Friday 26 February 2016

JRPGs I Played In Winter 2016!

During Winter, appropriate to the indoorsy weather, I played a lot of games. I'm meant to exclusively be playing Persona 3 in order to play it faster, but I got swayed by a lot of cool games. For a start, Final Fantasy Record Keeper got it's hooks in me again, I really wanted to play Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth and I wanted to platinum Final Fantasy X (still going for it!). Persona 3 is long and while it's really good, I wanted to keep trying new stuff. So here's what I played during Winter while I should have been playing just Persona 3. Let me know what you played too!

Persona 3 FES (PS2 Classic)
Status: 50+ hours in and going strong!

I've spent a surprising amount of time grinding and versing bosses, but I'm sure I have a minimum of another 50 more hours in the game because the story is huge! Usually by this point, I know if what I'm playing is a game that's for me and I'm pleased to say that I'm totally enjoying it. The story, albeit a little slow moving, is interesting and the whole concept of the Dark Hour still feels very mysterious. My opinions of the characters keep changing as I play the game, which is keeping my interest. I will say one thing though, although I'm enjoying it, I still haven't gotten completely hooked by the game, which is probably evident in how many games I've played while playing it. I don't want to say too much because I haven't finished the game yet, so I still have hope it'll suck me in like Persona 4 Golden did.

Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (PS Vita)
Status: finished the story, now platinuming

I'm very proud to say that Final Fantasy X is the first game I've completed in Japanese. I know the story really well, so it may not have been as difficult as playing a story that was new to me, but my Japanese reading and listening skills benefited from playing it again and it was really interesting to hear the Japanese voice staff and see the small localisation differences. (I wrote an article about my experience playing the Japanese version if you want to read more about it!)

Now I'm onto focusing on getting the Platinum Trophy for it, which is going to take some time, I know for sure it's going to take probably another 50 hours since I'm 50% in and I haven't done the lightning challenge yet or started cranking the sphere grid yet. But, since it's not my New Years Resolution to Platinum it this time, it's nice to have it as a casual game between JRPGs and it's a fun way to study Japanese.

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (PS Vita)

Status: Finished for the second time, considering platinuming it one day.

I really enjoyed playing Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection again! I needed a break from long RPGs and this Neptunia game delivered yet again as a great light game for the weekend. Since it had been a while since playing it for the first time, the story felt fresh again. I had to relearn how to play again, but after 20 in game days (which is probably equivalent to about half an hour of playing), I was right in, remembered my strategies from my first time playing and was laughing at Neptune's witty humour again. You can read my full review here.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (PS4)

Status: 32 hours in and will probably finish it soon (hoping to review it this week or next week if all goes to plan!)

I'm so pleased to say that a PS4 game finally got it's hooks into me. I've had my PS4 since launch and have been a little disappointed that I had nothing that made me keep the console plugged in for more than a few days. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth both scratches the Digimon game itch I've had (I played Digimon World on PS One a lot as a kid and it was a big favourite of mine) and means I finally have a worthy JRPG I can play on PS4. I intended to only play the game for a week, but I've been so into the monster collecting and case solving that I may as well just finish it this point.

(I kind of want to get all the Digimon too, so I may try to get the platinum trophy for this one too.... :) )

Final Fantasy Record Keeper (iOS)
Status: Playing the Final Fantasy X Jecht Event

I've found a healthy way to play Record Keeper: events only. As I mentioned recently, I got back into the game during the Rikku event and after remembering how much I enjoyed weapon and character collecting, I decided to stay on, but manage my gaming time better. It's good, casual fun at the moment, although I do wish they added something like Conception II's ability to skip battles where you'll win with one hit, as I find a lot of the initial battles are way too easy if your characters are anywhere higher than 20 and while they're quick, the time could be better spent on the later levels. But anyway, I'm having fun after winning Jecht's bandana and plan to win him and maybe Tidus' memory crystal before this week's event is done.

Spring's Game Plan

Despite getting a 3DS LL for Christmas, I've barely touched it other than to check the eShop and for the occasional Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 song. Once I finish Persona 3, I'd like to either jump into Persona Q or Digimon World ReDigitize: Recode on 3DS and keep my PS4 plugged into the TV for awhile. I also currently have Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Girls on my Vita, so that's something I'm interested in completing as well. But the main plan for Spring is to play some 3DS, which should be a lot of fun!

What did you play during Winter? Do you have any gaming plans for Spring?
Leave a comment below or send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle and let's talk!

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Friday 19 February 2016

JRPG Appreciation Post: My 5 Favourite Weird and Awesome Personas from Persona 3 and 4

Persona's world of characters is vast and interesting. There are the main characters who make great friends to social link with and have enjoyable personalities throughout the story and on the battlefield. They also summon their Personas, the monster form that represents their true selves. For a game called Persona, because there are so many of these Personas, they kind of fall into the background unless they're one of the main Personas . Because of this, I didn't appreciate the character designs and stories of these mysterious characters enough for awhile, unless I saw a really cool or strange one, which is a shame as there are some incredibly interesting designs and stories to be found when it comes to Personas. So, in honour of me trying to smash through Persona 3's story and enjoying combining and creating new Persona's, I threw together a list of some weird and wonderfully awesome Personas to give some appreciation to these cool characters that I like to dungeon crawl with. Enjoy!

*POTENTIAL MINOR SPOILER ALERT: If you're trying to avoid seeing the special Persona gained in the True Ending of Persona 4, there is a photo of it in the 'Awesome Personas' section below. No story details are revealed, but I know some people may want to keep it a surprise. Proceed at your own risk!*

My 5 Favourite Weird Personas

The Jack Brothers

I call Jack Frost and Pyro Jack weird, but they're two of my favourite Personas ever. They're not completely weird - they're more so cute than anything else. However, as soon as I played Persona 3 and saw their fusion spell, it was so weird, cheesy and great that the fire and ice duo earned their place in my favourites for sure.


Dionysus is a powerful Moon Arcana Persona that I'm using a lot at the moment while playing Persona 3. Dionysus's design seems mostly pretty cool, with great use of colour and a very Greek mythology kind of feel, which is completely appropriate when looking into the mythology of Dionysus (you can read about it on the Megami Tensei wikia page). What made this Persona weird to me is the random white underwear and matching white shoes and gloves. It's certainly a good contrast from the rest of it's colour body, but just....the underwear, really?

Underwear on Personas tend to confuse me a lot actually, as not all Personas have it. It makes me think about a team of important people sitting in a room deciding which Personas will and won't have underwear and while that sounds like a hilarious job, my brain can't fully comprehend it.


Admittedly, Orobas's name and design is pretty cool and it's a pretty powerful Magician Arcana Persona for wind attacks during earlier Persona 3 dungeons. What gets me with the design is I can't decide if it's more a horse or human. Or is it a centaur? I don't know. It seems like it could be very equal parts of all those things. The Compendium information in Persona 3 says that Orobas is a demon that appears as a human with a horse head, so I guess that answers my question, but nonetheless, it's a very unique and interesting design.


Tomoe is another figure that despite being pretty cool is pretty weird. No one put it better than in the Persona 4 hilarious Hiimdaisy Comic (you can watch the full thing here):

I do like how much it suits Chie though, with her strong body and fighter look. However as soon as I saw the Hiimdaisy comic, Tomoe was ruined for me.


I think the photo says enough for this one. The first time I summoned Belphegor, I giggled a lot. Why is he on a toilet? Why? He's found later in Persona 4 and was quite surprising to me, considering a lot of other Personas are either beautiful, strong or cute. According to his Megami Tensei page, he gives people ideas for selfish and greedy intentions such as becoming rich, so it's suggested by some that he should be worshiped on a toilet, hence his design. I purposely didn't give this list any order, but if I did, Belphegor would take the crown of the weirdest looking Persona for sure.

My 5 Favourite Awesome Personas

Take-Mikazuchi (Kanji's Persona version)

One of my favourite things about Persona 4's Personas is how much they suit their users. Take-Mikazuchi is perfect for Kanji, with his tough and strong exterior suiting the way Kanji deals with most situations in his life by being tough. Interestingly, this design of Take-Mikazuchi is very different from the regular design (which can be seen on this Persona's wikia page), but the story of Take-Mikazuchi being powerful suits Kanji's persona well.


The first form of Izanagi is pretty cool, but the godly World Arcana Izanagi-no-Okami manages to be even cooler. With the word 'Ookami' in meaning 'God' in Japanese, the white and gold appearance of Izanagi is very fitting to give him a look. One of my favourite things is his weapon, which is significant in the end portions of Persona 4. Also, this Persona looks particularly cool at the end of Persona 4 Dancing All Night playing bass, considering the Persona looks a little rock and roll. He's fittingly cool for Inaba's favourite protagonist.

Pale Rider

Pale Rider is supposed to be one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, with his ghostly, skeleton-y appearance representing this well. I really like all the details on Pale Rider - the crown, the bow, the eyeballs on the horse. While the eyeballs are a little odd, the Death Arcana looks very much like a demon and is perfect for his Arcana.
(Also, it can use Survive Light and this is extremely useful in Persona as the Protagonist!)

Konohana Sakuya

As someone who owns two figures of Konohana Sakuya, I'm clearly a fan of the feminine Persona. It's beautiful and graceful, just like her user Yukiko. Her graceful posture, long body and petals (at least, I think they're petals) all make her look incredibly majestic, all while slightly resembling a cheerleader. She's probably my personal favourite design of all because of how graceful she looks and how striking it is in battle when she moves her petals.

The Four Mitamas

A while ago, I watched a very interesting video about the Mitamas of Persona that kind of blew my mind. It was by Game Theorists and you can watch it below, but in short it describes how each of the Mitamas represent a piece of demons personality. Which is way cooler than just thinking they were funny looking coloured teardrops with faces!

As the video says, the red Ara Mitama represents bravery and rage, the yellow Saki Mitama represents happiness and bounty, the grey Kusi Mitama represents wisdom and special magic and the blue Nigi Mitama represents peace and calm. When these are fused into a Persona, depending which one is used, certain stats will go up and abilities will be given. They may not be the coolest thing to look at like the other Personas I listed, but they represent a lot of what I like about the Persona games in general - the deep amount of thought that goes into it. It's something a lot of people wouldn't notice (myself included before that video), but knowing it makes my gameplay experience that little bit richer and it's very interesting to see a part of Shinto religion used like this.

You can pick up the Persona 3 and Persona 4 games and other related Persona goods at now!
(Persona 3 is also available on the Playstation Network as a PS2 Classic for this who don't have a PS2 lying around!)

Who's your favourite weird and/or awesome Persona? And who's your favourite Jack Brother?
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

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Friday 12 February 2016

What I Learned: Finishing A Native Japanese RPG For The First Time

If you've been following the blog for over a year, you'll know I made 'Play a native Japanese RPG from start to finish' one of my New Years Resolutions for 2015. I didn't completely finish any during 2015 despite trying to play a few, such as Ciel no Surge and Omega Quintet. However, as of February 5th 2016, I finished the Japanese edition of Final Fantasy X!

I've played Final Fantasy X in English a bazillion times, so my experience is probably quite different to playing a completely new story in another language. It was still challenging but it was also an interesting and enjoyable experience, thanks to the interesting differences between the import and localised versions. Because I initially found it challenging coming from it with a "I must learn all words and sentences for my Japanese" perspective, my strategy for enjoying and completing this kind of game changed a lot along the way. I hope this can help anyone trying to do the same thing!

Playing a game in a foreign language is only as difficult as you make it!

While difficult gameplay crosses language borders, a language barrier is only a barrier if you let it be. Before I decided to play Final Fantasy X in Japanese, I had tried to play a few games in Japanese, including Ciel no Surge, Persona 4 Dancing All Night and Omega Quintet. I'm a story fiend, so I tended to make them all more difficult for myself because I wanted to understand everything. Dictionaries were used, notes were made and I was overwhelmed at the extra work I had to do while trying to have fun. Learning to play a new game's mechanics is enough for me, especially long games, which is typically what JRPGs are.

I played Final Fantasy X using what I already knew about the game and Japanese, and after awhile it became easier to match regularly seen and used buttons and words to the visuals and dialogue. It took a lot of trial and error at first, but I forced myself to only pull my dictionary out when I was curious about something rather than when I needed it. Eventually you learn 'these symbols will take me to the sphere grid' and 'this part of the menu is usually casts fire'. This made my experience much more about playing and exploring the game than studying or having a foreign language in front of me.

You might learn some really random words anyway, whether you intend to or not.

Repetition is a funny thing and a great tool for learning. After playing Final Fantasy X, I now know that random words like 'shoukan' means summon and 'wairo' means bribe. They're probably words I won't use a lot in daily conversation with Japanese people, but I know them because I've seen and heard them so often. I found it really fun remembering really random Japanese words like this and attack names. It's not only useful for getting through the game, it's kind of fun if you have an interest in languages or playing similar games.

(Side note: and after looking up the kanji/reading for the word summon, I've noticed it in other JRPG trailers which is kind of cool. Thanks FFX!)

If you've played the localised version of the Japanese game you're playing, expect some interesting voices.

I was highly entertained by hearing the voices and mannerisms of some of my favourite characters' Japanese voice counterparts. A big difference I noticed was the high voices of female characters like Rikku and the baritone voices of characters like Auron and Seymour. The English version of the game does it's best to echo this (and voice actors like Tara Strong for Rikku definitely do a great job of it), but hearing what these were based was an experience nonetheless. For Rikku, I felt like I really understood her young age a bit more (she's 15 in Final Fantasy X) and for Wakka, it was almost beautiful not to hear him say 'ya' about everything. It made me appreciate English localisers for the care they usually put into localising things accurately and also gave me a new appreciation for the talented voice actors on the Japanese version too. I definitely still like the voice actors in the English version, but I did find some characters, like Wakka and Seymour, that I preferred as the Japanese voice actors.

You may notice some dialogue differences from the localised version (depending on the game).

I've played Final Fantasy X on PS2 more times than I can count, so my memory of the game's dialogue was my little secret weapon for if I had a point of total confusion. Because of my memory of the English dialogue, it was extremely interesting to see small little dialogue choices in the Japanese version. I don't want to spoil anything, but a certain key dialogue change in a certain goodbye scene (If spoilers aren't an issue, you can read about on the Final Fantasy wikia) was quite surprising to me until I read into it and other little changes like that in scenes made me stop and think for a second about why they chose to change it for the English edition. I can imagine most of it's just nuance and culture differences, but it makes me interested in the little changes that have been made to some of my other favourite series, such as Persona or Danganronpa, that I may not have ever known about otherwise.

It also really made me realise why localisations exist.

Localisations make these Japanese games much easier for us to understand and consume. Although it's definitely possible to play through a Japanese game and still have a relaxing, fun time, it's also much easier and faster to absorb the dialogue and story in your native language and requires less brain work and trial and error. I really enjoyed trying a native Japanese JRPG, but I also realise why there's no harm in waiting for a localisation and for the English voice acting. Reading subs or trying to understand a language you don't know as well your native language does require more patience, so I have a deeper respect for the people who make playing Japanese RPGs much easier for those who don't speak Japanese.


In the end, my experience playing a game in a foreign language was defined by the way I approached it. I didn't understand everything, but I understood enough from context and the Japanese I already knew. If you're studying Japanese, it's a great way to reinforce words and a fun way to learn some weird JRPG specific words. If you're just playing for fun, if you can get past the foreign language, it provides some new entertainment from the wonderful Japanese voice actors, story changes and the universally fun gameplay (if you're playing a good game of course). If you're up for a challenge or you're a patient person, I recommend giving it a try if you're interested!

Whether you're looking for a localised or import game, you can find both at


Have you tried playing an imported game? Do you prefer playing native or localised JRPGs?
Leave a comment below or send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
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Friday 5 February 2016

Six Months Later: Coming Back To Final Fantasy Record Keeper

Last year, I made Final Fantasy Record Keeper my favourite game of the year, simply because I got incredibly addicted to it and a mobile phone game had never had that effect on me. The fact a game I loved playing lived in my pocket at all times was really cool. It was like having a baby Final Fantasy with me at all times and it had enough of it's own deep mechanics to keep me interested for months. It's nostalgic story summaries also pushed me to finally play the classic PS One game Final Fantasy IX, another one of my favourites from last year. I got so into Final Fantasy Record Keeper that I actually banned myself from it, because it was taking time away too much from my real life and I was getting behind on my Japanese study because that's what I usually did on my phone before Record Keeper entered my life and my phone.

I'm back on the Record Keeper bandwagon again, thanks to one of the recent events presenting the opportunity to win one of my favourite Final Fantasy X characters Rikku. What I immediately noticed coming back to Record Keeper was that the interface has been upgraded to be so much simpler but smarter than it was before. There are also a lot of new features, such as Augmentations, Soul Breaks and Shattering Abilities, which make the experience so polished that I'm genuinely impressed at the game's growth while I've been gone. Since all the changes were a bit overwhelmingly different at first, I didn't play it enough to win Rikku in time, but staying in the game has made me see that all these changes have tremendously improved the game's interface and most aspects of playing. If you haven't come back to Final Fantasy Record Keeper for awhile, here's some of what you can enjoy in the game now.

Shattering Abilities and Combining Materials

As a player for a significant amount of time before, a problem I had a lot was having too many weapons or abilities, which mean needing to expand my inventory space often with Mythrils (Record Keeper's alternative currency to real money). The problem also wasn't as simple as just having too much in my inventory, but also having doubles of abilities and weapons too. Doubles of weapons don't serve as such a big issue as they can be combined or used as upgrade materials for weapon upgrades. Double abilities however, especially of lower level abilities, are somewhat useless. They are sellable, but the profit made off them is low. It wasn't a great system, but it wasn't a big issue until I realised how great the new Shattering Abilities mechanic is.

With Shattering Abilities, you can get half the materials that were or would have been used to create the Ability. This is extremely useful, as some five star materials are more difficult to make than others. Not only that, but you can now combine materials to make higher level equipment, making it a little easier to get high level orbs and abilities now. The ability making, inventory and orb collecting situation is at the best place it's ever been and even as a smaller aspect of the game, it's a great change.

Equipment Materials Are Separated From Equipment = More Inventory Space!

Another constant problem with Inventory space was gaining upgrade materials for weapons and armour tended to fill up the inventory very quickly. I'd be doing the daily equipment material dungeons, only to be constantly told my inventory was full. Then I'd have to take a few minutes before entering each dungeon to see what I have doubles of. It was a bit of a chore, unless you have a ridiculous amount of space or were willing to use some Mythrils to get it.

Fear not now though! Upgrade materials seem to count as separate to equipment now. This meant that when I logged in for the first time in ages expecting to be overloaded in my inventory, I had a decent amount of space because my materials weren't there. I've only recently needed to sell or use equipment to enter some dungeons and my inventory fills up much less quickly, a much appreciated change! Also, it's easily to browse when choosing equipment too. It's just better!

Plenty of Rewards, Plenty of Dungeons - Now Well-Organised and Prettier!

So many dungeons have been added to the game and frankly I'm still overwhelmed by the sheer amount I need to tackle. The Realm Menu has added a bar to the bottom where you can tap which dungeon you want, a much more efficient system than just scrolling through. It also lists above each world how many dungeons you've completed and mastered, making it actually possible to keep track of what you need to do without entering each world like you had to before.

Dungeon rewards have also leveled up. You can now win crazy equipment upgrade materials and even some character's Memory Crystals from the Elite Dungeons, along with extra characters being available to win in the Class Dungeons. And this is only in the Realms Section, events are still giving out more and more rare gear as usual.

New and Improved Menus

All of Record Keeper's menus have had a bit of overhaul to be smarter, more efficient and intuitive. Both Event and Realm Dungeons can now be accessed on the same screen. This isn't just any menu though - you can see your pixelated party jump eagerly towards whichever option you choose, which is such a charming addition and makes me grin every time I see it. There's a separate menu for adding and charging party members and what they have equipped, which is so much better than using the old equipment screens that I remember to be separate. Upgrades have their own section to and you can see every kind of possible upgrade on the one screen. I didn't have an issue with the menus previously, but the new ones are perfect to get the player into what they're thinking of doing much faster.

Newcomers Are Well Looked After

Even as a past player, I'm overwhelmed by all of Record Keeper's additions and things to do, let alone gathering equipment, abilities, Gil and leveling my characters for the first time. But Record Keeper knows it's a big, deep game, so it's making Growth Eggs and good equipment available in events regularly and making events cater to both new and old players. There's also mechanics like Roaming Warrior that allow a fellow Record Keeper playing to assist your party with two Soul Break attacks, which I can definitely say has been useful to quickly kill certain bosses and get exp very quickly.

At the moment, on your first Rare Mythril Draw, players can also grab an extra piece of Soul Break Equipment during the One Time Only Beginner's Choice event which is running through September, so I recommend that to anyone who is interested in starting or returning to these.

It's Still Easy To Pay For Free

Yet again, I still haven't spent a single cent on Record Keeper. I probably will to support the game because I like it, but there's still no pressure and no paywall and I respect the upgrades even more because of this. If anything, Mythril is being given out more frequently and with the inventory space fixed up, there's even less reason to pay. Good one, Square and DeNA.

With the free game being fun half a year on, Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a game still worth playing for those without the time for a story game. It's fun gameplay is still great, but now it's menus and upgrade systems are up to an equally great standard and new features and constant new events keep things fresh for a long time. Just don't get addicted like I did. (Or do. It's pretty fun!)

You can read my original First Impressions of Final Fantasy Record Keeper here and you can purchase Final Fantasy Record Keeper for phones on the App Store for iOS or on the Google Play store for Android users.
Are you still playing Record Keeper? Which Final Fantasy characters would be in your dream party?
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