#JRPGJuly 2022 – 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 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 third week proved to be busy for our staff, let’s see everyone’s progress!

Sam Wachter

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

I am roughly 27 hours into Dragon Quest VIII and the comedic gong show continues to entertain. We made it to Baccarat and my party was forced to go to a dark island only to be told we didn’t have a shining mirror, so we had to use a sabrecat AND a boat to get to Argonia. Then we get told by the king that his son is a loser and he wants him to become a man, so go to the Royal Hunting Ground and get bits of the Great Argon Lizard. Oh, and the loser prince has to tag along. Good times.

I actually love Prince Charmles, simply because he is that typical Dragon Quest buffoon who pretends he wants to get his hands dirty and then chickens out at the first sign of danger. I love how the party, particularly Jessica, ain’t got time for that crap. I now have the mirror, but it’s not ready to use yet. It’s off to fight Dhoulmagus and hopefully not get my butt kicked.

Joshua Carpenter

Final Fantasy VI logo

Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster

Because I didn’t grow up as a SNES kid, I’ve come back to play the pre-PS2 Final Fantasy games in an odd order. For a long time, I thought that I didn’t jive with these games and especially with the Active Time Battle System. However, playing Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster earlier this year finally got the system to click with me. That game is so much fun to break that it finally gave the impetus to spend the time to learn the different classes and understand how to maximize the system.

Coming into Final Fantasy VI, I was still concerned that FFV might have been an outlier, but I’ve really been enjoying the combat half of the experience. I think having a better appreciation of how to use a Blue Mage or Geomancer makes it much easier to play. I don’t know that the combat in FFVI feels balanced, but it’s a lot of fun while still maintaining challenge in the boss battles. I’m now curious to go back to FFIV and try it again; I remember feeling that the combat was bland, but maybe my lack of understanding was causing that. It’s always interesting when a game ends up challenging your preconceived notions. I can’t wait for some more battles to finish up July and see what Kafka has in store for my party next.

Ryan Costa

Persona 4 Golden

This week in Persona 4 Golden news: I fought a ton of battles. After defeating the second dungeon I dived back in, and kept at it until I was able to beat both bonus bosses that appear in those dungeons afterward. Other than that I did progress some social links and story beats and I am about to embark on the third dungeon soon. I do wonder if I’ll come across any difficulties with my Devil may care attitude (or Hierophant, Priestess, and Aeon as it’s been ending up) with my choices in social links.

Right now the hardest thing to juggle is wanting to raise some of the social links but being gated due to not raising social skills enough. This juggling act is difficult to maintain but ensures a lot of different possibilities for how players progress unless they follow a guide to the letter. This leads to an interesting thought: would I rather play a game for optimization, experimentation, or for fun. I think that answer can depend on the game and how flexible its rules are. So far in Persona 4 Golden, I’ve swayed too far in social links, then too much dungeon delving, I can almost guarantee I’ll be hitting the books or working jobs to raise social skills next. The important thing is I’ve had fun every step of the way and not felt too hamstrung by my choices giving me the freedom to play as I wish.

Jervon Perkins

Xenoblade Chronicles

One of the hardest things in setting up goals in a video game playthrough, especially one as robust as Xenoblade Chronicles: DE, is figuring out when you hit the goal. My goal was self-made: to achieve self-actualization through replaying DE. I’ve achieved a lot including: completing a majority of the side quests, reconstructing Colony 6 to level 3, and raising maximum affinity between my four most-played characters. Thing is, those feelings of accomplishment, which comes as part of achieving self-actualization, have been far more fleeting in the past week. I’m my biggest critic when it comes to achieving goals, which tells me that at this point, I’m only being mean to myself instead of encouraging. I’m dragging my butt and therefore the experience is at its end. My goal has been achieved and it’s time to finish the main game.


Anna Marie Privitere

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Having finished two playthroughs of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, surely I was free, right? …Right? I was not. I tried to dig into The Cruel King and the Great Hero a second time, and much like the first go, after only a couple of hours I was right back into Three Hopes, this time with the Blue Lions house. I’m just about to hit the midway point of the game, and with the month drawing to a close, I’ll soon have to decide if I want to finish a game I left hanging to jump into Fire Emblem Warriors, or if shiny new Live A Live is going to lure me in first.

Jon Jansen

Tales of Zestiria


So Tales of Zestiria is actually good? While it’s certainly not the best Tales game, it is a joy to play. The combat system in particular is great. Armatization is probably one of my favorite additions and I wish they found a way to include something like it in more games in the series. However, there are drawbacks to the game. About 15 hours in and the story hasn’t grabbed me yet, although the characters are great, and the camera during battles is a pain to navigate. There could possibly be some more negatives that arise (see what I did there) later on in the playthrough, but for now, I am enjoying my time with Zestiria.

Paul Shkreli

Tales of Symphonia

One of the things I appreciate most about Tales of Symphonia is the synopsis available from the main menu. There are few things worse than getting to a certain point in a JRPG, taking a short break, and coming back only to find out you have no idea where you left off. Hats off to the developers who knew the story would be convoluted yet peppered with cliches. There are a number of story beats – both small and large – that feel directly influenced by the storyline of Final Fantasy X, just without the gravitas. The battle system and strong characterization of the main cast continue to be the main draw of the title for me.

Ryan Radcliff

Shin Megami Tensei V

An interesting thing happened while I was trying to wrap up Shin Megami Tensei V, the wifey started playing Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age and had some issues with character setup and gambit customization. I haven’t played this game since its original release, so I was happy to help her optimize the gaming experience. I vaguely remember enjoying this game back in the day, but how did I play this without the fast-forward button? Such a great quality of life improvement. I spent a day running around, whipping up on Coeurls, who by the way, look like kitties who were taken over by Mindflayers. Seriously, what’s going on with their design in this game!?

Finally, I was able to finish Shin Megami Tensei V. I went down the Neutral path, and apparently, there’s a “true” ending, but that requires an entire new playthrough of what was a 70+ hour adventure. I had fun, but I am not jumping back in any time soon. One thing I did to save myself from needless grinding was to save all my Gospel items. These allow the Nahobino to immediately level up, so with 12 in my inventory and once I reached level 87, I was able to use these items and attain the max level. I could then summon all the available demons. The sidequest that unlocks Shiva ended up being a harder fight than the final boss. I enjoyed my time with this game, but I am ready to move on to the next #JRPGJuly adventure. Bring on The Last Story!

Robert Sinclair

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster

So, I’m in a weird spot when it comes to playing Nocturne this month. I’ve rejected every Reason, I’m on track to get one of the endings I have never seen, and I’m well on my way to getting to the bottom of the labyrinth, but I’m finding myself getting bored. It’s not that I’m not enjoying playing the game, it’s just that I can’t lose barring some instant death fluke. Makakaja, Meditate, Life Drain, and a host of immunities that the fiend race has made the difficulty non-existent. Mother Harlot was killed without breaking a sweat and the boss in Yoyogi Park, the last area I cleared, barely taking a hit thanks to physical repel magic. Literally, the only thing stopping me from beating the game is the time it takes to actually play it. Still love it though.

Erik van Asselt

Arc the Lad

This week I finished Arc the Lad during my stream on the RPGamer’s Twitch channel. I really enjoyed my short time with the game. I know the story isn’t amazing and the characters are quite shallow, but the whole game oozed heart and that is what I really enjoyed. The game offers silly things, like a character that fights with instruments or villains that are so evil, that I still wonder how everyone didn’t see right through their plans, but I really enjoyed it. That is why I jumped straight into Arc the Lad 2 and then I got a little disappointed.

I am only a few hours in at the moment, but I am already missing quite a few of the details I really enjoyed from the first game: no character portraits during dialogues, no big celebration for level-ups, and many more small things. The game does make some big steps in the right direction. Actually being able to see the stats of your team outside of battle is a lifesaver, but something is nagging me about the game. Let’s see if Arc the Lad 2 can surprise me during the upcoming week. So do check out the fun at the RPGamer’s Twitch channel.

Michael Baker

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland


As she was happily adventuring along, Meruru fell afoul of her series’ worst foe: the never-ending load screen bug. Alas, her player’s laissez-faire attitude towards actually saving the game meant that this cost her about fifty percent of the total progress she’d made in that playthrough (literally two years of time lost).

To be honest, I was surprised that it wasn’t one hundred percent. I don’t recall ever making that save file. But I suppose that it’s as good a sign as any that I should move on to my other Vita backlog title. This one also has tight calendar scheduling and incredibly particular subsystems, but otherwise, it is a completely different beast: Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines. I will be the first to admit that I have zero idea of what I am doing in this one, but a quick read through a FAQ suggests that this is not the sort of game one wants to play in a second language. It was a miracle I could follow along with the opening movie sequence well enough to know what the literal hell was going on. There were disasters, executions, human sacrifices, necromancy, ritual cannibalism, and transubstantiation — all before the game actually began.

Ah… Alfa System. This is going to be a crazy ride.

Cassandra Ramos

Skies of Arcadia Legends

I once again was unable to play as much Skies of Arcadia Legends as I would have liked this past week. I was at least hoping to finish Ixa’taka, but instead, I’m saved right outside Rixis, ruins that supposedly houses the Green Moon Crystal. I like rediscovering things about this game I have long forgotten. One of the locations in Ixa’taka is the village Horteka, consisting of houses among the trees, ladders, and these swinging contraptions to get around. It is hard to remember where specific places are, but it’s really neat to look around the different nooks and crannies. One thing I didn’t forget was the music in Horteka, which seems to take many cues from Andean folk music. It’s not surprising, since Ixa’taka is a mixture of various cultures, both past, and present, from Central and South America.

Skies of Arcadia again shows it’s a product of its time when I tried to find a save point in the Moon Stone Mountain dungeon. There was one near the entrance that was blocked off and another near the end. I took much of a late night trying to find this save point since I kept nodding off to sleep. Skies of Arcadia doesn’t have a quick save function, and nowadays it would likely either be able to save anywhere or have auto-save, if not both. It would have also been nice if there was some way to lessen the encounter rate or if battles were a bit faster. I do enjoy Skies of Arcadia‘s battle system for the most part, but the speed can be a nuisance when I just want to get through a dungeon quickly. Considering what my time is like these days, it’s a small wonder I have less tolerance for random encounters compared to when I first played this game.

Sarah McGarr

Final Fantasy XIV

I was able to get more into Stormblood‘s story this week. It was a lot of trudging through the uninteresting parts, but I’m getting more interested now. I want those snake women to be a playable race, that would be so cool! I was able to get some more aether currents, and now only have one left before I can fly in the Fringes. A good cutscene happened when I went to investigate the snake woman pleading with a Primal to bring her daughter back to life. We, of course, tried to reason with them to no avail, and the Primal then tried to manipulate us into following her. This did not work and I was able to jump in and save my party with magical powers. I had a real Mama bear look on my face like when your cat is mad at you. It was really good animation. After that, looks like I have a new Primal fight which I am not looking forward to, the last ones were really hard.

Ryan McCarthy

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

The amount of progress I’ve made in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has slowed quite a bit since the first week. I’m currently on Chapter 5 with 44 hours of accumulated play time. At the end of chapter 4, not only does Poppi gain a new form that essentially acts as a new blade for Tora’s use, but the inquisitor Morag comes to help the party after fighting with two never-before-seen members of Torna. In Chapter 5 so far, the party briefly visited Fonsett Village, where Rex grew up after his parents died. After that, the party makes their way to the capital of Indol with Zeke, a character who was previously portrayed as a comic relief villain beforehand and has now joined as a party member.

As of now, I have gained the ability to switch between Pyra and Mythra with a single press of a button, which proves useful due to their different elemental abilities. One element that is a bit exasperating to me is realizing that raising my various blades’ field skills has certain requirements that I have to pay attention to if I want to level them up. It doesn’t help that looking through these various blade skill trees can feel like a chore due to the controls to navigate through them. I am now really feeling the maximalist design approach the game takes to its systems.

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!

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