Following the release of Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix had an incredibly rough time with their consumers and their business. FFXIII was destroyed by gamers for its 30+ hour introduction and limited scope. Final Fantasy staples were completely cut out from the game: towns and an open world from the get go. What was heavily emphasized, however, were the graphics and mediocre story. This downward trend has continued with Square continuing to support their FFXIII universe while straying away from developments that really matter such as the newly named FFXV, all of which which has led to increased financial difficulty for the company. Seeing as how Square was the one to introduce the JRPG to a new generation with the release of Final Fantasy VII, many have have seen their decline as “killing the JRPG.”
Here are five games that say otherwise:
1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (PSP)
Although a rerelease of a title made for the Playstation 2, Persona 3 Portable was easily a must have for any JRPG lover. With the already incredible high school sim and persona collecting/fusion elements, an updated battle system, and even more content, through the addition of a female protagonist, P3P was impossible not to buy. What is important is that this game was released during a heavy JRPG lull for both the 360 and PS3, and kept both veterans and new gamers plenty busy.
2. Dark Souls (360/PS3/PC)
Not all JRPG’s have to have the ridiculously involved story, big hair, or standard time based battle system. With Dark Souls, developer From Software took all the things that made Japanese RPGs and Western RPGs great, and fused them into completely new and mystifying class of its own. Be it the difficulty, the vibrant world, the classes, the lack of an in-game map, and the bosses, Dark Souls had personality. But not only that, this personality resonated with audiences worldwide. Dark Souls helped prove that the Japanese games industry was far from collapsing.
3. Dragon’s Crown (PS3/Vita)
Much controversy surrounded this title leading up to its release. Their had been feuds within the gaming community about the art direction. A voluptuous sorceress, and a scantily clad amazonian were the talk of the web for quite some time. Many writers used this as an opportunity to bash JRPGs as a whole, but when the game released hardly anyone discussed the risque art. The game was impressive enough. With a wide range of classes, beautiful set pieces, a deep combat system, and enough content to keep one playing for a long time, Dragon’s Crown was yet another masterpiece from the Japanese games industry.
4. Radiant Historia (DS)
With a wonderful soundtrack, outstanding graphics, an intriguing story, and a deep yet simple combat system, Radiant Historia was a charmer upon release. Difficult to put down, Radiant Historia reveled in its JRPG history and embodied all the good that has come out of Japan. Its late release into the DS life cycle was no hinder on its greatness, and the game was well received by both gamers and critics alike. Radiant Historia was and still is an excellent example of a JRPG done right.
5. XenoBlade Chronicles (Wii)
Possibly the greatest swan song of all time, Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the last games released for the idling Wii. A direct result of fan enthusiasm, Xenoblade Chronicles was brought stateside in a plan that was called Operation Rainfall. Thousands upon thousands signed the petition to have Nintendo localize it, and Nintendo listened. The fans were not left disappointed. They were met with a game that successfully updated the JRPG, and this was all done on the limited power of the Wii. Charming characters with their respective British voice actors, a story that could bring one to tears, a sweeping score with a killer battle theme, a fighting system that blended the old with the new, and graphics that could make one proud to own a Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles had it all.