This is a breakdown of the best JRPGs of 2017, currently available for the PlayStation 4.
I’ve always been interested in JRPGs, ever since I was a kid. One of my earliest memories dates back to the club I went to after-school, playing the Nintendo classic, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
There were only a handful of us that were truly talented at progressing through the challenging levels in our crusade to defeat the evil Smithy. I learned a lot from that game that has helped me become a better gamer. Japanese RPGs possess a uniqueness that you won’t necessarily find in North America.
Nioh is a game created by Team Ninja, also known for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. It’s a bloody mess of beautifully, violent combat and gorgeous graphics that has a sense of Dark Souls about it. If you like Dark Souls, you’re going to love Nioh. There’s really not much more that needs to be said about it.
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: (WW) Sony Interactive Entertainment, (JP) Koei Tecmo
Release Date: Feb. 7th, 2017
2. Final Fantasy XV
I had enormous expectations for Final Fantasy XV, mainly because of the idea that it was going to be open-world. We haven’t seen a non-linear Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy 9. On one hand, Final Fantasy XV has delivered on their promise of bringing back the classic open-world concept, but only in Lucis, which is one reason for it’s high level of criticism.
Don’t misunderstand. You can spend a lot of time without ever progressing beyond the opening region. You will inevitably reach that point of no return, at which point that open-worldliness becomes a lot more linear.
Characters begin to do things without any rhyme or reason, and Final Fantasy XV begins to feel like a missed opportunity. There was a point near the end of the game in which you could really tell the development was rushed to release, as you might have heard with regards to the dreaded Chapter 13.
There is a silver lining to this, though. While Square-Enix hasn’t committed to expanding on the linearity, certain downfalls of this game are being addressed through DLC, including Chapter 13. It could take a bit of time, but Final Fantasy XV could have potential in the near-future.
Developer: Square-Enix, Umbra, XPEC Entertainment, Streamline Studios, HexaDrive
Release Date: November, 29th, 2016
3. Tales of Berseria
Before I go too hard on Tales of Berseria, it is easily up there with Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia, and much better than it’s predecessor, Tales of Zestiria. Your allies aren’t introduced in a manner which some Tales’ games do by just dropping them into your roster.
It also doesn’t feel like your party is ever larger than it should be. What I love about Tales of Berseria is that you can actually make use of your allies during combat, even if they are resting on reserve.
If you can get your hands on it for Windows and possess a good-quality gaming rig, Tales of Berseria provides tons of benefits to improve on graphics. Paired with a remarkable story, Tales of Berseria will please many of it’s devotees.
That being said, Velvet also has an immensely revealing costume that could be a turn-off for some. While you are able to alter her costume to some degree, it will still be rather prominent during the 400+ skits throughout the game. There are also moments (as is the case with previous entries) where the game tends to drag, but when it inevitably gets back on track, the journey of each character really brings out the qualities that Tales of Berseria will be remembered for.
Developer: Namco Tales Studio
Publisher: Bandai Namco Studios
Release Date: January 24th, 2017
4. Persona 5
Unless you are fluent in Japanese and possess the appropriate regional PlayStation 4, Persona 5 won’t be out in North America until April. In Persona 5, you play the role of a silent protagonist that goes by the name of Akira Kurusu (Manga).
You control his actions throughout high-school and daily life, creating bonds to develop your abilities in to assist you in battle. Persona isn’t linear, nor is it open-world. You could think of it as a one-year adventure in which your actions determine your destiny. It’s also one of the most popular franchises in the JRPG market.
Developer: Atlus, P Studio
Publisher: Atlus, Deep Silver
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
5. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is not a game to pick out if you haven’t played the previous titles, or possess no knowledge of classic Disney/Final Fantasy characters.
Kingdom Hearts 2.8 begins with Dream Drop Distance, which is a direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2, while Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep is a sequel to Birth By Sleep. It’s best to start with the Kingdom Hearts Timeline.
If you are savvy with Kingdom Hearts, it’s everything you would expect to see in the Kingdom Hearts universe and makes Kingdom Hearts III look extremely compelling.
Release Date: January 24th, 2017