When people think of the biggest JRPG series, what do they usually think of? Likely Final Fantasy at this point but the series is no longer what it once was. There’s also Dragon Quest if you are in Japan or are a total weeb like myself, and the Tales series if you are a weeb as well. But the face of new console JRPGs for the last decade or so has arguably been the Persona series.
Persona 3 was the first new entry in the Persona series in 6 years when it originally came out. The original Persona was pretty popular in Japan but it just kind lingered in obscurity in the US since it was a JRPG released before Final Fantasy VII. The first entry in the Persona 2 duology was not even localized at the time and as far as I know the second one wasn’t successful.
It was Persona 3 that decided to change its entire approach and that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting Atlus on the map. I first played Persona 3 almost a decade ago and had yet to replay it until earlier this year. While it is not without flaws, it is an immensely powerful game and is likely to remain a cornerstone in the genre for quite some time. There is a lot to talk about with Persona 3 both good and bad. 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
This week’s VGM is a special track. This track has an especially notable significance to me in not only how it sounds, but also what it represents. In the past I have often made Amazing VGM pieces that connect to me personally in regards to my very own struggles in life, I believe that games have a very significant personal element to them that many are often discouraged from sharing for not being “objective,” and I feel this greatly undermines the medium as a whole.
Anyway this week’s track is from Persona 3, a flawed game in many ways but nonetheless one of my all time favorites. I have been replaying this game and I’ve just about reached the end of The Journey portion of the game. While I find the overall musical output of Persona 3 rather average, there are some standout tracks that have a very deep and meaningful impact when you hear them. This track is one of those.
Heavenly Guardian seems to have been a game that was a victim to some pretty poor reception if its metacritic page is any indication. Ultimately I would have to say that, while criticism towards this game is not entirely undeserved, it is a bit much to claim it is a bad game because of it. A lot of these reviews simply made claims that the game was “dated” and touched on production values rather than talking about important gameplay elements that can make or break the game as a whole. Read more
This review was certainly put off for quite some time. I should let it be known that I am reviewing this two years after I beat it, but my memory is pretty good in regards to these things. I don’t quite remember why it was that I didn’t write a review at the time but I’m finally going to write it now. The Legend of Dragoon is a fantastic game and quite simply put, it deserves the praise it gets.
The Legend of Dragoon is far from the most original JRPG out there and if you are looking for something unique to the genre then this likely won’t satisfy you. In fact, the game actually had mixed reception at launch. Former IGN reviewer David Smith once said that “Games like Legend of Dragoon and Shadow Madness rank among the worst of the previous generation, regardless of genre” only a year after he reviewed it and gave it a 7 out of 10. Yeah, IGN reviewers being incompetent bought out morons is hardly a recent phenomenon. 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
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.
So, we all agree that Mega Man X music kicks ass right? I mean, how can someone think otherwise. I’ve already talked about Spark Mandrill’s theme from the first Mega Man X, but it’s the Christmas err fuck, I mean holiday season, and I am totally being forced to say “holidays” instead of Christmas against my wishes due to political correctness gone mad and not just poking fun at an overused joke. Yeah yeah I know, no one actually cares which one I use except for the easily offended MAGAtards and Trump himself, which makes me want to keep saying holidays in and of itself. Unfortunately even I can’t manage THAT level of contrarianism when I actually do celebrate Christmas.
Anyway, i just put that tangent there because I need enough content before I put the “read more” break in. Read more
Welcome to this week’s VGM. I have decided that I would go with something that is from a game especially nostalgic to me, Final Fantasy VII. Of course, I’m never one to go with the predictable tracks like “One Winged Angel” or “Aerith’s Theme” or even slightly less common but still talked about tracks like “Still More Fighting” and “The Great Warrior.” The first track that comes to mind when I think of Final Fantasy VII is either “Interrupted by Fireworks” (which I honestly find more beautiful and emotionally moving than “Aerith’s Theme”) or “Holding My Thoughts in My Heart.”
Music has always been a very integral part of almost any media. The idea of musical accompaniment to plays dates back thousands of years. In video games, the interactivity means players will precede at their own pace, so the music is often more “full” than in movies. Tracks are often used to signify places, events, or characters in games to set certain tones.
Naturally, one of these tones set is the element of fear. Most of the time, we don’t stop to think about the music used for these sequences. There are some tracks that people will listen to in their spare time for their own enjoyment; these are not those tracks. These are instead songs that, upon hearing them, will leave the listener uneasy and jarred through both their sound and their in game use.