Friday 24 June 2016

An E3 2016 Summary for the JRPG Fan!

E3 2016 was full of a lot of great surprises, conferences and games and a nice, big handful of them were JRPGs! As I mentioned last year, Tokyo Game Show is usually a better show for JRPG fans, but nonetheless E3 usually has a few major JRPGs mixed in, this year being games such as Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5. It took me about a week to catch up with all the news and announcements and that's because there's a lot to be excited about being released, which you can read about in this article.

Friday 17 June 2016

To Play Persona 5 In Japanese or To Wait: That is the Question

If you've read my blog for awhile, you probably know I'm a big fan of the Final Fantasy and Persona series. I've bought, pre-ordered, played old and new games from both series, and most importantly I’ve put hundreds of hours of play time into them. So of course, I'm definitely excited about Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV. Since I can safely say they’re two of my all time favourite JRPG series, I was quite concerned about September being the time where both Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5 were to be released. But with the recent pre-E3 announcement of Persona 5’s English release being in 2017, I can safely say that Final Fantasy XV will be getting the bulk of my gaming time in September this year.

But this leaves me with a new JRPG dilemma. As an overly keen Persona fan that wanted to play Persona 5 as soon as possible, I'd already placed a pre-order on the Japanese version in case something like this happened and to make sure I got the cool, special edition (that you can get for the English version anyway). I really hoped that I could play the English version first as I'd naturally understand it better with English being my native tongue. While I’ve been studying Japanese for about two years, I’ve had enough up and down periods with my studies to definitely only think of myself as somewhere in the beginner territory. I could maybe understand enough of Persona 5 from the visuals, but I wouldn’t understand it as deeply as I’d like to. But I love Persona and I want to play this epic game right now and being patient is difficult for me, so I created this list of the pros and cons of playing Persona 5 both for fun and for my own sanity to decide whether or not I should wait for Persona 5's English release or play it in Japanese in September.

Friday 10 June 2016

Discovering Tactical JRPGs: 5 Tactical JRPGs I'd Like To Try

After finishing Persona 3, I decided to play something different because I was experiencing my first ever case of what I call ‘dungeon fatigue’. Since I’d recently had fun with the tactical iOS game X-Tactics and really wanted to finally play some 3DS games, Fire Emblem Awakening seemed like a logical choice for my next JRPG journey.

Playing Fire Emblem is an incredibly rewarding experience that is the perfect continuation to my journey into tactical RPGs and definitely making me even more excited about them. I’m really enjoying strategising battles in a new way and it’s easy to pick up the systems because they mostly use mechanics such as status effects and elemental damage that are already familiar to the turn-based JRPG player as well. I once ignorantly shrugged off a bunch of interesting looking tactical RPGs as being too difficult or too different to what I was used to, but now I think they a good challenge and change of pace for someone like me who plays mostly turn-based JRPGs. So here’s a list of 5 more tactical JRPGs I’d like to try - you’re welcome to tempt me with more in the comments below!

Final Fantasy Tactics

How have I not played Final Fantasy Tactics? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a bad Final Fantasy a bad JRPG fan for not touching this game yet. I’ve heard plenty of people praise Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions' supposedly brilliant stories and with my new interest in tactical RPGs, it’s probably about time I play them. Looking at the trailer for Final Fantasy Tactics, it looks like everything I already know about Final Fantasy such as chocobos and cool summons but all in a tactical battle format. A part of me wonders why they tried this kind of tactical gameplay considering how much I enjoy Final Fantasy’s usual gameplay, but I’m definitely interested to try a different style of Final Fantasy, especially if it’s meant to offer a great story.

Disgaea 5

Disgaea looks ridiculous and that's exactly why I want to play it. Any game that allows players to reach beyond the usual level 99 to level 9999 is a game that deserves my attention and probably all of my trophy hunting ways (except no, because that would probably take years). My brother is a huge fan of the Disgaea series and tells me of these strange, random jokes about sardines and even during 10 minutes of Disgaea 5, there were enough lines about Seraphina being the Overload of Gorgeous to satisfy the side of me that loves humourous JRPGs.

While I usually like playing stories in order when I can, Disgaea 5 is on PS4 and looks beautifully smooth and is said to have all the best bits from the previous Disgaea games and more. From the trailer alone, there’s plenty of in-your-face music, epic battles and silliness to make me think this tactical RPG will be a fun and original experience.

You can pick up Disgaea 5 from!*

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
When my knowledge of tactical RPGs was super low, I remember watching my boyfriend play Valkyria Chronicles and thinking it looked interesting, yet somehow I wasn’t enticed enough to play it at the time because it also looked more complex than what I was used to. Now that I've been playing more tactical games and that kind of complexity doesn’t scare me, the well-loved JRPG story feels like something I should definitely play. And since Valkyria Chronicles has been remastered for PS4, I can see it's beautiful canvas art style on a current gen console, which seems appropriate for a game with a unique aesthetic.

Fire Emblem Fates
While playing Fire Emblem Awakening, I've gained a bunch of respect for the Fire Emblem series. The interesting medieval story about war between countries, interesting and sometimes surprisingly humourous characters plus the fun tactical combat definitely fits well on the 3DS and is enjoyable to play. Since the next game in the series Fire Emblem Fates came out, it’s been receiving plenty of praise from reviewers and fans alike. What intrigues me most about Fire Emblem Fates is the way it’s divided into three different games, based on which aspect of the story you want to experience. Once I’ve finished Awakening, Fates seems like a great way to dive even further into the series and I'm very interested in trying each aspect of it's story.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
I want to keep playing more 3DS games and tactical RPGs seem to fit well on the console, so playing Devil Survivor seems to make sense considering my enjoyment of Persona (another Shin Megami Tensei spinoff series). Devil Survivor is part decision-based visual novel and tactical RPG, a fusion of genres that sounds right up my alley considering I love seeing the effect of decisions on a story. It seems like a good chance to enjoy the gameplay I like from Persona in a new way while experiencing another interesting story and a good way to go a little further in the Shin Megami Tensei series.


Since so many JRPGs are being released in the later portion of 2016, I don’t know when I’ll get around to actually playing these, but I’m definitely intrigued by tactical RPGs at the moment. I'll always love turn-based JRPGs but having a new way to experience the JRPG stories I love has been really refreshing and has made playing JRPGs even more fun. Tactical JRPGs are great for players who enjoy more strategy based games and I’m glad they’re around as another way to give variety of the JRPG genre and to give players a new way to experience JRPG stories and gameplay.
What's your favourite Tactical JRPG? What was your first?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on the JRPG Jungle Facebook page and let's talk!

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Friday 3 June 2016

JRPG Appreciation Post: Why Handheld Consoles Are Great (And JRPGs That Show Why)

After spending most of the year so far playing console games on home consoles like PS3 and PS4, I was pretty surprised how much it felt like home when I started playing handheld consoles again. The simple convenience of playing through the deep, wide JRPG worlds I love while being able to lock the console and continue exactly where I left off later felt much more right to me than relying on save points, and having extra mechanics like touch screens and second screens was something I really appreciated after being without it for so long. In the spirit of rekindling my love of handheld consoles again, here a few of the reasons I think they're great, along with some of my favourite handheld JRPGs showing why.

Unique Experiences Thanks To Hardware Features and Portability
Modern handheld consoles like the PS Vita and 3DS boast extra features such as touchscreens and motion control, giving the consoles fun extra gameplay mechanics in certain games. It’s thanks to the PS Vita’s touchscreen and motion control features that one of my first and favourite PS Vita experiences, Gravity Rush, was so dynamic. The way Gravity Rush used the PS Vita’s motion control during mini-games to control Kat’s movement was like nothing I’d ever experienced on consoles and yet somehow I was able to play this game on a train. It was a surprisingly unique experience that really helped solidify my love for my Vita early on, because I couldn’t get that experience at home (at least at the time, since Gravity Rush is now on PS4).
Another unique kind of experience I noticed has a solid place on handheld consoles is visual novels. While visual novels aren’t so much known for their mechanics as they are their stories, I always feel like they fit well on portable consoles because of the length and style of the stories, especially ones that are divided into chapters or small sections. The Danganronpa series is another one of my favourite handheld console experiences for the way it was so immersive with it’s crazy, one-of-a-kind story without any intense battling or fighting - the story is enthralling enough to shine on its own. I was so hooked on it that I was almost relieved to be able to take it with me so I could finish each chapter as quickly as possible. Visual novels find their home comfortably on other consoles and PC as well, but I definitely feel the portability of handhelds is great for the experiences they offer.

The Best of Both Worlds
Handheld consoles have their own unique experiences, but there are plenty of console experiences made for or ported to handheld consoles that are just as deep as something you'd expect to play at home. A good example of this is one of the most well-loved handheld games, the quirky and touching dungeon crawler Persona 4 Golden. With plenty of dungeons to be crawled, part time jobs to sign up for, social links to complete, a great story to explore and plenty more, Persona 4 Golden is one of the biggest games I’ve played ever on any console. I love that it’s on a portable console because it allowed me to play it at home and during my commute and I’m sure the 8+ months I played it for probably would’ve been even longer if I only played it at home.

Fans of JRPGs can find plenty more deep JRPG game experiences on Vita, such as Final Fantasy, Atelier, Fire Emblem, Disgaea and of course, plenty more. These games all have in common that they boast many game mechanics, things to do and big stories that could fit just as well on home consoles as they do on handhelds, so being able to play them on the go is a fantastic option.

Old Games Still Look Good
Playing Final Fantasy IX on my Vita is up there in one of my favourite experiences playing portable consoles. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but playing an old game on my TV feels slow and clunky and seeing all the old graphics stretched out doesn’t look great, which doesn't really entice me to keep playing even if the game is good. On a portable console this isn't much of a problem as the smaller, sharper screen makes old PS One games and the like look sharper and much more acceptable, sometimes even making the game look legitimately good. Although a smaller screen can’t fix old school load times, I always appreciate the way that handheld consoles make this aspect of playing an old game feel much smoother.

I almost wish every game was available on handheld consoles. While a lot of things in the world of gaming are moving towards more immersive, crazy experiences such as VR, all I want at the moment is the variety and convenience I get from handhelds. On top of this, Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV's home console releases are creeping up and because I know they’re both gonna be huge games, there’s definitely a piece of me that wishes I could play them on the go so I could play them both as much as possible. I do love home consoles, but I definitely have a special love for handhelds so I hope that they stick around for awhile. Long live handhelds!

You can pick up handhelds like the PS Vita and 3DS and plenty of handheld games at!
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Which handheld console is your favourite? Do you prefer home consoles or handhelds?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on the JRPG Jungle Facebook page and let's talk!

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