RPGs (role-playing games) are among my favorite types of video games. Thanks to original Playstation titles like Final Fantasy VII and IX, Wild Arms and Legend of Dragoon, these types of games seem to find their way onto every platform I own. While Western role-players like Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout have dominated the current generation, I have always preferred Japanese RPGs. It’s unfortunate that this generation of consoles hasn’t had the biggest or best JRPGs line-up the last half decade.
There have been several notable exceptions, of course; last year the Wii got two exclusive titles, Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story, that went over well with fans and critics alike. (Too bad I only have a PS3 ) Not only that, but 2012 saw a small but sure resurgence of the niche genre across all platforms (even the aging DS and PSP, which have helped keep the genre alive and kicking). Games like Atelier Meruru, Tales of Graces f, and Final Fantasy XIII-2 helped bring experiences to gamers who had all who were craving more JRPGs from the genre’s heydays on the PS2.
While last year was good, I believe that 2013 will be the absolute best year for Japanese Role-Playing Games in a long time. With multiple title debuts, series returns, and a few hidden gems, I’d like to provide a look at the games we can expect to be playing this year! With so many titles to choose from, I will be doing this feature in multiple parts for the foreseeable future. Let us:
Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (PS3)
The Atelier series has an impressive number of titles under its belt, including the Atelier Iris Trilogy on PS3, the Mana Khemia spin-off series on PS2 and PSP, and the Atelier: Apprentice of Arland Trilogy of games (Rorona, Totori, and Memuru) on PS3. The newest game in the series, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, is set to debut this March.
This new game stars Ayesha, a young alchemist who, after the death of her grandfather and the
loss of her younger sister, sells potions to make a living. When she finds out that her sister may still be alive, she sets out to try find her, along with some friends and new allies she meets on her journey.
I have previously played Atelier Totori and really enjoyed it. The alchemy system was simple and easy to get the hang of, the battles were challenging with strategic elements, and the look of the game had a nice, cel-shaded aesthetic.
According to a press release from publisher Tecmo Koei, Atelier Ayesha will apparently host updated battle mechanics, a diary feature, new alchemy techniques, and some other additions. The game will also do away with the time limit mechanic from the previous series and will progress more like a traditional RPG. The game will also have DLC characters, items, and levels like previous games.
I’ll be looking forward to this game when it comes out in just a couple of months. Stay tuned to player one start for more previews of upcoming JRPGs for 2013!
“Rayman Origins” was one of the best platformers of 2011. It featured amazing 2D artwork with more color in a single screen than most entire games nowadays, challenging platforming to test the might of any seasoned player, and 4 player co-op to make the game easier or more difficult depending on your friends. Despite all this, the game was released at the full retail price of $60 and went up the same week as multiple blockbuster games, including another Ubisoft developed game, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Despite lackluster sales and a quick 50% price cut, the game still sold well enough to warrant a sequel. Rayman’s adventures will continue this Fall on the Nintendo Wii U.
Origin’s multiplayer was compared to the critically successful “New Super Mario Bros. Wii.” Characters could help or hinder your progression, allies were left in bubbles after losing all their health, and even character selection was similar to the 2009 Wii title. Players got to play as Rayman (Mario), Globax (Luigi), and two Teensies (two Toads). This time, however, a new playable character joins the fun: Barbara!
Barbara was first shown off in a leaked trailer of Rayman Legends on Wii U, but in the above trailer we get to see here in action. She wields a large battle axe, is adorned in viking armor, and seems to be missing her front tooth, and bares more than a striking resemblance to the Bodacious Fairies from Origins. To my knowledge this is the first time a female hero has been playable in a Rayman game, and it’s nice to see Ubisoft add a little diversity to cast of playable characters.
With gorgeous artwork, fast paced platforming, Wii U Gamepad functionality unlike anything seen so far, and now a brand new playable character, Rayman Legends is shaping up to be one the must-have
killer apps for Nintendo’s newest consoles when it debuts later this year.
Hello, and welcome to Player One: Start. This blog will be dedicated to a entertainment medium close to my heart, video games. In a little over twenty years, I’ve enjoyed such great games as Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Final Fantasy VII, Yakuza 3, Pokemon Blue, Silver, Soulsilver, and White, and Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, to name a few. I’ve owned a Game Boy Color, Playstation, Gamecube, Nintendo DS, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and Nintendo 3DS.
I’ve been around the block a few times as a gamer, but I wouldn’t consider myself hardcore. I’ve enjoyed hardcore games like Mass Effect and Bioshock, but some of my favorite titles over the last few years have flew under the radar. I’ve enjoyed this generation of HD gaming, but I find the lack of original titles and genres somewhat off-putting. Meanwhile, this generation is slowly but surely coming to a close, with many gamers welcoming it with open arms. I’d rather see this generation continue as developers grow more accustomed to the current hardware, with upcoming titles like Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch, Lollipop Chainsaw, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, and Sleeping Dogs continue to show that the best games are not a new console away, but right around the corner.
Finally, my favorite type of games offer great single player experiences. I have nothing against online multiplayer games, but having a solo gaming session has always been my preference. Maybe that’s why I love RPGs so much, as they are full of content with dozens of hours of playtime. Platformers have always been a great, challenging experience as well. Shooters can provide a good pick up and play experience, and open world games can be fun to get lost inside. Finally, action and adventure games offer a great variety of play types that can be both engrossing and fun.
Games have always been a great way to spend time and have fun, traveling to a wide range of locales from the comfort of my bedroom. I hope to share some of those experiences, past and present, in the blog. Enjoy!
By Andrew Mathieu