Hello dear readers and thanks for joining me on what is sure to be a very exciting day for the blog and hopefully for you too! Why so exciting? Well that’s because today I am launching a new community event that I’d love you all to get involved with, and if it is anything as fun as the last one I did then the next few weeks are going to be an absolute treat. Why not join me to find out more and learn how to take part!
Some of you will remember that back in 2020 me and fellow blogger Winst0lf ran an event called The Great JRPG Character Face-Off, where we asked the gaming community to tell us their 5 favourite characters from JRPGs. We then counted up the votes and published the results, detailing which characters from JRPGs are the most popular within our little gaming community.
This was so much fun to host and we got such great feedback that me and the most excellent Winst0lf have put our heads together and come up with another event, The Great JRPG Showdown, and this time we’re increasing the stakes. Whilst it was all well and good finding out who the most popular characters from JRPGs were, we wanted to go bigger this time and find out what the most popular JRPGs themselves are.
Taking part could not be simpler. We just want you to tell us what your top 5 JRPGs are. Tell us on Twitter, tell us in the comment section of this blog post, do something creative with pictures and tell us on Instagram or, best of all, write your own blog post to let us know your favourites. You can basically tell us in any way you want and whichever way you prefer. Just let us know the 5 JRPGs you’d choose and we’ll add them into our count. We wanna give you a while to think about this, so we’re giving you until March 22nd to submit your choices. We’ll reveal the results shortly after.
Of course, as me and Winst0lf are both big fans of the JRPG genre, we want to share our own top 5 lists with you. Make sure you check out Winst0lf’s top 5 JRPG picks over on his site Winst0lf Portal, and as for me, well there may be no great surprises, but, in no particularly order, here goes:
From the first time I loaded up the game and saw the menu I knew this game was special. How special it was going to become to me I didn’t know at that point, and getting to that point took two years, in which I amassed over 200 hours of gameplay. I’ve never played a game with an ensemble cast as great as this one and even the characters I thought I wouldn’t like I now love. The perfect combination of style and substance, it has so much going on, is so inspirational and has so much heart and humour that right now it is difficult to imagine discovering another game in which I would become so invested.
Tales of Vesperia
Still the only Tales game I’ve completed, the main thing that struck me about Tales of Vesperia was how dark it was and how many shocking and memorable moments it delivered. There were several moments where I literally gasped at what was unfolding, and I’ve got to credit the writer’s bravery in adding so much moral ambiguity to not just the villains but the heroes too. With its real-time combat the action is fun and fast but still highly tactical and I really enjoyed the different challenges presented in the various boss fights. For me it has one of gaming’s best protagonists, and in one of the aforementioned boss fights it creates a scene so memorably chilling that I took several hits before being able to make myself respond.
Tokyo Mirage Session #FE
Probably the least well-known game in this list, when I originally heard the premise of a Shin Megami Tensai / Fire Emblem crossover about a bunch of teen idols I was sceptical. That feeling lasted all of 20 seconds before I decided it was the best idea ever. The resulting game gave me (probably) my favourite combat system in the whole genre as well as (possibly) my favourite character in the whole genre, as well as (definitely) my favourite ship in the whole world. What I got from Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was more than a game though, as the songs featured in the game are now some of my most listened to tracks and it tempted me back into writing fanfic for the first time in around 15 years. This may be exaggeration, but you could say that this game has become a lifestyle choice for me.
Final Fantasy IX
A game I’ve written about many times on my blog (and on other people’s blogs!), this was my introduction to JRPGs and gave me everything I needed to fall in love with the genre. Up until that point in my life I didn’t realise that a video game could contain such stark despair and shining hope. Still my favourite in the Final Fantasy series, I think it gets everything right, and I say that knowing full well I haven’t seen everything the game has to offer. It’s excellent cast is complimented by truly memorable locations and a thoroughly enjoyable combat system, and adding in the games’ excellent story it is hard to conclude that Final Fantasy IX is anything other than a gem of a game.
I don’t think there is much I can say about this game that I haven’t said before, but having now played the definitive edition I am more sure than ever that this is the game. My game. The game that has a grip on me that is impossible to explain in a rational way. Ironically, other games in the Xenoblade series do some things better than the first one, but for me Xenoblade Chronicles is the one that has the strongest heart. The places and music are now carved into my soul and as always, the humour and camaraderie between the characters is the thing that makes it a truly compelling experience for me. Unlike any other game, it feels as though I lived through those events and travelled with those people and therefore it is an experience that will never leave my heart.
So what do you make of my choices? Would any of these make your top 5 JRPGs list? Let me know below in comments and don’t forget to tell me your own top 5 JRPG choices before March 22nd!
Thanks for reading,