Friday 28 December 2018

My 5 Favourite JRPGs of 2018

There was a big variety of JRPGs in 2018. From retro-inspired games set on making old ideas even better, to great modern narratives set in worlds full of futuristic tech, there’s something to satisfy most players when looking at all the releases this year as a whole. I managed to finish a fair few JRPGs from this year and there were a lot of enjoyable ones, but the JRPGs that were my favourite this year were the special gems scattered throughout that brought something unique to the genre. So as we look back on another year of JRPG fun, these are my five favourite JRPGs from this year.

Thursday 27 December 2018

JRPG Jungle The Blog! - Updates/Changes Going Forward

Hi there!

First of all, if you’re reading this, thank you! As a lot of you probably know I’m much more active on YouTube these days and that has a much more vocal audience, so I always wonder how many people come around to my little writing area on the internet. I’m 90% sure my analytics on Blogger are full of weird bots as there’s a huge discrepancy between those stats and Google Analytics, so I pretty much have no idea how many people do or don’t come to the blog at any given time. So if you do visit here, thanks!

Being more active on YouTube is basically what leads me into making this post. For almost two years now, I’ve been crossposting my content both on YouTube and on here, with YouTube as a video version and the written version here. The idea was always that people could consume my content however they wanted - if you forgot your headphones you could come here and if you wanted some gameplay to watch along with what I’m saying you could go to the channel. It was a very simple idea I didn’t think about much, but I noticed things tilting after my first year on YouTube.

I’ve learnt over the past two years that making video content takes time, significantly more than when I was just blogging. I also work full time which takes time too and I’m grateful every week I find the time to do both. But when I’m doing descriptions, thumbnails etc for the video, it then gets to the point where I put what is nowadays my “script” for when I’m recording my videos onto this blog and unfortunately, I’ve found myself rushing and not making things the best they could be on here. Typos slip in, paragraphs aren’t properly spaced, things I’ve made better while improvising when recording don’t make it in, etc. They’re small things, but when you spend so much time on making a video just to put it on here in a rushed form, it feels a bit odd. I could take the time to read over things better and make them the best they could be, but the effort I put into the videos I think is ultimately the better version of my content - I just put more work into it and therefore it turns out better. (and I don't mean my content is great by the way, I just mean better between the two versions!)

Because of that, I’ve made the decision to stop crossposting my content here on the blog in 2019. I was going to ask you guys if there’d be any objections, but I think for myself I want to present my content in its best form and right now I think that is the video version.

IN SAYING THAT - I’m still keeping this blog! I’m about to pay for the domain for another year (which I can only do because of YouTube and I’m grateful for that too) and still have ideas for the blog going forward.

Basically, I want to bring blog exclusive content back whenever I can. It won’t be as regular as videos, but I’ve had a few ideas I think would go better as blog posts, so I’d like to keep this as a more casual and fun place I can post content for fun. Videos end up being a bit of work and feel a little more serious even though I genuinely enjoy making them, so I'd like to use this space much more like a blog and just post what more random JRPG-related things I find interesting or fun, without much pressure.

As for the channel, things will keep going as normal and this may give me a small fraction of time to get ahead on content there. Or it will make no difference, but either way nothing will change there! I have more ideas than I have time right now, but I’m always trying to make more and more as I really enjoy making videos now.

Thank you to anyone who reads this blog, watches my videos or consumes my content in any way. I feel really lucky with every comment and interaction I have with you all, so I hope you’ll stick around in the New Year too. Happy Holidays and thank you always :)


Update 8/2019 - Hey again! I finally had a minute to come back here and sit down and update a little. I was gonna make a whole other post, but I think what I said in this post really still stands and since it's pretty quiet here nowadays, I don't feel the need to make a big fuss on what I'm gonna type now, but I do wanna put it here for anyone who's ever wondering (side note - my analytics for this blog are still bizarre and I still have no idea how many people ever come here and don't know if I ever will. But again, if you do, thank you :3).

I'm basically doing what is called an indefinite hiatus with the blog right. As I wrote above, I think my best content is on YouTube purely because of how much more effort it takes to make video than to make a blog post (for me at least) and all the ideas I initially wanted to do just on the blog I know how to make a videos now and would probably want to do that way so I can put the right amount of effort and quality into them. When I was just writing on here, I would read things three times because I was so nervous about putting my thoughts into the world (and would still miss typos lol) and I wanna keep that same energy going forward and not just throw things on here unfinished like I was when I was crossposting, so I think I wanna leave this blog as it is with work I'm proud of on it in a kind of "archive" of all the work I did on here.

So yeah, I will be keeping this blog up because this blog meant a lot to me and there's my first reviews and what not on here that's kind of fun to look back on sometimes. This is where I grew my writing skills and learned how to structure my thoughts on games and that skill is invaluable now and I feel lucky that even a few people kept up with most posts I made the years I was only on here. I'm eternally grateful to anyone who enjoyed even one post on this blog, shared them etc and the things I learned here and wrote here are still things I'm really happy to keep on here as this'll always be where I started and grew the confidence to be able to go onto YouTube which I'd always wanted to, but was really scared of doing until almost three years ago.

If you ever read anything on here, feel free to leave a comment and say hey as I'm sure I'll check in every now and then, but for now, thank you to anyone reading this and I hope to see you on YouTube!

Friday 21 December 2018

Persona 3 and 5 Dancing - Some Tips For Unlocking Things Efficiently

As much as I love the Persona Dance games, I understand when people find it an odd crossover since Persona is a JRPG series. It seems these dance games sometimes present a new challenge to JRPG fans since the gameplay is not what they’re used to, which is fair enough when you consider how different this rhythm game is to the turn-based JRPG combat the Persona series usually features. When I reviewed the Japanese versions of the Dance games months ago, there were a few comments expressing concern about completing everything and unlocking all of the story content for people that are more Persona fans than rhythm game fans but wanna get the most out of everything. After playing these games a bunch over the last few months, I think the story moments and unlockables are achievable for players of all levels of rhythm game skill at a fairly quick pace as long as you play it smarter rather than harder, so here are some tips to help you experience the narrative of the Persona Dance games as efficiently as possible and unlock a fair few costumes and extras along the way.

Friday 14 December 2018

Review: Persona 4 Dancing All Night (Reviewed on PS4 via the Endless Night bundle, also on PS Vita)

When Persona 4 Dancing All Night was announced back in 2015, I was so excited. That excitement led me to buy it in Japanese right when it came out because I was worried if we’d see a localisation announcement and while I couldn’t understand the story parts much as I was a total beginner at Japanese at the time, I played all of the songs and unlocked everything enough to get the Platinum trophy, despite pretty much not knowing any of its story and just enjoy its dancing fun in the Vita version.

With the recent Endless Night collection including the Persona Dance games for Persona 3, 4 and 5, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know the wonderful remixes of the songs I loved from Persona 4 and the Vita version all over again while finally getting to know its story too and after spending almost 15 hours with it, I’m glad I did. The twist on Persona 4’s world and story with an Idol mystery was a great way to see the charming characters from the original paired with some new favourites, and seeing the high quality visuals on PS4 with snappy load times and sharp visuals in its rhythm game moments made the quality of this Persona Dance game feel not far behind the newer releases. If you’re looking to experience a different mystery with the Investigation Team alongside fun new characters and involved dance mechanics that feel just as good as its more recent editions, Persona 4 Dancing All Night is well worth it for fans of Persona 4 and rhythm games, and with it being such good value in the Endless Night collection on PS4, it’s an experience that Persona fans who like more story mixed in with their rhythm mechanics can enjoy experiencing in its best form yet.

Friday 7 December 2018

JRPGs I Played in November 2018

November was a month of monster hunting JRPGs for me. With the main two releases I was interested in having heavy themes of catching them all in distinct ways, my month of November nostalgically brought me back to this type of JRPG I loved as a kid and the story heavy games I love now with a monster collecting twist, alongside solid turn-based combat systems. While I didn’t play a heap of games in November, but monster collecting games are big so there was still plenty to play, so here are the JRPGs I Played in November.

Friday 30 November 2018

Review: Pokemon Let's Go (Nintendo Switch)

If you like video games, chances are that at some point you’ve played one of the many Pokemon games that exist on older consoles, ranging from the Gameboy to the Nintendo 3DS and now the Nintendo Switch. The newest Pokemon game Pokemon Let’s Go manages to keep the nostalgic feeling of games like Pokemon Yellow by using similar layouts and the original 151 Pokemon, but updates visuals and everything else to make it feel much better on a modern console. With a mix of streamlined Pokemon catching mechanics from Pokemon Go, clever dungeon puzzles, all those trainer battles and a personalized-feeling gaming experience thanks to the choice of a partner Pokemon, Pokemon Let’s Go combines old and new concepts well to make Let’s Go echo the greatness of its source material while being simple enough to make it enjoyable now, and this easy-to-pick experience in my first return to the world of console Pokemon games is one I’m glad that Let’s Go made me come back to.

Friday 23 November 2018

Review: World of Final Fantasy Maxima (Played on Switch, also on Xbox One, and PS4 and PC as DLC)

World of Final Fantasy was and still is a great journey. With its light-hearted monster collecting that evolves into an emotional big story that made me both laugh and cry, its story and gameplay is just as captivating to play years after its initial release. The game is full of many nods to the main Final Fantasy series games with its roster of familiar characters that you can now battle as in the new Maxima edition, on top of its interesting original mechanics like its size and stacking ones that are fun to play with all together, even if the frame rate wasn’t always perfect outside of docked mode. Years later, World of Final Fantasy in its updated Maxima form is still a story worth experiencing for fans of Final Fantasy who don’t mind a light-hearted story and for those who like the idea of exploring its unique, fun take on the Final Fantasy universe that now has even more to offer.

Friday 16 November 2018

First Impressions: Crystar (PS4, Japanese Version)

Crystar’s trailers portray it as an emotional dark fantasy with fluid action gameplay and unique tear-based mechanics and after playing its first chapter, I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Its swift action gameplay makes running through its maze-like fields a satisfying experience and its mix of animation styles and storytelling ways the story explores make the story feel deeper than its already interesting premise. While I only saw the first chapter of Rei’s story, I still feel one thing for sure: Crystar still has the potential to be an interesting dark, story-based JRPG thanks to its gameplay and ideas so far and with good voice acting and visuals that bring everything to life in its first hours, Crystar is still a JRPG I want to see more of.

Friday 9 November 2018

JRPGs I Played in October 2018

Thanks to some great new releases, I really enjoyed my JRPG time in October. I was finally able to try The World Ends With You thanks to its Switch release and in the spirit of enjoying games on the go, I also took the time to continue playing other games I’ve been enjoying such as Torna, the Golden Country and started Dragalia Lost so I can have a portable to play on my smartphone too. So with those, two platinum trophies and some new games I was finally able to try, here are the JRPGs I Played in October.

Friday 2 November 2018

Extended Impressions: Dragalia Lost (Played on iOS, also on Android)

When I first saw Dragalia Lost and the effort Nintendo was putting into advertising it, I thought it looked too good to be a smartphone game. With small areas to run freely in, gorgeous character designs and many different systems to try, it seemed like a high quality smartphone game with depth to rival some console ones and that rings mostly true after playing it. Its main story has lots of good characters that it takes time to develop in both the main story and free side content, and thanks to daily rewards giving free summons, I could level these characters and get new ones without feeling as though I needed to pay. Dragalia Lost is a quality JRPG story for smartphones so far and with its likeable characters, rewarding systems and wealth of content, it’s become my new favourite smartphone game in a while.

Friday 26 October 2018

My 8 Favourite JRPG Music Tracks From 2018 (So Far!)

JRPG music is full of variety. From acid jazz, dance and heavy rock tracks, there’s good music of all kinds to find in a lot of games and 2018 has been no exception. In the games I’ve played this year, I’ve found myself enjoying the electronic tracks of many composers and I’ve also found enjoyment in more traditional orchestral soundtracks that sound amazing with music production quality always increasing. With lots of great JRPGs out so far this year, I can say most of them have had great soundtracks too, so these are some musical highlights from JRPGs I’ve played this year.

Friday 19 October 2018

Review: The World Ends With You -Final Remix- (Nintendo Switch)

With undeniable style in everything it does, The World Ends With You -Final Remix- fits beautifully as a handheld on Switch in its updated form. While its DS trailers make it already look good enough thanks to choice of artstyle, the fresh coat of paint on Switch makes the experience play out smoothly with its comic book-esque visuals that pop off the screen, with its own control schemes that make playing with the Switch’s touchscreen a quick and fun battle experience. If you’re open to playing with different control styles and experiencing a story with colourful style and dialogue on the go, The World Ends With You -Final Remix- is a great game to discover in its Switch version for new players like myself and for those who want to see the additions to its world.

Monday 15 October 2018

What is Crystar? (Premise, Gameplay and More!)

With tears, death and limbo as themes in its trailers and premise, Crystar’s pretty but dark aesthetic and story themes have had me intrigued since months ago when I saw its trailer on YouTube. Since that day, Crystar has received plenty of coverage in Japanese magazines such as Famitsu, more trailers and its publisher FuRyu’s continued promotional support for it has kept me in and wondering if the title will be worth the hype. Although nothing has been said about it coming west yet, with interesting mechanics that incorporate its crying theme well, action gameplay and a story full of an intriguing use of sadness, after looking more into Crystar, I still really want to try the unique mechanics in its pretty, dark world.

Friday 12 October 2018

JRPGs I Played in September 2018

When thinking about my JRPG time before and after September ended, one thing was always for sure: I was going to play Dragon Quest XI. And thankfully I did, with a majority of my playtime for September being dedicated to it, although I did find a little time to try a couple of other things, such as the DLC for the ever addictive Xenoblade Chronicles 2. While it’s a shorter JRPGs I Played addition, September wasn’t lacking in gameplay time since I found myself taking time to appreciate detail in the well thought-out world’s I played through that really made me love everything I played. So in a true month of quality over quantity in my JRPG time, here are the JRPGs I Played in September.

Friday 5 October 2018

Review: Torna, the Golden Country - Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo Switch, DLC/Standalone)

Whether you want to think of it as DLC or as a standalone game, Torna, the Golden Country captures some of the best parts of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in a small, but still content packed form. Its prequel story to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 serves well as both as something that gives more insight into the world and history of it, but also as its own complete story, featuring its own new characters alongside ones that had development that helps me properly understand them as characters. Beyond that, Torna, the Golden Country also boasts the great quests and blade development systems that made the original game so addictive and the way some of these quests tie into the story and character development made doing them feel very rewarding and the world richer for it. As an expansion on an already great world, Torna, the Golden Country feels like more than just DLC with its 20 hour story campaign and with plenty left to do after, it’s a perfect addition to enrich Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s world while standing more than well enough on its own.

Friday 28 September 2018

Review: Dragon Quest XI (Played on PS4, also on PC)

Dragon Quest XI has a lot of what makes a JRPG a great one. It has a big story journey with captivating moments of accomplishment and struggle, a refined battle system that takes the best part of classic JRPG ones, great character designs in both art style and personality, and a meaty playtime that can easily go beyond 100 hours if allowed to. All of these things are placed in an unfolding world full of plenty of things to find and discover in its journey that create a big difference between everything you can do at the start and end it, and with noticeable story arcs reflected in the world mixed with the humour and charm the series is known for, it really did feel like I’d been on an epic quest by the end of it. As my first step into the Dragon Quest series, I’m pleased to say I was charmed by its story and characters as I had hoped to be and I was also pleasantly surprised how its unfolding mechanics and story made each hour in its world feel meaningful and fun with how well it showed off its polished traditional JRPG mechanics in a modern JRPG world.

Friday 21 September 2018

The Interesting Subtle Details of Dragon Quest XI (Erik is Left-Handed?!)

On a Monday morning, I was playing Dragon Quest XI and scrolling through Erik’s weapons to switch from Boomerang to Sword when something finally dawned on me after 26 hours of playing. You see, usually when I do this weapon switch with a character like Sylvando it also involves putting a shield back after using a two handed weapon, so I’m in the habit of checking the other non-dominant hand is equipped with what it needs to be regardless of what kind of weapon I’m switching. For Erik, this usually involves me being told I don’t have anything to put in his right hand even though I have a few spare shields, which made me realise something. His character holds his dagger on the left and he can’t hold the shields that the other right handed characters can hold in their left. It was then I had the realisation that the Dragon Quest team probably make a conscious decision to impact gameplay with Erik because he is left-handed, a tidbit I found pretty amusing.

Friday 14 September 2018

The Crazy Concepts of Zanki Zero

If you’re like me and have played the killing game visual novel that is Danganronpa, you could be forgiven for expecting the same kind of death-filled thriller from Zanki Zero. While Zanki Zero does carries similar ideas in its own way, it also brings in its own set of outlandish ideas that set itself apart from the Danganronpa team’s previous work as a unique game of its own. In a post-apocalyptic world that touches on immortality and cloning tied together with characters representing the seven deadly sins and a new duo of quirky mascots, the concepts introduced in its Japanese demo got me very excited for when it comes out thanks to how it took the concepts I loved from Danganronpa and turned them upside-down to make what looks like a new story like nothing I’ve played before.

Friday 7 September 2018

JRPGs I Played in August 2018

As expected, August was a pretty free month for JRPGs. I didn’t pick up any new releases, although I did manage to find the time to try newer experiences in demo form and left each one feeling fairly positive. I also kept true on my promise of playing Persona 2, found a new IP I’m super excited to learn more about and rearranged my gaming time a little to help me enjoy JRPGs even more and as much as possible going forward. While August wasn’t full of releases, I had no shortage of things to play in my JRPG time, so here are all the JRPGs I played in August.

Friday 31 August 2018

Six Dragon Quest Games I Want To Try

Somehow, I’ve been writing and talking about JRPGs on the internet for a few years and I’ve still never played a Dragon Quest game. This might be because one of the first JRPGs I fell in love with in high school was Final Fantasy X since Final Fantasy is much more popular in Australia and since Final Fantasy X is a more of a modern-looking RPG, it definitely influenced the kind of aesthetics I like in JRPGs. Despite being a big fan of what some consider to be its rival series, Dragon Quest seemed interesting the first time I heard of it. Akira Toriyama’s art looks great in it which makes its aesthetic more appealing, it's got a cute slime mascot, turn-based battles and I’ve always wondered how its fantasy stories and worlds compare to others in the genre. With the English release of Dragon Quest XI coming up soon, I’m strongly reminded again that I still haven’t touched this series, so here’s a list of games in the series I want to try to help me get into this classic JRPG series.

Friday 24 August 2018

First Impressions: Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Played on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, also coming to Xbox One and PC, Demo)

While stories about war aren’t typically something I enjoy, Valkyria Chronicles 4’s complex tactical battles and characters may have found a way to make this one interesting for me. As someone new to the Valkyria Chronicles series, I was pleased to see its tactical battle system that combines turn-based and action gameplay well felt as smooth to play as it looked in trailers and combined the two styles well, along with its artstyle and many deep mechanics making the experience stand out from other tactical experiences. Topped off with a narrative that keeps things feeling light-hearted enough in a story with a serious premise, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a great tactical experience so far and left me much more keen to try its full game next month as a new player of the series.

Friday 17 August 2018

First Impressions: Yakuza Kiwami 2 (Demo, PS4)

If you’re like me and enjoyed the outrageous combat, outlandish villains and wide-range of mini games available in Yakuza games like the recent Yakuza 6, Yakuza Kiwami 2’s version of these things in its demo makes it look like an intriguing experience. With a new city to explore, Kiwami 2 features a lot of what’s made more recent games in the series feel good mechanically, along with a stylish visual flare that make it easy to forget that Yakuza 2 was originally a PS2 game. With a few new mechanics that save it from feeling too similar to the last Yakuza game and a wealth of new activities in this demo alone that keep the charm of the Yakuza series while adding plenty of new things to play with, Yakuza Kiwami 2 seems to be a satisfying new take on an older game in its series that is easy to pick up for those who’ve played the newer games in the series.

Friday 10 August 2018

Review: Octopath Traveler (Nintendo Switch)

In a world of modern graphics and one track story paths, Octopath Traveler is unique. With its premise of telling eight different stories in one world, Octopath Traveler gives you the opportunity to choose the order and flow of how you want to play through its interesting seperate stories, with the choice of playing as many as you want at a time offering a custom gameplay experience. While having to level up your characters each time you want to try a new one from its eight can make the experience run a little long, it makes each experience feel like a journey of its own in this world harboring its own lore that leaves a connecting thread to each story if you play them all, but also has each one stand well enough on its own. All of its unique storytelling partnered with a great battle system that makes finding and exploiting weaknesses a rewarding process and its class actions that make each character useful in different ways make Octopath Traveler a satisfying JRPG with no shortage of things to do and a great world to play in.

Friday 3 August 2018

JRPGs I Played in July 2018

With eight story paths to follow and a mid-month release, my July went exactly how I expected it to and was full of a lot of Octopath Traveler and time with my Switch. I began the month on the tail end of Ys VIII and immediately jumped over to Octopath Traveler, so my PS4 hasn’t seen that much love this month but I’ve enjoying playing the Switch both on my TV and with me on the go and the extra time I’ve been able to get into my games. The only other games I played were a few smartphone JRPGs for times like being at work where it would be inappropriate to pull out my Switch and for some special collaborations, but I only put a small bit of time into these because I was into already big games on the go and didn’t feel the need to play much else. So in what was a month full of portable goodness, here are the JRPGs I Played in July.

Friday 27 July 2018

The Unique Storytelling and Game Flow of Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler definitely reflects its name. With eight characters and their stories available to play through, I was expecting to dive into my chosen character Primrose’s story alone when I began my Octopath journey and was surprised when I noticed all the adventures available on the map, ready to be explored at my leisure. These eight paths are just the beginning of Octopath Traveler’s ability to create freedom in each players Octopath journey, with freedom of party members, secondary jobs, story paths and more making each player traveling through the world of Orsterra have their own unique journey that may be deeper or more challenging than others. In a world that truly makes you feel like you have many paths to take, Octopath Traveler’s ability to create your own story and game flow make it a unique JRPG that combines the linearity of its individual stories and the freedom of its big world to make each playthrough a true, one-of-a-kind experience.

Friday 20 July 2018

Review: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, also on PS4, PS Vita and PC)

With the promise of being a big adventure on a deserted island, Ys VIII certainly delivers. Making one island somehow feel like a large world of its own, Ys VIII encouraged me to explore the many inches of its island thanks to its story and its great mechanics that help with exploring that slowly revealed more of this island as I played. But there’s more than just exploring an island to Ys VIII, with the adventurous spirit of its protagonist and the mysterious island making the story bigger than its initial premise and its well-paced reveal made this adventure intriguing throughout its six chapters, with more things to dive into post-game. In this rich island world, Ys VIII captures the spirit of adventure well, and its mysterious world with plenty to see and explore with its smooth gameplay makes it a fantastic fit on Nintendo Switch.

Friday 13 July 2018

My Top 5 PS Vita JRPGs

I’ve always been a fan of portable consoles and for a long time, the PS Vita was my favourite. As I transitioned into work life, the PS Vita was what helped me keep my gaming time in tact and introduced me to some of my all-time favourite immersive JRPG series during small moments of free time in my day and for that, it holds a special place in my portable console collection. Unfortunately, the world of PS Vita has grown quiet as of late, particularly in the west with Sony’s announcement a few months ago of the end of physical Vita cartridge production, along with the innovative Nintendo Switch providing current-gen console game quality on the go and eliminating the need for Cross-Buy as a portable and home console hybrid. But that doesn’t mean the PS Vita isn’t still a useful console with its library of amazing JRPGs new and old and its ability to play PS One Classics and PSP games meaning there is still a big library of great games for portable gamers looking to experience classic games and Vita exclusives. So as a look back at the portable console that got me more into the JRPG genre, here are my five favourite PS Vita JRPGs.

Friday 6 July 2018

JRPGs I Played in June 2018

During June, I had a good amount of time before Ys VIII came out since it was a quieter month, so I decided to make up for lost time and catch up on all the great demos that had come out during E3, making it a surprisingly busy month for my gaming time. It was probably also made even more busy since I also continued with a bunch of my favourite experiences, including jumping into the Persona 3 side of the Persona dance spin-off games that I love, trying some Atelier DLC and getting back to Persona 2. This is before I took a much needed dive into a full, proper JRPG in the form of Ys VIII after having played a lot of spin-offs and small experiences and I enjoyed taking a dive into a new, big JRPG world. So with a mix of new, old, long and short experiences, here are the JRPGs I Played in June.

Friday 29 June 2018

Review: Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight (Reviewed on PS4, also on PS Vita, Japanese version)

Choosing between Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight or Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight is mostly a matter of preference. Where Persona 5 brings the acid jazz, Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight brings more of a funk, hip hop flair in terms of soundtrack, which is reflected in the tracks featured from the original game and also in the remixes based off its tracks. Dancing in Moonlight features the same polished rhythm game experience that Dancing in Starlight does, but with a Persona 3 makeover and its characters. Setting it apart is that Moonlight features the most high quality 3D models we’ve seen of Persona 3’s characters in years, so playing this game and seeing the updated versions of these characters felt special as someone who has played the original Persona 3 game as a PS2 classic. Whether you’re here for the dancing or here for more Persona 3, Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight delivers the polished rhythm game and visual experience that fans of Persona’s Dancing games expect while being a great visual tribute to Persona 3 and its great characters in this rhythm game experience.

Friday 22 June 2018

E3 2018: My Favourite JRPG Trailers and Announcements

E3 2018 was pretty good this year, even if I wouldn’t call it my favourite E3. I don’t mind too much since TGS is always the better conference for news of new JRPGs, but regardless we did get a few interesting ones at E3. As someone who usually finishes E3’s conferences most excited for what Sony is bringing, I found Nintendo’s conference more interesting as a JRPG fan, although all of the conferences had at least a little bit of news about what’s coming to the genre in the next year. As with all E3’s there were a few surprises big and small for JRPG and video game fans in general, so these are the JRPG trailers and announcements that got me the most excited at E3 2018.

Friday 15 June 2018

Review: Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (Reviewed on PS4, Japanese version, also on PS Vita)

With its great acid jazz soundtrack, it’s no wonder Persona 5 works so well as a rhythm game. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight features the already great involved rhythm game mechanics from its predecessor in a familiar form with an updated UI alongside the characters of Persona 5 showing their personalities in dances. While it’s new event-based story mode sets it apart from the last Persona Dance game, there are many events to unlock, on top of costumes, fun challenges and ways to shake up both its core gameplay and its social aspects to keep Persona fans busy. If you like rhythm games and Persona 5’s characters and music as much as I do, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is worth a look for story and rhythm game fans alike.

Friday 8 June 2018

JRPGs I Played in May 2018

As much I enjoyed playing video games in May, my gaming time in May mostly didn’t go how I expected it to. I started my month playing two portable Persona games as I’d planned to, although not as much as I wanted to. Then I played Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time and was much more mixed about it than I expected to be. Thankfully at the end of the month though, I had two games that caught my attention in the right way and put me in good JRPG spirits going into June. So although I only played a few games this month compared to other months again, here are the JRPGs I played in May.

Friday 1 June 2018

Review: Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time (Reviewed on PS4, also on PC)

Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time’s demo showed me some great things that were the reason I decided to pick it up. It introduced me to the series charming characters, a side-scrolling dungeon crawler that combined JRPG elements into something of its own and a fairly interesting story premise. In its full game however, the unique, quirky JRPG I expected Chamber of Time to be felt different, with its excessively repetitive boss battles making the experience drag on longer than it needed on top of dungeons that feature great ideas and potential that are never fully realised. While it has charming characters and enjoyable story moments that have made me interested in Little Witch Academia’s anime, Chamber of Time’s repetitive design unfortunately didn’t keep me under its spell for very long.

Friday 25 May 2018

7 Smartphone JRPGs I Wish I Had More Time to Play

There was a time when smartphone JRPGs meant something to me. Whether it was being able to have a free, immersive experience with me on the go or having something to play when I didn’t bring my portable consoles out as much, smartphone games were a part of my life in lunch breaks and train trips and I was pretty addicted to certain ones like Final Fantasy Record Keeper. As much as I enjoyed these experiences, I fell out of them sometime last year when I became overwhelmed with the amount there were to play and started bringing consoles like my Vita and Switch out with me more in preference of bigger experiences with a concrete beginning and end, despite still enjoying them from time to time. I’ve still kept smartphone games on my phone though, as they’re still enjoyable for their collection systems, bite-sized stories and gameplay tributes to console games I love just in pocket form, so here are some smartphone games I used to play that as I play more big experiences I sometimes wish I could go back to.

Friday 18 May 2018

Review: Persona O.A.'s Gameplay (iOS/Android, Japanese)

When Persona O.A. was initially released as a part news and game app, its news features were all in tact and its gameplay ones were mostly missing. Fast forward to now and its gameplay features are all in, with dungeons to crawl, its first dungeon event and Persona 5’s wonderful characters available to spend time with in brand new story events. As a game, Persona O.A. condenses the Persona 5 experience into one that is very quick and easy to open up if you have a spare minute on the go, albeit sacrificing some of its console game immersion in the process. But if you prefer to have smartphone games that are easy to manage like I do, Persona O.A.’s condensed version of Persona 5’s relationship building and monster collecting may be worth your time if you can get past the language barrier.

Friday 11 May 2018

JRPGs I Played in April 2018

April was a very focused month of JRPG playing for me. I managed to beat two decent-sized JRPGs in series that are new to me largely thanks to not straying much from them, which makes for a somewhat shorter video but means I completed two JRPGs, which is pretty satisfying. I did fit in a couple of extra things though, with my addiction to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 needing to be catered to and my daily Persona O.A. sessions exploring its recently added gameplay keeping my Persona 5 urges at bay. So although it’s not as many games as usual, here are all the JRPGs I played and got really into in April.

Friday 4 May 2018

Review: Yakuza 6 (PS4)

I never thought I’d be playing a game called Yakuza for the story, but Yakuza 6’s well-written story and characters made this experience a stand-out in JRPG stories this year so far. With an activity-filled open world and satisfying action combat with familiar stat-building systems, these things ended up being the cherry on top of a story that kept me coming back for more with its deep and emotional look into its tough characters that always had multiple sides. I thought this experience would just be a bunch of fights and open world exploring before I played it, so I’m pleasantly surprised that it ended up having a deep story that hooked me in from start to finish and with many of its side activities and stories still left behind, I’m glad its great demo convinced me to try this deep and interesting world.

Friday 27 April 2018

How Yakuza 6’s First Hours Pleasantly Surprised Me

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the JRPG genre, the Yakuza series isn’t one of the first that comes to mind. Before that are usually the many fantasy games with deep stories, combat and worlds that the genre is widely known for, such as Final Fantasy and Persona, so if you haven’t tried the Yakuza games, you may be surprised to hear that Yakuza shares more in common with them than you think. When I downloaded Yakuza 6’s demo and played its first few hours, I expected to be running around in an open world, running into fights along the way in a plot with a rough tone but what I didn’t expect was a moving emotional story that can rival some of the big current JRPG stories well. Combined with JRPG systems and a big world, Yakuza 6 is a JRPG that appealed to me way more than I would have expected and has completely drawn me in with its well-written introduction to its story.

Friday 20 April 2018

Review: Atelier Lydie and Suelle: the Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings (Reviewed on PS4, also on Switch and PC)

As a Slice-of-Life JRPG, Atelier Lydie and Suelle brings something different to the JRPG genre. It focuses on collection and synthesis as its main mechanics, partnered with a light-hearted story that managed to turn what could be a sad story about two girls without a mother into one with plenty of humour and lively characters that make it standout from other JRPGs. Although its pacing felt a little slow at times, Atelier Lydie and Suelle’s deep synthesis systems and fun story made it an experience that was pleasant to play and with lots of side events still waiting for me, there’s plenty to do in this fun, collection-based JRPG.

Friday 13 April 2018

4 Reasons Why Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Is So Addictive

As someone who started out Xenoblade Chronicles 2 completely new to the Xeno franchise, I had no idea I’d get so hooked by it. I usually dive deep into games with social elements like Persona 5 and Blue Reflection, both being games that I’ve actively decided I want to put the time into platinuming and thus expected myself to be playing in my spare time. Instead, I’ve found myself every time I’ve had free time wanting to pick up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to chip away at something, whether it be quests or filling affinity charts, and wanting to dive more and more into its world. I definitely enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a fair bit but I didn’t expect to be as into it as I am, so with this thought in mind, here are some reasons why I think Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has kept me hooked on it months after its release (and why you might still be too).

Friday 6 April 2018

JRPGs I Played in March 2018

In the period between finishing my main February JRPG and starting my March one, there was a big period of free time between JRPGs for me. This isn’t to say March was a quiet month for JRPGs, especially since the highly anticipated Ni no Kuni II that I wish I played came out, but I had my heart set on playing Atelier Lydie and Suelle that was due out towards the end of month. As I waited for Lydie and Suelle, I played catch up with many demos and experiences involving game series I love like Persona O.A., while being pleasantly surprised by series I tried for the first time like Yakuza 6. Whether it was the deep story of Yakuza 6 or the cute, slice-of-life adventures of Atelier Lydie and Suelle, there was a lot of variety in what I played, so here are all the JRPGs I played in March.

Friday 30 March 2018

5 Anime Series I Like and the JRPGs They Led Me To

When I was a kid, before there were JRPGs in my life, there was anime. And while JRPGs eventually became the thing I loved more, I loved anime for similar reasons when I was most into it. Its inspirational characters, gorgeous animation and stories I couldn’t find anywhere else kept me coming back to it at different times in my life, whether it be for the childhood inspiration magical girl anime provided or the darker side of the genre I found as an adult. As much as my relationship with anime has changed, I’m sure it led me on the path to JRPGs in different ways, from making me drawn to its visual style in games or introducing me to story styles that are some of my favourites regardless of the medium. Anime might be a smaller part of my life now, but these are five of the anime series I enjoyed watching that I can link a few of my JRPG choices to at different points in time.

Friday 23 March 2018

Persona O.A. - What is it? (Persona’s New Smartphone App! iOS, Android - Japanese)

For a big video game franchise, Persona has had barely any presence in mobile gaming world in terms of official apps or smartphone games. Because of this, I was surprised to hear that Persona was getting its own smartphone app and mini-game called Persona O.A. featuring new dialogue with everyone’s favourite Persona 5 characters and gameplay elements from Persona 5. Persona O.A. is out now in Japan in an initial form but it’s supposed to get updated with the gameplay features sometime in the future, so I thought I’d talk about what Persona O.A. is now and what it’s supposed to be in its Japanese version with the hope that one day it will be released in the West as well.

Friday 16 March 2018

First Impressions: Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings (PS4/Switch, also on PC)

I’d always been interested in the Atelier series for its pretty art style, but there seems to be more to Atelier Lydie and Suelle than its pretty paintings. Atelier Lydie and Suelle’s delightful looking world contains plenty to collect and find to synthesise and make items with, with the charming and well-designed characters backed by interesting alchemy systems. While the Japanese PS4 demo was a mostly visual experience for me, the world and alchemy systems of Lydie and Suelle have kept me curious about this new addition to the Atelier series.

Friday 9 March 2018

Review: Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (Reviewed on PS4, also on PC and Xbox One)

It’s not every day you find a JRPG heavily rooted in anime and third-person shooting with a clear Freedom Wars influence, but Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet delivers this in its own way in this gameplay heavy experience. Taking third-person shooting mechanics and adding in JRPG ones with leveling and stat-boosting, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet’s challenging hunts and quests tell the story of this gun-filled MMORPG from Sword Art Online’s second series, but with interesting new characters that make its own story accessible to both newcomers and fans of the show. It might not be the biggest world to explore, but with endless customisation in both appearance and gameplay style, and an interesting story that ended a little too soon, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet’s shooting filled world managed to both be pretty fun to play and make me care about Sword Art Online’s world more.

Friday 2 March 2018

JRPGs I Played in February 2018

February was an interesting month in terms of the way my gaming time went. With Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker’s Memory all finished, I was left with time to come back to my long term JRPG quest Persona 2 and time to catch up on Japanese demos like Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time and Atelier Lydie and Suelle that had been sitting on my hard drive for a while. There were also a few random delays, with Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s New Game+ mode that I’ve been looking forward to ever since I finished it getting a delay and the full version of Little Witch Academia not coming out in English when most people (myself included) expected it to. Luckily, the main JRPG I was looking forward to did come out towards the end of the month in the form of Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet and I can look back on the last month and say I had a lot of fun with what I played, so here are all the JRPGs I Played in February.

Friday 23 February 2018

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 promises more than enough to satisfy players who like to have lots to do. There’s a big open world with quests and plenty to find, a story filled with its fair share of epic moments and an active battle system that ended up being engaging after taking the time to get to know it. It may not be the most perfect open world JRPG with systems that give random results and the way things are unlocked being questionable at times. But I can’t deny the almost 100 hours I’ve sunk into the experience as plenty of proof that as an open world JRPG with endless things to develop and find, Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s vast and beautiful world is a pleasure to explore.

Friday 16 February 2018

First Impressions: Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time (Japanese Demo, PS4, PC)

With colourful magic and an anime aesthetic, Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time’s unique 3D side-scroller cross JRPG gameplay is an eye-catching experience even for those like myself with no experience with its source material. It combines different gameplay elements to create a beat ‘em up with deep JRPG leveling systems that have the potential to put a thoughtful edge on running through trap-filled dungeons and complemented by eye-popping visuals that mimic the art from its original show, it stands out as a game based on an anime. With this and a group of fun characters made accessible even for first-timers to the series, Little Witch Academia’s first journey into the world of video games seems very promising so far.

Friday 9 February 2018

JRPGs I Played in January 2018

January was a very good month for JRPGs and also a month where I had to quickly accept that it would be impossible to play everything. After all, I started the month on the tail end of December’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and while I had a solid game plan in the form of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker’s Memory for January, various experiences from betas to demos to indies kept popping up and all I could do was try stick to my plan while playing what I could in between. I did manage to try a lot of the experiences I wanted to try in January for varying lengths of times and feel positively about most of them, so here are all the JRPGs I Played in January.

Friday 2 February 2018

Review: Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker’s Memory (Reviewed on PS4, also on PS Vita)

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker’s Memory is both new and a return to what some may know from the original Cyber Sleuth game. It’s new with its own unique and fleshed out story that is set on a familiar backdrop to anyone who played the last game. It features the same monster collecting system that was already great with a few new digital faces that fight with a both an old and new exciting battle system, all to a cool electronic soundtrack that has been remixed more than it’s been recomposed. But if you’re anything like me and have been looking for an excuse to return to Cyber Sleuth somehow, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker’s Memory makes it well worth it because despite its familiarity, what it adds in both story and gameplay takes an old game and makes it better.

Friday 26 January 2018

DLC Review: Episode Ignis (Final Fantasy XV DLC, PS4/Xbox One/PC)

As DLC tied to my favourite character of Final Fantasy XV and two satisfying previous DLC episodes, I had high expectations for Episode Ignis’ story. As expected based on the last two Episodes, Episode Ignis gives unique fighting mechanics to Ignis to suit his fighting style and reveals what happened in a part of the game he was absent. Unique to Episode Ignis however is a special Extra Verse portion that puts a new twist on big moments of Ignis’s story that had a fan of Ignis and XV’s core story like myself captivated in all the right ways. Delivering the kind of quality expected from the last few DLC chapters coming to XV, Episode Ignis mostly delivers and is a story chapter that fans of Ignis and Final Fantasy XV won’t want to miss.

Friday 19 January 2018

7 Things I Learned More About In Lost Sphear's English Demo

When Lost Sphear’s English demo appeared on PSN, I initially made the assumption that this was just the English translation of the Japanese one I’d already played, so I put off playing it for a little while. When I finally got to it, I realised I was very wrong and that this demo not only showed a new area in Lost Sphear, but also expanded upon a few things I liked about it in the Japanese one. Most importantly, the new Lost Sphear demo did its job of getting me even more curious about it, so here are some things it expanded upon in the demo that makes its world and gameplay seem even more interesting.

Friday 12 January 2018

JRPGs I Played in December 2017

When playing a big open world JRPG both at home and out of the house, it’s hard to imagine playing much else during the month. My December JRPG time was full of the two releases I intended to fill it with and not much else on the side, apart from finishing my November JRPG .hack//G.U. Last Recode and the very occasional stray into other games I’ve put to the side during my open world journey with Xenoblade Chronicles 2. With it being the holiday season in December though, it felt good to sink my teeth into a big open world and get immersed in mostly one game before a year full of new ones, so here are all the JRPGs I Played in December to round off 2017.

Friday 5 January 2018

My 3 JRPG New Year Resolutions for 2018

Since 2015, it’s been my own tradition to make a few JRPG resolutions to improve my gaming life for the year ahead. I do this to encourage myself to play the experiences I think I don’t have time for and to finally catch up with any JRPG urges I had throughout the previous year that I didn’t take the time to cater to. These resolutions always come with mixed levels of success, but they always help me improve my gaming time and are a fun way to start planning what I want to play each year. While keeping up with new releases is a challenge in itself, there are a few things in my JRPG life I’ve been wanting to do since I found some new things I liked last year and also things I’ve been wanting do for a while and never got around to. With those things in mind, these are my three JRPG resolutions for 2018.

Thursday 4 January 2018

The Results of My 2017 JRPG New Year Resolutions

Last year, I tried to make my JRPG Resolutions more realistic. I was over ending the year with a bunch of Resolutions I didn’t end up having time for, so I tried to be a little smarter and just do three. In hindsight, I ended up doing an unofficial resolution that I wanted to try keep up with new JRPG releases as much as possible in 2017 and I did that very well. However it also took a bunch of time away from my intended resolutions and while I think I had more success overall than failure for my 2017 JRPG Resolutions, I didn’t end up with the 100% completion I hoped for. In any case, I’m thankful for these resolutions that encouraged me to go deeper into at least one of my favourite JRPG franchises and fully completed or not, I’m happy to take what they taught me about my gaming time into 2018.