#JRPGJuly 2022 – Final Wrap-up
It’s time to wrap up another year of everyone’s favorite monthly gameathon. #JRPGJuly was created as a community game-along by Anne Lee @ Chic Pixel, and hosted by MDi. Once again the RPGamer team is showing their support for the event by playing some JRPGs. If you’ve participated make sure to use #JRPGJuly or share your feelings over on the RPGamer Discord server.
How many staffers managed to complete their goals for the month? Read on to find out!
I have officially defeated Dhoulmagus. However, poor King Trode and Princess Medea have still not recovered from the curse. I have to admit, I probably did a few hours of grinding just to ensure that my party members were at least level 30, and thank goodness for Omniheal and Multiheal, which helped against the triple attacks that Dhoulmagus threw at me.
With Dhoulmagus defeated, we have somehow lost Jessica. I have since found her, but she is possessed, so I had to go find some jewels which required me to climb not one, but two towers. At this point I’m roughly forty hours in, and based on all the walkthroughs I’ve looked at, it turns out I definitely have a lot more game to go. I’m obviously not finishing Dragon Quest VIII during #JRPGJuly, but I’m so glad I gave this game a second chance.
— Sam Wachter (@merrygodown) July 27, 2022
Another #JRPGJuly has come to a close and while I may not have finished Final Fantasy VI, my continued enjoyment is reshaping my perceptions concerning the series. For years I felt that Final Fantasy X, the entry that stands out as one of my favorite RPGs, was an outlier because I didn’t click with so many of the other games in the series. I worried that because my memories of that game are intricately linked to playing it with my college friends, the inevitable rosy nostaliga that comes from those sorts of associations was skewing my judgment since so many of my other dalliences with the series have resulted in forgettable experiences.
Final Fantasy VI has been a delight throughout with charming characters and fun combat. While the dialogue may be a bit over-the-top, especially Kefka’s, it still works in contrast to this pixelized presentation. The extremes in expression allow the characters to come across in an era before photo-realistic graphics and voice acting existed to convey the story and emotions to the player. Honestly, I don’t know that I would want to see Final Fantasy VI get a modern remake; it’s a perfectly produced product of its time. I can’t wait to finish off Act II and see how the heroes take down Kefka.
— Joshua Carpenter (@jscarpe) July 25, 2022
Progress came fast and furious this week in Persona 4 Golden, due to charging into the third dungeon and whipping the sub-boss without issue. However, I ended up getting cold feet at the final floor, escaping to upgrade my equipment. I’ve learned from painful lessons in the past to go into boss battles fully prepared. Based on how the game has felt more balanced recently, I’m deducing that equipment played a big role in that, so I retooled and conquered. I did not end up focusing that much on upgrading Social Links, and that makes me think I need to have a more balanced playthrough on that front.
#JRPGJuly may be winding down, and with it, so does my free time for additional games. Persona 4 Golden has struck a chord with me, and I cannot wait to eventually beat this game. That time may be far down the road, but between the colourful cast, great combat, delightful visuals, and amazing soundtrack, I’ll definitely be diving in for more. I haven’t mentioned the soundtrack to this point much but every week I had a new tune stuck in my head that brought a smile to my face. It’s that kind of reaction that serves as a reminder that there are so many great games out there that I hope to have a chance to experience. One personal hope for this feature is that the camaraderie and joy of sharing our experiences means more gamers do the same and we all find new ways to appreciate an old classic or discover a hidden gem to share with everyone.
Given that Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a trophy system, I had to make my own completion criteria. Eventually, after doing a few quests to get my combat group their best weapons, I went to the final boss ready to get my butt handed to me. It has been the way of playing since I first got the game, but to my surprise, I steamrolled the enigmatic entity. I learned a big lesson for playing Xenoblade games in the future: do NOT rush through them. This time around, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition was far more satisfying, knowing that I got through the journey with a lot of memories attached to it. The end, while always great, truly felt earned this time. I couldn’t help but cry as the credits rolled. The younger me who played the Xenosaga series would be so proud of me now. And now that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is out, I’ve started my journey in the best way possible — with patience, diligence, and thoughtfulness.
— Jervon (@QueerShapedLife) July 29, 2022
Anna Marie Privitere
A month ago, when I wrote out my plans for #JRPGJuly, I expected to finish three games throughout the month. Instead I ended up finishing the same game twice, with a third playthrough nearly wrapped up. I do appreciate that Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a full experience no matter which route you take, though the game rewards you in various ways for seeking out all three paths. I’m also very happy I decided to keep the Blue Lions’ route for last — with the largest cast of characters, and the most amount of intermingled story, I wonder how different it would have felt had I played it first.
I also appreciate how all of the characters feel fundamentally the same from the original game, with enough changes to keep things interesting. Dorothea no longer being obsessed with marrying up, and Sylvain no longer being an absolute horndog both top my list as appreciated personality shifts. Ignatz and Lorenz both having slight personality tweaks also made Golden Deer have a much richer cast, and they remain my favourite house. I expect to wrap up my third route at around 130 hours played, and as much as I’ve absolutely adored my time with it, I’ll be looking forward to moving to more sedate gameplay mechanics. Perhaps in a week or two I’ll fire up an action RPG for ARPGAugust? Who knows!
— Anna Marie Privitere (@pawsrpg) July 30, 2022
I can not believe how much I like Tales of Zestiria. While the story still isn’t anything spectacular, the character interactions are wonderful. Also, the combat continues to get better and better. It’s a shame Tales of Berseria took a step back in terms of combat. Both are very similar but Berseria feels so plain compared to all of the great options Zestiria has. Is Zestiria dated? Absolutely, however, it’s a joy to play and don’t believe it deserves to be called one of the worst Tales of games. I can’t wait to continue this journey with Zestiria. Like all good journeys though, we have come to the end. It was my first #JRPGJuly and it’s been fantastic. Loved reading everyone’s thoughts on a variety of games and seeing tweets as well. Already looking forward to the next one!
Well, another #JRPGJuly is coming to a close and I have made it to the finish line – sort of! While I have not finished Tales of Symphonia, I am making significant progress. My earlier irritation with some of the game mechanics described a few weeks ago has given way to some enduring charm. As the relationships between the cast members deepen, a few late additions to the party roster make for some great moments of humor and emotion. After about the halfway point, the story really begins to take-off in unexpected directions as well. I really have enjoyed my time with Tales of Symphonia, and and even contemplating checking out the sequel when I finish.
Well, that’s a wrap on #jrpgjuly for me with #TalesOfSymphonia on the #SteamDeck. The story definitely picks up, and a great late additions round up a wonderful cast. Like I previously said, a great entry point for series newbies. pic.twitter.com/799U7IXxqp
— Paul (@paulwall217) July 30, 2022
So, I am going to be honest, The Last Story is not what I was expecting. I remember hearing that Sakaguchi and Uematsu teamed up again to create this game. I should have known that it was going to have that annoying Wii jank that every game on the system seems to jam down player’s throats. Thankfully, the Classic controller is an option for people who hate the whole motion controls gimmick. I was expecting something turn-based, I guess? This game is an action RPG in almost every sense, but there some neat sections that help slow battles down. You can also conceal yourself behind objects which allows for hiding, sneak attacks, and other options. I also just unlocked an ability that pauses the fight and lets me fly towards a friend or foe which creates various added effects.
I also like that the town seems to have a never ending supply of hidden items, which is basically a RNG slot machine for stats. It looks like the chapters are flying by in this game too, as I am still pretty early on, but I just reached chapter 13 after commandeering a boat. Considering this is the last week of #JRPGJuly, I am planning to continue this game well after this wonderful month has finished. It may not be what I imagined, but I found a fun game regardless. Every year I look forward to this collaboration. This time we played God while fusing demons, we jumped back into Ivalice, and we started a brand new adventure on a retro system. I’d say it was quite a successful affair!
This last week has been very trying. Between COVID and some medication issues, #JRPGJuly nearly came to a premature end for me. However, I ended up jumping back into Dragon Quest XI S on my Switch just to play something less depressing than the apocalyptic hellscape that is the vortex world in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I finished up all the quests I could, then proceeded into Act III. It was a pleasant way to pass the time during an unpleasant week. I’ll get back to Nocturne, but I’m glad I ended #JRPGJuly still playing JRPGs. It has been fun.
Erik van Asselt
During the last week of #JRPGJuly I started to actually enjoy my time with Arc the Lad II. Even though I was a bit disappointed by the first few hours, it soon changed when I discovered the job system. Our protagonist in Arc the Lad II is Elc and he is a hunter, which means he can pick up jobs at the guild to earn more money. Normally when you think about these kinds of jobs, you think about quests like “Please get me ten bear pelts”, but surprisingly every job had a small story. During my playthrough Elc has dealt with a ghost problem, found a missing dog, was forced to keep the dog, helped a rich person to cleanse his mansion of monsters, helped that same rich person to defend the mansion from thieves, and taken on many more silly missions.
The pacing of the game is really different from the first Arc the Lad game and it takes a bit to get used to it. However, now I am looking forward to see the rest of the game through which I will keep on doing during my streams on the RPGamer’s Twitch channel. If you want to see how my adventure unfolds, then don’t be shy and join in on the fun.
I am not 100% sure what is going on in Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines, but the storyline scenes have broken my brain every single time one comes up. The difficulty curve is ramping up, however, and the need to balance the time for demon-slaying (for fun and profit) against ensuring that the next generation actually comes into existence requires some tough decisions. The fact that I’m parsing my way through some high-level Japanese grammar and vocabulary is not helping, though at least the general dungeon crawling doesn’t throw too many curveballs to understanding.
As it stands, I probably won’t continue this one past the end of July, just because I need a break from time crunches and plot oddities. Will I come back to it? At some point, definitely. Maybe I’ll even pick it up next #JRPGJuly.
Welp, this #JRPGJuly ends in a bit of a whimper for me. Again, I couldn’t put in more than a handful of hours this past week into Skies of Arcadia Legends. At this point in the game, I completed everything in Ixa’taka and took a brief visit to the site of the next Moon Crystal, the Maw of Tartas in Valua. There the party learns that Rhaknam, the massive Archwhale that Drachma has been chasing is nearby. From what I recall, this encounter will not end well for all involved. I was really hoping to reach the part of the story where the party fights one of the Valuan Empire’s admirals, Vigoro. That’s because his English voice is none other than Charles Martinet, Mario himself (and Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi). Oh well; at least I can look forward to comparing Vigoro’s voice clips to Mario’s vocals.
It was definitely a good and mostly enjoyable experience to revisit Skies of Arcadia Legends. This game does not respect my time, but it likely wasn’t developed with overtired working adults in mind. This game played an important part in my developing my love of RPGs, particularly turn-based JRPGs. It’s such a fun, engaging world with a loveable cast of characters. While Skies of Arcadia could greatly benefit from a remaster or even a remake, I am glad I decided to replay this game. I intend to finish it as well.
— Cassandra Ramos (@BerryEggs) July 26, 2022
Woo! What a ride. I started with trudging through Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, only to not want to stop playing. The story has really gotten good! It’s like the first season of a show bombing, only to have the second season be spectacular. So many things happened — I defeated a Primal, unlocked the Reaper job (which I’m now really interested in playing), saw so many action-packed cutscenes, accidentally became friendly with the Vira beast tribe, and interrupted a beetle orgy — all in about three or four hours.
The Primal fight was difficult; we wiped twice before winning but that was partially my fault. I didn’t realize the GIANT BUTTON on my screen was to prevent me from getting one-shotted, or pushed off the edge. The party was pretty cool about it since I grabbed mostly mentors. Pretty sure randoms would’ve kicked me out after the first time, but they told me about the mechanic and we won, plus I got a commendation. The music was the best part, though. If you’ve never heard the battle music for Sri Lakshmi, I’d recommend giving it a listen.
In one of the later cutscenes, I’m left again screaming, “BUT I’M A WHITE MAGE! I’M A WHITE MAAAAGGGEEEE!” at a character being mortally wounded. I know there’s no way around this whole thing story-wise, but it’s still a pet peeve of mine. I’ve screamed this on multiple ocassions in past expansions.
— noodle (@yournoodleface) July 29, 2022
— noodle (@yournoodleface) July 29, 2022
Reflecting on the last month, it was definitely foolish of me to think that I would be able to finish Xenoblade Chronicles 2 before the end of #JRPGJuly. However, I still have made a good amount of progress in the game with 50 hours of time sunk into it. I’m currently on Chapter 6, where the party have just barely prevented Jin from making the tension between Uraya and Mor Ardain even worse than it already was, but not without a major sacrifice in the process.
While I’m not completely sold on the relationship between Rex and Pyra/Mythra, I do appreciate that the stakes of the grander plot are now loud and clear as the party learn of Malos’ plan to regain his full power, which will potentially cause a catastrophe similar to the Aegis War from 500 years ago. Not that that will stop me from going off the beaten path to partake in side quests. Even as the month is coming to a close, I do intend on finishing the game as well as playing the Torna DLC so that I can eventually play the just-released third game in the series.
— Ryan McCarthy (@LastZimOnEarth) July 29, 2022
That’s all for #JRPGJuly this year. We hope you enjoyed reading about our quests through JRPGs this month and share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.