Articles tagged with: ICFJ
Unforgiving. Tense. Subtle. Light Weight’s seminal one-on-one fighting classic Bushido Blade was many things.
What it wasn’t, however, was just another run of the mill beat ‘em up along the traditional lines of the Street Fighters and Tekkens of the brawling world.
Though technically not coming from Japan at all (it was developed in Squaresoft’s California office), Parasite Eve is very much the quintessential Japanese game.
An RPG with lush cinematics and quirky random battles, Squaresoft’s modern day tale of transformation and deceit ticks a lot of boxes when compared to similar games that surfaced in the late 90s.
Released in Japan back in 1997, Matrix Software’s Alundra was something of a surprise hit when it finally reached our stores the following year.
An RPG with action-adventure elements, Alundra targeted the West’s new-found love for quirky Japanese gameplay with a well-wrought story and intuitive game mechanics.
Over a decade later, and with the likes of 3D Dot Game Heroes about to revive the genre, Alundra represents one of the purest, most difficult yet rewarding experiences in the action/RPG landscape.
Bleach is a cultural phenomenon.
Starting off as a popular comic, the ongoing story of how a young man accidentally embodies the cultural equivalent to Japan’s version of Death is now serialised, on lunch-boxes, has its own anime series on TV and has even been the subject of a number of rock musicals. Bleach is big business.
It’s therefore of little surprise to see Bleach extend its reach into the gaming domain.
Just like Xenogears from last week’s column, Square’s Vagrant Story bucks numerous staple JRPG trends, this time, however, in completely different areas.
One of only eleven games to receive a perfect 40/40 score from Famitsu, and the only PlayStation 1 title to feature in the list, Vagrant Story wowed fans across the globe upon its release back in 2000 and went on to become one of the most loved, if somewhat forgotten, of the many illustrious Square RPGs.
After the phenomenal success of Final Fantasy VII in 1997, many Western gamers — now enthralled by this new found wonder of the Japanese RPG — found themselves wondering just what else Square (soon to be SquareEnix) had up their sleeves.
In response, Square released Xenogears on the PS1 in February of 1998.
Considered high-brow, deep and, to some degree, irreverent, a section of the gaming public were shocked that, instead of another tale of huge swords, friendship and personal sacrifice, they got a convoluted and abstract story that questions the existence of God, waxes on about philosophical doctrine and wonders aloud about man’s evolution.
To this day, Xenogears is held very dear in the hearts of its many fans, seen as a work of immense complexity and acute intelligence. When Famitsu rates a game #16 in a list of the greatest games of all time, you know you have something special on your hands.
For this week’s It Came From Japan we decided to be somewhat topical.
With Yakuza 3 (and 4) popping up in the news lately, we thought it might be beneficial to take a look at the series as a whole and posit just how concrete recent rumblings of the series’ xenophobic tendencies actually are.
A spin-off from the equally popular Shin Megami Tensei (True Goddess Reincarnation), the Persona flavour is especially popular among Japanese youth.
Where Persona fits in this wider RPG mosaic is not necessarily complicated, but it does at least require some explanation.
Persona is in fact a spin-off of a spin-off, and though we could have chosen to focus on just the primary spin-off (Shin Megami Tensei – we do hope you’re keeping up), we decided to highlight Persona purely because it has a better chance of seeing a Western release on the PS3.
Released in Japan on the original PlayStation console back in 1997, and the following year in North America, EinhÃ¤nder is one of Square’s (note: pre merger with Enix) few dalliances outside the genre they’re renown for – the RPG.
A kinetic and brutal side-scroller, EinhÃ¤nder quickly became popular with shooter fans for its fast action, stellar audio and the use of 2.5D by shifting camera angles and employing 3D graphics while maintaining the purity of a 2D side-scroller.