Tag Archives: jrpg

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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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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Indie Game Radar: CrossCode, Indie Demos, And RPGMaker

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With the back-to-back massive time-sucks of The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V finally behind me, I found the time to do a few things I’d been putting off… with one stone in fact. Not only have I been looking at quite a few demos that showed up on Steam over the last few months, but I’ve also been wondering about all these indie RPGs that seem to inundate my discovery que almost every day. Continue reading

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