Friday 31 March 2017

JRPGs I Played in March 2017

Currently my Persona 5 hype is very, very high, probably due to the fact that it's almost April (or because I changed my PS4 theme to the Persona 5 one). Thankfully, there were a lot of JRPGs in March to keep JRPG fans busy, in fact more than I could keep up with. What I did play, I really enjoyed. There was the breath of fresh air that was NieR Automata and its amazing story, my addition to Final Fantasy XV continued thanks to Episode Gladiolus and I got a little further into my own personal side quest of catching up on the Kingdom Hearts series by playing more 1.5 HD on PS3. I might not have played all the new JRPG releases this month, but these very different JRPGs I played in March I am overall quite happy with. Here are all the JRPGs I played a little and a lot of in March, before Persona 5 takes over my entire life.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Episode Gladiolus Review (Final Fantasy XV DLC, PS4/Xbox One)

Spoiler note: Due to the nature of when Episode Gladiolus is set in Final Fantasy XV's story, mild spoilers may follow

Although the core Final Fantasy XV game is Noctis’ story, Gladiolus’ small departure from the group in the main story made his character feel less complete compared to the other guys, until now. Episode Gladiolus finally gives Gladio and Cor the character development they need in the hour long strength testing journey. The Episode surprised me with the evident thought put into making Gladio's combat different to Noctis’ and switching from warps to brute force was a cool new way to tackle XV’s foes. With new story and fun challenges, Episode Gladiolus is a pretty decent experience that rounds out Final Fantasy XV's characters more and will likely be enjoyed most by those like myself who haven't moved on from XV yet.

Gladiolus’ solo journey starts pretty much just after he breaks away from Noctis, Ignis and Prompto and takes place in a brand new dungeon. Gladiolus’ goal is to acquire more power to help him in his role as the King’s Shield by doing the Blademaster Gilgamesh’s challenge. He is accompanied into the special dungeon by Cor and must complete each trial to both prove and improve his strength. The path to the Blademaster is fairly direct, although there's a lot of conversation along the way between the two which fills in the gaps about the history of this quest and shows Gladiolus’ resolve. Gladio is likeable in his Episode, showing both strength and humility at the right times. The character I found the most interesting in Episode Gladiolus however ended up being Cor, a character I previously didn’t care much for at all. I always felt like I never learnt much about Cor in the main story, other than that he'd been through some stuff. The conversations between Gladiolus and Cor tell interesting tales about Cor’s past and while Gladiolus is appropriately the star of this Episode, because I knew Gladiolus so well already from the main Final Fantasy XV story, the rounding out of Cor’s character was appreciated.
While Episode Gladiolus’ story does manage to fill in that gap of when he leaves the party and gives more of Cor’s backstory, it doesn’t do much else. What you see is what you get with Episode Gladiolus and there isn't a lot of surprise outside of what was in trailers or already known about Episode Gladio or the character himself. Before going into Gladio's story, we know he had a struggle, became stronger after fighting a guy and came back and well, that's pretty close to what happens in Episode Gladiolus. There is Gilgamesh as an added point of interest and I did enjoy seeing him challenging Gladiolus’ resolve, but I almost wish they didn't announce him as the big boss because maybe this episode would've had that wow factor that I felt it was missing. I enjoyed the extra backstory added to underdeveloped characters as someone who is still into XV, I just wish it was as surprising as the other character Episodes seem (the extended and emotive Episode Prompto footage at the end of Episode Gladiolus being a good example of this). As much as I enjoyed it, it does make me wonder how appealing it would be for someone considering coming back to XV.
Luckily, Episode Gladiolus is more than just story and what I was genuinely surprised about was how much I enjoyed playing and battling as Gladiolus. Compared to Noctis’ combat style of warping and multi-weapon wielding, Gladio uses punishing blows and an interesting Rage mechanic that raises damage based on the amount of successful shield blocks, all appropriate for the King’s Shield. Blocking was always apart of XV but with Gladio’s Rage multiplier, it felt much more involved. I found myself carefully trying to time my blocks to get my Rage up and unleash fully-charged super attacks with four times the damage stored up thanks to my Shield Blocking. On top of Gladio’s unique base combat style, he has some cool moves such as hitting enemies with pillars and jumping on huge enemies heads to do some cool-looking big attacks. Gladio's more involved combat style is such a refreshing take on Final Fantasy XV's already good action combat and is easily the highlight of my Episode Gladiolus experience.

Episode Gladiolus’ gameplay is also interesting in the way it plays with JRPG mechanics. Instead of leveling, the completion of trials is rewarded with special stronger attacks, which are needed because you don't have the same access to items and shops as you do in the core game. There are also two special challenges in Episode Gladiolus, including the Score Attack mode which allows you to fight the trials for points, and also a special Final Trial mode. These modes are a fun way to play more with Gladio’s fun combat and considering the story of Episode Gladiolus can be completed in an hour or so, the added value from the mini-games is appreciated.
Episode Gladiolus might not go very far beyond what it offers in its trailer, but the added character development and fantastic new take on XV’s battle system were things I really appreciated from it. I left the experience feeling like I understood Cor and Gladiolus a little better and thoroughly enjoyed hitting enemies with pillars and unleashing my inner King’s Shield rage. While Episode Gladiolus’ story didn’t have the wow factor I was hoping for, it’s given me a lot of hope for the next few Episodes and how their own individual combat styles and more mysterious seeming stories will pan out. But for now, Episode Gladiolus is a nice start to the deeper look at Final Fantasy XV’s story and was enjoyable enough for a Final Fantasy XV addict like me.

Score: 8/10
Really didn’t expect to love the combat as much as I do. Having urges to go back and play Score Attack.

Episode Gladiolus is available as paid DLC for Final Fantasy XV on the PSN and the Microsoft Store. It is also included in the Final Fantasy XV season pass.


Will you play Episode Gladiolus? If you have, what did you think of it?
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Monday 27 March 2017

My JRPG Dream Crate!

When Loot Crate put out the idea of creating your own Dream Loot Crate ideas as part of their Dream Crate project, I absolutely had to make a JRPG Crate.  I’ve watched a Loot Crate unboxing video or two on Youtube before, and each crate seems full of fun themed items and geeky gifts, I’ve just never seen a theme that made me subscribe to getting their crates monthly, but if there was a JRPG Crate I'd probably be very tempted to subscribe.

The idea of the Dream Crate is to pick a theme, the items you'd put in it and the franchises you'd include. If the theme is considered a good idea, it may become the theme of a future Loot Crate! I love the idea of coming home one day to a box of wonderful JRPG goodies, so here are five things I’d be more than happy to see in my Dream Crate (and will probably now be trying to purchase because more JRPG merch didn’t hurt anyone).

(Final Fantasy IX)
It wouldn’t be a JRPG Dream Crate without something from Final Fantasy and I thought this Vivi plushie from Square Enix would be perfect. Vivi is a pretty beloved Final Fantasy character for many reasons, such as his iconic black mage aesthetic, his curious personality and his important role in Final Fantasy IX’s story. Not only is Vivi a great character to include, he also makes a super cute plushie that would look great in any JRPG plushie collection (I need to buy him so I can have a Final Fantasy plushie collection).

(Kingdom Hearts)
When I saw that they were making Kingdom Hearts Pop Vinyl, I was pretty surprised as, well, I don’t know of any other JRPG Pop Vinyls that aren’t something major like Pokemon. It’s a pleasant surprise, as the Kingdom Hearts Pop Vinyls are totally cute. For a Kingdom Hearts fan like myself, I think the King Mickey figure is fitting for my Dream Crate, with Mickey wielding the golden keyblade and with the keyblade being so iconic to Kingdom Hearts.
(Persona 4)
I’ve been wanting a Junes shirt for a really long time and I think I would squeal with joy if one arrived on my doorstep with a box of other JRPG goodies! If you've played Persona 4, then you've probably had the Junes song in your head at least once. Since Persona 4 Golden is what brought me hardcore back into JRPGs, I would wear this shirt with all of my Inaba pride. It would be great to wear while playing Persona 5!

(Although it’s sold out at the time of posting, I chose the Sanshee shirt because I like the design. There are some great Persona 4 shirt options at Insert Coin Clothing as well!)

(Hyperdimension Neptunia)
In JRPGs, the fan service aspect is often a polarising aspect of the genre, but I feel like it would be wrong to ignore it, especially when it comes to making a box of JRPG goods. Whether you love or hate it, this Hyperdimension Neptunia pen represents the fan service, colourful and anime aspects of JRPGs in my Dream Crate. Also, I kinda just want a JRPG pen I can use during my day job to get me excited for JRPG time when I get home.

(Fun fact: I was tossing up between this pen or a body pillow at first.)
Since Pokemon is most people's first childhood JRPG if you're the same age as me, I decided I definitely wanted something Pokémon-related in my Dream Crate. Most of my Dream Crate items are for use outside of gaming time, so this Pokemon Card Case is for carrying your JRPGs for during the day JRPG time. I currently use a boring looking clear case for my Vita games, so at the very least I'd prefer to get a nice one with Poke Balls on it for my 3DS!

If you like my Dream Crate or even just the idea of a JRPG Loot Crate, make sure to let Loot Crate know by sharing my article or telling them on social media! I'd love to see a box of JRPG goodies for real! And feel free to leave your own JRPG Dream Crate ideas in the comments.
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on FacebookYoutube or Instagram and let's talk!

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Transparency Note: Loot Crate did reach out to me with the idea for this post, but I promise that all ideas in this article are 100% my own!

Friday 24 March 2017

First Impressions - God Wars: Future Past (Played on PS4, Japanese Demo, Also coming to PS Vita)

I knew nothing about the God Wars series when I jumped into the Japanese demo of God Wars: Future Past. Other than vaguely hearing that it was a JRPG, I was mostly drawn to it from its gorgeous animation style and its old Japan aesthetic. As usual, my limited Japanese kept me from getting any major context from the story, but it seems to be based around Japanese folklore, with a beautiful princess and a journey that had me visiting multiple places in the demo alone. Mixed with a tactical battle system with its own unique twist and pretty visuals, my look at God Wars: Future Past has at the very least made me curious about it.
After comparing what I thought the story was to the press release, turns out I wasn't that far off. Future Past’s demo opens with the Queen of the story’s land of Mizuho sacrificing one of her daughters to calm the spirits that the people of Mizuho had been neglecting. Neglecting the spirits had seen them begin to give natural disasters and this sacrifice was supposed to prevent the spirits from destroying their world. After watching this go down, Future Past switches to the perspective of the Queen’s other daughter Kaguya, who has grown up since being placed in a seal as a backup sacrifice. She's saved by her childhood friend during an attack and they begin their journey together, with the demo taking a look at some of the towns and battle areas that will be found along the way.
One thing I can definitely praise God Wars: Future Past’s demo for is that it doesn't waste much time getting to the action. One of the first tactical battles is fighting to save the princess and that happens fairly early on in the demo. Thankfully, the turn-based tactical battle system will be very familiar to those who have played tactical games before and even with the language barrier, I was able to get the hang of it easily. There are a few things to make Future Past’s battle system unique, such as the Facing mechanic that makes the amount of damage you deal or receive change based on what direction you and the enemy were facing. Reading the website, there's also an interesting sounding Impurity mechanic that makes you more target-able when you attack enemies or heal your party. This mechanic sounds really interesting, although I probably didn't notice it due to the language barrier. Even so, battling was one of the funnest things to do it Future Past’s demo and is one of the most memorable parts of my time with it.
The another part of God Wars: Future Past I really liked were the gorgeous visuals. The beginning moments of Future Past are stunning and detailed anime-style cutscenes, battles look like they were painted and even though outside of cutscenes chibi-style characters are used, it all works together perfectly with the painterly look. The colourful and detailed art style is a true feast for the eyes and really brings the Japanese style world to life.
What I learned about God Wars: Future Past while playing its demo was that it's probably going to be an interesting and pretty way to experience Japanese mythology. The story of gods and sacrifice will likely make it a unique story and I’d definitely love to see more of its beautiful art style. I don't know if I'll be rushing to get it, but God Wars: Future Past’s demo was a decent-sized look at it and I’d recommend giving it a try if Japanese mythology is your thing.

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What do you think of God Wars: Future Past so far? Are you going to play it?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on FacebookYoutube or Instagram and let's talk!

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Friday 17 March 2017

Is Platinuming a Game the Same as 100% Completion?

Remember when people completed games without the motivation of a trophy or an achievement? When I was discovering video games through Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot, young little me really wanted to have every gem, every record and every level for some reason. I don't remember whether it was because my parents wouldn't buy me another game or if I just wanted to, but I have many fond memories of the joy I felt getting that final gem and the hours in between. I started thinking about this after looking at Final Fantasy XV’s trophy list. It's my resolution to platinum at least one JRPG this year and I enjoyed the hell out of XV, so I thought it would be a good candidate considering I'm had around 70% of XV's trophies when I finished it (edit: and I finally got that platinum!). What struck me about XV’s trophies was how easy it looked compared to what could still be done in it. You can get a trophy for maxing out Ignis’ cooking skill, but you can't get one for unlocking all of his recipes. You can get a trophy for completing over 80 quests, but what about for completing all of them? Perhaps this was done to make the trophy more accessible to new players, but as a JRPG player that’s a completionist at heart, the platinum leaves too much leftover.

Final Fantasy XV isn't alone though. I platinumed Persona 4 Golden as my first platinum a few years ago and while in comparison to Final Fantasy XV it's a much tougher platinum, I still have things leftover outside the platinum trophy realm. I don't think I completed it on the hardest difficulty and I didn't get any Personas to level 99. When I platinumed the visual novel Danganronpa, I didn't pass any of the class trials on the hardest difficulty and if I'm being honest, I abused the easy mode to get some trophies. It's with this in mind that while I love trophies, I have to acknowledge that it takes more than a huge boost in my trophy level to fully complete a game to the level I may want. And this raises a question in my mind: am I really fully completing a game by getting the platinum? Judging from what I just said, the answer is probably not.
In spite of this, I still think trophies are great. Trophies are usually what inspire me to start exploring the full completion aspect of a game and are an excellent push in the right direction for the completionist starting out. When I decided I wanted to play more Final Fantasy XV, it was trophies that showed me there were plenty more quests I could do and was the start of my platinum journey. As someone who has been going exclusively for trophies and not thinking about the other aspects of completing a game for a while, I've realised that my definition of completely finishing a game may have changed and evolved into something more like how I completed games in my childhood. I understand that trophies are a great motivator for many people who wouldn't usually fully complete a game and they have given the completionist bug to many players who now like seeing that 100% or getting the trophy before their friends. My completionist journey is becoming a more personal one, but I also tweeted soon after I got my Final Fantasy XV platinum and messaged my brother, so I understand the community benefit of trophies. I would genuinely be sad if the community aspect or fun percentage system in the trophy world went away.
Even though my gaming style is evolving, I'll still keep using trophies as my map when starting my completionist journey and will veer off in certain ways when necessary. Trophies and full completion isn't for everyone, but trophies are certainly a good way to inspire someone to go deeper into the game and my own form of completionism is my way of finding excuses to play more. Both styles of play involve getting the most out of a game and it's great that games can provide so many different gameplay styles for people like me who want to go beyond the core game or for the more casual gamer playing with their friends.

What's your favourite way to complete a game? What's your proudest JRPG platinum?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram and let's talk!

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Friday 10 March 2017

Review: A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV (Reviewed on PS4, also on Xbox One)

Final Fantasy XV loves retro games. The boys of Final Fantasy XV are always playing the retro-style smartphone game King’s Knight and there's also the mini-game Justice Monsters Five in XV. A King's Tale Final Fantasy XV is another nod to this, but adds story into the mix to make the side-scroller a little more than just a side experience. I had fun with the short side-scroller but as a fan of Square Enix’s usual ambitious and cinematic storytelling, A King’s Tale was fun for a free experience but isn't all that memorable in the long run.

A King’s Tale is part visual novel and part side-scroller. It begins with an adorable exchange between King Regis and a young Prince Noctis sharing a lovely father-son bedtime story moment. Noctis requests for his dad to tell him an epic bedtime story about Regis’ own travels and Regis obliges, with the story being told through the side-scrolling adventure (which I like to think is how the retro-game loving Noct imagines the story). The story told is a little old Final Fantasy with its crystal-chasing shenanigans and a little Final Fantasy XV, with an emphasis placed on the value of friendship.
Since it's shown and implied in Kingsglaive and in XV that Regis had his own hardships, the story is proof of the fact that he had a journey similar to Noctis’ one in Final Fantasy XV. He travels with a crew similar in personalities to Noctis’ group, with the exception of standout Cid being way grumpier than the four guys in XV could ever be, in a good way. It was cool to see Regis and his crew summon and fight well-known Final Fantasy foes together, but other than some nice father son moments and terrible dad jokes, it doesn't really add much to the Final Fantasy XV Universe like I was hoping it would. Other Final Fantasy XV side experiences such as Brotherhood and Kingsglaive were so substantial and I was a little bummed A King’s Tale didn’t follow this trend.

The gameplay in A King's Tale however was pretty fun. Side-strollers aren't something I play regularly, but the retro music and hordes of enemies to take on were challenging enough and I was often rewarded by a cool summon animation in the bigger battles. Seeing some of Final Fantasy XV's places in pixel art style was a nice touch and most of the familiar enemies all needed different combos or attack types which kept me on my toes.

One of my favourite and least favourite mechanics in A King’s Tale was the Armiger, a cool multiple weapon super attack that has the ability to attack 4 times if you use your teammates right. This created a good goal towards, as the Armiger breaks its charge if you get hit and to get maximum damage, you must have used all your teammates attacks at least once before using it. It created an interesting dilemma of sometimes prioritising hiding and running from the hordes of enemies until I could use of the teammates instead of defeating the ones before me and I couldn't help but feel a little mad when I was hit and had to start all over. While it might have been frustrating, I think it was frustrating in a fun arcade style way that made me want to keep challenging my way through until I could unleash my best attack and see Regis’ disco battle victory pose as a small victory.
As someone who isn't a huge side-scroller player, my time with A King’s Tale was fun enough. I enjoyed the challenge from the sheer hordes of enemies I faced and the quick peak into Regis’ past, even if it didn't really add much to the Final Fantasy XV universe. It's definitely no replacement for the core Final Fantasy XV game, but A King’s Tale is a fun and different experience for those with a little extra time.

Score: 7.4/10
Don't forget: Regis was hot stuff.

You can download A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV for free on the Playstation Network Store or the Microsoft Store.

What did you think of A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV? Do you prefer retro or new style Final Fantasy games?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram and let's talk!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Make sure to follow the blog here, follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter and Instagram, like JRPG Jungle on Facebook and Subscribe to the mailing list and Youtube Channel for updates on content and random musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3

Monday 6 March 2017

Review: NieR Automata - Route A Experience (Reviewed on PS4, also on PC)

Let's get this out of the way quickly - NieR Automata is much more than just a game. It’s a work of storytelling art told in unique ways and is pretty much a must for those who love highly original story-based games. NieR Automata’s striking narrative is paired with some great action gameplay and a world that encouraged me to explore it with its multi-altitude areas and environments ranging from beautiful to creepy. There is a lot to be intrigued by in the entire experience and it's one that I'm sure will stay with me for a long time.

NieR Automata predominantly follows the story of cool, collected battle unit 2B, one of the many androids made by humans that are tasked with reclaiming Earth from the alien machines that have invaded. She does this with the help of the more emotive scanner unit 9S and their fascinating journey to Earth sees them exploring the way of the machine lifeforms on it while ultimately striving to complete their mission. This exploration of the machines and androids respective homes did a great job at challenging any understanding I had of either, considering I'm pretty sure I didn't meet any humans in Automata yet all the characters (including some NPCs) were complex and relatable in many ways, adding to the already intriguing premise of Automata. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Automata’s story is fascinating and thought-provoking about a lot of very deep subjects.
The story and characters of NieR Automata are heightened a lot by the subtle world-building done both within the story and its world. Whether it's the unsettling words of machines in story battles or a charming NPC talking about their day, it’s easy to get an understanding of the beings in Automata, which adds so much to the story. The fascinating environments show all different interpretations of human ideals and without spoiling too much, Yoko Taro really has made a world in Automata. The worlds range from pretty to creepy to unsettling and are all complemented by one of the best JRPG soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time.
An initial criticism I had of exploring Automata was how often I was getting lost due to not being used to parkouring my way around the world and the map only helps so much. But an NPC explained this was because the map could only be made so much by GPS signals (another example of great world building), so I started to look around the world more and found myself really enjoying jumping across buildings, sometimes falling into holes and finding areas I didn't know about. My favourite area was probably the Amusement Park one shown in the trailer, but there are a bunch of charming and strange places to explore and become immersed in, even if there aren’t as many places to visit as I was expecting. I'm still in awe of the way the story manages to be so much more than what I fell in love with about it in the trailers and it's one of the most interesting Sci-Fi worlds I’ve experienced, whether in games or otherwise.
Some of Automata’s most interesting exploration moments were during its battle moments, with it switching between the usual 3D exploration to side-scrolling to and even top down shooting. Since NieR Automata uses an action-based battle system that's main mechanics range from light or heavy attacks and shooting, the change in exploration style gives the action battles the variation it needs. The enemies in NieR Automata can be pretty challenging, depending what difficulty mode you play with. I'm currently playing on Normal mode in my second playthrough and am quickly finding myself noticing how much the Auto-Chips from easy mode were pretty much fighting battles for me. With difficulties ranging from Easy to Very Hard, there's something for every play style, whether you’re getting through the story or you want an intense challenge.

Conquering difficulty modes isn't the only reason to go back and play Automata again. There are plenty of quests I have left over, weapons to upgrade, androids to chip (you read that correctly) and amusing NPCs I didn't talk to nearly (Nierly?) enough. Also, the fact that ‘end’ of NieR Automata isn't at all the full end with multiple endings to be explored is exciting for someone who craves intricate stories like myself. While I know there's the danger that a lot of players will get to the first ending of NieR Automata and finish the 15-hour campaign feeling like it should've been longer, I can safely say my time with Automata certainly isn't over. I'm itching to go back and see the alternative versions of the beautiful story because it’s just that good.

NieR Automata is a one of a kind Sci-Fi JRPG for story fans. It showed me one of the most thought-provoking worlds I've experienced in games and even though it had a smaller world to explore than I was hoping for, where it lacked in size it truly gave back in quality with the story told through its areas, NPCs and most of all, the fascinating main story. The story of NieR Automata really will be one that stays with me for a while and I’m happy that my first step into the world of NieR was really, really good.

Score: 9/10
I'm ready for Automata to make me cry at least three more times.

You can pick up NieR Automata at Play-Asia!
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Are you going to pick up NieR Automata? Would you recommend the original NieR (I'm interested in trying it now!)?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram and let's talk!

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Friday 3 March 2017

How NieR Automata Went From A 'Maybe' To A Must-Buy For Me

A week can do a lot. A week ago I added all the JRPGs I want to play to a calendar and picked out all the ones I intended to play. I had a small dilemma with March as there were three games I was interested in - Atelier Firis, Kingdom Hearts 1.5/2.5 HD and the main topic of this post: NieR Automata. Initially, I had decided I'd finally give the Atelier series a try since I loved one of Gust’s other games called Ar nosurge. Then NieR Automata came along and put its foot down with a PR push that completely worked on me. Its killer trailer, recent interviews and exclusive videos have showed off some really awesome parts of NieR, moving it from my ‘maybe later’ list into my personal must-have JRPG for March. Here are a few things that have gotten me totally excited for NieR while I do my best to wait for upcoming release.

2B, 9S and the Characters of Automata
2B is a pretty notable character in all of NieR Automata’s trailers. Aside from being the main character of Automata, her cool demeanour and aesthetic are unlike most JRPG characters, especially of the female protagonist variety. But a big part of what made me more curious about 2B were her interactions with 9S. 9S is described as more emotional than the other androids and the recent ‘Glory to Mankind’ trailer, the moment where he reaches out for another character’s hand touched my sappy little heart. Honestly, what's not to love about the premise of a sweet-looking boy that's also an emotional android? I'm really curious to see their characters develop and what 9S and 2B’s relationship will be in the story.
9S and 2B aren't the only cool looking characters in Automata. There are the sinister twin-looking guys and the prototype A2 that look they'll be around to shake the story up however. Whatever they have in store, I hope Automata's character's are as interesting as they seem so far.

The Premise
I don't know about you, but the idea of playing in a machine war set on post-apocalyptic Earth androids was enough to make me at the very least download NieR’s demo. In fact, the idea of an evacuated Earth is part of the reason I bought the original NieR years ago when I was working in an electronic store, but it never quite made it into my console. The combination of the abandoned Earth premise and the interesting android characters coming to save it is something I want to learn more about and is definitely an intriguing concept.

The Music
Another half of the reason I bought the original NieR was because I heard the soundtrack was brilliant. I've written about how much I love music in JRPGs before and the track from NieR Gestalt in Final Fantasy XV was good enough to make me find the repeat button to keep listening to it. The trailer music for NieR Automata has already been really cool and I hope that it's a great soundtrack to run around the pretty looking world with.

The World
Speaking of the world, when watching the PlayStation Underground’s preview of Automata I became really excited about it. I had no idea that Automata was going to be set in a gorgeous open world with plenty of quests to do until that preview and made me all the more keen to play it. Now, I have a Final Fantasy XV addiction that I'm not quite willing to give up yet but I also don't mind at all that NieR Automata could threaten that. I really hope the quests are fun and it's an unique environment to explore with its lack of inhabitation. Judging from the PlayStation Underground footage, it looks pretty freaking cool.

The Trailers
As I wrote about in my TGS 2016 post, NieR Automata’s dynamic trailers are what made me want to sit down and pay attention to what Automata is all about. Whether it be the yelling and flashes of dynamic cutscenes in the TGS trailer or the thought-provoking lines in the recent Glory to Mankind one, NieR’s trailers are all striking thanks to its unique aesthetic and have made me more intrigued every time. I love all of them, but my favourite is probably still the TGS trailer with the heated discussion and flashes of strange footage. It’s a really memorable trailer and NieR Automata has definitely made all of its trailers standout somehow.
If NieR Automata is even half as great as it looks, I'll probably be pretty happy when I play it. So far it’s shown just the right amount of footage to get me excited and I hope there’s a lot more to excite me when it’s finally out. I'll definitely be picking up NieR Automata in March and I hope the next time I talk about NieR, it's about how great it really was.

You can pre-order NieR Automata at Play-Asia! (And FYI - the Japanese version has English!)
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Are you going to pick up NieR Automata? What March JRPGs are you excited for?
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Wednesday 1 March 2017

How To Accept Timed-Quests in Final Fantasy XV

I love the idea of Final Fantasy XV’s timed quests, so naturally I wanted to do the first one as soon as possible. Maybe it's just me, but I was a little surprised when I saw that there was no actual way to accept the quest from the menu and I was left with a slight ‘What now?’ feeling. Turns out the timed quests aren't accepted through the menu, rather by going to them yourself. Considering I wasted 20 minutes of time trying to find the exact point where the quest would start, here is a small guide on how to activate these quests for those who had the same problem.
1. Open the menu and look at the Timed Quests menu
Pretty simple. Make sure you go to the Timed Quests menu, as they don't show up in regular Quests.

2. Find and mark the Timed Quest’s location yourself on the map
It's slightly annoying that there isn't the option to do this automatically, but I digress. When looking in the timed-quests menu, you'll see a blown up version of the map. The area you want to go to is shaded on the map. In this case, our quest is luckily near a landmark (Causcherry Plains in this case), so find that on the map, mark it and get ready to drive there.

3. Go there and confirm your location
Again, pretty simple. You can drive there by using your map point or find a parking spot nearby. Get there however you see fit (You can also listen to the new NieR tracks on the music player while you're at it)!

Once you're there, confirm your spot by comparing the timed-quest map to where you are on the map. Unfortunately you can’t see where you currently are on the timed-quest map, so you will need to jump in and out of there and the actual map to check. For the current Cactuar quest, I was a little off the middle of the big round thing my first time and and the quest wouldn't pop, so get it as perfect as you can.

4. Run into the area in front of you/nearby and the quest should become accepted
Simple in theory, but results may vary depending on how correct you got your map point (as I said, it took me a couple of times). This will vary quest by quest, but with the cactuar quest it meant running into the right part of the forest.

Side note: During a second attempt to do the cactaur quest, an enemy came to attack me while the quest was being accepted and it aborted itself. After I went back to the Regalia and back to the spot, it popped up properly, so you don't need to be too worried if this happens to you.
5. Complete the quest and enjoy!

After stumbling to find the quest, thankfully it was a lot of fun and I plan to do it a few more times to get my characters over level 99 because the current quest gives a sweet amount of experience. I hope Square Enix adds more of these quests soon - so far it looks like the next one is in March. I also would welcome a UI tweak to make starting them a little easier, but for now I'm just happy they're in the game and I have more reasons to play Final Fantasy XV. Happy questing!

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What do you think of Final Fantasy XV's new timed-quests? What level are your characters at?
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Make sure to follow the blog here, follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter and Instagramlike JRPG Jungle on Facebook and Subscribe to the mailing list and Youtube Channel for updates on content and random musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3