Among gamers, especially fans of RPGs, 2016 has been known as the year of RPGs. So far we’ve seen Fire Emblem Fates, Bravely Second, an expansion to The Witcher 3 and many more. Sadly, more significant games people are excited for like Persona 5 and Mass Effect Andromeda won’t release in 2016 here in North America, but regardless, we’re still seeing some amazing RPGs. Some are sequels, remasters, highly anticipated games and so much more! 2016 has been a dream come true as an RPG aficionado and I thought I’d talk about some of the ones I’m most excited for.
Honorable Mentions: Final Fantasy XV – I’ve already said enough about XV in that I want it to be great and for it to deliver despite undergoing a tumultuous development. Based on how long it’s taken for this game to come out and with all the changes, I don’t think it can afford to be just okay. I’m not expecting it to be the best Final Fantasy, but I’m hoping it’s memorable and one that delivers amidst all the drama surrounding it.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions (TMS) ♯FE – I’ve been anticipating this Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei crossover since it was announced a few years ago for Wii U. It releases on Friday and I am quite excited. Characters from the Fire Emblem series make cameos in TMS and it has the SMT/Persona combat I’ve been a longtime fan of. I don’t know much about the story or how much these two franchises will play a role with one another, but I’m interested enough to give it a shot. It looks very wacky and different, but that’s a JRPG in a nutshell.
And onto the list…
I Am Setsuna – This promising JRPG seems to harken back to the days of SNES/PS1 RPGs like Chrono Trigger with its memorable combat and beautiful world. I’m not sure if the combat will be exactly the same as Chrono Trigger, which was great, but I’d like to see a twist on the combat. It seems that enemy placement is important when landing solo or multi-person skills so there seems to be a decent amount of strategy in that regard. I’d also love to see slick animations for skills that illustrate how powerful your characters are, similar to the Disgaea series. Another thing I’m excited for is how the story will unfold. It looks like the premise revolves around a woman named Setsuna who is going to be sacrificed for certain reasons. I’m hoping Tokyo RPG Factory can deliver on this premise because it sounds like it could evolve into an emotional story about killing one person so thousands of others can live happily. We’ll see come next month when it’s out.
Dragon Quest VIII (3DS) – I call myself an RPG fanatic but two of the biggest sins I’ve committed as one is having never played Dragon Quest before, and missing out on Dragon Quest VIII. It’s beloved by many and what better way to experience a classic than receiving a 3DS version later this year. It would be perfect to play on the go especially since I anticipate it taking at least 60 hours for my first play through. In the little I’ve seen of it played, the cel-shaded art style still holds up well and it helps portray a colorful adventure that, although simple, is memorable. I’m surprised I never played it when I was younger because I would have adored an adventure like it, with different dialects throughout the world, dragons and so much more. We’re getting the massive Dragon Quest VII in September on 3DS first, which could feasibly hold me over until VIII and it would be a nice introduction into the series. Getting VII to the West hasn’t been easy though, as a story on Kotaku reads, so I’m hoping VIII’s localization will go more smoothly.
Shin Megami Tensei IV (SMT IV) Apocalypse – SMT IV is the first game I played in the long running series, before the more popular and well known Persona series and since then it’s become one of my favorite JRPG franchises. What I like the most is its difficulty, in combat and when recruiting demons. It kicked my butt until I learned enemy weaknesses, effective party formations and recruiting demons themselves. It’s frustrating to throw money or items at a demon in hopes that they’ll join your party, only to trick you and disappear.
Apocalypse takes place shortly before IV’s ending where you strike a deal with the demon Dagda to be resurrected as the demon’s Godslayer. As the title suggests, Tokyo is in a post-apocalyptic state and it’s up to you whether to bring peace or chaos to the city. I view Shin Megami Tensei as a significantly darker Pokemon that interestingly brings spirits and other deities into the fold. It’s an amazing feeling to create a powerful demon through fusion or to pick the right choice in a conversation and recruit a demon that has alluded you for so long. SMT is full of creative monsters and it’s addicting to fill out the Demon Compendium. I can’t wait to explore a ruined Tokyo and make a team of ruthless demons.
These are some of the JRPGs I’m most anticipating. It stinks we won’t see Persona 5 or Mass Effect (not a JRPG, I know), but I’m sure those games will be amazing and it gives me time to play the ones releasing this year. What are you most excited for? Sound off in the comments!
Brett Woodmansee is an editor for The Game Bolt and he loves RPGs, Chipotle and his beard. For tweets about video games, sports and more, follow him on Twitter.