It's that time of the year again where, as gamers, we start preparing for the biggest releases in our favourite genres. One of my favourite genres is the Japanese RPG, and even with my lack of time through the curse of getting older and trying to be more responsible, I always try and fit a few JRPGs in -- or at the very least add to an ever growing backlog of games that I'd probably need two lifetimes to complete.
Despite there being a slow start for JRPGs this generation -- beyond handheld titles -- 2017 looks to be a big year with a number of confirmed titles. So I have narrowed it down to my five most anticipated.
Update: I've added an Anticipated Western RPG list too.
Originally a 2005 Playstation 2 title, Dragon Quest VIII was the first title in the series I played. Originally just purchased for the Final Fantasy XII demo it came packaged with, I personally loved the game but it did have the drawback of being very long winded and grindy so I never quite got to see the post game content. Being a grindfest is perfectly suited to the 3DS with the ability to play in smaller parts and on the go. It's a massive game, with charming characters and a lot of fun with a timeless cell-shaded visual style so I'm very much looking forward to diving into this all over again. If only I can prize the house 3DS away from my two young sons who are currently obsessed with Pokemon Sun.
One of the most surprising announcements for the me this generation currently was PS3/Xbox 360 title Nier getting any kind of sequel at all. The original wasn't a critical or a commercial success but fans found through it's often clunky gameplay and odd design choices a true gem with an excellent story and one of the most beautiful soundtracks I've heard in a videogame composed by a returning Keiichi Okabe.
One of the Niers biggest issues though was the combat system whilst functional it was at times clunky, slow and awkward. Thankfully though Square-Enix has brought in Platinum Games -- of the Bayonetta series along with Metal Gear Rising, Vanquish and Madworld -- who often hailed as some of the best action games developers around.
The Tales series has been one of my favourite in the Japanese rpg genre since Tales of Symphonia on the Nintendo Gamecube so this was always going to be on my most anticipated radar.
Tales of Berseria is another flagship entry in the long running Tales series. Set in the distant past long prior to the events of Tales of Zesteria. The story now centres around Velvet a demon-pirate who is looking to be one of the most interesting protagonists in the series since Yuri from Tales of Vesperia. Fans of the series will know what to expect with the action based battle system, though it has undergone some significant changes via mapping the actions to the face buttons.
The often delayed Persona 5 will finally see our shores this year and I have a feeling it will be well worth the wait. Continuing the tradition of a dark tale set in a modern day Tokyo the game will feature the usual silent protagonist transferring to a new school with building social alliances being a key aspect of the gameplay. Although not my most anticipated game on this list I do think Persona 5 will likely the best in terms of story and character development as evidenced by previous entries in the series.
Like many others at the time Final Fantasy VII was my introduction to the Japanese RPG and still remains my favourite game of all time. Whilst I accept its flaws, FFVII was the first game where I felt connected and invested in the story and characters of a videogame. Of course other games have come along since and before that are considered better on many levels and call it nostalgia if you will but Final Fantasy VII will always be number one in heart. So naturally a remake from the ground up on current systems will always nail my most anticipated games list.
I'm not even sure the Final Fantasy VII Remake will make Western shores this year but I'm cautiously optimistic with 2017 being the 20 year anniversary of the original games release we'll at least see a demo. The remake will be split into three parts but individually be full games not unlike the original Mass Effect trilogy. Although there is some negativity toward the story being split into three episodes, I see it as positive as it not only allows Square-Enix to expand the original story and fill in some of the gaps in the story and potentially give us a bigger game but take on board any criticisms and improve with each subsequent episode.
After seemingly pulling off the impossible with Final Fantasy XIV Reborn and Final Fantasy XV I have every bit of confidence they'll give us something special with the FFVII remake.
Do you think my JRPG game is weak? Or are you equally as excited for these titles as I am? What would you have liked to see on this list? Let me know in the comments below.