Tales of Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Tales of RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 12 Of The Best Japanese RPG Intros https://www.gameskinny.com/avzhv/12-of-the-best-japanese-rpg-intros https://www.gameskinny.com/avzhv/12-of-the-best-japanese-rpg-intros Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Michael Llewellyn

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Suikoden III
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Suikoden 3 continues the series legacy of the 108 Stars Of Destiny and its near perfect yet mature storytelling and character development.

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The opening for Suikoden 3 is a favorite of mine just slightly edging out FInal Fantasy VIII. The music is by Japanese band Himekami and the song is called Exceeding Love. The animation and the music really help show the game's different protagonists, characters, races and it's serious tone. Showcasing conflicts of war and love it captures the mood of the series perfectly.

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Do you have a different opening cinematic which you consider the best? If so let me know below.

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Final Fantasy VIII
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Final Fantasy VIII is when Squaresoft really started to show a mastery of the CGI cinematics we first saw in Final Fantasy VII. It still holds up well today and showcases the flair and the art style the developers became known for.

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Perhaps what the opening is better known for the is music. The Latin choral piece is called "Liberi Fatalli" that translates to "fated children" remains one of the most recognisable pieces of music from the Final Fantasy series and is still played regularly on the Distant Worlds orchestral tours to this day.

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Suikoden II
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Suikoden 2 is without a doubt one of the best RPG's ever made, the story is full of betrayal and loss, and the music is amazing. The villain Luca Blight is one of the most evil, bloodthirsty and sadistic antagonists you'll see in any game.

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The intro for this game is quite basic in its animation showing more or less static images of some of the key characters with Luca Blight in particular standing out. There is some CGI animation and it carries quite a bit of impact in line with the beautiful music that tells as much of tale the scenes on the screen. There's a standout scene that symbolises hope in amongst all the ruins of a war at around 1.15 seconds. Beyond the great intro Suikoden 2 is a game every RPG fan young or old should play.

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Shadow Hearts: Covenant
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The dark and gothic Shadow Hearts series started back on the original PlayStation with Koudelka but the real stand out title was Shadow Hearts: Covenant it was set after the events of the first Shadow Hearts game and takes place in an alternative earth during the early days of the first World War.

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The opening reintroduces us to the protagonist Yuri who is a Harmonixer in demon form fighting off soldiers there to exorcise him. The cinematography is really well done, and has a really filmic and cinematic feel to the entire scene, and sets up a fantastic story full of twists and turns in an original setting. It also gives you a glimpse of the the most interesting protagonists the JRPG genre.

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Xenogears
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Xenogears is an intelligently told science fiction JRPG that deals with different religious practices particularly Gnostic spirituality. The plot relies heavily on the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Psychological issues such as dissociative identity disorder also play a major role in the game's plot. If this makes the game sound complex and way ahead of its time back in 1998, it's because it was.

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The intro here is a stunning mix of CGI and anime which gives you a small but intriguing taste of what is to come in the journey ahead in this sci fi universe.

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The Xeno name lives on in Monolith Soft's current Nintendo series Xenoblade and the Xenosaga trilogy prior to that on Playstation 2.

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Lost Odyssey 
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Lost Odyssey was a dream team collaboration that was written and directed by the father of Final Fantasy Hironobu Sakaguchi at his own development studio Mistwalker. The soundtrack was by the famed Final Fantasy composer Nobou Uematsu, and Feelplus was also brought in for the gameplay mechanics. Feelplus were made up by a large part of the original Nautilus team that worked on the Shadow Hearts series, and was a true traditional Japanese RPG in every sense of the word. For many fans it was a Final Fantasy game in all but the name.

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The opening cinematics in the game showcase an absolutely epic battle sequence that give the player a idea of what the lead character Kaim is capable of and the kind of a warrior he is. Similarly to FF7 you're thrust straight into that action about 3 minutes into the sequence.

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Lost Odyssey for me was one of the reasons to own an Xbox 360 but it was unfortunately doomed to obscurity on a platform that was once only associated with space marine shooters in the West. As a result many gamers missed out on a game that I can't recommend enough. If you're a fan of traditional JRPG's then you owe to yourself to play this game.

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Final Fantasy VII 
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Final Fantasy VII marked a new era for the FF series and helped push JRPG's into the mainstream. Like many others it was the first game in the genre I had ever played and I love the JRPG as much now as I did back then.

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This introduction still gives me nostalgic goosebumps; it provided the player with a sense of scale and that you were about embark on a huge journey. As the camera slowly pans out showing the massive world around you -- something we saw again in the FInal Fantasy XV intro. During the intro we get a first glimpse at Aeris/Aerith as the flower girl and the bustling cyberpunk metropolis of Midgar, before it thrusts you straight into the action as the hero Cloud.

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Final Fantasy Tactics: War Of The Lions 
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Final Fantasy: Tactics is a tremendous tactical JRPG, and the remaster on the PlayStation Portable War Of The Lions really showcases what kind of great storytelling Square-Enix is capable of. The events take place in Ivalice the same setting Final Fantasy XII and Vagrant Story the game is full of twists, turns and political intrigue.

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The beautifully cell shaded opening cinematics look like they've been hand drawn which helps set the game apart from other games in the FF series. The cinematics provide you with a great opening and show you glimpse of some of the characters you encounter in the game.

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Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
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Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete Complete was remastered from the Sega CD original with added characters and scenes it was then ported again to the Sega Saturn and the PlayStation. It's a light hearted tale but at it's center is a story of love, heroism and adventure.

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The amazing introduction sequence has certainly stood the test of time from its 1992 origins and shows a good glimpse of what to expect from the game's story and overall themes -- this is especially true for the relationship between Luna and Alex. The character designs and video sequences were by Toshiyuki Kubooka and rightly received a lot of praise from critics and fans alike.

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Chrono Cross 
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Chrono Cross was developed as a spiritual successor to Chrono Trigger, where instead of time travelling we're given a new direction with parallel worlds instead and it does a great job of intertwining the world's events and stories.

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Chrono Cross has one of the most beautiful opening cinematics, and contains some of the most stunning music that really hits all the right emotional notes. The cinematics do a great job of introducing all the lead characters within the game.

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Grandia III 
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The Grandia series has been on my favorite series lists ever since I played the first one on the original PlayStation, and its sequel on the Dreamcast. The stories really drew me in and the battle system was one of the best I'd seen in a turn based RPG. While Grandia 3 didn't quite have the great the storyline of the first two games it was still a fun fairytale in its own right and did a fine job of taking you on a rather grand adventure. It's battle system was definitely more refined.

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The introduction to Grandia 3 is rather beautiful from a visual perspective and the song is extremely catchy, so be warned it may play around in your head for a while afterward. The cinematics give you a good idea of what to expect from the game, especially with the protagonists ambitions to take flight.

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Tales of the Abyss 
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Tales Of The Abyss is one the best games in the series, and had an excellent story that pulls the player in from its early stages with it's great cast of characters and cutscenes.

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This beautiful anime introduction really helps to set the tone of the game, and expectations for what is come. It's fun, exciting and introduced you to the heroes of the story who grow and develop greatly throughout the massive story. None more so than the main protagonist Luke, who starts out as quite an unlikeable and overly privileged brat but is in a way broken down as character and is rebuilt as a hero who learns how to put others before himself.

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Final Fantasy XV's opening theme is memorable for all the right reasons, it definitely sets the scene and the tone of the game. You immediately get that it's a roadtrip tale of brotherhood and friendship. If you look very closely you'll see a subtle nod or two to the past games introductions too.

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The opening cinematics in the JRPG's especially during the PlayStation 1 and 2 eras of RPG's became a tradition with many being memorable enough to still make us nostalgic and strike the right emotional chords 20 years later.

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Here I have listed some of the more memorable cinematic openings that still have the emotional impact today as they did back then.

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9 JRPGs to look forward to in 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/sgh4a/9-jrpgs-to-look-forward-to-in-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/sgh4a/9-jrpgs-to-look-forward-to-in-2016 Thu, 24 Mar 2016 08:59:50 -0400 Ashley Shankle

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Persona 5
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Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Release date: 2016 (Summer)

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It's been how long since we've gotten a new mainline Persona game? Eight years? It's about time we finally got a new one, isn't it?

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The Shin Megami Tensei spin-off series Persona exploded with the release of Persona 3 on the PlayStation 2 and only garnered more attention and fans with the fourth entry to the series. Both the third and fourth Persona games are considered some of the best JRPG gaming on the PlayStation 2, if not ever (by some).

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Persona 5 has been added to a lot of wishlists over the years -- and it's almost time, with the game's rumored release date sitting in Summer this year. It's not far now, and with the game's overall style leaning more toward Catherine than the PS2 games and the return of Social Links, we're sure to be in for a treat on all counts.

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7th Dragon III Code: VFD
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Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: July 12

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A turn-based RPG with combat akin to a dungeon crawler, a base-building feature, and.. dating? Let's have at it!

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7th Dragon III Code: VFD is the first in the previously Japan-only series 7th Dragon to make it to the West, and it promises to be more expansive than its predecessors, with loads of features and some top-notch visuals for the Nintendo 3DS.

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Rumor from Japanese fans is that this is a relatively easy game -- which is great for anyone not familiar with difficult modern dungeon crawlers like Etrian Odyssey. 7th Dragon III Code: VFD looks to make up for the lack of (supposed) combat difficulty with extra features, like being able to date your party members and build a base.

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We don't get a ton of SEGA RPGs these days, and this series is popular in Japan. Hopefully this will partially quench the dungeon crawling thirst while we wait for an Etrian Odyssey 5 localization.

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Final Fantasy 15
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Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: TBA 2016

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It's hard not to add an upcoming Final Fantasy game to this list considering the infrequency of mainline entries to the series and how iconic it is, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pensive about it after Square Enix has spent so many resources on Final Fantasy 13's spin-offs and trying sell us Lightning.

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But I digress: Final Fantasy 15 is coming this year and regardless of whether you're a classic or modern Final Fantasy fan, it's something to be excited about.

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Final Fantasy 15 has been in development for the gaming industry-equivalent of an eternity and as with the past few iterations to the series it's changing up the battle system and world from its predecessors. It's bound to be full-on gorgeous and massive, two adjectives JRPG fans rarely see together these days.

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Fingers crossed to 15 being the Final Fantasy we've been waiting for, and that it signals the end of (or at least lessens) Square Enix's Lightning obsession.

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Bravely Second: End Layer
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Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: April 15

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Handhelds are where it's at for more traditional turn-based RPGs these days, and Bravely Default did an astounding job of bringing a new classic Final Fantasy-style experience packed with job classes, charm, and an engaging battle system to the modern market without being too derivative of Square Enix's flagship series.

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Bravely Second: End Layer promises to bring that successful mix of old and new back, and judging by some reviews from Europe's earlier release it seems to fulfill that promise. North American Nintendo 3DS owners will be able to get their hands on this baby soon enough.

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Nights of Azure
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Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: March 29

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Nights of Azure isn't your typical Gust-developed fare. Combat is action-oriented and smooth, the world isn't bright and cheerful, and it's not 50% "cute girls doing cute things" -- but it's Gust. It's not going to be triple-A quality.

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Regardless, Nights of Azure should be on the shopping list of most action JRPG fans, with the game primarily focused on the button-mashing action. It's a Gust game, so expect lots of same-sex implications between the two female characters.

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There really isn't much else to say here, but this is definitely a candidate to fill the action JRPG void in the first half of 2016.

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Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
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Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: Summer 2016

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The Dragon Quest doesn't sell amazingly here in North America, but that doesn't mean we can't get at least some games in the series. Square Enix apparently agrees to some extent, with Dragon Quest 7 and 8 getting localized Nintendo 3DS ports this year.

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While Dragon Quest 8 is certainly a stellar game and very much worth the purchase, Dragon Quest 7 is no release to scoff at either. The game's initial North American release on the PlayStation was met with a lukewarm reception, in large part due to its two hour introduction with no action whatsoever and dated graphics for the time.

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The long, boring introduction has been cut from the port and new content added, meaning Dragon Quest 7 will finally be more accessible to the less-than-determined crowd.

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Dragon Quest 7 one of the longest games in the series and is an absolutely touching and expansive adventure. If you've never given it a shot, it's more than worth picking up once the Nintendo 3DS version releases later this year.

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NieR: Automata
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Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: TBA 2016

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Director Taro Yoko's NieR was the definition of a modern day "sleeper hit", with much reviewer reception being lukewarm while the game itself garnered a dedicated and obsessive fanbase, and for good reason.

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NieR was and is most certainly a spin-off of Drakengard, a little-known action RPG series known more for its ability to confuse and disgust its players than delight them. NieR itself is very unique, meshing a variety of features together one really would expect with a story that's hard to forget.

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NieR: Automata's announcement last year was a massive surprise, not only because it was unexpected but because of its developer: Platinum Games.

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If you play Japanese games, you know Platinum -- the studio absolutely knocks it out of the park when it comes to action-oriented games. With Yoko Taro and Platinum working together, it's hard to imagine NieR: Automata not being everything fans could want and more.

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Tales of Berseria
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Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Release date: TBA 2016

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Perhaps the release most fitting to come after Star Ocean in the list is Tales of Berseria. After all, the first entries to both series were worked on by much of the same development team and both have maintained their own action battle systems through the years.

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The Tales of Berseria looks to be a more series entry to the series compared to last year's Tales of Zestria. And once again, the battle and skill systems are changing, tossing out the SC system from Zestria and even the old TP system for something called the Soul Gauge.

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A new Tales of release is always welcome, even if the series has some serious ups and downs. There's certainly something to be said of the sense of adventure the Tales of games still give today, and we're getting more of them than ever. Let's just cross our fingers that Berseria's combat isn't disappointing.

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STAR OCEAN: Integrity and Faithlessness
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Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: Summer 2016

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I don't think I would have bet on 2016 being the year a new Star Ocean would be released, but it's turned out to be -- over seven years after Star Ocean: The Last Hope saw its initial release on the Xbox 360.

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Integrity and Faithlessness will be the fifth mainline entry to the Star Ocean series -- and developer Tri-Ace and music composer Motoi Sakuraba are back at it again for Square Enix's sci-fi fantasy action RPG series. It just wouldn't be the same without them, right?

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Fans are hoping this fifth entry will bring Star Ocean's (sort of) glory days back, and it just very well might. The game has so far been revealed to have six simultaneous party members, a fast-paced action battle system, and the return of the Private Action, event, and item creation features fans of the series have come to expect.

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Hype for this game is so far lukewarm, which is understandable considering the polarizing opinions of the third and fourth games. Here's to hoping Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness goes above and beyond the fanbase's expectations.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/fl_lossy,q_80/c_limit,f_auto,h_360,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/r/p/jrpgs-header-57781.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/fl_lossy,q_80/c_limit,f_auto,h_85,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/r/p/jrpgs-header-57781.png","type":"slide","id":"108672","description":"

Regardless of the whispers from your circle of friends and the general gaming climate in the West, JRPGs are far from a dead sub-genre. What used to be one of the largest chunks of console gaming now makes up only a fraction of the industry's earnings, but that doesn't mean developers aren't still hammering out new titles that are worth paying attention to.

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2016 is set to be one of the larger years for Japanese-developed RPGs in recent memory, with several titles making their way West from both large and small developers. This year features a number of older series continuing to push forward and new IPs trying to make their name among one of gaming's most difficult crowds.

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All of the games we're going to feature in this list are slated for a North American release sometime this year, though some of their exact release dates are yet to be announced. Nonetheless, if you're a fan of JRPGs, you can take solace in the fact there are so many options to choose from in 2016.

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