A lot of us who live outside of Japan don’t realize just how important the Dragon Quest series is to gaming. So many of us are bound to have at least one JRPG among our favorites of all time, yet ultimately aren’t familiar with the series that put this genre on the map. I’ve often thought of what it must be like to discuss the differences in gaming culture with a gamer from Japan, about the differences in popularity and what games that we never got in our respective countries.
Dragon Quest III is to the Dragon Quest series what Final Fantasy VII is to the Final Fantasy series. It’s the one that damn near every thinks of when they hear the name of the series. I finally got the chance to play through Dragon Quest III for myself a few months ago through its Switch port, and even thirty years after its release, it still kicks some serious ass! Read more
Yeah I kinda fell out of the habit of making Amazing VGM Pieces haven’t I? The last one I did was for The Dark Colossus Destroys All from NieR, and that was back in October. Perhaps I should capitalize on the game I just reviewed then? Dragon Quest II it is! Particularly I would like to go with the two world map themes and their variations. The first of these tracks is titled “Distant Journey” (Also sometimes referred to as “A Lonely Youth”), plays on the world map with an incomplete party, and is thus the first one you here.
Dragon Quest II is often glossed over when discussing the legacy of the series. While Dragon Quest I is noteworthy for being the first game in the series and Dragon Quest III is noteworthy for being motherfucking Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest II just seems to be known as “that one that’s really really hard and comes between Dragon Quest I and III.” I often see people act as if Dragon Quest II is completely unremarkable and that is just not the case.
Dragon Quest II is a pretty badass game when you get right down to it. I should note that I have not played the NES original this time around and am thus only familiar with it from a lets play I saw years ago and from what I’ve looked up about it. From what I can gather the later versions definitely seem more polished and well structured, that is unless you are playing and English fan translation of the super famicom version that is. Read more
Given the niche of people who read my stuff, I am sure most of you are aware of the impact the Dragon Quest series has on JRPGs as a whole. There is a strange sense of disconnect when thinking about how popular the series is in Japan when comparing its overseas releases. While the series is moderately popular in the west, the Dragon Quest series is pretty much mainstream in Japan. Today I am going to look at the game that started it all.
Prior to about a month ago, I have never played the first three Dragon Quest games (and still have not played the third as I am writing this). I beat the first Dragon Quest a few weeks ago and am very close to completing Dragon Quest 2. For the sake of context, the version I played through was the SNES version but I played a bit of the NES version until my emulator went kaput and made me lose all my progress. I plan to briefly talk about each version though and this piece is meant as a critique of the game overall. Read more
Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more
So there is this video game series called “Castlevania.” I’m sure you never heard of it as it’s quite obscure like everything else I cover. In all seriousness though there was a time when Koonami actually made good games and wasn’t obsessed with Pachinko machines and Soccer games. They had many influential and beloved series such as Gradius, Ganbare Goemon, Metal Gear, Contra, Suikoden, and Silent Hill, and not to mention plenty of other cult hits like Shadow of Destiny, Azure Dreams, Zone of the Enders, and other series that I never actually played but will still get weebs riled up by mentioning since no one else knows they exist.
The last time I did a retrospective, it was on Namco’s Splatterhouse series where I reviewed each game individually. I only needed to cover five games so that was more manageable, but the Castlevania series has over 40 of the bastards to cover and I kinda want to do other shit. As a compromise I decided I would start by covering multiple games per article so I don’t need to write a full review for games most of you already have played or know you should play. This does still allow me to touch upon the more obscure and lesser known entries in the series and compare them to the ones everyone likes and mock how inferior they are or make you feel bad about having not played them (mostly the former in this piece). Read more
See, I told you I would go with something happier than last week’s VGM… although I could probably upload the sound of dying kittens and it would be less depressing to listen to then “Sayo-nara” was. But anyway, since the last track seemed to take heavy influence from the “Lavender Town” theme, I decided I would go with the song that plays in the next town in the game; “Celadon City.”
It has been a while hasn’t it? Well, here it is, the return of JRPG Update. As I have stated in my Update of JRPG Update, updates will new be split into two separate subseries focused on professional releases and indie titles respectively. They are also going to be monthly instead of weekly, as it was way too taxing to do so weekly and it got in the way of my regular content. Additionally, I am only embedding trailers that are in English now as to reduce the lag that greatly obstructs progress during editing. If you want to see the Japanese trailers then click the links provided.
Anyway, starting the JRPG releases since last update, we have seen the release of Xenoblade Chronciles 2 (Switch), Tokyo Xanadu eX (PS4/PC), Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope – 4K & Full HD Remaster (PS4/PC), Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis (PS4/XBox One), Romancing SaGa 2 (PS4/Vita/Xbox One/Switch/PC), World of Final Fantasy (PC), Omega Quintet (PC), Elminage Original: Priestess of Darkness and The Ring of the Gods (PC), and Yodanji (Switch/PC)
Anyway, now for the news.
There were some pretty exciting announcements made this week in terms of vocalizations, and I think a lot of people will agree with me on that one. But before that, we need to go over this week’s new releases. First we have Dark Rose Valkyrie on the PS4, our most recent Compile Heart/Idea Factory RPG. Secondly, we have ClaDun Returns: This is Sengoku! for PS4, Vita, and Steam by Nippon Icchi Software. Additionally, last week I forgot about Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo HD Edition for PS4. Anyway, let us begin.