Someone must have asciid for an expansive roguelikey JRPG rendered entirely in textart, as we've received one in the form of the delightful SanctuaryRPG. It's a streamlined and grind-free take on Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest and early Ultima and Things Like That, and if I were to hand out badges in this column it would win the coveted Best RPG Featuring Ascii Slimes award (sponsored by that Ghostbusters ectoplasm I used to love when I was a kid). Elsewhere this week: a serene, freeform farming lifesim appeared, along with two very different platformers at opposite ends of the minimalism/maximalism spectrum. Enjoy!
Final Fantasy VIII/IX/XII/Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy is the best FF ever made,
but I think we can all agree that
FFIX/Mystic Quest/FFVII is a close second. The adventures of Cloud, Gun-Arm, Dead Flower Girl and co. was re-released on PC a year ago with added achievements and cloud-saving - but with rubbish-sounding music compared to the original PS1 game. Players quickly found a way to replace the music files, but if you don't want to risk the wrath of Ultimate Weapon by modifying the game's folder contents, you'll be pleased to hear that Square Enix has finally issued an update that does the same.
Continuing with the Ubi announcements, Child of Light is the last dribble of PC relevant news to come out of Digital Days event. Like Valiant Hearts, it's based on the UbiArt framework, only instead of a dog, this JRPG homage promises "vile wolves". I'd imagine they're much less pettable. It's being created by Patrick Plourde, the creative director of Far Cry 3, and if the trailer is anything to go by, this game will be much lighter on the tigers, drug fields and hallucinatory disco knife fights.
Children are a tricky subject for an often violent medium. They are evil, but society still seems invested in protecting them. Luckily we have Teacher Story: a free-to-play JRPG in which you beat up children with education, using a turn-based battle system to shoot knowledge and inspiring speeches into their uninterested heads.
It's not the best Final Fantasy - I think we can all agree that X-2 gets that award - but Squaresoft's classic tale of big swords, bigger hair and incongruous snowboarding minigames has now arrived on Steam. I know what you're wondering: does it support Cloud Saving? Yes... yes it does. They were hardly going to let that obvious pun go to waste.
Good news, everyone! Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode 4 is out now. It's the final part of the adventure-come-JRPG series, and that's a good thing because it means I'll never have to type "Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness" ever again. Man, I can't tell you how much I hated typing "Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness". You can grab the game on Steam for £3.59, going up to £3.99 in about a week. That game, of course, being "Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness", though it looks like it's finally tumbled in.
I occasionally get nostalgic for the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy games - a feeling that generally passes when I play a PlayStation-era Final Fantasy game and find my patience tested within the first minute. Having said that, I'm intrigued by TBT: The Black Tower, an upcoming RPG with more pre-rendered backdrops and oversized swords than you can shake a bunch of Gysahl Greens at. If you understood the reference, you may proceed past the break, where I will tell you more things about this French take on a very Japanese genre.
With the reveal of some gorgeous screenshots of Dark Souls II and a glimpse of its masochistic gameplay yesterday, there's been quite a bit of buzz about From Software's brutal action-RPG. Last week, game's director Yuri Tanimura lead a round table discussion dishing about some of the more ideological goals of the new game.
The JRPG has gone through a lot of changes in the last thirty or so years, and Evoland chronicles all of them - well, most of them, ignoring the bit when they turned into barely interactive cutscenes featuring screeching, hyperactive eight-year-olds, in favour of Zelda-style adventuring and even Diablo-esque loot absorption. Sure, it's a selective history of 'action/adventure' gaming, but Evoland crams in an impressive number of evolutions nonetheless, taking us from the days of monochrome sprites to more detailed polygon people, in a game that will take a few hours of your time. Initially hammered out in around 30 hours for the Ludum Dare compo, Evoland has since evolved into something bigger, pricier, Steamier and GOGier, if you have the gold to spare.
Yes, after many years and one false start the other week, you can now relive the epic adventure that is Final Fantasy VII on your PC. In the unlikely event you've never even heard of it, it's widely held to be one of the best JRPGs ever that doesn't involve time travel and a guy called Crono, and is easily the most beloved Final Fantasy adventure of all time. Price-wise, it's £7.99 for the moment, rising to £9.99 in September, and there's a trailer to give you a flavour of its action embedded right here...
Yes, the news has finally broken. Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix's most beloved spiky haired JRPG, is coming back to PC. The new version will be updated and optimised for modern PCs, with achievements and cloud saves. Please feel free to make your own 'Cloud saves' joke here. Everyone else has.
Looking for a new JRPG? Ys doesn’t exactly qualify. It’s – take a deep breath – an updated English version of the 2005 remake of a Famicom game from 1989, and the third instalment in a series of seven. None of the previous games have made it to PC, but that’s alright; you don’t need to know anything about them to play this one. Unfortunately, that’s largely because this one is astoundingly bland in terms of plot and character, with none of the cutesy weirdness of the Japanese games translated by Carpe Fulgur, or any of the epic storytelling of, say, Final Fantasy. What happens in it? Hero stuff happens. That’s all that sank in.
On the great map of PC gaming, the RPG Maker Network lies somewhere south of indie and west of modding. An often-overlooked community with strong ties to the fractious independent nations of fandom, the network is known for its abundant remakes and demakes of classic console JRPGs. More recently, though, a series of avant-garde releases - the harrowing (and very adult) Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, the legitimate surrealism of Space Funeral – have drawn attention to RPG Maker as something more, perhaps, than just a repository for pet projects and Deep Internet stickiness. Here are games that make a strong case for RPG Maker as a vibrant – if not commercially viable – platform for indie development, that treat the oft-lamented JRPG formula as a springboard for some pretty exciting and involved thinking about games.
Poor Charles Barkley. Voted the NBA’s most valuable player in 1991, the man dubbed the “Round Mound of Rebound” (I’m not lying) is now trapped in a horrible dystopian future: the post-cyberpocalypse of 2053, where basketball is strictly forbidden and evil agent Michael Jordan is on hand to shoot anyone who even attempts a bounce-pass.