#JRPGJuly 2020 – Week 4 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 four went for the RPGamer staff!
This was a slow week for #JRPGJuly content and me. It was a rough week at work and emotionally I wasn’t feeling up for games and instead did a lot of reading. I read seven books (some were for work, some were audiobooks), but that was the mood I was in. Dragon Quest III has been a slow process mainly because, much like I and II, there is a lot of grinding at the beginning in order to get better equipment and survive encounters. While I don’t think I will finish the game before the last update, I am going to try my best. Apparently I need to go help a king find his lost crown…
— Sam Wachter (@merrygodown) July 19, 2020
I was hoping to finish up Chrono Trigger this week, but I fell just a little bit short. I got stuck for a bit on the Golem Sisters until I learned that they are incredibly weak to status ailments. Things got much easier with them once I put them to sleep with Lucca and took them down one at a time. Chrono Trigger has shown me that I’ve gotten a bit lazy at playing around with the different systems in RPGs. There are so many games where status ailments are useless against bosses that I have a tendency to forget about them. Chrono Trigger is generally doing a good job at hinting at the easier way to deal with enemies; when I’ve hit walls it has mostly been my fault.
— Joshua Carpenter (@jscarpe) July 25, 2020
This has been a pretty perfect pick-up and put-down game. I’m sure the story and characters could be fleshed out better with a longer game, but I wouldn’t trade it for the tight pacing that Chrono Trigger achieves. Hopefully I don’t get stuck on Lavos and finish it up next week.
— Joshua Carpenter (@jscarpe) July 25, 2020
#JRPGJuly isn’t turning out the way I hoped it would. I quietly faded into the background the past couple of weeks. After yet another small but significant story item was missed prior to getting to chapter 5 of Final Fantasy X-2, I felt the wind in my sails come to a full stop. FFX-2 is still one of my favorite games of all time, but the game as a whole doesn’t hold up well when attempting a completionist run. It’s exhausting, tedious, and frustrating. One mishap can cost you the 100%. I had THREE mishaps. FFX-2 is a good game to complete over time with many breaks in between when going for 100%. I shouldn’t have assumed that blazing through this was a good idea. Oh well. Live and learn. I’ll continue the playthrough at a later time.
— Jervon Perkins (@QueerShapedLife) July 20, 2020
In the meantime, I decided to do some kinda strange. I started playing Phantasy Star Online 2 more. By playing, I mean decorating my room, sitting in-game and talking with people, and developing fan fiction based on my character. I’ve even been able to get some roleplaying done. Chances are, for the rest of July, I’ll just be taking it easy. But perhaps I’ll backpedal and play FFX-2 a bit so I can at least get a complete story playthrough.
— Jervon Perkins (@QueerShapedLife) July 25, 2020
Anna Marie Privitere
I had SO much fun with Trials of Mana. It was everything I was looking for in Ni no Kuni and didn’t get: the perfect melding of a classic gameplay style with more modern gameplay sensibilities. The ability to move around the world quickly, being able to grind easily if necessary, and smartly designed dungeons all come together within a beautiful-looking world and fantastically fleshed-out localization. If my arm didn’t need a rest from the action-style combat, I would have immediately jumped back in for a second playthrough!
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) July 21, 2020
Instead I decided to go a little more mellow and started Paper Mario: The Origami King. I thought I was going to get frustrated with the lack of RPG combat-grind-exp cycle, but Paper Mario does a such a solid job rewarding you in a bunch of other ways — notably just exploring and doing what the game expects you to do — that I don’t miss it! I’m enjoying throwing confetti everywhere, searching high and low for Toads, and discovering all the hidden treasure. I need to get back to driving around in my boot car now. Beep beep.
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) July 22, 2020
So I ended up taking a break from Dragon Quest XI this week to sink some time into Paper Mario: The Origami King. This ended up being a great decision, as the game so far has been an absolute blast. Sure it continues the trend of not being a full-on Mario RPG, but beyond that caveat I’ve found little to complain about. The writing is absolutely fantastic, with so many good lines and fun characters. The battles are a lot more fun and challenging than expected, and though the game gives you plenty of ways to make things super easy if you so choose, you are never forced to use them. I’m looking forward to seeing what other surprises the game has in store for me.
— Mike (@AskWheels) July 24, 2020
— Mike (@AskWheels) July 24, 2020
Week four saw me complete Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition and Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology‘s main endings, but I got distracted while doing the additional scenarios for each. Neither really clicked with me, and I’m not sure if it was me getting burned out with each game, or something else. Regardless, I enjoyed both games just fine, and I will most likely go back and complete them later, but for now I have moved on.
I did pick back up in my New Year’s Resolution project, the Trails series. I had begun Cold Steel II back around mid-May, but I came across some setbacks and the game had been idle up until this week… and now I picked up a new game for the site, so Cold Steel II once again has been placed on the back burner. Such is life! I doubt I will finish any more games by the end of the month, so #JRPGJuly saw me complete two games, and I am perfectly fine with that!
Last week, I dug deep into something that makes Lost Sphear cool, so this time I’ll give the spotlight to The Legend of Legacy.
The game is commonly criticized for its exploration and sparse narrative, but I believe these things actually give the title a pleasantly retro feel. After all, sometimes I just want to play a game that gets me straight to the gameplay and lets me explore without holding my hand. The Legend of Legacy does just that. Your team is based out of a single seaside town with an inn and a merchant, and from there you explore multiple different areas. These areas are unlocked by buying maps of them from the town’s merchant, and the primary way to get money to buy items is by filling in the maps you already own and selling them at high value.
The game doesn’t explicitly tell players which areas to explore first, so I commonly jump between different zones if, say, I hit a difficult boss in one area and want to try my luck elsewhere and grind in the process. Too rarely do we find non-linear JRPGs these days, so it’s always a pleasure when one comes around.
It finally happened this week: I finally finished every numbered Ys game released in English by finishing Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana with the true ending! Though the game starts out really glacial and doesn’t feel that Ys-y, by the end I was completely hooked with both the gameplay and the story. By the mid-point of chapter 5, you really start to get into the meat of what makes Ys games great. Also Falcom learned a lot about writing from the Trails games by making every character incredibly memorable in Ys VIII. There was even world-building added to the series, which I wasn’t expecting from what a lot of people said about it! I’m absolutely looking forward to when Ys IX: Monstrum Nox comes out in the west sometime next year!
And finally, that’s #YsVIII beat! Now I’m all caught up for when IX comes out! I’ll probably still play more, since I want to do the Sanctuary Ruins, plus I’m SO CLOSE to 100% on most everything. Not my favorite, but it’s VERY, VERY GOOD. pic.twitter.com/vbgKvnVgcd
— shannon h. (@LilMayRose_) July 22, 2020
Since I finished all the Ys, it was time to move on to a different series. I decided to continue the Falcom love by going back to The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Since I was stuck last year around chapter 2, I did a little research, learned more about the gameplay systems (especially Quartz and Orbments), and took the last three days to get from chapter 2… all the way to the end of the game! The writing is absolutely astounding, as are the characters. The story itself is a little thin, but it incorporates a LOT of intrigue very quickly which I found fascinating. It kept me drawn in not by how the game played but by the overwhelming desire to learn what was going to happen to the characters I grew to love, especially Estelle and Joshua. Well, Joshua turned into a love-to-hate, but you’ll have to play the game to find out why!
That’s #Trails FC finished! Didn’t really feel it at first, but honestly, once it gets going IT GETS GOING. Also I LOVE THE WRITING. Joshua and Estelle are fantastic. Even if I hate Joshua’s guts right now. pic.twitter.com/b6lazXFMvj
— shannon h. (@LilMayRose_) July 25, 2020
I could only play for brief moments here and there this week. The in-game clock says I’ve spent over 28 hours on Tales of the Abyss, but I also kept falling asleep while lying in bed playing. That’s not to say that I’m not enjoying the game, because I am (although it may say something about how sleep deprived I am). I did rescue Natalia and Fon Master Ion from the Oracle Knights, learned more about Jade’s backstory, and met with Emperor Peony of Malkuth (dressed in plainer clothes than I would have expected), among other things. Luke seems to be more understanding of Jade now, although the synopsis journal shows that Luke still doesn’t like him. Luke is also becoming closer to Tear, and he’s even called Mieu by his name twice! Normally he just calls the mascot “Thing” and kicks him around. It’s nice to see that Luke is getting to know his companions better. Character interaction and camaraderie are two of my favorite aspects of both Tales of Symphonia games, so I expect to see more here. There’s still a lot I don’t know about these characters, but I believe I’m still pretty early in this game.
— Cassandra Ramos (@BerryEggs) July 25, 2020
I’ve also been trying to do sidequests, but I’m only half-heartedly following a guide. I may have already permanently missed a few, including a recipe. One sidequest involved Tear getting roped into being a waitress for a while. Tales of Symphonia had this same quest/mini-game or at least a very similar one. Now I wonder if it shows up in other Tales games or not. Perhaps there are other recurring features that I didn’t realize were recurring because I played all of three Tales games before. As there are only a few days left, I’m not going to finish Tales of the Abyss, but I’ll see how far I can get.
— Cassandra Ramos (@BerryEggs) July 24, 2020
I finished Wild Arms this week! The final stretch of the game was a tad exhausting as the final two dungeons, in addition to being done back to back, are pretty long and have a couple frustrating puzzles that really left me stuck for a bit. It also took me about four attempts to finish up the last set of bosses as they really tripped me up until I realized I had to keep my party completely healed up as much as possible. Once I had finally gotten through all that, I rolled the credits with Rudy, Jack, and Cecilia all managing to get back to Filgaia safe and sound. Overall, I thought the game was pretty good, despite some of my quibbles with the second half.
— Ryan McCarthy (@LastZimOnEarth) July 20, 2020
After that, I started up Ys: The Oath in Felghana, which I’ve been having a great time with so far. I had my worries that it might be too much of a cakewalk on the Normal difficulty setting, yet my fears were put to rest when I faced the first boss, which took me several tries to overcome. The bosses that come shortly after that one really gave me so much trouble, especially after I realized that there was no way to heal Adol during these fights. This forced me to pay attention to the attack patterns to figure out the best times to deal damage. That’s also true for every boss I’ve encountered so far, as well as a couple of the enemy mobs that require a bit more than just mindless hacking and slashing to take down. The story so far is incredibly straightforward but that’s not a bad thing as it still does the job of giving me good reasons to go around slaying monsters, and the localization is good enough for me to not dread the dialogue sequences. My first journey with an Ys game has been swell and I’m definitely looking forward to playing more.
— Ryan McCarthy (@LastZimOnEarth) July 24, 2020
Zach continued to eat his way to success. What a hero!
— Zach Welhouse (@ZachRPG) July 24, 2020
That’s all for this week. With one more week left, let’s hope the RPGamer crew can finish #JRPGJuly with style!