Tag Archives: final fantasy

What Actually Makes For A Good Old School RPG?

Octopath Traveler, a JRPG for Nintendo Switch.

Octopath Traveler is out now, critics are receiving it well, and it’s even doing well commercially, as Nintendo Switch owners wax nostalgic about Japanese RPGs and hail the coming of them to another Nintendo handheld. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the genre. Some of my favorite games are JRPGs, but it’s actually been some years since I’ve played one to completion.

The common criticisms some people levy at JRPGs might center on things like turn-based combat being obsolete, or shounen anime tropes, but my issues with them are a little more complex. There are games where those things will get on my nerves, but at the same time some of my favorite JRPGs feel very old and traditional. I think it’s less about specific features and more about a general feeling each game tries to impart upon players. Continue reading

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Final Fantasy XV and Modern Japanese RPGs

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I was able to take a bit of time out to play the first few hours of Final Fantasy XV, and I’m a bit surprised at how much tries to feel like modern big-budget role playing games while preserving many of the common tenets of traditional Japanese RPGs. I don’t know if this game has had a polarized reception, but overall I like the direction of what I’ve seen so far. I just don’t really know how it lands the execution of its ideas compared to similar games. Continue reading

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The Real Situation With JRPGs In The West

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During a discussion on GAF stemming from Square Enix’s comments about the popularity of the Dragon Quest games outside Japan, someone posted a chart that, if legit, proves something about the Japanese RPG market in general I think a lot of people may miss. This has to do with the actual size of that market which has colored conversations on the shifting fortunes of JRPGs in western territories over the years. Continue reading

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How Much Can Final Fantasy XV Really Rebuild The Franchise?

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So Square Enix is finally confident enough about Final Fantasy XV to go big with the marketing. Everyone’s talking about the recovery of the franchise. With all the progress we’ve seen so far on the game and the legitimate hype surrounding it, to me this still feels like only the first step on the road to recovery, a recovery that could still be a fragile one. Continue reading

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10 Years Later: Final Fantasy XII Should Have Been The Future Of Console RPGs

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So Final Fantasy XII is 10 years old (in Japan). I usually don’t say a lot about the anniversaries of individual entries in game franchises, but this one stands out for me. FFXII is easily my favorite main Final Fantasy game, and the first point where I made a legitimate effort to get into the series. More than that though, I look back on it as a critical turning point for where console role-playing games could have gone in contrast to where they actually went. Continue reading

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PSX 2015: What Do All These “Console Debut” Games Mean?

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While I personally didn’t freak out over any individual announcement from Sony’s 2015 PlayStation Experience event over the weekend, overall it was a pretty impressive display. Most people paying attention probably already realize what’s major about it — we’re seeing the return of Japanese developers to modern console visual fidelity. The only catch is it all might not be exclusive to PlayStation anymore.

The unveiling of games like Ni-Oh and Ni No Kuni II along with other games we saw at E3 and the Tokyo Game Show like the NiER sequel or 13 Sentinels: Ageis Rim is important because it signals the return of a certain flavor to console gaming. I really do think one of the main things that hurt the PS3 early in its lifespan was a lack of Japanese games as those developers struggled to catch up to the then-new hardware. The PS2 dominated due to a snowball effect of a plurality of Japanese developers exclusively supporting it. Those third party exclusives were the PS2’s main strength, and that asset was pretty much absent from the PS3’s library. The major Japanese games that did show up were almost all also available on Xbox 360.

Now we’re seeing either returning franchises or new games in the console retail space that aren’t quite AAA and can stretch out a bit creatively from the design mold of every game trying to chase the Call of Duty audience. It may not be the same as the PS2 era, but it’s starting to remind me of it. Continue reading

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Is Dark Souls A JRPG? Probably.

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While trying to maintain a media blackout on Dark Souls III in the midst of double-digit minutes of footage being leaked some time ago, I started thinking about how far the franchise has come since the slow trickle of word-of-mouth that surrounded Demon’s Souls during the PS3’s early years. I’ve come to the realization (perhaps late) that the Souls franchise might be the most relevant Japanese RPG franchise on the market today, or at least one of the only really relevant ones to the mass market.

The problem is, many people seem to doubt whether it’s an JRPG at all, saying it looks and feels too similar to Elder Scrolls and too different from Final Fantasy. Once you go from there into the discussion of what defines a JRPG, you have to dig into the origins of the JRPGs and the Souls series itself which brings out its interesting relationship with both past RPGs and today’s popular western RPGs. Continue reading

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What’s Happening To Turn-Based Games On Consoles?

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Trying out Lost Dimension for a couple hours gave me an opportunity to think again about why I (and perhaps a lot of other people) have been averse to turn-based Japanese RPGs in recent years. The reasons are complex and probably different for everybody, but I think it’s an interesting issue to look at when you compare them to the massively popular western RPGs on consoles these days. I also coincidentally seem to be putting this up just as Square Enix suggests the possibility the Final Fantasy VII remake might leave behind the original’s turn-based combat system. Continue reading

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Square Enix on Windows

Depending on how much you’ve been watching Steam’s release lists these past few months, you may have noticed more and more mainline Final Fantasy games showing up on it (along with other slightly unexpected Japanese games). There are factors in play you can look at to maybe guess what’s likely to come next from Square Enix on Windows.

Continue reading

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