#JRPGJuly 2020 – Week 3 Round-up
Welcome to another year of everyone’s favorite monthly gameathon. #JRPGJuly was created as a community game-along by Anne Lee @ Chic Pixel, and once again the RPGamer team is showing their support for the event by playing some JRPGs. Here’s how week three went for the RPGamer staff!
Also huge thank you this year to Nitro who has taken over the community game-alongs, and please check out #JRPGJuly on Twitter to see what everyone is playing across the globe!
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Somehow, I managed to finish two games for #JRPGJuly. This week was mainly spent playing through and completing Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town because I am the reviewer! Really, it was just a week being determined to get my marriage scene with adorable librarian and marriage candidate, Marie. Her romance is THE SWEETEST THING EVER. We are going to read so many books well into old age, forever and ever. Also, I feel like certain staff members and Internet friends would give me flack that I am a librarian who didn’t choose the librarian!
My girl does RA of your heart. #JRPGJuly #NintendoSwitch pic.twitter.com/tBtb9il9HR
— Sam Wachter (@merrygodown) July 16, 2020
But seriously, Friends of Mineral Town is just such a delightful and calming experience, and the localization is super charming, funny, and just plain clever. I may have also named my chickens after food: I have a coffee cow named Mocha, and my alpaca and sheep are growing up nicely as well. I do plan to get back to this game and dive deeper into my second year, but for now I am going to take a pause since there’s another game I need to play…
I started Dragon Quest III as voted by all of you. I did. Here’s proof!
However my true name is Bum 2 because Sam failed at naming DQ2 hero that name. #JRPGJuly #NintendoSwitch pic.twitter.com/M9AxWtzbOn
— Sam Wachter (@merrygodown) July 12, 2020
I’ve been making slow progress in Chrono Trigger but that’s more a function of personal travails than a reflection of the game’s quality. I’ve still been making my way back and forth through time trying to find a way to prevent the destruction of the world by Lavos. For a 16-bit game where there isn’t a ton of dialog to flesh out characters, I’m impressed by the life and personality that’s been infused into them.
Truth in advertising #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/1I0c4eFChu
— Joshua Carpenter (@jscarpe) July 11, 2020
Ayla, a prehistoric warrior-maiden, is one of the most entertaining characters in the game. She’d be fun to meet, but I’m not sure I’d want to challenge her to a Skull Smash drinking contest. Poor life choices there, Crono.
No Ayla, don’t eat my party member! #ChronoTrigger #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/YOmrK6gtEB
— Joshua Carpenter (@jscarpe) July 19, 2020
I also experienced Frog’s backstory, which was more fleshed out than I was expecting. I knew very little going in, but his story of losing his friend and idol, then transforming into his current form was resonant and well done. After defeating Magus — though I’m guessing this won’t be the last I see of him — I’ll hopefully manage to make some more substantial progress in the coming week.
Not feeling very MMOish this week, I set DQX aside to play and complete Grandia II on Switch. While the port lags a bit in the larger battles, the epicness of this classic game still shines through. Understanding the battle system well, I had as much fun setting my skills and powering up specific ones to the highest level to smash through the final boss rush with barely a scratch on Ryudo and friends.
Not wanting my trip down Grandia lane to end, I began playing Grandia Parallel Trippers on GBC as well. The effort to make a Grandia battle system that fits on a GBC cart and screen seems to have been successful, although five hours in I’m still taking notes on how things work. A story involving my main character who got sucked into a wormhole to help quite literally every character from Grandia save some of my friends is a bit hokey but feels right at home on the GBC.
Zach managed to accomplish one of his biggest goals for Persona 5 Royal:
My dream realized! #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/1K32z07DIE
— Zach Welhouse (@ZachRPG) July 18, 2020
Anna Marie Privitere
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
I wrapped up Ni no Kuni this week for my second #JRPGJuly title, and my feelings ended up being a little mixed. Near the end of the game, I’d definitely run out of steam; the fun was slowly being sapped away by uneven pacing and missed opportunities to use the game’s strengths to their fullest. Good but not great games always frustrate me to some extent — it’s a beautiful title with amazing voice acting and production values, but the gameplay has a rather vexing structure. In the end I’m glad I finished it, but I’m not sure how many people I’d recommend it to.
Time to hunt down magical doodads in #NiNoKuni! #JRPGJuly #NintendoSwitch pic.twitter.com/mEEjBVZeMw
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) July 13, 2020
With a pair of games out of my backlog, it was time to tackle a newer title: Trials of Mana! While I’d played a small amount of the title in Collection of Mana, I was coming into the remake fairly fresh — mostly a short PAX West 2019 playthrough. It’s still early, but I’m having a blast! So many friends encouraged me to try this one out, and they were absolutely right.
New game time! Lots of people encouraged me to dive into this one for #JRPGJuly 😉 #TrialsOfMana #NintendoSwitch pic.twitter.com/6xwFTY0pE0
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) July 16, 2020
After getting stuck on a boss, I realized I had a lot of junk in my inventory that I could sell for some new armor. That upgrade allowed me to take down the boss, but it was still a tough fight! The battle ends with Sylvando running off to rescue the party with his boat, and after some shenanigans involving a giant squid, the party escaped and the world now feels much more open. Of course, I headed straight to the next objective because why would some king call the main character a “darkspawn”? And what is the deal with the time travel sequence early on in the game? So many mysteries to solve.
— Mike (@AskWheels) July 14, 2020
Like some others, #JRPGJuly Week 3 has been a little slower for me, with a few other non-JRPGs acting as palate-cleansers. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to complete one of my two games for the month — that’s a wrap on Yakuza Kiwami! I finished the last couple of chapters I had left and watched what was a surprisingly emotional ending. I’m surprised how many plot threads from Zero that I thought were going to be around for a while got wrapped up.
Total time played:
Yakuza Kiwami – 34 hours (finished)
Xenoblade Chronicles – 15 hours (no progress this week)
It was a slow week for me as far as #JRPGJuly goes. Week 3 saw me inch ever closer to the finale of my selected game. I have cleared the initial content in Radiant Historia, and now I am on a boat as I tackle this new story that was added to the Perfect Chronology version. The “final boss” gave me some serious Final Fantasy VI vibes and my team scaled multi-leveled rounds until we got to the top of a giant amalgamation of evilness. We shall see where this extra stuff leads the group.
I do. Every time I win a fight. #JRPGJuly #rpgamer #radianthistoria pic.twitter.com/BbOyJ9qm1t
— Ryan A. Radcliff (@RadShadow) July 16, 2020
This week I’d like to talk about Artifacts, one of the most interesting systems in Lost Sphear.
Lost Sphear’s story mostly revolves around the strange phenomenon of certain places and things becoming “lost.” This is presented by having large sections of the map whited out and shimmering in a spectral fashion. The protagonist has the power to restore these lost things, and this benefits the player in many ways beyond just unlocking new parts of the map. Restoring these places usually allows the player to build an Artifact, represented by a particular structure, standing amidst the landscape post-restoration.
Artifacts grant permanent perks, whether they be moving faster in the overworld, increasing the ATB meter when a critical hit lands, or boosting your Momentum charge the more any party member moves during battle, as characters can be freely maneuvered. The catch? Battle-specific Artifacts also benefit the enemy. With only a set amount of potential Artifact locations, it can be interesting trying to decide what perks to choose and what to leave behind. These perks can be disabled at any time, which also creates an extra layer of strategy when deciding if the perks benefit the enemy more than they benefit the player for any given battle.
This game is cool, ya’ll.
This week has been slower than previous weeks because it’s time for the last two Ys games released in the west so far: Ys Seven and Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. Both of them are extraordinarily longer than any of the games that came prior.
Ys Seven started the modern Ys games with its new battle system that allows you to control three characters instead of just Adol — though in this game, Adol is still a required character. It also introduces the weapon triangle that both Celceta and Lacrimosa use, which makes each character viable in different situations. The story takes place in the somewhat African-inspired land of Altago, where the merchant class rules through their wealth. There are plenty of references to the earlier games, most notably Ark of Napishtim, but it stands on its own for the most part. I definitely had a lot of fun playing it, but it’s very obvious it’s Falcom’s first attempt at a new system.
We’re on a roll! #Ys Seven has been beaten! Absolutely wasn’t expecting some parts of it. But it’s a very middle-of-the-pack game. Liked it enough to nearly get all the achievements at least! pic.twitter.com/eYpMrRuFFV
— shannon h. (@LilMayRose_) July 14, 2020
The rest of the week (pretty much all of it besides Sunday) has been taken up by Lacrimosa of Dana, the most recent of the Ys games. Adol and Dogi end up shipwrecked on a deserted island and must gather other passengers to survive and get off the island. It’s definitely the most polished of the games so far and certainly the most modern, both to its benefit and detriment. Though it plays extremely well and is fairly cognizant of the player’s time, it also feels the “least” like an Ys game due to its near-glacial pacing. In fact, until the fifth out of six chapters, the game feels like a generic action RPG starting Adol Christin, without a lot of the ruin-diving and otherworldly mystique that the other games boast. That isn’t to say it isn’t fun — far from it. Over 30 hours in, and I’m still trying to collect everything, explore every nook and cranny, and having a blast beating up all sorts of baddies. I’m definitely looking forward to finishing the game sometime in the coming week.
Erik van Asselt
This week I played through the second chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and started chapter three. I have been quite outspoken the past few weeks on the pacing of the game and didn’t want to repeat myself again this week. The problem is still there, but I have decided to just accept it.
Why do I keep playing this game? It’s because I really enjoy the small story arcs you get. Every chapter starts you in a new region of the world, each with its own politics and problems. You will meet new characters and see how they intertwine with the rest of the story, and that has really been a great motivation to keep playing. Also meeting recurring characters every chapter has been a delight. Let’s finish chapter three and onwards towards the fourth and final chapter of Trails in the Sky!
#JRPGJuly is going well. Chapter three get! pic.twitter.com/MFMnhm7BP9
— FanFrog (@FanFrog) July 17, 2020
I have spent 22 hours thus far on Tales of the Abyss, and I just reached quite a milestone in the plot. Luke gave himself an important haircut, as a symbolic gesture that he’s going to stop being such a selfish jerk and actually change for the better. Luke was at his most intolerable right before the big upset at Akzeriuth, and a bit after it, too. He still has a long way to go; most of the party members still don’t fully respect him. I suppose time will tell how much I like this changing Luke, although my favorite characters tend to be those that undergo significant character development. The plot is going some very interesting places as well apart from Luke’s development, and I’m eager to see more. On a different note, I think I may have all of the party members now? This includes a short stint by a certain character (maybe there’s no need to be this coy about spoilers in Abyss, but I’ll play it safe). I’m a little surprised since Symphonia has nine playable characters and Abyss has seven, but then again, Phantasia only has six, and one of them, Suzu, was an NPC in the Super Famicom version.
Time for Luke’s Important Haircut. #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/Jx1ygDvXVt
— Cassandra Ramos (@BerryEggs) July 19, 2020
I’m still getting used to using Fields of Fonons in battle. I could make it easier on myself by actually looking up which Artes can be changed using which elements, but I haven’t done that yet. So far, they’ve just been happy accidents. As for other gameplay mechanics, I haven’t spent any time on changing Capacity Cores to get new skills for characters. The ones they come with seem to do just fine. I only just recently started using Fon Slot Chambers to give added effects to Artes, and so far I’ve only done it so some characters can steal items. I heard that later Tales games can get a bit crazy with extraneous battle mechanics, but I seem to be doing just fine in battles without going too in-depth into them in Abyss. My characters are only averaging at level 30, so I suppose I’ll see how vital they are.
I admittedly lost some momentum in Wild Arms at the start of the week but I’m closing in on the ending now that Jack’s character arc has reached something resembling an emotional pay-off and the ominous tower of Ka Dingel has risen from the sea. There was also an arc with Rudy’s struggling that was resolved though I feel like it wasn’t as effective as intended due to the game’s choice to make the character (mostly) silent, preventing a good deal of emotional attachment I could have felt. As for Cecilia… she sure helped him through his struggles, I guess. Yeah, I don’t have much to say about her. What I’m trying to say is that the story and characters are not the reason to play Wild Arms. It’s all about the goofy sci-fi anime energy and dungeons for me but I don’t want to repeat myself.
Zed was at it again #WildArms #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/nNoKx4B4aH
— Ryan McCarthy (@LastZimOnEarth) July 15, 2020
I will say that, out of all of the villains, Zed has his moments.
Zed was at it again #WildArms #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/nNoKx4B4aH
— Ryan McCarthy (@LastZimOnEarth) July 15, 2020
That’s all for this week. Let us know what sort of progress you’re making in your #JRPGJuly game in the comments below!