Top 5 Xbox 360 Japanese RPGs
Posted by janhutchings
Top 5 Xbox 360 Japanese RPGs
Microsoft has done many things right in their battle to take the #1 spot in this generation’s console war. One of biggest and most important was courting (and winning over) Japanese RPG developers and releasing some of the best JRPG’s in the last 6 years. From Square Enix, to Tri-Ace, to MistWalker, the Xbox 360 has featured Japan’s very best RPG’s. Check out JTM Games’ top five Xbox 360 Japanese RPG’s after the break.
5. Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Even thought it was later ported to the PS3, Star Ocean: The Last Hope offered a pretty solid story as well as great combat mechanics. Also, the level progression system made sure that players kept coming back to continue/finish the story.
In case you guys were wondering, the game is actually a prequel to the original three Star Ocean RPG’s of old. The main character, Edge and his ragtag group are basically tasked to find a new home for humans as earth has been devestated by total war. Of course, their mission is but a small dot in the overall grand story.
Despite some horrid voice acting and some questionable pacing, the game was a suitable evolution of the Star Ocean franchise.
4. Blue Dragon
Boasting the renowned RPG creator Hironobu Sakaguchi (of Final Fantasy fame) and the art style of famed Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Saga), Blue Dragon brought a traditional, yet fun and engaging JRPG to the western market. It was one of the first few BIG exclusive Japanese titles to come out on the Xbox 360 and oh boy was it a hit. It was also one of the first games to break the 200,000 unit sales mark in Japan. (A country notoriously against anything on Xbox 360)
While some reviewers criticized the game for it’s traditional JRPG approach, it introduced a genre that was otherwise unknown to most Xbox gamers (mostly westerners) at that time. The story and characters were also criticized for being to generic and been-there-done-that; something Japanese RPG’s are notorious at being from time to time. Still, with all the warts, Blue Dragon deserves a spot on the list for literally saving the Xbox 360 in Japan where the system launched pretty much dead-in-the-water.
3. Final Fantasy XIII
Okay so it doesn’t look as good as the PS3 version, and it doesn’t really get interesting until about 20 hours into the game, but Final Fantasy XIII is still a great overall experience for Xbox 360 owners looking for their JRPG fix. It’s got the best visuals out of every game on this list and has some interesting characters. It’s also different from traditional RPG’s as this one carries with it a more action-packed battle system in which players only has direct control over one character. Think of Kingdom Hearts’ battle system and you’ve got an pretty good idea what I’m talking about.
If you have a 360, and like JRPG’s its worth a try. It’s also good to beat it before the sequel Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes out sometime in 2012.
2. The Last Remnant
The Last Remnant was released a little bit before Final Fantasy XIII, so it was regarded as “that game sold to tide people over before FFXIII came out.” But people who thought that didn’t even scratch the surface of this incredibly deep and strategic JRPG that offered the best combat system of any game of the same genre until now. Armies are made up of multiple groups of up to 5 units. That means the player has control of a large number of characters in a given battle.
To quote Lee Guille’s Review of The Last Remnant,
In battle, the player directs each unit to engage enemies with magic, fighting arts, items, and other abilities. Actions performed by unit members are determined by the total ability points, hitting timing buttons causes extra damage, critical hits, and advances your next unit in line to start a combo. Larger fights earn better bonuses, teach abilities faster, and are occasionally necessary for certain quests or to spawn rare enemies.
While it didn’t have the best visuals, audio, or overall presentation, The Last Remnant is second in our list because of it’s deep, strategic battle system that kept players on their toes at every battle.
1. Lost Odyssey
If there was an award for the saddest game/character, I believe Lost Odyssey would would win it every time. Featuring the most heart-wrenching character arcs in the history of the medium, Mistwalker Studio’s magnum opus takes players through an emotion filled ride; one where guilt, sadness, and loneliness are the main themes. The main protagonist, Kaim Argonar is an immortal who has lived more than a thousand years. An in those thousand years, he’s seen his fair share of loved ones dying, countries destroying each other over trivial matters, and extreme loneliness as an immortal.
Afflicted with amnesia as a result of magic, Kaim slowly remembers memories locked in his heart in journal-like “A Thousand Years of Dreams” in which small, memorable parts of his life are told in text form. These short, one-shot stories flesh out an already deep and likable character. Never have I ever empathized with a character like I have with Kaim. Never have I ever felt sadness while playing a video game in the 20+ years since I started.
And that’s just one character in a series of many. Lost Odyssey features the absolute best cast of characters ever seen in a Japanese RPG in a long time. The combat may be traditional, but you won’t mind it as you help Kaim struggle to remember everything he has forgotten. By the end of the game, you’ll feel like you know each of the characters and feel like you were literally there experiencing everything with them.