It seems that every time we get a new Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy or Persona release, we have the same old “we’re having a JRPG renaissance!” discussion.
Well, dear reader, with my coverage of Death End Re;Quest on the horizon at the time of writing and plenty more RPGs in our shared futures, I’m here to remind you that RPGs have been alive and well ever since what people think of as their “golden age” — the SNES and PS1 eras. This will not be a shock to some of you reading this, of course, but I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who have passed up some wonderful experiences for one reason or another.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d do a list of seven arbitrarily chosen things that you might have missed out on if you’ve been operating under the grossly mistaken assumption that the role-playing game genre has somehow been “dead” despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Here we go!
Continue reading Seven Arbitrarily Chosen Things You’re Missing Out On If You’ve Been Operating Under the Mistaken Belief that JRPGs are “Dead”
At the time of writing, Sony has just announced that production of the PlayStation Vita will be ending in 2019, with no plans for a successor.
This follows news from earlier this year that we’re counting down the days until the last Western physical Vita release, with many of the last releases coming in limited form from boutique publishers such as Limited Run Games and Special Reserve.
With all that in mind, I think it’s about time we looked back over this remarkable and vastly underappreciated system’s life… and celebrated the things it did really, really well.
Continue reading Reflections on PlayStation Vita
Time for a Community tag post! This one looked like a particularly fun one, and after the lovely Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime specifically requested me to do one about games, who was I to refuse?
The original tag came from The Awkward Book Blogger and was based around, as you might expect, books — but it has since expanded to encompass anime and now, thanks to my contribution, games as well.
So let’s jump right in. After the jump. Jumpy jumpy jump.
Continue reading The One-Liner Challenge
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!
Today’s category comes to us from SoriasSire, who left some great ideas in the comments of this post just like you (yes, you!) should go and do right now. SoriasSire is also a longtime supporter of the site and Japanese gaming in general, so a hearty thank-you for your ongoing support!
It’s a popular misconception among people who don’t know any better (or do any research) that we have a shortage of badass female lead characters in video games, but nothing could be further from the truth — particularly in Japanese gaming. This award aims to celebrate an awesome example of an all-female ensemble cast that we’ve explored over the course of 2017.
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: Saving the World with Only Girls
Dungeon crawlers aren’t historically associated with having particularly strong stories, perhaps largely due to their origins as mechanics-heavy games with player-created parties.
A number of recent Japanese takes on the subgenre — including, among others, Demon Gaze, Operation Abyss and Dungeon Travelers 2 — have proven it is possible to blend mechanically sound, deeply absorbing dungeon crawling with a strong sense of narrative, however.
MeiQ is the latest game to follow this trend, featuring an imaginative steampunk-cum-sci-fi tale revolving around a strong, all-female central cast of characters.
Continue reading MeiQ: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
A good dungeon crawler has two aspects it has to nail in order to be successful: combat and exploration.
Japanese takes on the genre often tend to incorporate a strong sense of narrative and characterisation to the experience, too — and certainly MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is no exception to this — but at its core, a dungeon crawler is about 1) navigating your way through a series of increasingly complicated mazes, and 2) kicking the snot out of any monsters who appear to block your path.
We’ve already talked about MeiQ’s interesting and unconventional combat, progression and equipment mechanics. So now let’s take a closer look at its approach to dungeon design.
Continue reading MeiQ: Building a Better Dungeon
By attempting to provide an accessible dungeon crawler experience, MeiQ has put itself in an interesting position.
Too much mechanical depth and it will alienate the very people it’s hoping to attract. But not enough depth and the hardcore gridder enthusiasts will tire of it long before things get interesting. How to approach this, then?
Through a combination of approaches, as it happens, and the result is both effective at what it does and surprisingly distinct in a subgenre that is sometimes accused of taking a bit of a “cookie-cutter” approach.
Let’s take a look at the game’s mechanics in more detail.
Continue reading MeiQ: Girls and Guardians