2019-07-09

Xbox 360 Exclusive JRPGs on Xbox One

Given it wasn't a big player in Japan (or Asia in general), JRPGs that were only available on the Xbox 360 are quite a rare breed indeed. Even rarer, then, are those that are included in the list of backwards compatible titles for Xbox One.


Exclusives

The only 3 titles that I know tick both boxes (360 exclusive AND backwards compatible on the Xbox One) are:

Infinite Undiscovery

Infinite Undiscovery

Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon enjoy reasonably high profiles, but I have a soft spot for Infinite Undiscovery. It seemed to mainly exist as a test game for the new Star Ocean engine but is an enjoyable fantasy JRPG with a solid cast and good battle system. It also features a New Game+ mode, which bumps up the difficulty.



Multi-platform Titles

Then there are a few more which are backwards compatible but are available on other platforms:


Star Ocean: The Last Hope

As an example, Star Ocean: The Last Hope (TLH) had a brief window of exclusivity (1 year, from memory) but then moved to PS3 and was updated as TLH "International". New features included Japanese or English audio and a choice of Anime-style or CG character portraits. TLH was later re-released on PS4 and Windows as a "4K & Full HD Remaster" edition.


Backwards compatible but also available on other platforms:




Not backwards compatible (but available on other platforms):

Eternal Sonata, known as Trusty Bell in Japan



There may well be a few I've missed - feel free to comment if that's the case.

Here's the Wikipedia list of backwards compatible titles - as far as I can tell it's as up-to-date as the official list, but I find it easier to read-through.

Lastly, an honorable mention to Child of Light, which is a JRPG at heart, even if it wasn't made in Japan. It's both backwards compatible and available on just about every platform.

2019-07-03

Lunar Eternal Blue play-through - part 2

Part two of my Lunar Eternal Blue play-through for #JRPGJuly


After getting to the bottom of the Blue Spire and subsequently having Lucia weakened, it's time to make our escape. Unfortunately, the guardian statue at the entrance as come to life and isn't in an accomodating mood.

(Part one is here)


Best not to fight the Guardian until Gwen learns Rust Weapon!

If Gwen has reached level 12, he will have access to Rust Weapon, which will negate the guardian's otherwise powerful physical attack (it buffs periodically but Rust Weapon cancels it out nicely). Gwen learns Rust Armor earlier, which also cancels out the guardian's armor buff.

Poor Lucia's 1HP means she doesn't stand a chance if she's in the wrong place at the wrong time...

After getting past one guardian, the ante is well a truly upped with 4 more appearing. This is what they call "fighting a losing battle" but Leo and his battleship come to the rescue.

Leo to the rescue. Bit of a jerk about it though...

Despite being too weak to move, Lucia is still adamant about continuing her mission. Gwen suggests that Ronfar/Rong-Fa in the town of Raapa/Larpa might be able to assist and so Hiiro is on his way again.

Ruby gets possessive of Hiiro (again)


Sailing to Larpa

Larpa presents something of a change of scenery


Meeting Ronfar
After meeting Ronfar, he challenges Hiiro to a game of dice. Naturally, it's un-winnable and Hiiro is forced to give up. Lucia manages to move to the story along by collapsing, at which point Ronfar catches her and takes her to his house to rest.

Leo again. Fortunately, Ronfar is there to deflect his attention.

Our heroes can't get a break and Leo turns up to speak with his friend Ronfar. Luckily for them, Ronfar doesn't rat them out and, once Leo is gone, decides to help them out. He challenges Hiiro to another game of dice but this time rigs it Hiiro's way.

Ronfar pushes aside the chest of drawers to reveal a secret passage and *bam*, it's dungeon time again! That's as good a time as any to take a break and finish this post...



As a side-note, I couldn't remember who voiced who so I looked up the list of voice actors and was quite surprised to find that softly spoken Lucia was performed by Yokoyama Chisa [横山智佐]. She's famous for such roles as the loud and cheerful Sasami from Tenchi Muyo and also did the loud and in-charge Ryoko from Nadesico. She's also the voice of Sakura from the Sakura Taisen series - probably her most notable game role.

While I'm on the topic of voice acting, Lunar EB really does feature some top talent. In addition to the above we also have Hisakawa Aya [久川 綾] as Jean and Hayashibara Megumi [林原めぐみ] as Lemina.

#LunarEternalBlue #JRPGJuly

2019-07-01

Lunar Eternal Blue play-through - part 1

I decided to start off #JRPGJuly by continuing the replay of Lunar Eternal Blue that I'd recently started (I was only 45 or so minutes in, so I'm practically starting from scratch here).




Apart from the opening, this is the first significant dungeon of the game. There is a healing statue near the mid-point and HP and MP potions are also available (in chests and as drops), so it's a good introduction to combat without being overwhelming.

Hiiro's first AoE special attack - very useful early on

"Hey, a shiny crystal. I wonder what's inside?"

*gack*

[un-impressed expression]


Hiiro is immediately taken with Lucia but she has no time for idle chit-chat - she wants to be taken to the Goddess Althena right away. Hiiro doesn't really know how to accomplish this but offers to help anyone. Anything for a pretty face, huh? Ruby is suitably un-impressed with her lovestruck partner.

Look at those stats! Shame they don't last long...




Lucia casts one of her totally OP spells
Lucia is initially completely OP and demolishes her way through enemies without needing any help. This is a good spot to pick up some bonus EXP, as your party is pretty much unstoppable. An extra level or two is always handy.


Leaving the tower with a now severely weakened Lucia in tow

Upon leaving the Blue Spire, Zophar makes his first appearance and saps Lucia of her superpowers, leaving her weak and unable to do much of anything by herself. Hiiro and crew escort her away from the spire to (relative) safety.

#LunarEternalBlue

Happy #JRPGJuly

It's #JRPGJuly - the time of year to really focus on those JRPGs in your playlist or backlog and share some screenshots, anecdotes and (quite possibly) rants.



I've been nursing along several JRPG play-throughs recently but without any strict focus due to travel, other things on the go, and my crippling inability to focus ;)

Here's a quick list of possibles and probables:


  • I have my umpteenth play-through of Suikoden II [PSX] nearing the end - 30+ hours in and with all 108 characters recruited.
  • I've also spent some time re-playing Grandia [PSX] with the (relatively) new and complete un-dub patch.
  • Feeling nostalgic, I started a replay of Lunar: Eternal Blue [PSX] last week
  • Lufia II [SNES]. I'm several hours in but stopped playing for a while due to how formulaic and "samey" things were feeling. Might be worth going back for another look.
  • Phantasy Star [SMS]. Holds up incredibly well for a Master System game. Warrants some more hours of play.
  • Phantasy Star IV [SMD] - I've put some time into this one over the years, spread of different re-releases/Mega Drive compilations.
  • My thousandth (possible exaggeration) replay of Final Fantasy VII. I should say "replays" here, as I'm 30-odd hours into the PS4 re-release but also 5 or so into the re-translation patched PSX game.
  • Yet another replay - Final Fantasy VIII (Windows) with some nice graphical mods that make it look a bit prettier. 6 or 7 hours in at the moment.



As for the backlog, some titles that I've been wanting to play for years and have only half-heartedly poked at:

  • Super Mario RPG (SNES). I've only played for 30 minutes or so, hope to get back to it some day...
  • Breath of Fire (any of them - I think I was leaning towards 4).
  • Finally finishing Chrono Trigger. I've started and played for a few dozen hours but over both the SNES, DS, and PSX versions.
  • Wild Arms. Similar to Chrono Trigger, a couple of restarts, plenty of time put it but not finished.
  • Albert Odyssey (Saturn). Couple of false starts, I haven't seen a lot of it but I feel I'd like to.

2019-03-24

I think airport trains hate me

I managed to experience a rare double today - there were issues with the airport trains both at my departure airport and at my destination!

Hong Kong's Airport Express had an issue with overhead cabling between Tsing Yi and the airport, so that meant queuing up for replacement buses - about 30 minutes to get on a bus, then a slower than normal trip out to the airport. Fortunately, I'd allowed some padding but I still only managed to make it to the check-in desk 5 minutes before the cut-off.

Arriving at Narita, I headed down towards the trains, only to hear an announcement that Narita Express services had been suspended due to an accident. I initially tried to get a bus straight to Shinjuku but the operator warned me that traffic was so bad that I was better off taking one of the other train options.

In the end I took the Keisei Skyliner to Nippori then changed for the Yamanote Line to (slowly) finish my trip. With all the going back and forth and queuing, I wasn't even on a train until 17:42, after arriving shortly before 16:00! I finally checked into my hotel, about 10 minutes walk from Shinjuku station, a little after 19:00.

So, a stressful day's travel - pretty much the entire day gone, only traveling between Hong Kong and Tokyo.

My favorite airport train story remains the time I was headed home from Sydney airport when the driver went though a red. This meant the train had to be reversed to the preceding station and everyone had to get off and wait for the next train, which ran a modified service (which changed again en-route). The already glacial 2 hour trip blew out to nearer 4.