You’d think we could agree on four simple letters. But nothing is ever straightforward on RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. This week the gang are talking JRPGs, or Japanese role-playing games to use some real words for human people. Does a game have to be made in Japan to be defined as an JRPG? Or does it just need some bright colours and lots of turn-based battles? Maybe it only needs a boss behind a boss (and then another boss behind that one)? Come with us into the petty world of the genre bouncer, as we examine the shoes of dozens of games and decide whether or not they’re allowed into the JRPG nightclub. We seek to understand the true meaning of the genre. Katharine reckons if it isn’t made in Japan, it can probably take a hike. Adam thinks the cult classic Anachronox counts, despite being made in the US by the late developer supergroup Ion Storm. And Brendan is happy to apply the label to Undertale, or simply anything with lots of townspeople who say … [Read more...] about Podcast: What counts as a JRPG?
Localisation studio Xseed Games is doing a stellar job bringing Nihon Falcom's JRPGs to PC, and the latest has just arrived. 2014's The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2 is now out on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store. It's in no small part thanks to Peter 'Durante' Thoman—the modder that fixed Dark Souls on PC—who has worked with Xseed on numerous ports, including the first Trails of Cold Steel, which came to PC last year (and has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam). Alongside the release, Durante has written a blog detailing all the extra features that the PC version of Trails of Cold Steel 2 boasts. It's got everything that the port of the first game had—including lots of graphics options, key rebinding, 60fps and a configurable 'turbo' mode to speed the game up—but it also has extra goodies. The tastiest is an 'instant resume' feature that lets you boot up your most recent save direct from the Steam client, and sounds like something that should be … [Read more...] about JRPG The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2 has arrived on PC
Welcome back to Spawn Point, where we take an element from the world of gaming and explain what it is, why it’s worth your time and how you can dip your toes in and get involved. Last time, Brendan gave you a 101 course in Final Fantasy XII, a JRPG that recently got spruced up for PC twelve years after its original launch on PlayStation 2. This time, however, I’m going to be looking at JRPGs as a whole, discussing what they are and which ones you should try your hand at first if you’ve never played one before. So what’s the J bit all about then? Japan. Ever since the dawn of time, RPGs (or role-playing games) have, for some reason, been split into two distinct flavours. Those that come from Japan, and those that don’t. You can often identify a Japanese RPG by looks alone, in that it usually looks like a walking, talking anime. You know the sort. Big eyes, big heads and even bigger hairstyles that defy all laws of gravity. This isn’t the case for all … [Read more...] about Spawn Point: The best JRPGs for total beginners
The Longest Five Minutes begins where most games end: the final boss. Plonked in front of an unholy baddie, the hero of this quaintly old-fashioned JRPG has only five minutes with which to pummel them off the face of the earth. It sounds like a pretty short game, but thanks to the awesome power of extended, time-dilating flashbacks, those five minutes are soon blown wide open. Essentially this is a standard-ish JRPG told out of order, and that’s a novel enough hook for me to look at the Steam page and not dismiss this retro-styled adventure out of hand. It helps that it’s the work of Disgaea developers Nippon Ichi. One of my major issues with RPGs is the amount of padding shamelessly crammed in, and I feel like The Longest Five Minutes’ chronologically tricksy premise is the perfect opportunity to chuck a lot of that away. Starting at the final boss, conversations between the amnesiac hero and his companions (and the big monster you’re all duffing up) give way … [Read more...] about The Longest Five Minutes: a JRPG that starts at the final boss
Pinnacle City is a mashup of every big American metropolis. It has an Uptown, a Downtown, and a Little Shanghai. There are barflies, gang members, old women using house cats as drug mules, and sausage stands selling high-grade weaponry. Although I've never lived in a large American city, I like to believe that if I ever do then I too will have a local supplier for my franks and frag grenades. Pixel Noir's cityscape is dark, sarcastic, and full of quirky anti-heroes. It's an homage to film noir complete with a nameless protagonist, The Detective, who has whisky dinners in his cluttered home office. The decidedly American setting is an odd but interesting companion for its classic JRPG mechanics, a combination reminiscent of Earthbound. Here's the skinny, son Pixel Noir draws on all the usual suspects of classic JRPGs: turn-based combat, a party full of misfits, and eccentric enemies in matching outfits. It was successfully kickstarted in October of 2015 and a beta demo was … [Read more...] about Pixel Noir is a hard-boiled detective JRPG set in American streets