Tag Archives: jrpg

Late to the Party: Breath of Fire (1994)

breath-of-fire-snes-rpg Before my Nintendo Online subscription from that free Twitch Prime promotion a while back runs out (on the same day Doom Eternal comes out actually) I thought I’d try to get through some of the Super NES games included with the subscription, and I just wrapped up the first Breath of Fire game. I’d bought Breath of Fire IV on PlayStation Network for like a buck and wanted to check out its predecessors first. This is the first “traditional” Japanese RPG I’ve completed in several years (since people don’t like to count the Dark Souls games), so it’s let me take my first look back in a while at why my relationship with the genre is so complicated.

JRPGs can be some of my favorite games (my definition being “a role-playing game developed in Japan”). Building a good character or party with good tactics, exploring a vast world, and following a meaty story are the kinds of things I easily drop dozens of hours into. But the ones people include in the most traditional sense of the term — usually turn-based games where you travel from town to town across a world map until you beat the final boss (and even then I keep thinking of games JRPG fans include in the description that make exceptions to it) can be slow, bloated, and repetitive, and are so uncomfortably often. Continue reading

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Yakuza 7: Why Turn-Based Gameplay Is Such A Big Risk

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So SEGA finally blew the lid off Ryu Ga Gotoku 7 — Yakuza: Like A Dragon, with a trailer and some gameplay. It’s turn-based. This is a shift unlike any I’ve seen, and reactions suggest this has already been a divisive decision. Whether or not I’m personally fine with it is gonna depend on a lot of subtle details when the game is finally in my hands, probably more than a year from now. Continue reading

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Me And Pokémon At 20 Years

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Someone might notice I already did a 20th anniversary post about Pokémon in 2016, which was 20 years after the franchise’s original Japanese debut. Well, people seem to be making a bigger deal out of the 20th anniversary of the North American release of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. Sites like Polygon and USGamer are doing a whole lot of features about it. It got me thinking about what got me into Pokémon in the first place, why I haven’t touched it in years, and what it would take to bring me back. Continue reading

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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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Revisiting Tales of Symphonia, PC Port Progress, Sales Pitch, etc.

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Tales of Symphonia was one of those games I always wanted to see show up on PC so I wouldn’t have to worry about buying it on another console in the future, but the PC version we got started out as not only a disappointing remaster, but riddled with bugs and missing features. Namco and one very deidcated modder have apparently put more post-launch work into it than most people anticipated. Namco even went so far as to give it a free weekend during its publisher-wide Steam sale to bring attention to that, and I guess it worked enough for me to buy the game after trying it for a few hours. Continue reading

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Dragon Quest Builders Demo, Japanese RPGs, And Free-Form Gameplay

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I am one of those people who still hasn’t played Minecraft. When I realized Dragon Quest Builders was getting a demo for PS4 I saw this as a chance to see what one of these survival crafting games was all about. Plus this is supposed to be a somewhat unique take on the genre from a Japanese developer. Continue reading

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Backlog Chronicles: Sword of Mana

Sword of Mana-2 One night this past week when I didn’t have anything else to do and couldn’t get to sleep, I happened to have a charged-up Game Boy Advance next to my bed, so I went ahead and finished off Sword of Mana. My backlog of handheld Japanese RPGs is pretty ridiculous, and this was one of the ones where I had simply stopped at the final boss. Finishing it out of the blue like this has illustrated in multiple ways how typical it is of the strengths and other aspects of JRPGs.

Why this is concerning to me is because I’ve actually never played Secret of Mana, a game many people seem to hold as a highlight of the Super Nintendo’s library and the game to which Sword of Mana is a prequel. I still plan to get Secret of Mana on Virtual Console or something but I have no idea how how I’ll receive the game. Continue reading

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Tactical RPG Musings Part Three: Stella Glow And Mercenaries Saga 2 Demos

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It seems I was never really the only person wondering what happened to tactical role playing games on portable systems — why we never got a new Final Fantasy Tactics or something like that on the 3DS or Vita. The Vita got a new Disgaea game sure, and I think the 3DS got ports of the Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor (is that the right “Devil” title?) games, but it’s nothing like the growth the subgenre saw on the DS and PSP. I spent a little time this week playing demos for a couple more I didn’t realize were on the 3DS that at east try to satiate some of the thirst. Continue reading

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