Friday 29 January 2016

Figure Review: Persona 4 the Golden Animation Chie and Yukiko Sega PM Figures (Gekkoukan High/Persona 3 Uniform Edition!)

After weeks of Amazon Japan telling me I'd probably like these, I caved to low prices and proved that email advertising can work by buying these Yukiko and Chie Persona 4 the Golden Animation figures. As a fan of Persona 4 Golden, it's animated series (which I should probably finish reviewing someday) and Persona 3 (which I'm currently playing), these figures were an absolute must at the low cost of under $15 each. They're completely unique thanks to the Gekkoukan High Uniform from Persona 3 that they're sporting and don't feel low quality at all, despite the price.

Yukiko Amagi

Yukiko's shy and feminine pose is appropriate for the lovely Yukiko. I love how her red headband matches the red on the Gekkoukan High Uniform and the black thigh-high socks add a nice, feminine touch. She looks beautiful and even fashionable an in the Gekkoukan High Uniform, possibly more so than her usual Yasogami High one.

Chie Satonaka

In contrast to Yukiko, Chie sports a strong pose and regular white socks, which are much more practical for her Kung-fu moves. I can totally see her busting out Kung-fu moves in this uniform, although the more sophisticated uniform does add a bit of femininity to Chie. She looks strong, but cute, which is perfect for Chie's energetic but caring personality.

Chie and Yukiko's personalities clearly seem to been kept in mind for these figures and you can really see the difference in their looks and poses when they're placed beside each other. Since the two best friends are in the same uniform and have the same shiny black base (which, for the record, really likes to pick up fingerprints!), the figures look best when displayed together.

These two Persona 4 the Golden Animation figures are Prize Figures, which are usually made cheaper than other figures, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality, as I was with my Marie prize figure (also from Sega). Colours look accurate to the Gekkoukan High uniform from Persona 3 and the face details and uniform details are accurate, particularly the girl's eyes. Chie's hair even features a nice ombré-esque colour graduation, which is a good looking detail that looks like the way the sun would hit her hair. I bought both these figures brand new, but I did notice a scratch in paint on one of the black skirt parts on Chie's uniform. It's only small, but the figure was well packed in the box, so I'm guessing this happened before shipping. I stress though, it's very small and can only be seen close up so I have no issue with it. My Yukiko figure sports a perfect paint job with no imperfections.

I was a little surprised and worried when I received my figures to see that the two figures featured slightly different boxes and packaging methods. While both boxes are extremely similar in box design, Chie's box is slightly different to Yukiko's in colour and also it lacks a Sega logo at the front. Inside the boxes, Chie was packed in a plastic packing shell, while Yukiko was wrapped in cardboard and bubble wrap. The reason the difference worried me was that missing logos and colour differences are usually a pretty good sign of something being a fake and I ain't interested in no fake figures! I seem to have nothing to worry about though, as looking on and around Google Images, this seems to be the case for everyone else as well. So if anyone has the same worry, fear not, I think we're okay!

Being cheaper prize figures, Yukiko and Chie feel above their price range and my quality expectations, with only one very minor imperfection found between the two figures. The outfits and poses look well thought out for both characters, with their personalities present in their poses and both are easy to display. If you're a fan of Persona 4, these Gekkoukan High Uniform figures are one of the few outfit alternatives available for Chie and Yukiko, so are a great addition to any Persona 4 figure collection. For fans of both Persona 3 and 4 or Chie and Yukiko, these are a must for the price.

Score: 8/10
Unique and well-priced, these cute Yukiko and Chie figures are a good edition to any Persona 4 figure collection!


Which figure do you like best - Chie or Yukiko? Also, if you have this figure or own other Persona figures, I'd love to see them so show me a photo of your figure collection!
Leave a comment below or send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3

Friday 22 January 2016

The Definition of Too Much Blitzball (A Celestial Weapon/Sigil Rant)

I've said it before, but platinuming my favourite games truly gives me a lot of joy. It's a good excuse to stay in the game world a little longer and if the gameplay is good, it's super fun to be challenged in the smaller parts of the game, such as mini games and collecting things.

I made the decision last year to platinum Final Fantasy X HD as a New Years Resolution. It didn't work out. But it's still a goal of mine, since now that it's on PS Vita, I can finally satisfy past me by getting the ultimate weapons, beating the dark aeons and everything else. When I was a teenager, I'd read walkthroughs and found a whole new world of gameplay inside Final Fantasy X. It had levels of depth that were totally optional and kind of secret if you didn't stray from the story, which I thought was really cool. I wanted to get all the Celestial Weapons and fill the Sphere Grid for each character, but I couldn't find the time or reason to go for it when I needed to study for my final exams (I did however end up writing part of my English essay on the game though in a burst of in-exam inspiration). Now that I'm an adult, I make more time than I probably should for games simply because I can and it's fun. So, now seems like a good time to achieve that goal.

At the time of writing this article, I have found and charged Tidus's Celestial Weapon, mostly without much difficulty. I've nearly got Yuna's too, I just need more items to sell and generally more Gil to get Yojimbo. Since I could just earn Gil during battles, next in line was Wakka's Blitzball filled journey, which I now realise I was not at all prepared for. It's a long process that involves far more Blitzball matches than I expected and I'm still at it.

Before trying to get Wakka's sigil, I liked the occasional Blitzball match. In fact, before I saved my game in what was probably the first half of the story, I used to usually try to get a match in just to build up my team and earn some items. After now having won 55 matches (or more after this goes up) and not finding the sigil yet, my Blitzball love is quickly waning and it's requiring a new level of dedication to that Platinum Trophy.

To gain Wakka's Sigil, it has two show up in League as first prize, then I have to have the most team points at the end of the 10 League matches to win it. As part of the prerequisites for it to show, I've already won all three of Wakka's overdrives and I have no doubt that I've done the right amount of battles for it to pop, it's just waiting and hoping for it to randomly appear after finishing League again. I could reset my Blitzball data; it would re-cycle the prizes and make my life easier. But my Blitzball team is at a high level (Tidus is Level 40+), so the idea of resetting my Blitzball data (separate to my FFX game data) hurts me inside because I'd lose all my hard earned EXP. So, I will just play more and more Blitzball, until it eventually appears in League where I can win it.

It's a long process. A very long process.

Despite this, I still wouldn't say Blitzball is a bad mini game at all. It's crazy underwater fun when in small doses, but I've hit a point where each match is very similar and it makes it feel a little chore-like. It's no secret that Platinum trophies have challenges like this but it's the first one that's truly frustrated me this much. Yet I will keep playing through these matches to test my own dedication to the platinum. If I complete this Platinum Trophy, I'm either crazy or a legend. Probably crazy when you factor in the 200 Lightning Strikes I have to dodge at the Thunder Plains for Lulu though. Oh boy. Wish me luck!

(One thing worth noting is that I've found out that you don't need the character Sigils or Crests technically to get the Platinum Trophy, which means I could also end my Blitzball challenge sooner than expected. However, I feel charging these weapons with their Sigils and Crests will be helpful to defeating enemies like Nemesis and Penance, thanks to the Double and Triple Overdrive abilities, so I consider it related to trophy hunting :) )


Do you like Blitzball? What's the most difficult Platinum Trophy you've ever won?
Leave a comment below or send @JRPGJungle a tweet and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3

Note: This article does contain affiliate links to Play-Asia to help support this site. You can read our Affiliate Link Policy here. Photos in this post are also from Play-Asia.

Friday 15 January 2016

Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (PS Vita)

Hyperdimension Neptunia is always ready to make it's players laugh. It never takes itself too seriously as it parodies the real world video game industry, replacing the big name corporations with beautiful female heroines called CPUs. My first dive into the series was with this Idol spin-off game, Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection. While Producing Perfection is very different from the JRPG gameplay of the main series, the Idol simulation game is full of funny dialogue and it's simple but fun gameplay and light-hearted story provides the perfect amusement level and length for a light game, being able to be completed in just a few hours. It's a great introduction to the series, especially for players like myself who are new to the series. With plenty of comedic moments, the girls of Hyperdimension Neptunia entertain both with their songs and their humour in this fun-filled Idol story.

The standard Hyperdimension Neptunia games are a parody of the video game world that usually involves JRPG mechanics and the girls fighting for their shares (as in stocks) in a 'console war'. The girls, known as CPUs, along with the areas they rule each represent a console. For example CPU Noire rules Lastation and Vert rules Leanbox, both which have names that match very closely to two real life game consoles. In Producing Perfection however, the story premise is twisted to include Idol culture. Set in Hyperdimension Neptunia's appropriately named world called Gameindustri, the four girls unexpectedly lose all of their hard-earned shares thanks to an Idol boom, which means they will lose their power. In order to keep their powers and their areas alive, they decide to combat this by becoming Idols themeselves. They will be helped by you, their Producer, who has been transported to the world of Gameindustri because of your Idol game prowess.

As an amateur producer, you have the opportunity to work with a single heroine on this journey, with each girl's personality offering different personality quirks to your journey to Idol share domination (or something like that). Neptune is very fun and happy, Noire is the sassy tsundere type, Blanc is somewhat balanced mix of extremely calm and violent and Vert is the most mature of the bunch and an avid gamer, who openly boasts to have the biggest breasts in Gameindustri. While all the girls are different, each story takes advantage of their more amusing, flirty and funnier sides to ensure that no matter which girl you pick, you will have fun. I played all the routes last year and in my recent replay I came back to Neptune, as her fun energy is infectious throughout the silly story.

Each in-game day lets you choose a different Idol or CPU related task. There's options to train to improve stats, have a publicity event to increase fans, spend time relaxing to decrease stress, move your Idol operation to another area or put on a concert (the biggest stat increaser). For the most part, you are completely free to choose whatever you want to do, as long as your Idol isn't stressed (if she's 100% stressed, it's game over). Balancing your Idol and Fan level is the main name of the game, but doing different tasks offer different cutscenes to help you get to know your Idol, so each option is kept interesting and entertaining. There isn't a lot of skill needed in every aspect of Producing Perfection, but I didn't mind as I was busy watching my character's funny antics and gaining fans to progress the story at a nice pace. Because the days are so fast, it's easy to advance multiple days in a manner of minutes. I liked the fast pace, especially since the game's subject manner is light. It stops Producing Perfecrion from becoming repetitive, which is probably best .

Lingering throughout the game is the time limit that the girls must complete their Idol quest in. If they don't complete this task within 180 days, they will lose all of their shares to MOB48 (a clear parody name of Japan's massive AKB48 girl group) and consequently their power. Once I spent maybe 10-20 in game days learning what would increase my Idol's stats and fans the fastest, this time limit was never an issue. Days pass by quickly and the game is achievable with 50-100 in-game days, depending on your luck or skill. The first time I played the game two years ago, I completed it in about 90-something days. In my most recent playthrough, it took a mere 51 days and about 4-5 real life hours.

The length of the game is either Producing Perfection's biggest fault or biggest success. You won't find a long term idol-simulation in this game, unless you're a completionist or enough of a fan of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series to unlock all events with all girls. If you're looking for a long game, this isn't it. For myself, Producing Perfection was an appropriate length, as there's not enough serious plot or twists to keep this game amusing for more than a few hours. However more replayablity can be found through playing as each of the girls or unlocking extra events. Because of Producing Perfection's short length, I really like that it allows you to play at a pace and seriousness level of whatever you're feeling like at the time.

Because of Producing Perfection's fast nature, most time is spent fleshing out the story. However there are some faults to be found in Concert Mode's gameplay. Concert mode is where Producing Perfection is the closest it gets to being an Idol game - you put on a stage show and it's time to try and win over the crowd. Choosing a costume and stage setting's for my Idol CPU girl was certainly fun, but the lack of song selection can make Concert mode feel repetitive, especially with only cute dancing (albeit very cute indeed) to hide behind since there's no dialogue. Once the Concert has begun, you have to win over the crowd, using stage effects and camera angles or even getting your CPU to use her more mature (both in personality and also visuals, with a noticeable chest enlargement for almost all character's forms) HDD power-up form. HDD mode almost always guarantees a successful show, stage mechanics can be fun to add, but there seemed to be no system to using the camera properly - it almost seemed like if I just moved it around and switched angles enough, my score would increase. I didn't personally mind the lack of overall challenge in Producing Perfection as I was just enjoying getting to know the CPU's, however for fans of Idol games or the JRPG version of Hyperdimension Neptunia, I can see it being potential bothersome to some players.

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection opens with a message encouraging people to basically 'relax and don't take it too seriously' and it sums up the game well. It's a humourous light Idol simulation game, with the spotlight mostly shining on it's fun dialogues and characters. Although it's day-to-day game life  is fun, it's idol components aren't the most challenging. If you're looking for deeper gameplay, I'd encourage you to look elsewhere (such as the main Hyperdimension Neptunia series), but if you're looking for a fun-filled, quick adventure living in a interesting universe mixed with a little music, Producing Perfection is good fun to fill a weekend or a day or so.

Score: 7.4/10
Not the most challenging game in the universe, but it's full of good quick Idol and Hyperdimension Neptunia fun for on the go or a relaxing afternoon full of cute and amusing characters.


Whose route are you the most interested in - Neptune's, Vert's, Blanc's or Noire's? What did you think of Producing Perfection?
Leave a comment below or send @JRPGJungle a tweet and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3

Note: This article does contain affiliate links to Play-Asia to help support this site. You can read our Affiliate Link Policy here. Photos in this post are also from Play-Asia.

Friday 8 January 2016

First Impressions - Nintendo 3DS LL (Japanese edition)

As I mentioned in my New Years Resolutions posts, I've been wanting a 3DS for a long time and I finally got one for Christmas! At the time of writing, I've only had my 3DS for about a week and I've been playing Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 on it (I chose to play a less involved game because I'm still trying to finish Persona 3 on PS3. I can't do more than one new JRPG at a time!). I already very much enjoy the console, but it is definitely different to my PS Vita, which I've had for almost 3 years now. The beginning of my journey into two screens, 3D and Nintendo games has begun and so far, it's a cool, new experience.

The biggest difference between the 3DS and my other portable devices is the addition of 3D. 3D can either sound totally cool or just gimmicky, depending on the person. Every 3DS owner I know says that they rarely use the feature. I think the 3D functionality is very cool idea for many moments - I can imagine it being very cool in a JRPG dungeon situation, with the depth of field showing my characters and the enemies in their appropriate sides of the battle field. During the first time opening any game, it's cool to look at the opening clip in beautiful 3D and I haven't seen anything like it in my console experience, which makes it even more magical.

However, in some ways, the 3D function be a little distracting sometimes. If I happen to look away from my screen at all, the illusion of the 3D world is briefly broken and my eyes see double for a second. Also, maybe at least for my eyes, it's impossible to play for more than five minutes on the full setting. At the moment I'm using a the setting a little above the halfway point, but anything above that makes me feel like I need glasses. Luckily, the 3D level slider can fix all of these problems, whether it's turning down the 3D or just turning it off (which I've only done a couple of times when I've been particularly tired). I'm sure everyone has their own preferred level of 3D, so as long as I stick to my regular setting, hopefully it'll be okay. I still like the feature overall so far and I'm looking forward to testing it with many more games to see how it's used.

Another unique feature of the 3DS is the two screens, another thing new feature I'm getting used to. Unlike the 3D feature, having two screens has been very easy to adapt to and kind of convenient. In the case of the Hatsune Miku game I've been playing, the top screen is used to display the colour-coded notes and the bottom has where I need to tap, sorted by large coloured circles, making the game much easier than if I was trying to tap the small notes with my finger. In the setup and menus, it was used to keep extra information I may need or as additional space for text. All these things are smaller features, but they make a big difference. In the Hatsune Miku game, the buttons can be kept small which helps show off the fun music video in the background. I'm sure having two screens will create a new dynamic when playing JRPGs with extra commands and menus easily available on the bottom screen.

Battery life on the 3DS has been my only concern so far. While the battery life seems to be similar to my Vita's, when I close the 3DS during a game, it tends to die within a day or so without any use. Maybe it's because I'm used to locking my Vita's screen and coming back within 5 days without much issue, but the 3DS seems to run enough battery while it's sleeping to warrant charging it more than I'd like to. I don't mind turning it off when I'm not using it, but changing from the convenience I'm used to with my Vita's battery has been a noticeable change so far.

On a lighter note, I'm still intrigued by the 3DS's game library. It's experiences are more cartoony fun than what I'm used to, which I welcome, as games like Stella Glow and Persona Q are cute games that also boast deep looking gameplay. Plus, known Nintendo franchises like Pokemon, Yokai Watch and Super Smash Bro are experiences I've been missing, so I'm excited to try these. Playing Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 has been a fun and cute game filled with dancing chibi characters and a new way to play the Hatsune Miku games that I already love.

Speaking of games, you may have noticed in the title that I have the Nintendo 3DS LL, which is the Japanese version of the XL console. I had to make the decision between buying the US, European or Japanese version of the console because of Nintendos region locking and in the end, I decided most of the games I wanted to play were in the Japanese region, because they're JRPGs. I bought my 3DS with the knowledge that I couldn't play English games on the system, but it's worth mentioning for anyone else choosing which 3DS to buy. Also worth noting is even in the menus, there is no way to set the console to English, so if you do purchase the Japanese one, it is 100% in Japanese unlike other consoles where you can change the menu language (note: it is manageable enough to setup if you don't have any Japanese knowledge with dictionaries and translating apps).

The Nintendo 3DS LL is a very different console to what I'm used to, but it's certainly a unique console experience. I'm keen to use the second screen more and I'm hoping the magic of the 3D option doesn't wear off in a few months like it did for many of my friends. Downsides like the quickly draining battery life aren't ideal, but considering the amount of devices that die on me on a daily basis, it's probably just a difference to my PS Vita that I will have to get used to. All in all, I'm excited to continue playing the 3DS's library and hope to have a lot of 3D filled fun with it for years to come.


What do you think of the 3DS? Do you have any 3DS game recommendations?
Leave a comment below or send @JRPGJungle a tweet and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates on content and random, shorter musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3

Note: This article does contain affiliate links to Play-Asia to help support this site. You can read our Affiliate Link Policy here. Photos in this post are also from Play-Asia.

Friday 1 January 2016

Five New Years Resolutions For Gaming - 2016 Edition!

It might sound weird to say, but one of the funnest things I did last year was making and doing New Years Resolutions for my gaming life. Doing them has vastly improved my gaming life for the better - I finally played some classics (I've played Final Fantasy IX and Danganronpa now!), I'm trying a new console and most importantly, I'm playing and discovering more and more great games.

In the spirit of continuing this awesome gaming life, this year I decided to do a new set of gaming resolutions. This year's ones are very different to last year's due to a certain new console in my life, but they're all things I've been wishing I had more time to do, so it's time to make time to play these games. The main theme of my goals this year is trying many series I didn't have access to because of my PlayStation life, while also checking out some older games that I either miss playing or haven't played. The main struggle for these goals will be balancing these new games with all my current favourite series on Playstation. Persona 5 is meant to be coming, along with Danganronpa v3 and Final Fantasy XV. These won't be short games and I'm very excited for them, so they will no doubt be a distraction (along with, you know, my full time job).

You are also invited to make your own Gaming New Years Resolutions!
They can be as big or small as you like and you can list as little or as many as you like, like regular new years resolutions. Here are mine, feel free to leave yours in the comments below or hashtag it on Twitter with #JRPGJGamingResolutions.

To every single person who reads this, have a very Happy New Year! Let's spend the JRPG love again this year! <3

1. Play (and finish) a Pokemon game
Pokemon games were some of my favourite games ever as a child. As an adult, I've never returned to the series properly, although I have thought about it a lot. Emulators never gave me the same satisfaction as using the Gameboy and since having a Gameboy, I haven't owned any other Nintendo consoles. Until now!

Since I now have a 3DS, all the Pokemon titles are at my fingertips. I haven't made the decision if I want to go for one of the new Pokemon games (I was really excited when Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire) or go back to older ones. In any case, I'm pretty keen to try 'catch 'em all' once again. The challenge for this goal will be the sheer length of a Pokemon game, but I'm hoping if the game is fun enough, the time will fly by easily and my Pokemon itch will be satisfied.

2. Branch out to some different series

I tend to play and indulge in a lot of the same series - Final Fantasy, Persona and the new addition to my group of favourites, Danganronpa. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, but there are many RPG series and one-offs I haven't tried because of this.

Nothing in the world will stop me from playing Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV/VII Remake and Danganronpa v3 when they're released, however I'd like to challenge myself to try series such as Atelier, Hyperdimension Neptunia and more of the Gust games that I'm always intrigued by. Again, I only have so much gaming time but I hope to try many more series next year, especially when I tie it in with the next goal.

3. Play some 3DS-only titles
I'm pretty loyal to PlayStation when it comes to gaming. As much as I love Playstation and their games, this means I've missed out on Bravely Default, Phoenix Wright, Final Fantasy Explorers, Fantasy Life, Fire Emblem, Persona Q, Yo-Kai Watch and probably many other games on 3DS. I adore my PS Vita and my PS3 and 4, but I'd like to challenge myself to try these titles and series that I once assumed I'd never play. Bring on the Fire Emblem and Bravely Default next year!

4. Play the Tomba series
Technically not a JRPG, but still a quirky Japanese game. Tomba 2 (in Australia and Europe called Tombi) was one of my childhood favourite games because of it's fun platforming and many challenges to complete, which started my life as a completionist. I tried going back to it a year ago and it was pretty wacky. Maybe even a little too wacky, as I didn't play it for more than a few days. Since then, I've had an unscratched Tomba itch. I'd like to finally play the first one and go back to the second one and see if the crazy pink haired jungle kid game is still for me. Give me closure, Tomba!

5. Play another classic Final Fantasy game
This one's simple - Playing Final Fantasy IX was one of the highlights of my gaming year last year. I'd love to play more than one classic Final Fantasy game this year, but I'm being realistic and saying just one. Probably Final Fantasy VIII. I played up to the second disc of Final Fantasy VIII when I was younger, but the disc I was borrowing glitched out on me and wouldn't let me continue. I remember it being a fun game and getting pretty addicted by disc 2, so this will be a fun one to get back into again.


Tell me your Gaming resolutions!
Leave a comment below or send @JRPGJungle a tweet with #JJGamingResolutions and let's talk!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter for updates about new content and shorter musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3