It’s been a long time since we’ve had an Important Importables, hasn’t it? Sorry about that, life gets in the way sometimes. But we’re back with another installment and today we’re focusing on a genre very near and dear to an import game fan’s heart – JRPGs.
I don’t know about you all, but JRPGs is where my love of import games began. After all, it’s in the sub-genre’s title. I grew up playing JRPGs like Phantasy Star, Final Fantasy, Tales and more, so naturally I started looking into games from this group that didn’t make it overseas, and see if I couldn’t find more I could play.
So in this (long overdue) installment of Important Importables, I’m going to salute five 2013 JRPGs that every gamer should play. They’re in no particular order, so go ahead and peruse at your leisure.
Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
I’m not going over these in any particular order, but I decided to start with the JRPG I’ve spent the most time with this year, Shin Megami Tensei IV. This is a game with deep moral questions, a post apocalyptic setting, oodles of demons to collect and a wide array of side-quests. Did I mention a punishing standard difficulty level? Because it has that too.
Players follow a young man named Flynn, from the mysterious kingdom of Mikado, as he becomes a Samurai. This means he descends into a dungeon called Naraku to fight demons, while also fighting any that emerge in the kingdom. It also means allying with said demons to survive. When a strange black knight appears in the kingdom, Flynn and his friends get the go-ahead to go to untold depths of Naraku and find themselves in post apocalyptic Tokyo.
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl (3DS)
I was almost going to go with Etrian Odyssey IV, but I figure Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl is a better choice. It features the multiple difficulty level and improved graphics of the previous 3DS installment. Plus, it’s offers a retelling of the original game.
Players either go through a new Story mode, which presents the original Etrian Odyssey tale with pre-made characters and an actual story, or a Classic mode that essentially gives JRPG fans a prettier version of the original Etrian Odyssey DS game. Either way, there’s plenty of difficult, first person dungeon crawling, ample cartography opportunities and an array of character skills to choose from as people explore the labyrinth.
Tales of Xillia (PS3)
I have to admit, Tales of Xillia is one of my obsessions right now. I finished my Milla run, and decided to follow it up with a Jude run after. It’s a standard Tales affair, which means active battles, anime-inspired character art, and a quest to save the world that probably involves spirits of some sort and cooking. A PS3 exclusive, Tales of Xillia is one of the prettiest games in the series and also allows players to choose their protagonist at the start of the game, with some different events and quests available to either Jude or Milla.
Tales of Xillia begins at a research facility. Jude’s there because he’s a medical student and his teacher/mentor works there. Milla’s there because she’s the Maxwell, Lord of the Spirits, and senses that the lesser spirits in that area are dying. It turns out the government is making a very dangerous weapon called the Lance of Kresnik in the labs, which drains mana from any living source. Milla temporarily shuts the weapon down, by stealing a key to start it and having her four great spirits lock it up, and the two escape. Milla and Jude then go around the world, looking for a means to stop the Lance of Kresnik and those who would seek to use it.
Ni no Kuni (PS3)
If you have a PS3, you should really own Ni no Kuni. It’s a love letter to classic JRPGs, with the development done by Level-5 teaming up with Studio Ghibli. Think of it as playing through a Studio Ghibli movie, actually. It’s a traditional adventure that really shines when you look at the gorgeous graphics and the unusual battle system.
Ni no Kuni stars a little boy named Oliver. His mother dies, and he’s heartbroken over it and feels responsible for her passing, despite it being due to her having a bad heart. As he cries over a doll his mother gave him, it comes to live. It says it is a fairy named Drippy, and that there may be a way to resurrect his mother. Of course, it involves traveling between his world and a second world, where magic exists. Oh, and becoming a wizard.
Pokemon X/Y (3DS)
Wait, Pokemon is a JRPG? Of course it is. It’s a RPG series made by Japanese developers, isn’t it? Not to mention the turn-based fighting and anime-inspired character designs. Pokemon X and Y are the next leap forward for the series, and it’s a huge leap. Aside from busting the limits and breaking the 649 pokemon limit, it’s introducing Mega Evolutions, a Fairy type, Horde Encounters, Super Training, Sky Battles, a new way to trade and make friends with other players, customizable avatars and, of course, 3D graphics. It’s huge.
The basic premise, however, remains the same. Players start as a new pokemon trainer in the region of Kalos. Their goal is to be the best (like no one ever was), catch tons of pokemon, beat the Elite 4 and probably thrash some renegade Pokemon trainer gang in the process. We’ll get to play it on October 12, 2013, and I couldn’t be more excited.
COMING NEXT TIME: Important Importables reviews the Persona 4 Animation messenger bag.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables reviewed the Pokemon: Best Wishes plush keychains.