September 3, 2013

JRPGs at PAX? Well…

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 11:42 am by riulyn

Let’s say Japanese RPGs were pretty much only at Square-Enix and Nintendo this year. But that’s okay, I guess. There was no secret Ys demo or Bravely Default or Etrian Odyssey. Square-Enix had Lightning Returns, FFX HD, Kingdom Hearts 1.5, something for FFXIV which I didn’t go to, and there was a FF Geek panel (which I did go to). Nintendo had Pokemon X & Y. Chaos Rings was somewhere but I didn’t find nor did I look very hard for it.

There were a lot of indie RPGs, some that were hugely influenced by Japanese RPGs like Dragon Fantasy Book II, Telepath (sp?) Tactics, a ton of others which I can’t remember off the top of my head. “Indie” and “RPG” seems to be a big thing nowadays. PC is where it’s at for that stuff, though most of you in that scene would know that.

In terms of Japanese niche stuff that wasn’t RPGs, there was a decent line for Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies and for Project Diva f. The former was because the demo was decently long (both a trial mode and detective mode). In that line my line neighbor and I talked about other JRPGs though I don’t know how it exactly got started, but we talked about NieR for a bit. Somehow from Dragon Quest IX we ventured over to NieR and its music. Also a bit of lamenting on how AA is digital only. The latter had a line for the glow sticks they were handing out. The demo was only one song and I am terrible at rhythm games but Project Diva f is flashy and the songs are good. I don’t think it’s enough for me to buy it when I still need to buy things like EO and like the FFXIII trilogy.

Speaking of Lightning Returns, I found that the game was really fun and why the hell hadn’t Square done this with job classes before?! In the demo Lightning had 3 “Schemata”. It’s like having 3 ATB bars, one for each Schemata, and performing actions uses up action points. The battle is active because the other schematas’ ATB bars charge while you are performing actions in the current schemata. Each schemata has four actions you can take mapped to ABXY or the Playstation equivalent. So you use up the action points of one schemata and then switch to another. The costumes themselves and whatever they did to Lightning graphically is its own issue, but the battle system is fun enough and makes more sense than Crisis Core’s roulette. I’m tempted to just play Lightning Returns and skip the others… Except it wouldn’t make sense.

I felt no need to demo FFX HD or Kingdom Hearts 1.5. I don’t care enough for those games to replay them except when I feel like replaying something or as part of a marathon challenge. They look nice, but I don’t think demoing them would have told me more about that.

Pokemon X (actually I don’t remember which version I demoed haha) seems like another small evolution towards something better in the Pokemon franchise. I mean, I haven’t played any since Pokemon Red/Blue, so I’m not a great judge. I don’t see anything wrong with the game. I didn’t exactly understand how I triggered a Mega-evolution and I just randomly jumped onto a dog-like Pokemon at some point and rode it for a bit. I don’t even know if newer Pokemon games are like this, but the battle commands are on the bottom screen and they were not mapped to any buttons. You had to touch the screen but it’s like 4 buttons taking up the entire screen, so it wasn’t hard to hit something.

On a non-RPG note, Zelda: Link Between Worlds (or whatever it is actually called) really looked like A Link to the Past. The whole merging into the wall to help solve puzzles wasn’t something I really got use of in the time I demoed, and really paled in comparison to what I saw of Contraption at the indie Mega Booth. Link Between Worlds has other things going for it, but merging into the wall to advance through the world just seemed so much cooler in Contraption.

This post is already too long but I just wanted to say that I managed to meet a fellow Suikoden fanatic at PAX and that was awesome. Even if besides Suikoden we go off on our separate ways, there was some good chatting and some good button mashing while playing fighting games in console freeplay. Also talking to random people about JRPGs is always a good time. Too bad I think I’m a bit sick now after 4 days of weird eating and being around so many people and now it’s raining…

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