Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Four Best JRPGs at Tokyo Game Show 2016

It’s a special time of year for the fans of Japanese role-playing games, when the time comes for the annual Tokyo Game Show. There was an abundance of news on upcoming games being released by their publishers, we got to see merchandise of our most beloved franchises and new game demos.

However, 2016 was a true treat, as the show floor featured many new entries of beloved series - a Final Fantasy game that will release in two months, Persona, and a Kingdom Hearts title. Tokyo Game Show 2016 was a spectacular occasion for which we’ve compiled a list of our favorite JRPGs featured this year.

Tales of Berseria

Berseria follows the demon-possessed young woman named Velvet Crowe on her path to revenge after her brother had been sacrificed to a dark entity, and it’s taking the franchise in a darker direction than any installment in the past. Velvet becomes a part of a band of heroes, as always in Tales games, and travels the world with them, looking for her shot at vengeance. Up to this point we’ve only seen Berseria in Japanese, but there was some English-translated footage of the RPG to be seen at Tokyo Game Show this year, shared by Bandai Namco.

There are small changes in the established elements of the Tales series that make Berseria special. For example, Berseria’s Skits – the short dialogues between characters – now have more dynamic animations and different avatar drawings. There’s a new feature, Break Soul, which allows characters to break their combo limit by charging up more powerful attacks, and that really makes the Berseria characters look more powerful than their counterparts in previous game. And not to forget that the players are allowed to move freely during battles and also control the camera.

Berseria is already out in Japan and has been since this summer, but the international launch of the game is expected early next year for PC and PlayStation 4.

Final Fantasy XV

Without this game any list of the best JRPGs at the Tokyo Game Show 2016 would have been incomplete – Final Fantasy XV – developed for a long time and anticipated even longer – is set for a release on November 29 worldwide. This was probably the last time anyone could get their hands on the game pre-release, so it was an opportunity not to be missed.

Final Fantasy XV is set in Eos, and it follows Noctis, the heir to the throne of Lucis, as he goes on a journey with his three best friends to find his future bride and save his kingdom. The characters and places of this fantasy world are believable and relatable, there’s a colorful cast of characters and overall the world has more of a “fantasy based on reality” feel rather than high-fantasy.

After seven years of waiting for another Final Fantasy title, we couldn’t be more eager for the release of this one.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8

This might get a few eye rolls from people who feel that another Kingdom Hearts spin-off isn’t necessary, but even though Kingdom Hearts III is a long way off from release, we don’t consider Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 to be a spin-off. There’s a lot to get from this package, the most interesting being new content - Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage, but there’s also a CGI movie that explains the plot of mobile game Kingdom Hearts Unchained X and a remastered PS4 version of 2012 3DS title Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

Of course, the new content is what we’re excited about most when it comes to HD 2.8, and that’s because Aqua is featured in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage. She is one of the three heroes of Birth by Sleep, and the title follows her attempt to rescue Ventus and Terra, consequently falling into darkness. The challenge before Aqua is to find a way out of the dismal underworld and conquer the darkness in her heart, all with a little help of some Disney character favorites such as Mickey Mouse, for example. Playing as Aqua is refreshing after so many years, and A Fragmentary Passage could well serve as an appetizer for Kingdom Hearts III considering it uses some of the same combat and locomotion mechanics.

Persona 5

The game was recently released in Japan, but fans of Persona 5 around the world will have to wait until February 2017. However that doesn’t take away any of the enthusiasm for the upcoming and long-anticipated title which is set in Shibuya – or at least the fictional version of the Tokyo’s center of commercialism and pop culture – and it follows a group of high school kids who want to better their world using the power of Personas.

The demo that was available on the show floor at Tokyo Game Show portrayed perfectly how engaging and fun the battles and dungeons can be in Persona 5. Combat has been improved significantly from the last game, and your character can wield multiple weapons as well as his persona-wielding ability. You can surprise-attack enemies by sneaking through dungeons, or if that’s too cloak-and-dagger for you, you can attack them head-on, and convince them to join your party. Also, the game looks beautiful, and there are some features such as an amazing UI design that could bring rewards to Persona 5 just on its own. If you speak Japanese, grab a copy right now and enjoy the beauty and entertainment value that this game possesses.


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