At the minute my backlog is getting out of hand my favourite activity is either starting a new game I have no intention of finishing, telling myself one step at a time or browsing through old titles I might have missed out on. There usually is plenty.
Just recently I reattempted to give Mass Effect yet another try mainly because outer space travel themes are my weakness. I usually stop a little bit after I create my character. But because this time around I did not even make it to the battlefield, I think it’s high time to get comfortable with the fact that me and Mass Effect will never get along.
However, scrolling through the old-ish titles in the RPG section I came across Star Ocean: The Last Hope and took a second look. Outer space? Vibrant enviroments? The standard, as unrealistic as possible character design? YES please. I do not want to say it just yet but it does seem like it ticks all the boxes. So the question is; have you played The Last Hope (or any other title in the series) and what have you thought of it?
As you might know RPG is the genre I invest most time into and gush over the most on these pages. Seeing as we are already more than a half way into December I think it’s safe to begin the pre 2015 chats and discussions as to what we will be playing next so here’s a few titles I will be looking forward to try the most next year.
1. A brand new title in the SaGa series was announced a few days ago which instantly piqued my interest mainly due to the art direction, obviously, and the fact that I remeber being once fascinated by the SaGa Frontier images while scrolling through the old classics checking on what I have missed out on over the years. The game will be playable on the PS Vita.
2. Persona 5. That one’s a given eventhough the updates and news have been rather sparse ever since it has been announced. I will gladly accept anything to be honest and I’m pretty sure so will the rest of the community. Persona has become insanely popular for many reasons. Although the first two titles suffered in the gameplay department, I have always found it painful to digest in comparison to the plot, the 3rd and the 4th game managned to balance the battle system and the story incredibly well. I see them as the ultimate RPGs for grown-ups.
3. Suikoden I and II will be coming to PSN. I have been unsure whether to include these since they are basically repackaged old classics BUT having not played them/knowing very little about/seeing as they are both generally accepted as the must-plays in the genre I am willing to purchase and see if the series is worth it.
4. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD might be the one I am the most impatient to try. It has been around for years and I have been dreaming about it since the day it came out. Next year it will finally be playable for the western audience and in HD. Persona aside, I might be an even bigger addict in this instance so this list would not be complete without a Final Fantasy title.
RPG wise what do you look forward to in 2015?
Tales of Xillia
This one has been my introduction to the ‘tales of’ series for a few weeks now. I haven’t really felt head over heels with it eventhough I believe I’m well over half way into it and there’s plenty of outstanding aspects of the game. Combat and interface/design are probably my favourite features. The first is fairly fast-paced and multidimentional, the latter is beautifully crafted. Consequently, both make the battling and exploring highly exciting. I would be entirely happy with the title if it wasn’t for the in my opinion mediocre storyline and characters. Both are interesting just enough to keep me focused although the abundance of dialogues between the protagonist and the companions can sometimes be tiring. All things considered, it might not be entirely fullfilling but it is a solid and enjoyable title.
Silent Hill: Downpour
I was avoiding playing it for a long time mainly because I had seen plenty of footage and had a general idea of what the story and characters are like and frankly speaking was not really interested. So I did not really see the point of playing it myself until I had no other option but to press start. In short the game has got a decent beginning and an end but the main body is pretty lackluster. The characters, the setting and mainly the horror feel very flat and uninspired which for a Silent Hill game is pretty bad. I do not mind the monster design that much but the inventory is frustrating. Healing yourself while being chased or in battle is a pain, map could have been more accessible and I lost count on how many times I accidentally launched my weapons in the air. Sadly, it might actually be my least liked entry to the series.
It seems like I’m awfully late to the party but I never knew the sequel to one of my favourite PSP releases is out and has been for a while. The good: it is out for both PSP & PS3 & possibly PC in the future. The bad: The likelihood of me ever experiencing it is low, unless it magically shows up its face outside of Japan.
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter (1), I still have hope …
Persona 5 (2) is scheduled for winter this year for Japan and the next year for the rest of the world. It had been teased and speculated plenty of time before the actual announcement without any valid or existing proof. We have finally got now a teaser and we can safely say that the game IS in development.
Aside from that the most obvious title I will be shortly ( or eventually in a far distant future depending on Square’s intentions) gushing over and with no end would be Final Fantasy XV (3). That one is scheduled for PS4 as of now and as long as it does not go in the direction Lightning Returns headed in (very little to no traditional RPG style, time limits) I will be happily anticipating it.
And finally, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (4), the title that made this year E3 exciting announcement wise for a couple of seconds, I would have to say is a reason enough for me to get excited for a PS4 rpg library.
#1. Final Fantasy VIII  was my very first RPG experience and till today it still remains my most loved one. It’s probably best known for the love plot which in my opinion is only a tiny element of the bigger picture and not even my favorite. Initially, it impressed me with the story and scared me with the game play. Even though it did take me awhile to learn the battle & team development mechanics it was well worth it. The best thing about the junction system is that it allows you to customize your characters anyway you wish to, it’s very satisfying.
#2. SMT: Persona 3  while being completely different game play and story wise it is as good as the latter. Set in modern times it offers possibly the most addictive battle play I’ve ever come across and makes the grinding/dungeon exploration ridiculously enjoyable. That plus memorable characters paired with an exhilarating plot make the game feel fresh.
#3. Final Fantasy X  is probably the most accessible out of the bunch, well-paced and perhaps the most captivating. Plot wise it starts off lightly and evolves into something more serious. It’s journey oriented and what I like the most is that everyone you meet on your way has their own story to share and it’s always a good one. It’s an amazing classic I will always want to revisit and the fact that the HD re-launch is so near makes me very excited to play it again.
Aside from that, there is plenty of other titles deserving a mention. SMT: Persona 4 has got an enhanced game play but I still prefer the third installment a bit more. Ni no Kuni impressed me with the design and gorgeous visuals but not necessarily with the battle system sadly, still it’s an enjoyable game. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of my recent favorites. The story & the characters aren’t anything outstanding and the game play relies on a very traditional approach. Despite that though it’s got its charm and had grown on me eventually. Valkyria Chronices is a breath of fresh air when it comes to strategy. Demon’s Souls is an exceptional title, not so much for its insane difficulty level but for the overall atmosphere, lore, story, NPCs and the design.
And finally God Eater Burst and NieR, not entirely fully-fledged RPGs but both are incredible titles still not getting enough recognition for their quality.