Suit Up Thieves: 5 Reasons to Check out Persona 5

Persona 5 visual

The Persona series is one of my favorite JRPG franchises to date. Once known as the Shin Megami Tensei series, it still shares the moniker, this spin off iteration has fans at hype level 100. Set to drop on April 4th, 2017 for both the PS3 and PS4 here are 5 reason why players should check out the Persona 5.

It has a Rich History

persona collage
Image caption: http://kotaku.com/four-new-persona-games-are-coming-to-north-america-1530572807

As mentioned above, Persona is an offshoot of the Shin Megami Tensei series. As the 5th installment in the franchise, this game that started out as a dungeon crawler dating/social sim is still delighting fans today. Most fans may have come in with Persona 3 but most know Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden for the Vita. This series has earned it’s stripes and definitely has earned the love of the fans that it has today. Not to mention it has spawned several spin offs in the form of a fighting game, SRPG and rhythm game that are all all canonical so yeah, all the Persona you could ask for.

It’s Not Ashamed To Be Turn Based

Persona 5 Battle
Image caption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_5

That’s right, this is a reason to be hyped for the game. It has long been stated that turn based combat is outdated and has lost its luster with gamers but Persona proves otherwise. Not only does it have turn based combat but it’s unapologetic about it. The combat is fun and keeps you on your toes even though it’s not a hack and slash fest. All combat types have their place but it’s refreshing to have one of the JRPG staples present in a main stream game again.

The Game is Super Stylish

Persona 5 Protagonist
Image caption: https://atlus.com/persona5/media.html

The art style of the game has only improved with each generation and has made it mark by retaining it’s signature look in each installment. This time around the game almost has a comic book super hero art style along with the signature portraits for each main character. The graphics are ps3 era fare but it’s polished and smooth so even graphics enthusiasts can enjoy it.

The Music is Awesome

The music is so great in the series that it spawned a rhythm game using the Persona 4 soundtrack called Persona 4: Dancing All Night. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in the game there is always a tune to hum in your head. Even if you’re tackling the same content over and over again it never becomes grating on the ears or annoying. The battle music for the game has me excited to bash shadows in the face. This game has a reported 100 or more hours of game play so I’ll probably be very familiar with the soundtrack when its all said and done.

It’s Not Afraid To Tackle Mature Themes

Don’t let the anime style and dating sim fool you. This game is not for children and can appeal to the real life scenarios

If you’re not familiar with the series, Persona has had a tough time being sold in the states. In Persona 3 in order to summon your persona the players simulated suicide by shooting themselves in the head. Yikes. I was intrigued by the dark theme of the game even though there was a dating/social sim connected. In Persona 5, players become a group called the Phantom Thieves with the goal of reforming the corrupted hearts of adults by stealing them. The previous games have discussed survivor guilt, addiction, sexual orientation etc. You name it and it was probably in Persona with more to come. Don’t let the anime style and dating sim fool you. This game is not for children and can appeal to the real life scenarios

Let Persona 5 Take Your Heart

Persona 5 Preorder
Image Caption: https://atlus.com/persona5/home.html

Are you excited for Persona 5? Have you played a Persona game before? Have you played the Japanese version of the game and can attest to it’s awesomeness? Let us know in the comments below before we all disappear on April 4th. You can find more details about the game at the Atlus website.

The Smallest Co-op Feature Made These RPGs Amazing

Co-op RPGs

The Smallest Co-op Feature

There aren’t a lot of co-op RPGs out there. I’m not talking about hack-and-slash RPGs or (God forbid) MMOs. I’m talking about games like the old Final Fantasy series—character-driven, turn-based JRPG-style games. But there are two games that will forever spring to mind for me when the subject of co-op RPGs is brought up.

Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tadeuviniciusgames/5800392578/

You’ve likely heard of the latter, but Eternal Sonata flew under the radar. Probably for good reason. I mean, the whole thing took place in Chopin’s anime Lolita fantasy fever dream. Yes, that Chopin. And no, I’m not kidding.

For what it was worth, the battle system was intriguing. It was still turn-based, but during the player’s turn, they could control a character and run around the battlefield freely, attacking and casting spells in live action—for a couple seconds, and then it would be the enemy’s turn to run around and attack.

At first glance, Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX might look very different (you know, other than the big heads and insane character designs). But there was one tiny feature that connected them.

The ability to choose a controller for each character.

That one feature turned these typically single-player games into incredible co-op RPG experiences—at least for my friends and me.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG Battle
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unscripted360/968966575/

You could have a separate controller for each of a battle’s three player characters in Eternal Sonata. Yes, you’d still have one player controlling all the running around the world and buying items, but there was enough battle to make everyone sitting down for the whole game worthwhile. And given how batshit loco Eternal Sonata was, you pretty much have to be pulling a Mystery Science Theater on the cutscenes to be able to stomach it. And the best way to do that is through co-op play, so every player is invested in the characters they control.

I didn’t discover that Final Fantasy IX shared the same feature until later.  I already loved the game. But one summer, my roommate and I popped the FFIX PS1 disc into my backwards-compatible PS3. We split the characters between the two of us, and had an absolute blast playing through it.

Solitary experience

RPGs are usually a solitary experience. You absorb the story, fall in love with the characters, and feel a personal connection to the game world. They’re more like books than movies. But playing through Eternal Sonata and FFIX co-op, even if it was just the battles, was a gaming experience I’ll never forget.

FFIX Co-Oop
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alduinx/16558079596/

And it all had to do with one simple feature: allowing you to switch controller inputs for different characters.

Sure, if you wanted, you could pass the controller around. But it’s not the same, is it? It’s not co-op—it’s taking turns in the driver’s seat.

Turn-based RPGs make the feature easy to implement. After all, you’re not actively controlling multiple characters at a time. There is little difference to the game system to have the controller inputs switch for different characters. Especially when you can only control one character at a time anyway.

Indie developers and JRPG remaster…ers take note: adding that tiny feature to turn a single-player RPG into a co-op one makes a big difference to anyone who still enjoys a good couch co-op experience.

Working As Intended? Tabata’s Final Fantasy 15 Decision May Disappoint Fans Of The Game

Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy 15

I’ve covered a lot of Final Fantasy in the last few weeks much to my joy and dismay. At the risk of inundating the audience with more news, something came out today that could not be ignored. The news was regarding Final Fantasy 15 and the story decisions. If you have not read a review of the game it can be summed up rather quickly. Most reviewers praise the game for the open world and battle system but take away points due to the obvious missing story elements. The most glaring issues coming via Chapter 13 for reasons I won’t spoil here. The team behind the game have already planned to release DLC to address this. However, the way the story is presented may be working as intended and this decision may disappoint fans of the Final Fantasy 15.

Does Story Telling Really Matter?

Most reviewers praise the game for the open world and battle system but take away points due to the obvious missing story elements.

According to the game’s director, Hajime Tabata, the unexplained nature of the story was intentional. In an interview with Game Informer cited via Novacrystallis, Tabata states that “We didn’t want to create a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story in this game. Instead, we placed importance on the main characters and for the player and Noctis to share the same experience when we tell the story.” If that doesn’t sound like a retcon then I don’t know what does.

Elsewhere in the article he mentions the time and money constraints by the latter half of the game but that doesn’t matter. I’m a long time Final Fantasy fan and this statement alone is egregious. What he just said was that even though the Final Fantasy franchise is known for their deep an intricate story telling that isn’t how I wanted to tell the story. That could have been excusable if the story was or felt complete.

Player’s Don’t Get Exposition For… Reasons?

What he just said was that even though the Final Fantasy franchise is known for their deep an intricate story telling that isn’t how I wanted to tell the story.

The main issue with things happening off screen is that it doesn’t give the players context for the events happening in the actual game. There are moments where if one of the bros are saying something important it got stopped when a battle is engaged. Did that conversation start back up once the battle concluded? No. That meant the player may have missed an important part of exposition that they didn’t realize. That’s not experiencing the game through Noctis’s eyes, that is poor story telling period.

In Final Fantasy games its not unusual to find books or documents that expand on the lore and motivations of characters. It’s not okay that the ONLY way players discover why “X” thing happened is to look in the supplementary documents scattered across the world. The game doesn’t even have a story recap that would keep track of things that may have missed by players. Some of the lore can only be found in the ancillary projects like Brotherhood, Kingsglaive and items in the collector’s edition.

Will This Be The New Direction For Final Fantasy?

I further thought that Final Fantasy would be safe because, regardless of how convoluted the stories can get at times, the stories for all the games were complete.

I have long grown weary of game developers not giving players a complete game and regulating it to DLC. JRPGs should have been safe from this phenomenon because the basis of the genre is story telling. I further thought that Final Fantasy would be safe because, regardless of how convoluted the stories can get at times, the stories for all the games were complete. If this is the trend that SquareEnix wants to start then I want no parts of the “new” Final Fantasy.

What do you think about this news about Final Fantasy 15? Does this news impact your enjoyment of the game? Do you think this direction of story telling is effective? Could this writer be overreacting? All points are valid in this conversation so let us know in the comments below.

The Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake Is Coming This Summer

Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake

Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake

Platform: PS4

Release Date: July 11th, 2017

FF12 Ashe
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

Full disclosure, I did not finish Final Fantasy 12 (FF12). I can admit as a fan of the series, after Final Fantasy 10 (FF10) I was looking for a certain experience and this game did not do it. It was evident that the battle system and the over world were practice for their Final Fantasy 11 (FF11) MMORPG and I wasn’t trying to be a part of it. I got a healthy way into the story and while it was full of political intrigue something about it didn’t grab me.

This isn’t going to be a bash piece on FF12 but rather an invitation to players who may have missed this game during the PS2 era. Or if you were like me and didn’t give the game the chance it may have deserved and want to give it another try. Square Enix had their Fiinal Fantasy 30th Anniversary event that outlined the different games coming out this year including the release date of FF12. With that out of the way here is some information about the Final Fantasy 12 HD remake that is coming this summer.

Final Fantasy 12 Is An HD Remaster

Vaan and Penelo
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

This is a remaster not a remake and that means that the game itself is relatively intact. There are no huge overhauls to the major systems in the game but they did decide to give it a lovely gloss of paint. If this doesn’t impress you check out the trailer they released that can show how the already beautiful game was made even more lovely. This update is also extended to the audio sounds to add more depth to the character’s performances. Some of the lines have been re-recorded to complete the package.

The Bad Ass Judges Are Still Here

FF12 Judges
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

There has not been any major changes to the story but here is a brief synopsis. FF12 takes place in the world of Ivalice, (yes that one). The city of Dalmasca was recently occupied by the Archadian Empire leaving it in ruin. Princess Ashe, the heir to the throne who had her wedding crashed, has devoted her life since this take over to liberate her country. On the flip side of that players meet Vaan and Penelo, two street urchins with dreams of becoming sky pirates. Political intrigue complete with Judges ensue as players join these rag tag companions to free their homeland.

The Licensing System Is Getting An Upgrade

final fantasy 12 remake, Zodiac Job system

It’s not a serious upgrade as the gambits and license board are still present. However, they have added the Zodiac Job system which has made the game more like FF10 and possibly harder to break. In the original game all of the license boards were identical while in the remaster each character’s board is different. They have even made it so that every character cannot obtain each Esper which is more traditional for the series.

However, they have added the Zodiac Job system which has made the game more like FF10 and possibly harder to break.

The other big change has to do with the characters limit breaks or Quickening in this game. The characters can only learn 3 of their Quickening licenses with the fourth one disappearing from other boards when achieved. This is something that I will need to explore but this is a different step for the game that could impact the game play in a major way.

There Are Quality Of Life Additions

final fantasy 12 remake, trial mode

The point about the licensing board is major but they have also added some quality of life changes that players will appreciate. They have added a “speed mode” which will quicken movement on the map. The new Trial Mode allows players to take saved characters into 100 battles that test their strategic prowess. This adds an extra element of challenge for players that take a break from the main story or when the adventure is complete. Finally they have added PlayStation trophies, auto saving and shortened load times for more fluidity. It’s apparent that PS2 limitations stopped these changes from happening so it’s good to see it added here.

Are you excited for Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake? Do you plan on picking up the remaster? Will the time that has passed make the game be received better? Let us know in the comments below.

Until Next Time Guys!

Legends Of Legacy Character Trailer: Meurs and Bianca

Here’s a look at two of the seven main characters in The Legend of Legacy, the upcoming turn-based RPG from ATLUS and developers FuRyu.

With a strong core of exploration and combat, players will get to choose which of seven characters they will select as their main protagonist – and this selection will alter the focus of the story. Players will also start with a fixed three-person party based on the character they choose, but after a short prologue, will be able to switch out the remaining two party members.

Bianca
A young girl with long, ice-blonde hair, Bianca awakens on Avalon with no memory of how she got there. Or anything else for that matter. She is a mild and gentle girl who despite her unfortunate circumstances and loss of memory remains optimistic. Bianca senses that the answers to her memory loss lie deep within the island, and she is determined to recover her identity.

Bianca’s base stats imply that she is well suited for a support class. She has affinities for wind and fire elements, and prefers to use short swords, axes, spears, and bows in combat.

Meurs
One of the few remaining elementalists alive. The elements have been gathering to Avalon for unknown reasons, and Meurs is determined to find out why they’ve been so attracted to the island. He communicates with the elements and travels the earth with the spirits as his guide.

Meurs also makes for a strong support ally in battle and prefers short swords with a shield. He has a strong affinity for the wind element.

Pre-orders and a limited number of launch retail copies will come in this special Launch Edition collectible, featuring a 6″x8″ outer box, a 10-track music CD from legendary composer Masashi Hamauzu, and a 40-page premium hardcover artbook with drawings and artwork by illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi.

The Legend Of Legacy is set to release on the Nintendo 3DS on October 13, 2015, for US$39.99/CA$49.99 respectively and is rated E10+.

The Legend of Legacy Gets a Launch Edition And Release Date

The Legend of Legacy, a brand new RPG developed by FuRyu and published in the Americas by ATLUS, tells the story of seven adventurers – Liber, Meurs, Owen, Bianca, Garnet, Eloise, Filmia – arrive on the mysterious island of Avalon to pursue their own agenda as explorers. They team up with two of the other adventurers to achieve their objectives – be it exploring the island for treasure, looking for the “god” on the island, or recovering lost memories. But things change when they discover a singing stone that causes the party to see phantasms of Avalon’s forgotten history.

When the game releases this October exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS, pre-orders and a limited number of launch copies will receive The Legend of Legacy Launch Edition.

The Launch Edition will come in a large, collectible outer box that houses two additional treasures alongside the game: a glossy hardcover, 40-page artbook by illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi (SaGa series) and a 10-track Soundtrack CD of the game’s music from composer Masashi Hamauzu (SaGa, Final Fantasy XIII).

The Legend of Legacy is set to release in retail stores and digitally on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS on October 13 for USD$39.99/CA$49.99 and is rated E10+.

Earthbound Beginnings Announced for Virtual Console

Earthbound

Just before starting the Nintendo World Championships, Nintendo dropped a bombshell with the announcement that the highly anticipated prequel to cult-classic RPG Earthbound will finally be released on the Wii U’s Virtual Console.  Earthbound Beginnings, known as Mother in Japan, has never received an international release and was only available on the Famicom.  This is definitely an exciting day for Earthbound fans around the globe.