After 24 years, this classic Nihon Falcom JRPG is playable in English on PC

The forgotten origins of JRPGs

Did you know the Japanese RPG genre has its roots on the PC, not consoles? It's true! Read more about it in our feature here.

Japanese RPG developer Nihon Falcom has been making games since the early 1980s, and almost all of its games started on one Japanese PC or another. But until just the past few years, only the occasional console port ever got an English localization. Most recently, Falcom's Ys and Legend of Heroes games, translated by XSeed, have found success on Steam (with four games released in 2017 alone). And now another Falcom game is finally playable on PC in English, though not through an official localization—24 years after it was released on the PC-98, Brandish 2: The Planet Buster has a fan translation.

Brandish is an action-RPG series with one particularly odd gimmick: turning rotates the world around your character, rather than rotating your character within the world. It's a jarring, instant snap as you can see in the video below.

But Brandish was successful enough to get three sequels, which you can read more about at Hardcore Gaming 101. Only the first ever made it to the US, and that was via a SNES port by Koei. Brandish 2 actually got its own Super Famicom port, which was fan translated way back in 2009. Today's patch marks the first time one of the Brandish games is playable in English in its original form, on the Japanese PC-98.

Or, of course, on a PC-98 emulator. The project's been in the works for more than two years and it's interesting to look back on its origins in the small Heroes of Legend community forum, as the members who worked on the translation started learning how to hack into PC-98 files and modify them. 

You can download the fruits of their labor from the instructions page here, which offers advice on PC-98 emulation and tells you how to install the translation patch. If you want to be really legit, you're gonna need a floppy drive.

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Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).