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.

JRPG of the Month: Ys VIII (Switch)
As I said in the intro, since I’ve been playing a lot of less traditional JRPG experiences in the form of spin-off games, I am really, really enjoying playing Ys VIII and diving into its big island of JRPG exploration. I played its demo on PS4 last year in English and Japanese and was a fan of the way its big, multi-floored world encouraged exploration with its characters and map encouraging you to stray from its main path and this is true in its full game, with many secrets and mechanics that give you reasons to come back to places making this island feel full of adventure and surprise. I’m enjoying finding more pieces of the island as Adol Christin and his crew travel through the island to find other castaways and am enjoying finding more about its interesting fantasy world.

On top of this, Ys VIII is the first new English-dubbed JRPG I’ve been playing since Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and despite its history of localisation issues in its original version on PS4 and PS Vita, Ys VIII is reminding why I enjoy dubs so much as I can fully concentrate on its plot and characters rather than subconsciously comparing the original and localised versions, along with it also having some great voice actors that have played characters I’ve loved in other games. I’ll be trying to finish Ys VIII as quickly as I can to try finish it before new releases start coming out this month and I’m sure I’ll keep having fun exploring its big island more as I make my way through it.

Shining Resonance Refrain (Demo)
The original Shining Resonance is a PS3 game I’ve had looking at me on the shelf in Japanese for a while now, so now that it has a demo of its upcoming Refrain version in English, I decided it was time to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised by what it showed me in its demo - the dragon aspect of its story was something that hadn’t really registered with me as much as it should’ve until playing it and made this fantasy story seem really cool, with lots to discover about its world and its history, along with its pretty looking character designs. The active combat was satisfying and I liked the way its demo led up to an exciting story moment well while introducing its characters, so although I probably won’t be trying it more soon, this is an experience I would like to try more in future thanks to this demo.

Octopath Traveler (Demo)
I was very keen to try Octopath Traveler’s latest demo that allows you to try up to three hours of it since I’m trying to choose which character I want to play when it comes out, so immediately after trying Shining Resonance’s demo, I decided to also try Octopath Traveler’s. In hindsight, this wasn’t a great idea as I tried it late at night and was kind of tired from work that day and used most of my energy up finishing one demo already, so I criminally barely got into H’aanit’s route in this demo. I do hope to get into it more at some point, although that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my short time in the new demo. I liked seeing the expanded character selection screen and I could already see some of the lighting improvements the developers talked about making based on demo feedback, so I’m sure the rest of the demo will be good. Although I still want to try H’aanit’s capture mechanic, looking back on my footage I think I may be more keen for Primrose’s route story-wise, so I may end up choosing her when Octopath comes out this month, but I will try get more time with this demo before then to help me make the right decision for my first route of this intriguing game.

Atelier Lydie and Suelle (Blue Reflection DLC)

I downloaded Atelier Lydie and Suelle’s Blue Reflection DLC around late May, but I didn’t find the time to play it until last month somehow so I’m glad I finally got to check it out as a big fan of Blue Reflection. The Blue Reflection areas are exactly how they are in the original game, down to items scattered around looking like they do in Blue Reflection, along with its enemies and its fantastic soundtrack. There is one catch in this DLC though, and that is that its enemies are no joke. I haven’t leveled up much at all since I finished Lydie and Suelle back in April and consequently got pretty destroyed by the adorable enemies from Blue Reflection, so I think this area will have to be a nice, rare item-filled challenge area if I ever do come back to it. Regardless of the Game Over screens I encountered, it was nice to see the beautiful areas of Atelier Lydie and Suelle and Blue Reflection collide a little in this crossover of two good Gust games and I hope that Gust decides to do even more with Blue Reflection in the future.

Persona 3 and 5 Dance (JP)
Since I was lucky enough to be gifted Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight, I got to continue my journey into Persona’s great music and rhythm spin-off games during June. I finished all the songs in it and a lot of its social events, and I enjoyed its remixes most out of Moonlight and Starlight, along with continuing to hone my rhythm game skills and catching up with its cast. Dancing in Moonlight was a great reminder of how much I enjoyed Persona 3’s soundtrack in general and I adore the remixes that have been made for this rhythm game, so I’m excited for more people to hear these tracks when the game comes out in English and I’m itching for a standalone soundtrack release so I can put some of these tracks on repeat and listen to them on the go.
I also continued playing Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight a little as I try to unlock everything in it, such as costumes and game modes and I’ve been trying lots of its challenges as I try to finish Morgana’s and the remaining social events I have to do. Although these two rhythm games will probably become games I play in my spare time since I’ve finished reviewing them, I’m really determined to platinum these two sometime, so I’m sure I’ll see these fun rhythm games soon and I really think they’re worth looking forward to for anyone who enjoyed Persona 4 Dancing All Night and enjoys both the Persona games and rhythm games.

Persona 5
I originally started playing Persona 5 last month to compare its visuals to Dancing in Starlight’s for my review, but I happened to be at an interesting part of the story in my second playthrough, so I ended up playing until I got to a dungeon. It’s been a good while since I’ve jumped properly into Persona 5 as I’ve been mostly focused on newer games lately and every time I jump into it I’m reminded of how much I like its game flow and characters and that if I had more time, how much I would love to platinum it too. It’s nice to be reminded of such a great game sitting in my collection and I’m glad I put a little bit of time into my second playthrough to remind me how good it is.

Pokemon Quest (Switch)
Pokemon Quest’s smartphone version didn’t come out until the last week of June, but I found myself looking for a light game to relax during the month and Pokemon Quest on Switch seemed like a good fit. I mostly just played around in my camp, finding a few new Pokemon who had showed up and played around with stat chips, but it’s nice to have something cute and easy to play when I want to play something simple and not too intense. Since the smartphone version is now out, I actually downloaded it just before starting on this video so hopefully I’ll get some time with it this month as I think it will be a nice, easy game for quiet moments when I’m on the go.

Persona O.A. (JP)
I didn’t plan on playing Persona O.A. at all last month, however I ended up going to a store here that unexpected had a QR code to scan and get 500 Persona Points from, so I made sure to do that, which brought me into it for a little bit. I also had enough points to do a Persona draw and got a few new Personas which was nice, although I’m not fully back into the app at the moment like I was before mostly due to it being in Japanese. I still hope more social events get added into it at some point though and perhaps then I’ll check it out some more, but for now while it was fun finding a surprise QR code around town, I probably won’t jump into O.A. again for a little while unless I find another.

The Alchemist Code
As another smartphone game I tried to get back into more last month, I also opened up The Alchemist Code again as I really wanted to make true on wanting to see more of its story like I said in my video about smartphone games. Since I was playing it at work, I didn’t get time to play any of its story moments, but I did get some time to do some events to level up my characters for when I do. I have hopes this month I’ll get into it as I saw on Twitter that the Final Fantasy XV collaboration that got me into its Japanese version has been added in for now, so I’d like to see the English translation of it and win the characters I wasn’t able to transfer over to my English version of the app. We’ll see how things go with it this month since its not my main focus for the month, but I would like to at least play a little more of it sometime soon.

Persona 2
I didn’t think I’d get any time into Persona 2 with how much I had planned to play this month, but I got a small slot of time into it just before the Shining Resonance Refrain and Octopath Traveler demos came out and that’s always better than nothing. Since I got stuck in a few slower random battles, I only got one more floor into the dungeon I’m progressing through so I’ve still got to get out of this dungeon before I feel like I’m properly progressing again. I don’t know if I’ll get anytime with it this month with Ys VIII and games coming out earlier this month not giving me much time between, but I know it will be in my mind as usual as I still want to see the conclusion to its story.

July JRPG Plans
Since I’m still playing Ys VIII, my current main plan is to try and finish that before new releases come out this month. I’m around 13 hours in at the moment and am enjoying it a lot, so I’m hoping to put enough time into it to try finish it by the end of next week. As for this month’s releases, I’ve been debating with myself since last month about whether I would pick up Shining Resonance Refrain or Octopath Traveler as I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed Shining Resonance’s demo. I was thinking about trying it instead for a while, but hearing more about other people’s experiences with the new demo for Octopath Traveler, along with watching a lot of E3 footage of it reminded me why I’ve been so hyped for it for so long, so I think I’ll be sticking with Octopath Traveler this month instead, although I’d still like to play Shining Resonance someday. There are a few smartphone and smaller experiences I’d like to fit in between, however playing two games in one month is already a pretty big task, so I’m going to focus on playing Ys VIII and Octopath Traveler as my main plan for the month and have anything else be a bonus. With both games being on Switch, I’m excited to be spending a lot of time playing games both at home and on the go in July and have a good feeling that these JRPGs full of exploration and interesting story will be good fun to play this month.

You can pick up/pre-order most of these games on Amazon and Play-Asia!
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What did you play in June? What your JRPG plans for July?
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