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.

JRPG of the Month: Octopath Traveler
Like many other JRPG fans with a Switch, I spent most of my July enamored with the big world of Octopath Traveler. As I talked about in my recent post about Octopath Traveler’s storytelling, I was expecting to be playing mostly with my chosen protagonist Primrose, but I ended up spending time with all the characters thanks to the nature of the game and my experience with it is better for it. My main party of Primrose, Alfyn, Cyrus and Tressa all have stories I’m invested in after seeing their first few chapters and as I come up to their fourth chapters now, I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll end and plan on also going back to complete to the other character’s stories after as well.

Octopath Traveler could easily be my JRPG of the month from story and branching paths alone, but I also adore its battle system. Breaking enemies by exploiting their weaknesses, then trying to blast them before their next turn is really addictive, especially in turn-based form, so as I find the later bosses more challenging and satisfying, the fun system makes the grind not so bad. So with tough boss battles coming up in its final chapters, I look forward to finishing Octopath in early August since I’m taking extra time to finish it properly and get all the endings before my review and I hope that all its paths make a good, full story in this unique JRPG style.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
I realised at the end of last month I wouldn’t finish Ys VIII until the start of this month, but its last couple of chapters were a great start to the month since they were so interesting. Learning more about characters like Dana made the Isle of Seiren much deeper and the way its last chapter played out made a very exciting conclusion to its story. Since I finished Ys VIII at the beginning of the month, it’s been a while since I’ve picked it up but I have a lot of fond memories and still would like to someday come back to it to pick up the rest of its castaways and do more of its quests because I loved the idea of the village expanding and more mechanics coming in as you find more people. All in all, I’m really glad that Ys VIII came to Switch so I could play it and I hope more big JRPGs like this one get ported to the system because it’s a great way to play these big RPG worlds.

Pokémon Quest (iOS)
I had no intentions of starting the smartphone version of Pokemon Quest this month since I had two big JRPGs to play in the form of Ys VIII and Octopath Traveler. However, my boyfriend got it on his smartphone and I was watching him have so much fun with it so I decided I had to at least download it and give it a try. On smartphones, it’s as adorable and fun as ever, although just as a first impression I’m wondering if it doesn’t run as well on my phone as it does on my Switch. I noticed it being a lot more jumpy than it ever was on my Switch, but that may be because my iPhone 5S is kind of old and janky in general so since my Switch is newer and probably more powerful, that may be a better way to play. In saying that, I haven’t spent that much time with it compared to everything else I played this month, so I look forward to coming back to it and giving the smartphone version a real chance in the near future.

The Alchemist Code

I also didn’t intend on playing The Alchemist Code this month, but I saw on Twitter that the Final Fantasy XV collaboration that was the reason I downloaded the Japanese version in the first place was finally out on the English version, so I had to jump in to try get some of the units I left on my Japanese account. I got Prompto back just from logging in which was good, and I tried a few of the gachas to try and get Ignis or Noctis, but haven’t had any luck yet. The event only has a few days to go and I haven’t played any of the story content yet, so I’ll have to jump in early August to see those in English and finally understand what this spin-off with the guys in The Alchemist Code’s world is all about.

August JRPG Plans
August is a quieter month for JRPGs in general, with the only thing I was really interested in being Yakuza Kiwami 2, which luckily has a free demo out that meaning I’ll be able to try some of it. However, since I haven’t even started with Yakuza 0 yet, I don’t plan to pick up Kiwami 2 just yet because I’d like to begin Kiryu’s story from the start after being so surprised with how good 6 was, so since I won’t be playing Kiwami 2 I’m left with a pretty free August in terms of new releases. Since August is so free and I have a lot of games sitting in the backlog, I’m considering taking either a few days or a week to try and finish Persona 2. A lot of you have suggested that I need to focus on it like I do new releases and that is probably the only way I’m going to finish it at all this year, so I hope August can see me get into it and finish it so I can start a new JRPG side game to play in my free time because I’ve definitely been playing it for too long. So with no new releases but a solid goal to finish Persona 2 in mind, I’m sure August will be another worthwhile month for my JRPG time.

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What did you play in July? What your JRPG plans for August?
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