#JRPGJuly 2022 – 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 MDi. 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.
The first week proved to be busy for our staff, let’s see everyone’s progress!
Twenty hours into Dragon Quest VIII and I finally have a boat! Since the previous update, I have dealt with thieves in Pickham, discovered how Trode and Medea ended up in their current forms, and spent a lot of time cursing the map design for Castle Trodain. My levels are between 18-20, with Jessica sadly being the lowest level character I have at the moment. As I have my ship now, I plan to do a bit of exploration and I think this is a great opportunity for me to do a bit of grinding to get her up to where everyone else is. I absolutely adored the scene where we obtain the boat, as watching the cast freak out about floating on air was just delightful. The humour in this game continues to be top notch and I find myself laughing along with the dialogue, which is such a testament to how well done the localization is. Our next goal is to explore the western continent, so it’s off to Baccarat and Argonia!
— Sam Wachter (@merrygodown) July 13, 2022
After many years and playing numerous different RPGs, I can finally call myself a cultured consoler of JRPGs. I’ve finally been to the opera. Going into Final Fantasy VI, my knowledge of the game consisted of two facts: the bad guy is Kafka and there is an opera scene. So after living for 28 years in relative ignorance, I think I expected one of the only salient things that managed to break through into my knowledge of the game to be more pivotal to the arc of the story.
I assumed the opera scene would be the turning point for the first half of the game, whereas the big twists, shocks, and surprises all follow in the next bit of the story. That’s not to downplay the opera scene; I can see why that broke through as it is such an impressive visual storytelling setpiece. Coming from Final Fantasy IV and V, those games are much more straightforward in the way they are using sprites and text to convey the story. In FF VI, I’m seeing the designers play with moving the camera and making more dynamic cutscenes that would go on to become the core of later Final Fantasy storytelling. Despite it being slightly odd to add voice acting to the game that otherwise lacks it, I think the opera singing really sets off the scene in the Pixel Remaster version. Now that I’m approaching the second half of the game, it will be interesting to see if FF VI keeps up the momentum that it has built up.
— Joshua Carpenter (@jscarpe) July 11, 2022
After another week of playing Persona 4 Golden, I realized that while I like social links and the stories are a lot of fun, there’s so many that I’ve forgotten to go dungeon diving. After promptly dying in the first battle, I’m figuring out that the balance between school life and diving into a TV is a difficult mix. The parallel to real life is there; while we aren’t diving into a TV, all of us can relate to trying to juggle work, study, and social life.
With the start of the second dungeon, I see there’s a way to pay money to heal, which seems to always be a higher amount than I have. I’ve found I’m likely not optimizing the social links properly, which brings up my only nitpick of the game so far. Persona 4 Golden is tough, but that it seems poor early game choices in social links and not exploring the dungeon enough can basically end the game which is a bit frustrating. I recognized this early enough that now I will be grinding to make sure I can defeat the boss before it’s too late. Yet despite this the story, characters, and gameplay are all still highly engaging and I’m having a blast.
I’ve considered the Xeno-series to be one of the greatest gamifications of the hero’s journey in modern video games. The adventures are steep and demand so much of the player, especially in the Xenoblade series.
For the past week or so, I feel like I’ve been at the steepest part of the proverbial mountain of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. I’ve arrived at the final chapter which means I’ve been wrapping up a lot of side quests. This game has a lot of it, and it’s made playing a big challenge, but I’m making it … slowly.
Editor’s note: Check out Jervon’s recent editorial that dives into the Xenoblade series.
Anna Marie Privitere
I had an interesting gaming week. Having finished Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, I jumped right into The Cruel King and the Great Hero. It’s an absolutely adorable game, with a storybook-like graphical style, witty dialogue, and interesting role reversal characters. And yet, the more I played it, the more I missed my Fire Emblem family…
So I decided to stop Cruel King temporarily and start another run of FEW:3H. I’m hopelessly addicted! For my second playthrough, I’ve chosen Edelgard’s house. Scarlet Blaze has a lot of similarities to my first playthrough, and it’s fascinating to see some key encounters from the opposite perspective. The Empire doesn’t feel soulless when you begin to understand its inner workings. I’ll be diving into the final battles this weekend, then plan to resume my second JRPGJuly game…and hopefully this time it’ll stick!
— Anna Marie Privitere (@pawsrpg) July 9, 2022
That’s it? When I first selected Demon’s Souls for #JRPGJuly I thought I would be in for a daunting task. That wasn’t the case though. In just over 16 hours the final demon was vanquished and “Jonny Deaths” claimed his freedom. For the most part, I liked Demon’s Souls and still believe that it is the best entry point into the Souls games. Death Count: 33.
Admittedly I was not expecting to finish Demon’s Souls so early, so I did not have a second game on tap. However, the backlog is huge and there’s a Tales game that needs to be played. For the rest of the month, I will be playing Tales of Zestiria. So far I am about 10 hours in and actually loving this mess of a game. I’ll be posting my journey through Zestiria on my Twitter account @jjansen34!
Wow, hard to believe we are already halfway through #JRPGJuly. I have been making excellent progress on Tales of Symphonia. The story is starting to gel, and I am feeling more immersed in the lore and world. The character interactions are so charming, which is nice because there are so many skits to observe. Aside from growing my party and mashing my way through most battles, I am almost overwhelmed at how many optional things there are to do.
I’ve played minigames where I’ve taken food orders, hunted some quests, and my personal favorite sidequest is the Master Chef series, where players have to find the Master who is hiding in plain sight as ordinary items in each town. The reward for finding him is a secret recipe that I will likely make once and never again, but it’s all about the journey and not the destination, right?
Having some much fun with #talesofsymphonia on #SteamDeck for #jrpgjuly. The group interactions are frequent yet charming and there are so many fun distractions with oddball mini games and a chef to hunt down. pic.twitter.com/EfmF56oo0M
— Paul (@paulwall217) July 15, 2022
This week was more productive and I have to imagine I am nearing the end of Shin Megami Tensei V. My Nahobino is in the mid-70s, and now we can start creating different Gods from all the religions around the world. One thing I have always appreciated about the SMT series is the added lore about each demon the player is able to create.
I love reading about all of these deities, and usually, I learn about a new one with each new entry in the series. In the game, we are currently searching for three keys in order to open up some Godly throne area. Let’s see if I can wrap this game up soon so I can jump into the next game I’m slated to play this #JRPGJuly, The Last Story.
— Ryan A. Radcliff (@RadShadow) July 15, 2022
This last week has seen me make a ton of progress in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne while making only small story gains. After defeating two of the horsemen of the apocalypse, I climbed to the top of the obelisk, killed the Moirae sisters, saved the battery lady, then immediately went hunting the third horseman. With the three menorahs, I jumped into the labyrinth and finished Kalpas 2 and 3.
I always hated the run-in with Dante in the third Kalpa and, to my dismay, it’s exactly the same with Raidou. I need to do some story to make the last horseman appear, though. My MP draining team now also has some buffs and dispels, meaning bosses are taking way less time than before. I should be done with the labyrinth next week and be locked in for the true demon ending. See you soon, Lucy!
— lolwhoops – #teamhandheld (@lolwhoops) July 15, 2022
Erik van Asselt
After some troubles with my PC, I decided to choose a new game to stream for #JRPGJuly. Looking through Youtube videos about short JRPGs, a game caught my eye that I have had on my To-Do list for quite a while. The first JRPG ever to be released on the Sony Playstation in Japan. Yes, I am playing Arc the Lad at the moment.
The game is a strategy role-playing game in its most basic form. On the battleground, you can move your character and select which action you want to choose. It feels really fast-paced and I really enjoy it. I am not getting bogged down by twenty menu screens just to do an attack. But sometimes things can be too simple. That is when I realized that there is no easy way to see the stats of my party members outside of combat.
The sound design and music are excellent, and the sprite work is really well done; it all gives off a mid-nineties RPG flavour I have been craving for a while. As this game is not very long, I suspect I will finish it in the next week. So do check out the fun at the RPGamer’s Twitch channel.
— HerrFrog (@FanFrog) July 15, 2022
I always give the traditional Atelier games at least two times around, and I managed to get a clear condition for Atelier Meruru that I wasn’t aware existed. Apparently, the best means of gaining royal parental approval for your life choices is to put down a raging dragon on the shores of an underground lake. High expectations, Dad. I’m now into Year 4 of a three-year game, so we shall see what adventures come. I’m still disappointed that the game isn’t more centered on Meruru as a character, especially after Totori‘s personal arc in her own game, and the alchemy system isn’t quite there yet when it comes to adjusting outcomes. It’s enjoyable enough, but it’s not going high on my ranking of games within the series.
While I didn’t get much gaming time this week, I did get the Red Moon Crystal and am on the way to the next nation, Ixa’taka. I also fought Piastol, the Angel of Death. Bounty Hunter Piastol is part of the additional content added to the Skies of Arcadia Legends port. After developing a grudge against Vyse, she’ll go on to fight the party multiple times. The first time I played the game, I thought she was impossible to defeat at that point. Eventually, I beat her not just for the first time, but for each fight after. They were always an ordeal and I had to restart the battles at least a few times. During this playthrough, I was able to beat her without having to restart the battle or come back later.
When I was fourteen, Skies of Arcadia was a learning experience. I had little experience with traditional JRPGs, with Pokémon and Paper Mario being the most I’d dabbled in the genre. Neither of these is a traditional turn-based RPG with a party of three or more characters. There was more than just type advantage or having a better weapon. I learned to use buff and debuff effectively, how to manage the SP meter to use Special Moves, and the usefulness of unique abilities like Aika’s Delta Shield, which prevents both sides from casting magic. Starting with this game, I not only learned how to beat hard fights but to enjoy them as well. Trying out strategies is as fun and rewarding now as it was back then. It’s interesting to see how this enjoyment likely started. Later JRPGs like Arc Rise Fantasia and Bravely Default would have more enjoyable, faster turn-based battles, but Skies of Arcadia is where it started for me.
— Cassandra Ramos (@BerryEggs) July 14, 2022
I can’t believe we’re already halfway through #JRPGJuly! I was exceedingly busy this week, so didn’t get a ton of time to play, but did end up squeezing in a few hours of Final Fantasy XIV. As my Free Company (guild) wasn’t available, I jumped into a trial to complete an important story dungeon. It was easier than I expected it to be — usually I don’t win on the first try during story battles like this one. I had the strategies down pat, and I was excited to see a whole new area opened up after we finished. I gathered all the quests before logging off for the night. I was afraid I was going to have to do some duty finder quests because I was running low on story content. Looking forward to playing more next week!
— noodle (@yournoodleface) July 16, 2022
My progress in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has been relatively slow compared to the first week as I am currently in the middle of Chapter 4, about 33 hours in. Chapter 3 closed with a difficult fight that ended in a climactic moment that shed some light on Pyra’s ordeal. As of now, the party has ended up in the capital of Mor Ardain, where they are currently trying to locate an artificial blade created by Tora’s father and grandfather.
While I’ve more or less gotten used to the various systems, there are a couple of things that irk me. For one, while it is nice that the game is willing to throw some challenging fights, I can see how they might be frustrating to players who still haven’t completely figured out the nuances of the battle system. There were a couple of boss fights in particular that took me several tries and while I did find satisfaction in finally getting a victory against them, they can feel like potential brick walls for those who don’t have the patience for that kind of difficulty. I’ve also hit a minor snag as it is required for Tora’s artificial blade Poppi to have her Nopon Wisdom field skill at level 3, meaning I’m unable to progress the main quest until I can pass that skill check. I’m hoping next week will treat me better overall.
— Ryan McCarthy (@LastZimOnEarth) July 15, 2022
That’s all for this week. Let us know what sort of progress you’re making in your #JRPGJuly game in the comments or on Twitter!