection every month.

For most PlayStation fans, the PS Plus experience is almost a no brainer because of the six free games a month but if you're a JRPG fan like myself, other aspects of the subscription may seem more attractive because they include JRPGs. Here's a breakdown on my own thoughts as a JRPG fan on PS Plus into this review to help you decide if you really need it or not. Enjoy!

(Note: I use the European/Australian PSN, so if any of the facts, figures or features listed in this article are incorrect in your region, that is why!)

Instant Game Collection

To most gamers, the biggest incentive of PS Plus is the Instant Game Collection, which provides subscribers with six games a month, at no extra cost until the end of the subscription. This feature has the potential to be a major hit to some or an unfortunate miss to others as most of the games are either older triple A games or new indie games.

If you're someone who is 'JRPGS ONLY' in your approach to gaming, the Instant Game Collection may not appeal very much to you. The only JRPG I remember receiving from PS Plus is Muramasa Rebirth for PS Vita (which I still, unfortunately, haven't played past the tutorial). Looking back at the last six months of PS Plus, there haven't been any JRPGs featured on PS Plus, making it hard to see much incentive if you don't spend a lot of time with other game genres.

On the other hand, if you enjoy spending most of your gaming money on JRPGs, the lack of JRPGs can have it's benefits, if you like Western games too. If you're like me and like spending your money on JRPGs and other Japanese games and merch, the instant game collection gives me access to games like Transistor and Rogue Legacy that I otherwise would not have checked out for a long time because I would rather spend my money on JRPGs. It's thanks to PlayStation Plus that I've head the chance to try critically acclaimed Western games while still building my JRPG backlog.

Exclusive Discounts

The exclusive discounts are where it's at for me when it comes to PlayStation Plus. The PlayStation Network already has amazingly good discounts, but it's thanks to PS Plus' extra discounts on top that I've tried many games I otherwise would have thought are too expensive.

Take this month's October sale as an example*. A game I'm interested in for PS4 is Natural Docturine. This month's PSN sale is up to 50% off, but PS Plus offers 70%. Not to get too mathsy, but for a game that was originally $77.95, then $38.98 without PS Plus, with PS Plus I save an extra $15 which is both an awesome saving and also enough to buy a cheaper game on top. Of course, I haven't kept track of the savings I've made from PS Plus, but I am happy with how many games I've been able to buy, even on months when I've had little spending money and I credit most of this to the PSN and PlayStation Plus.

*Note: Example used is based on the European/Australian PSN store, using Australian Dollars.

Online Storage

PS Plus provides 1GB of space for each PlayStation device you own (for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita only. Sorry old mate PSP <3). This has been super convenient at times, if you own a PS Vita with a 4GB memory card like myself - it saves me from having to use my PS3 to back everything up if I'm feeling lazy.

It's also very good backup from a JRPG/general RPG perspective for any games you've spent 100s of hours playing and completing. It's nice knowing that my Platinum Trophy save files for games like Persona 4 Golden and Danganronpa are backed up on both my PS3 and the cloud (even if I'll probably never use them). Even if my PS3 dies (please don't), I have piece of mind thanks to this feature and can keep my saves.

Exclusive Early Access and Demos

Occasionally, PlayStation Plus will give players the change to try exclusive demos, betas and if developers are feeling really nice, sometimes whole games.

During my time as a subscriber, none of this has ever been that JRPG related, but I'm not one to complain about more free things to try. It may not be a standout feature for now for JRPG fans (I'd honestly for the most part forgotten about it), but is a great feature when it features a game you're interested in.

PS4 Online Multiplayer Features

Online multiplayer on PS4 is locked unless you have PS Plus, which isn't a big deal to me as JRPGs are generally single player-based games.

If you enjoy other Japanese games like fighting games or occasionally play Western games like Destiny, you may be interested in this feature. I don't use it often as I usually prefer to play single player games and haven't really dived into PS4 land enough to have even found any JRPGs that can use this (while writing this article though, I did find that Natural Docturine does use this feature). Maybe in future this will be a more important feature, but for now it's not a feature I utilise much and will be more important to other people.


Ultimately, you may not find the same value as other gamers do in the monthly free games, but features like the exclusive discounts cam save lots of money and the cloud service works across all my devices, which gives me piece of mind for my platinum saves. As with anything, your enjoyment of this subscription service will depend on your gaming preferences, but as a person who probably plays 75% Japanese games and JRPGs and 25% other games, I find value in the free games because I never feel like I'm missing out on other games while I purchase the games that I'm drawn to. Having features like Online Multiplayer and Exclusive Access might not be features I've used much now, but they add to an already good value subscription service. If you buy games from PSN regularly and predominately use PlayStation consoles to play your JRPGs, Playstation Plus is great way to make sure you can always save during sale time and enjoy a bunch of other bonus features.

If you're interested in PlayStation Plus, you can purchase a subscription from your local PlayStation Network Store.

Leave your opinion on PlayStation Plus in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games!

Note: Not sponsored, just love my PS Plus.

Friday 9 October 2015

Some Screenshots Showing Why Conception II is Awkwardly Hilarious

Last year, I purchased Conception II after picking up the free demo cause I enjoyed the dungeon crawling and the characters seemed like they could be interesting. While I will be writing a full review soon (35+ hours in and I've still got over four dungeons to conquer), I wanted to touch on how awkward and hilarious this game can be, because over the past 35 hours, I can safely say it's been one of the stranger games I've played (which, let's be real here, is saying a lot in the JRPG genre). As this is my first proper dating sim, some of the overtly flirtatious and creepy dialogue caught me off guard and has mad me laugh just as many times as it's made me cringe. Using screenshots to preview some of these, here is a summary of some of the awkward moments you can expect to find if you play Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars.

Note: some minor spoilers are ahead, so proceed at your own risk!

The Girls are 'Unintentionally' Inappropriate

In Conception II, there are seven different girls to choose from, all with different personalities and different looks to provide variety for the player's preferences. What they all share though is the ability to randomly sprout surprisingly innuendo-filled or completely straight forward lines without even intending to, because dating sims.

....a logical conclusion after someone says "I want to get to know you.", Torri.
Does anyone even say 'in the buff' anymore?
Okay, that one was completely intentional.

Admittedly, this probably wasn't her fault, but this was so anime I had to include it.
Chlotz, in general

Chlotz (a character I actually enjoy) is the definition of hormone-filed teenager. He is never subtle and often just creepy, although for the most part manages to pull this off in an endearing, weird friend kind of way.

Narrowing things down in a dating sim.
A reply to the protagonist going to photography club.
The thing I appreciate most is Chlotz's trademark grin when he says most of these things.
Classmating and It's Brother, Classmanting

Now I have absolutely nothing against same-sex relationships, but Classmanting is the worst part of the game. None of the guys seem like they want to do it, rumours get spread about them and it's all round only for the benefit of science and for Ruby to get totally weird.

Initially, I shamelessly chuckled at this
....Until this happened
The adults are pretty crazy too

Most of the adults in the game do seem like they're just trying to do things for science and for the better of the universe...usually. Other times they remember they're in a dating sim and say really strange things to high school students.

Could be said about most of the game really
Who let this guy run the church?!

Mattero is the church's priest, who serves no purpose as a character for the most part other than to be a helpful NPC or a total creep.

This was one of the first dialogues in the demo. Pretty much if you survive/continue after reading this line, you're ready to play Conception II
No hate, just amusement Conception II. Pure amusement.


If you want more strange dating sim amusement, you can purchase Conception II for 3DS and PS Vita from now.

Leave your favourite awkward Conception II moment below!
Thanks for stopping by and make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games!

Note: This article does contain an affiliate links to Play-Asia to help support this site. You can read our Affiliate Link Policy here.

Friday 2 October 2015

Final Fantasy IX Review (PS One Classic)

In a period of time where we are truly pampered by graphical beauty and high quality stories, voice acting and gameplay (most of the time), when I decided it was time to finally visit the realm of older Final Fantasy IX games, I wondered how much I'd actually enjoy the somewhat older game. When I started playing the Final Fantasy series, I began from Final Fantasy X. Since then, I've only briefly played through I and VIII, so I haven't experienced most of the beautifully pixel-based graphics of the PS One Final Fantasy games yet. Thankfully though, gaming is much more than just graphics and finally playing Final Fantasy IX totally affirmed any thoughts that I'd been missing out on a fun game with a plot worth visiting.

Final Fantasy IX is full of charm, with it's medieval fantasy feeling and unique characters and is topped off with some smart systems that tie into the game's battle system, is worth playing nearly 15 years after it's release. Even with it's old school graphics and feeling, thanks to the story, characters and gameplay, I definitely regret not playing it sooner.

Set in a medieval world complete with a Queen and activities such as watching plays, Final Fantasy IX is firmly set in a perfect setting for a fantasy adventure, heightened by the world's painterly look that makes it look like it's set in a fantasy picture book. The story's hero Zidane is cheeky and strong-willed and is just as humorous as he is kindhearted (and feels just a little like a prototype for FFX's Tidus). He's the perfect leader for the story's oddly fitting group, which includes the knight Steiner, who is far to devoted to his duties, the innocent black mage Vivi who is trying the find his purpose in life and Princess Garnet, who becomes more admirable as the game progresses because of her genuine drive to protect her people. The odd group set out on a journey to find out and resolve many of the problems in the kingdom, including investigating the behaviour of the kingdoms leader, the princesses mother, but they also find more enemies along the way. The story explores deep themes such as life and death and one's purpose and it's villains are just as complex as the main characters.

FF9 Screenshot sourced from IGN
The flow of the story ties in with the game well, opening up new features to benefit the gameplay and to continue on the story as each disc/chapter is completed. Without being too specific, I truly enjoyed the growth of all the characters throughout the game, with many of the characters being effected by moments in the story and growing their own story throughout the 50+ hours of the experience. While Zidane is the main character of the story, optional Active Time Events allow the other characters to be followed almost just as closely, giving a depth to the effects of the main story.

Returning in Final Fantasy IX is the familiar turn-based battle system is featured in many Final Fantasy titles, but this time with an option to make things move a little faster with the active setting found in the menu. The active setting allows you to make commands while enemies and characters are executing their moves, a much needed option considering the slow pacing of most battles, due to the long animations for each attack. I usually really love a turn based battle system, but the long animations killed the pace for me. When there's cool characters, great summons and a pumping battle track, I expect to have a fun, satisfying battle. Final Fantasy IX had all of these things, but the pace made some battles feel off and a little laggy, especially by today's standards.

FF9 Screenshot sourced from IGN
This kind of a battle pacing is a shame, as the battle system had a few cool additions, such as the trance system for each character which could be built up to change into a stronger form and some of the unique status ailments, such as the spinning status ailment that was a lot like 'Confusion' from other Final Fantasy games, but uncurable. Unfortunately though, these were not without fault either, with other status ailments sometimes being visually difficult to notice and trance on occasion not being usable at all. Because Trance automatically activates itself once it's fully changed, a character's Trance would often become triggered at the end of a battle,  just as another character was executing their attack and defeating the enemy, rendering the trance meter 'used' and empty for the next battle. Battles are definitely still enjoyable for those who like a turn-based battle system and enemies are challenging enough to make things enjoyable, but I can't say it's my favourite version of the turn-based battle system used in many Final Fantasy games.

Surprisingly, what I found more fun than actual battles was the equipment and ability preparation process. Rather than using a skill tree-like system seen in other Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy IX's equipment system is built around the marriage of equipment and abilities. Each weapon, armour and accessory has an ability that the user can learn after winning the battle with it enough times, helping to create a 'bank' of abilities that the character can use throughout the whole game. When I go into battle in a JRPG, I'm used to typically prioritising strength, so this mechanic quickly added a totally different dynamic to my strategy. Sometimes I really needed strength, other times I was using low power equipment just for an ability. I was also pleasantly surprised when good equipment suddenly became weaker in some areas and I had to switch to lower level equipment because that was how equipment worked in that place. For a genre where in most games you can just level up to become totally overpowered (which I'm sure is also possible in this game too), this was a good dynamic that made the acquisition of new equipment much more interesting.

FF9 Screenshot sourced from IGN
The game features a few side quests, although I will say the story was so big and interesting that I didn't feel the need to explore them too much. The main side quest I tried was Chocobo Hot and Cold, a fun yet time consuming hunting game used to find items and gain points to buy some of the games rare weapons. There's also the game's card game (pictured above), which was fun enough if you're a fan of Final Fantasy's card games (which I usually skip over in favour of other side quests, unless there's a trophy involved).

Despite the battle system's speed needing work, the rest of the game is sprinkled with great music, quality visuals that make the most of the technology of the time that make the experience feel fairly polished. The music is one of the best Final Fantasy soundtracks I've ever heard, spanning beautiful emotional pieces like 'Melodies of Light' along with fun, carnival-like feeling pieces for more comical scenes. Each piece truly helps to create the appropriate mood to each scene. The visuals have of course aged a little when compared to today's Final Fantasy's, but it's obvious when looking at the beautiful, storybook like landscapes and the great cutscenes that the game is still beautiful in it's own way now and made a beautiful looking game for the technology it used.

FF9 Screenshot sourced from IGN
Final Fantasy IX may have some problems with being a little laggy during it's battles, but a majority of the experience resonated with me 15 years after the release, thanks to the strong story, the smart equipment and abilities mechanics and the beautiful environment and musical decisions. For fans of the Final Fantasy series who haven't played the game or older Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy IX is a great reminder of the brilliant stories Final Fantasy is known for. If you're willing to give up some of the visual and speed luxuries of today's video games, Final Fantasy IX's story is a touching story and beautiful medieval world that is worth experiencing for those with a little patience.

Score: 7.9/10
A little laggy at times, but a wonderful that is worth experiencing with a smart equipment and battle system.

You can buy Final Fantasy IX as a PS One Classic for PS3, PSP and PS Vita digitally on your local Playstation Network Store.
If you're a collector of PS One games or happen to have a PS One or PS2 lying around, the physical version of Final Fantasy IX (and other Final Fantasy IX related goods) are available at


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Note: This article does contain an affiliate links to Play-Asia to help support this site. You can read our Affiliate Link Policy here.