#JRPGJuly 2021 – Week 2 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 hosted by Nitro. Once again the RPGamer team is showing their support for the event by playing some JRPGs. If you’re participating make sure to use #JRPGJuly or share your feelings over on the RPGamer Discord server.

Week 2 featured lots of staff members finishing games, let’s see everyone’s progress!

Sam Wachter

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

This week’s #JRPGJuly run was a bust. I had my father-in-law visiting, so I didn’t get as much time to enjoy gaming as I would have liked. In terms of progress in Golden Sun, I’ve hit about 15 hours and just completed the Fuchin Temple. I’m finding more Djinn and taming them. Ivan continues to my favourite little cinnamon role, and I think the story is going some interesting places. Given how much I am enjoying Golden Sun, I managed to snag a copy of its sequel because I clearly needed it. The mystery in this game continues to keep growing and I hope to have made some headway by our next update.

Having finished Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana in the first week of the event, I put up a poll on Twitter between finishing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Persona 5 Strikers, and TMS won in a landslide. I’m up to chapter two in TMS and it is such a weird game. I love how it blends Fire Emblem and SMT with pop idol nonsense. Also how anyone views Itsuki as being a hentai just makes me so sad. THE BOY IS TOO SWEET, DARN IT. But you know what they say about the sweet ones… they probably love hentai.

Joshua Carpenter

Mario Golf: Super Rush

When I picked up Mario Golf: Super Rush for #JRPGJuly I didn’t expect a captivating, deep RPG to be lurking in its adventure mode. Somewhere in my heart, I knew I was going to be disappointed with what Nintendo was going to put out, but Super Rush managed to live down to my worst fears. It was short, the story lacked character, and even the boss battles were annoying.

It’s not all bad. Super Rush has several different tournament types — timed matches and cross-country golf where players can complete holes in any order — to keep it interesting, but it never lets the player marinate in these modes before quickly moving on to the next. Next week, I’ve got to find something else to play; maybe that means digging into the Vita backlog.

Phil Willis

Trials of Mana

After about a dozen hours into the original Trials of Mana, I decided to quit. I simply could not enjoy the experience with constant slow-down in the menus and the very clunky combat. Boss battles, in particular, proved either mind-numbingly easy or frustratingly difficult. Thankfully, the modern remake addresses many of these issues. Now about 20 hours in I continue this adventurous trek across the globe. Without diving into details, I have entered into the second half of the game where the world opens up and I now have eight bosses to tackle in whatever order I wish. Unfortunately, I chose a particularly nasty one that wiped the floor with my team. Some tips from a walk-through told me that doing a few other bosses, along with a bit of grinding, should not only level up my team but provide some items needed to upgrade their classes.

Ryan Costa

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light

I’m starting to think I picked the wrong game to get a nostalgia kick from. After a particular boss kept killing my party due to speed not meaning anything in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, I’m not sure how much more enjoyment from grinding I can find. On the plus side, the AP system with the Black Mage and White Mage classes means they never run out of magic casts. So no need to worry about healing or damage anymore, though I do wonder what physically damaging classes will come along to balance this. Also, whoever designed the inventory system with only fifteen slots per party member sucks — I lost a one-of-a-kind weapon because it went to a temporary party member after a boss fight who left the party right after and thus was lost before I ever got to use it. Many of these types of systems were considered annoying in the 16-bit era. Still, I soldier on to experience this interesting world where one of my characters can suddenly turn into a cat.

Jervon Perkins

Final Fantasy XIII

In a surprising turn of events, my second week of playing was dedicated to Final Fantasy XIII. Replaying it has become an exercise in removing public opinion from personal opinion. I forgot that I indeed love XIII. The closer I got to Gran Pulse (where both story and game open up), the more I pushed to complete each task. The freedom to move around open spaces, pick my team, and the leading on-screen character pushed me forward. Speaking of leading characters, I have found myself having a strong reconsideration of Fang’s character development. After hearing some rather heartbreaking pieces of her past, I empathized with her reason for fighting and her stoic personality. In the past, I couldn’t stand her but now she’s the leader of my party. My party is Fang, Hope, and Snow. I chose them all because each of the characters feature something in their story that resonates with my own story. Currently leveling each character’s Crystarium to their maximum level and crying each time Fang and Vanille talk about their past.

Anna Marie Privitere

Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story

Besides streaming more Final Fantasy VII Remake over on our Twitch channel, I managed to complete my first game of #JRPGJuly, putting Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story in the books as my 31st game conquered this year. It’s a fun mix of town-building simulation (or school-building, in this case) mixed in with short RPG exploration tasks, where students level up in combat or by doing errands, rank up into new classes, and then graduate out into the wider world. Every in-game half year, the council of queens decides which roles they need most. Graduating students that fulfill those requirements gain extra bonuses, which in turn raises the affluence of the school. Greater affluence leads to a higher maximum level of students, which when they graduate provides better rewards. It’s not a very deep cycle of gameplay, but it is incredibly satisfying, and I’m looking forward to the recently announced sequel to land on the Switch as well. Next week, I’ll be talking about my adventures in another Switch backlog game, Arc of Alchemist!

Michael Apps

Neptunia ReVerse

Week two saw me spend my first time with Monster Hunter Stories 2. A wonderful expansion of the simple but fun mechanics of the original game, it already looks to be providing another great mix of Pokemon-style monster-catching mixed with the world of the Monster Hunter series. Stories 2 looks great and so far plays fine on the Nintendo Switch.

I’ve also continued my adventures in Disgaea 6, and I’ve reached the chapter that takes place inside a Power Rangers-style TV show. The gags are wonderful and are showing how much effort was put into this localization. The maps continue to be fun and challenging and I can’t emphasize how excited I am to be enjoying this series again.

Finally, I inched along in Neptunia ReVerse a bit more but hit a bit of a roadblock. Early in chapter two, there is a tough boss fight that is immediately followed by a tougher boss fight against one of the other goddesses. Even when I was successful against the first boss it was ultimately fruitless as I had nothing left for the following boss fight. Hopefully, with a bit of grinding, I can progress forward in the story some more. Nonetheless, I’m very glad that I am enjoying this trio of games so far this month.

Paul Shkreli

Star Ocean: First Departure R

We’re already through week 2 of #JRPGJuly, and I am still in my groove with Star Ocean: First Departure R. I’m still a bit turned off by the backtracking, although it is nowhere near the awful levels reached in Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. Not sure if it is just the lack of nostalgia, but there’s something just missing from this game that has me yearning to play its sequel. One thing that has plagued me about the series is the uneasy merging of the sci-fi and fantasy elements. I’m more interested in the stories on paper than I am in the execution.

In this game, specifically, the excitement at the revelation of more advanced societies living in space has more or less been replaced with a stock villain from an anime factory. Then again, I had admittedly low expectations going into the game, and I was not expecting to be blown away by the story. The actual gameplay is enjoyable enough to make up for some of the narrative issues. I was initially tickled by the voice acting, it has since turned quite grating. Let’s see if I can close this one down… and start another one before our next recap! 

Ryan Radcliff

Demon’s Souls

Almost immediately after submitting last week’s entry, I was able to vanquish Demon’s Souls. The final boss proved to be a little challenging, as he sucked away some of my hard-earned souls, but eventually, I was triumphant and was rewarded with the credits rolling. Before I knew what was happening, the game automatically went into New Game Plus mode, but we can save that adventure for another time. I am sure there was a ton of hidden trinkets I missed along the way.

Final Death Count: 93

I also was able to start (and finish) Mario Golf: Super Rush‘s adventure mode. While it was a fun little adventure, it was a tad too little, and I was able to beat it in practically one sitting. Still, my Mii was able to become a decent golfer, and this also helps me prepare for a Twitch Golf Tournament I signed up for.

But with two games beaten, I was left needing to fill that void for an RPG to play during the rest of the month. This is #JRPGJuly after all! I decided to jump into Scarlet Nexus, and so far I am digging it. Story segments are presented as a manga adaptation with characters’ portraits flying onto the screen. I am still early, but let’s see if I can beat a third game this month! 

Zach Welhouse

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I’m onto the second half of Fire Emblem: Three Houses and students are starting to die. As an unanticipated outcome of focusing on my core kids, everyone who wasn’t eating at my cafeteria table joined a different army. Defeating them has been a challenge for my Suikoden-loving heart. I’ll be a less-discerning collector during my second play-through. I’m tentatively planning a Blue Lion run with the DLC, since they were dealt such a rough hand in the Golden Deer route.

The difficulty hasn’t been nearly as unforgiving as I expected. Hilda, Ignatz, Cyril, and Raphael are tearing through the enemies, while Marianne and Dorothea (one of my handful of exchange students) are keeping them strong. The game is generous with Divine Pulses, so even the most challenging battles leave me with rewinds to spare. I’ve been enjoying my time in Fódlan. Battles are keeping me on my toes, my students continue to surprise me, and the numbers continue to go up. 

Scott Wachter

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

A few more hours of playtime with 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim and I like the characters more – the chapters I’ve played are mostly in 1985 so it does feel more grounded and connected to each other. The talking cat is officially the best character.

Does combat get harder? I feel like I’m not doing anything tricky or have super customized mechs but I have S or S+ ranked every fight so far.

Erik van Asselt


Last Thursday I did it, I beat Earthbound on our Twitch channel. As much as I struggled with the outdated design philosophy underpinning a lot of the game, the last battle made it worth it. I felt a great connection with the game and the silly story which is something I did not expect from this 16-bit title.

Even a few days later, I am still thinking about the game. It leaves me thinking about what impact it has for someone when they play it now and whether it is worth playing. I would absolutely recommend new players to try it, but to also be aware of the clunkiness of the game. Inventory management and figuring out where to go next took more time than my battle against Giygas. Next up, let’s finish The Final Fantasy Legend.

Michael Baker

Grandia II

I’m closing in on the end of Grandia 2, and I may even be done with it by the time this goes up. While it’s been a fun and interesting ride so far, I’m not sure it holds up to my memories of the first game. It’s got a straightforward JRPG plot, and I’ve guessed nine out of ten major plot points well in advance and with no difficulty. I need to decide what I’m playing next.

Cassandra Ramos

Bravely Default II

I am so close to the end of Bravely Default II, I can almost taste it! Two more big bosses have been defeated in amazing, tricky fights, and there is seemingly one more dungeon left to go. I still find it amusing that a major component I needed to beat one of these bosses is the Vaccine accessory–not just because of current events, but also to prevent my new favorite status ailment, contagion, being inflicted on my own team. I can start a series of trials that are very hard, but from what I’ve gathered, I may want to leave them for post-game. For now, I want to max out the characters’ current job levels before I either finish the story or challenge these trials. I’m also finishing what seem to be the last few side quests available.

Obviously, I can’t say much about the current story events, but it’s an interesting way of getting to the true final chapter. The Bravely series does like to get meta, even if this game seems to downplay it more compared to the previous two. I also really like the continuing theme of holding out hope despite terrible outcomes. Perhaps by this same time next week, I’ll have the main story finished, but wrapping up loose ends will likely take me longer.


Sarah McGarr

Final Fantasy XIV

Hi friends, I’m back again with some Stormblood goodness. I haven’t progressed in the story too much – I got distracted by side quests. There are just so many new quest markers! Gotta catch ’em all! However, I did do a trial and leveled my white mage up to level 64. With the level increase, I was awarded Stone 4! I previously had to remove the lower level Stone (or find a new place for it) and add in the new Stone spell manually, but this one was equipped automatically. I’m all for that sort of streamlining, I just didn’t expect it. I’m assuming it was introduced in one of the updates.

The trial was really fun, and I’m surprised I did it on the first try. The last trial took me like 8294802934 times since I was in the magitek armor and couldn’t heal myself. This trial was lots of WHM DPS fun with a few heals sprinkled throughout. I did get to Holy the crap out of all the little groups of enemies that came out, which is the most fun. On my adventures in the new areas, I found a pretty purple cave.


Ryan McCarthy

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC

Confession time: I didn’t make as much progress as I would’ve liked. So far, the game has been pleasant and charming but I’m not sure I’m loving it quite yet. I did manage to finish the prologue after 10.5 hours of playtime when an incident leads Estelle and Joshua to investigate their father Cassius’ disappearance by heading to the city of Bose with the accompaniment of the more experienced bracer Scherazard. After entering Bose, it didn’t take long for me to become overwhelmed by both the size of the city and the sheer number of NPCs compared to the more quaint Rolent. Despite that, I’m looking forward to how things progress.

That’s all for this week. Let us know what sort of progress you’re making in your #JRPGJuly game in the comments!


Joshua Carpenter

Josh joined RPGamer in 2017 and is currently the Features and Editorials Director. This involves reviewing games and occasionally opining in opinion format.

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