Friday 25 December 2015

My Five Favourite Games I Played in 2015!

Somehow, I managed to play next to no new JRPG releases this year. In some ways, I regret missing new games such as Tales of Zestiria and Sword Art Online: Lost Song. On the other hand, I caught up on some classic games, along with others I'd been curious about (I'm looking at you, Conception II). With this in mind, my list of favourite games this year includes the favourites of what I played this year, regardless of release year. I love these games all for very different reasons and each minute playing them is a fond memory from this year.

With this in mind, I hope you enjoy this list and Merry Christmas dear readers!

5. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (PS3 and Xbox 360)

Persona 4 Arena was fun, but Persona 4 Arena Ultimax's character roster and streamlined story make for a polished and fun experience that made it fly right into being one of my favourite fighting games ever. I never fully the finished story mode of this game (I want to finish Persona 3 before going deeper into it's part of the story), but it was my go to game to play with friends and my boyfriend after a long day of work. With plenty of modes to play, there will always be many reasons to come back to this game.

It's not a JRPG, but fans of either Persona 3 or 4 and fighting games are highly likely to enjoy the game because of the new chapter of the story and the return of many important characters from Persona 4.

Persona 4 Dancing All Night is the Persona spin off that shouldn't have worked, but it excels as a rhythm game and has a pretty nice story too. I didn't want to wait for the localisation, so I bought the Japanese version so I'm not as well versed with the story as I'd like to be, however Kanami and Nanako made an adorable duo and the rhythm game portion had me tapping and pushing buttons to trump all my high scores over and over again. I'm excited to put this game in my Vita and try platinum it sometime (91% so far!) and the soundtrack was great enough to make me buy it as a standalone after I'd finished playing it.

I love rhythm games anyway, so this game was easy for me to digest but if you have any love for Persona 4's soundtrack, this game is a must try and as probably the last spin-off of Persona 4 since Persona 5 is coming, it's a fun end to a great series.

3. Danganronpa 1 + 2 (PS Vita and PSP)

As a huge fan of deep, JRPG stories, Danganronpa's complex story was more than enough to satisfy me in it's visual novel form. Both the first and second games are full of intricate mysteries, colourful characters and enough game mechanics to make it satisfying for fans of both visual novels and exciting storytelling. Not only does it have a great story, the class trials feel incredibly satisfying with the variety of game mechanics incorporated, making it more than just a visual novel. As a series I had never delved into, Danganronpa has become one of my all time favourites very quickly and I'm very excited for the third installment to hopefully come out next year.

Fans of the mystery aspect of Persona and Phoenix Wright should find many reasons to love this game and I honestly can't recommend it's story enough.

I really want to play all the old Final Fantasy games, especially since I started my journey into Final Fantasy from X meaning that I missed out on the classic Final Fantasy games before it. I began my journey backwards into the series from IX and it was well worth it to find this gem of a Final Fantasy game.

What it lacks in modern day graphics is made up for by a solid story, fun battles, cool equipment mechanics, side quests and beautiful music. The story's strong characters are just as interesting without voice acting - it's hard not to fall in love with characters like Vivi, Zidane, Garnet and even Steiner!

If you missed this one and you're a fan of long, old style JRPGs, go back and play this game because good golly it's worth it!

Final Fantasy Record Keeper has a special place in my heart this year. Record Keeper came out when I was very, very tight on money after moving and became my addition very quickly because it's free. There's in-game purchase options of course, but it's extremely easy to enjoy the game without spending a cent, like I did for months. Basically a JRPG without the story, Record Keeper's equipment system, perfectly timed new/weekly dungeons and level challenges keep me on the game on the go and in my house. It manages to be both very involved because of it's many systems (and they're only adding more) but also easy enough to pull away and jump back in later. It has a decent nostalgia factor, thanks to the game being filled with the best boss fights, characters and music from the main Final Fantasy series. There's many reasons to love this game if you're a Final Fantasy fan and if you don't have time to play or money to purchase a long JRPG, this is one of the best substitutes out there.

I stopped playing this game only because after four months of playing, it inspired me to go back and try the older Final Fantasy games. It's my top game of the year (although I love the other games on an extremely close level) thanks to it's additive and fun nature, it inspiring me to finally (no pun intended) play older Final Fantasy games again and it being the only mobile game that has ever inspired me enough to put down my consoles for awhile. It doesn't replace a full length JRPG, but it's extremely satisfying on the go!

You can pick up Final Fantasy Record Keeper from the App Store for iPhone users or the Google Play store for Android people!

What were your five favourite games of the year? Leave a comment below or send @JRPGJungle a tweet and let's talk!

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Friday 18 December 2015

Some of the Best JRPG Trailers of 2015

In honour of the fact I got a PS4 two years ago with Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 in mind, I put together this list of great trailers from this year. I'm always truly happy for the developers to take the time they need to make great games, however I'm also crossing my fingers that they will be released next year, because they all look really good so I want to play them. Enjoy and let me know your favourites of this years trailers in the comments!

Final Fantasy XV

Although Final Fantasy XV was not released this year, many trailers were released for both the gameplay and story portions of the game. I'm very excited for the open looking world, epic looking battles and that end-of-day cooking activity.

Kingdom Hearts 3

The non-release of Kingdom Hearts 3 was no surprise, as Square Enix has been very ambiguous about any release date for Kingdom Hearts 3. But this year's E3 trailer was worth getting hyped for, thanks to the smooth, beautiful and fun looking as the trailer. If the game is even close to how fun the trailer looks, I'm completely on board for whenever it's finally released.

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue

Kicking Kingdom Hearts 3 out of being the first Kingdom Hearts game on PS4, 2.8 was announced for 2016. With Kingdom Hearts 3 being dateless, I'm assuming this will probably be the first Kingdom Hearts game we see in 2016.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 will feature two previous Kingdom Hearts games, Dream Drop Distance and Back Cover x. The game will also feature Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, a new part of Kingdom Heart's story told by the character Aqua and set right after Dream Drop Distance. Since I haven't played Dream Drop Distance, I'm very excited to finally play the game and look forward to it hitting PS4 next year.

Persona 5

As an avid Persona fan, I was a little bummed (although not surprised) that Persona 5 got delayed until next year. However, they released this really cool trailer with the news of the delay, so I didn't know whether or not to be mad. With the trailer looking this good, the delay is probably for the best and I can't wait to play what I'm sure will be another top quality Persona game.

You can pre-order Persona 5 (PS3, PS4) from!

Gravity Rush 2

After years of people hoping, the news of Gravity Rush (or Daze, depending where you are) 2 was very exciting and a little unexpected. The world in the trailer looks stunning and it looks like Raven may have a more prominent role along side the game's star Kat as well judging by all of the advertising so far.

Danganronpa v3

Although it is a visual novel and not a JRPG, Danganronpa's story is deep enough to satisfy many fans of Japanese games, including myself, so I'm chucking it in here as 'related gaming'. The most recent trailer for Danganronpa 3 generously reveals three characters, but is still keeping a lot of the details of the story hidden. Interestingly though, this will be the first Danganronpa game involving students outside of Hope's Peak Academy, so I'm very interested to see how they will tie in with the story so far.

Ni no Kuni II

In another unexpected PSX announcement, Ni No Kuni II was revealed and it looks incredibly beautiful (as to be expected from Level 5). I'd like to also thank this trailer for reminding me I need to play the first one....hopefully I'll do this sometime next year.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

After years and years of people begging for a remake, Square Enix granted many wishes with the announcement of Final Fantasy VII Remake coming to PS4. Although there was a little controversy recently with the announcement that it will be released in episodes, the plus side is that we'll only get to see the game sooner if they release it in small portions. If waiting for the Remake is difficult, they also just ported the original game to PS4.


Which game are you most excited for? Did I miss any important ones? When do you think these games will be released?
Leave a comment below and let's talk!

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Friday 11 December 2015

2015 New Years Resolutions Revisited! Success or Failure?

Generally, people have trouble keeping New Years Resolutions, myself very much included. However I had never tried doing Gaming New Years Resolutions, so last year I wrote a post containing five New Years Resolutions for my gaming life. It's not totally the end of 2015, but it's close enough to know results and to start thinking of a game plan for next year's. Here's a progress report on the progress and failures of last year's gaming resolutions.

1. Platinum Final Fantasy X HD

Result: Not Platinumed

Looking at my gaming habits of last year, this was a pretty ambitious one. With a very full backlog and no guarantee of a working TV after moving my life to a new place, I didn't really have a method for this one. By the time everything was set up, I really just wanted to play games I hadn't experienced before.

However, after a very delayed start, I am playing Final Fantasy X HD again on my Vita and I'm loving it. I bought it in an attempt to consume more Japanese media and to get the platinum and it's been a great solution for when I need a change of pace from any game I'm playing. I've set aside a little time each weekend to work on platinuming games and replaying old favourites, so I'm confident I will platinum it sooner rather than later. I will be sure to report back when I do!

2. Play a native Japanese RPG from start to finish.

Result: Very close to finishing this one. Likely to achieve this before the year ends!

I was super excited and confident in this goal, despite my Japanese level at the time. Once I arrived in Japan, I realised a lot about Japanese - mostly that I didn't know as much as I thought. So along with being overwhelmed with the language being all around me, when I began trying to play Ciel no Surge, the amount of words I didn't know was overwhelming enough for it to only last a month in my Vita.

Instead of totally giving up, I switched my 'game' plan and started playing less story orientated Japanese games, like Hatsune Miku Project Diva and Persona 4 Dancing All Night. Not only was this fun, I got a lot more comfortable with not understanding things, which I think is essential for playing Japanese games when you're starting out.

For my Platinum goal, I needed to play a FFX HD again which was fine. But playing in Japanese would mean I could grind both resolutions and hear the infamous 'hahaha' scene in Japanese. The experience has been really enjoyable thus far (I'm almost at the Calm Lands FYI) and if you're okay with not understanding everything, I definitely recommend trying games in another language. It's a very cool way to experience games again or ones not available in your region and with some patience, you can find ways to get around things you don't understand.

3. Chip away at my backlog

Result: Nailed it!

This is one of the best things I've ever done for my gaming life. It's funny how gaming libraries pile up - we buy games because they seem cool and then get distracted by another 'cooler' game and then have a pile of unplayed cool games. I definitely still have plenty of games in my backlog and probably added many more. But I also have a new found love of the Danganronpa series, an appreciation of Final Fantasy IX and closure for Conception II that I wouldn't trade the time back for.

I recommend doing this to every gamer. Your new favourite series may be waiting for you!

4. Play more PS4 Games

Result: Yes and No.

This was kind of difficult, especially when this goal directly contradicted with getting through my backlog. While PS4 games like Sword Art Online: Lost Song and Tales of Zestiria definitely tickle my fancy, the Australian PSN store prices always kept me away, because I would be like 'I could pay $100 for a new game...or I could play through the great games I already own'. Persona 5 was meant to be my ticket to PS4 heaven, but that got delayed until next year so there weren't many JRPGs to keep me to it. Not only that, but the TV that came with my new place had no HDMI, so I had to save some money to buy a monitor to even play my PS4 at all. Things were looking pretty grim for my PS4 life....until I renewed my PS Plus subscription.

The PS4 Instant Game Collection is kind of a goldmine, especially if you've had it since the PS4 was released. I was pleasantly surprised when I continued my subscription after missing a month or so to see all of my previous games from PS Plus still waiting for me. This allowed me to continue playing games like Resogun that I loved at release. My boyfriend and I also love having random Rocket League matches nowadays and I'm looking forward to diving into Fallout 4 more. Things are definitely looking up in PS4 land right now, so I hope to play more next year (however I probably won't make a resolution about it this time).

Hindsight note: If games you like are on an older console, it's totally okay. I don't feel bad for unplugging my PS4 to play Persona 3 on PS3 anymore, which is the opposite to the resolution but that's okay. I love my PS4. I love my PS3. Other consoles are cool too. I'll play whatever has the coolest games at the time because both are great.

5. Buy a 3DS XL

Result: Technically a failure, but I'm getting it as a gift for Christmas.

I've had many opportunities to buy a 3DS this year. There are many new and pre-owned ones around for decent prices, but I never felt the need to buy it because I have so many games in my PlayStation backlog. But, when my boyfriend asked if I still wanted it for Christmas this year, it was an easy yes. Although it's a terrible decision for my backlog, I really want to play some modern Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch, Persona Q and Phoenix Wright. My love for PlayStation is pretty real, but I'm also excited to branch out into the world of Nintendo.

Looking back on my gaming life this year, I really put a priority on balancing playing new games and getting through my backlog. I didn't play a large amount of games right on release this year but I still had plenty of fun exploring series that were new to me, like Danganronpa (which has become a big new favourite in my collection). I'm excited to try make a gaming plan for the new year again, perhaps with less contradicting goals this time. It was a lot of fun and I think even though I failed a few of these, the small changes made to my gaming life have all been for the better.

Did you make any gaming related New Years Resolutions this year or last year? How did you go?
Leave a comment below and let's talk!

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Friday 4 December 2015

Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita)

When the first game in a series is incredible, it sets very high expectations for the next one. Thankfully, Danganronpa 2 takes all expectations brought from it's predecessor and hits them with the hard-hitting visual novel mystery that it does best, with added new features partnered with the best ones from the first one. Delivering the epic battle between hope and despair back once again with just as many passionate and colourful characters as last time, Danganronpa 2 is definitely special in it's own right and is worthy of being part 2 of Danganronpa's thrilling mystery.

Giving a new layer to the classic 'stranded on an island' dilemma, 16 students of Hope's Peak Academy find themselves trapped on Jabberwock Island alone with a strange magical rabbit. To begin their school trip gone wrong, the rabbit insists that they must travel the island to collect the Hope Fragments and become friends with one another...that is until Danganronpa's original evil bear Monokuma arrives and takes over, turning it into a tropical killing trip where the students are expected to kill one someone without getting caught. If successful, they can 'graduate', have their classmates punished (killed) and leave the island. If unsuccessful, the killer (known as the blackened) is punished and the rest of the class stays on the island.

The story runs over six twist-filled chapters, all compelling enough to have me glued to my PS Vita for about a week straight. The new cast is just as funny and zany as the last, to be expected when the talented cast of characters includes such titles as the Ultimate Team Manager, the Ultimate Yakuza and even the Ultimate Gamer. The characters aren't just amusing though, they're all complex personalities with different backgrounds, therefore reacting in very different ways. Throw in Monokuma and Monomi and you have a cast that perfectly compliments the deep, but cheeky storytelling of the Danganronpa series.

The consistent flow established in the first game continues in Danganronpa 2. Each chapter is divided into two parts, Daily Life and Deadly Life. During Daily Life, the story progresses and you are also given a chance to collect Hope Fragments with your fellow students. Once the story progresses to a climax (when a character has been killed), Deadly Life begins and it's time to Investigate and do a Class Trial to choose who is the blackened. Making friends with characters during Daily Life is encouraged to add more depth to the story, although it can be bittersweet, as you never know if they might be killed by the time it hits Deadly Life.

During the Class Trial, the group discusses at length the murder case in an attempt to weed out the blackened. The protagonist must use his Truth Bullets - facts uncovered during the Investigation - to shoot down or support his classmate's arguments. Supporting character arguments during the Non-Stop Debates hasn't been the only thing added to the Class Trial, in fact for better or worse the whole experience has undergone a revamp, along with some new additions. My favourite new additions were Logic Dive, a cool snowboarding mini-game that utilities ramps as choices when thinking out an argument, and Spot Selection, a simple new feature which presents a photo and you must choose the area being discussed or that is a contradiction.

On the other hand, the revamped Hangman's Gambit seemed much more complicated than it's original form and Rebuttal Showdown was cool, although my Vita sometimes couldn't handle some of the button mashing required of it. Initially when playing, I found the sheer amount of mechanics needed for the Class Trial overwhelming, but the way they are used add for a nice variation during the trial. Another small, but nice addition is that each trial is split into two parts, meaning it's possible to save partway through, which is appreciated when the length of each Class Trial is considered.

Outside of the main story is enough content to put most DLC to shame. There's Island Mode, an item collection cross social/dating game much like the original Danganronpa's School Mode, Magical Miracle Girl Monomi, a mini-battle game where you can fight small island enemies and Monobeasts, a digital novel called Danganronpa IF covering an alternative story line to the first game, unlockable art and movies and even your own Tamagochi like pet to raise during and after the main story is over. I was overjoyed when these features where unlocked at the end of Chapter 6, as the game had not only left me wanting more, but had willingly given me it. There's also a Japanese voiceover option and in-story collectibles that are also an excuse to playthrough the thrilling story a second time, making Danganronpa 2 highly re-playable even after the 40 hour story.

If you loved the first game, Danganronpa 2 does nothing but add to the thrilling story and world from the first game. With many more activities and a gripping story that ties in perfectly to the first one, Dangranronpa 2's mystery kept me coming back for more - and then kept giving me more. If more thrills, chills and kills is what you're looking for in a story, letting yourself become absorbed by Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair's many mysteries is completely worth it.

Score: 9.7/10
A gripping tale and new game mechanics and modes make this game beary, beary good.


Did you play Danganronpa 2? Are you itching for V3 as much as I am?
Leave a comment below and let's talk!

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!