Persona 5 Strikers (Platinum)
Valkyria Chronicles 4
FF Strangers of Paradise
Tales of Arise (Platinum)
God of War (Platinum)
Disgaea 6 Complete (Platinum)
Soul Hackers 2 (Good ending)
The Diofield Chronicle (Platinum)
Star Ocean The Divine Force
Yakuza Like a Dragon
Alright so a few weeks ago I finished Star Ocean The Divine Force, my 9th JRPG finished this year. After skipping the last Star Ocean due to bad impressions, I bought this game day one, because I knew it had to be good. The game starts off with a banger opening song to set the tone for a great game. The beginning of the game was quite slow even for a JRPG, but getting used to the combat and trying out all the characters is all great fun nonetheless. You can choose between 2 main characters that have their own unique story though 90% of it would be the same. I am not often compelled to play a game 2 times through, but this game would be close to that at least. The middle of the game is a little bit more interesting, with quite a few amazing cities and a fun minigame to play. The story finally gets more of a plot, and none of the characters are annoying like Lymle. (excepting a brief moment)
The last part of the game was great fun. The plot is good in some ways and bad in others, but when you beat the game, you realize the full potential of this game. You can take advantage of crafting, a very meticulous affair, but well worth it for the best weapons and items. You can take on the superbosses, with the final superboss very balanced around the combat system. The budget for this game was apparently not big enough, but still the music is great throughout. Landing in a new zone and getting instantly hooked to a tune, is a feeling i haven't experienced in many games. The main world is crafted well, but felt unfinished, as with other places. Often I feel baited by games having 6 different zones in a small chunk of land, but then in the last half of the game that same size of chunk of land is only 1 or 2 zones. I think that would just be the budget running out. Overall a great entry into the Star Ocean series that I would put in or near my top 50 games, and 2nd place in the Star Ocean series behind only Til the End of Time.
Next we have Yakuza Like a Dragon that I finished a few days ago, my 10th and final JRPG finished this year of 2022. I played other Yakuza games but I always got too distracted by the minigames and couldn't focus on the story. Now that the game is in JRPG fashion, I could easily do the story. The game starts off quite well with its surprisingly good battle system set on the streets of Japan. The plot is entertaining and the characters are good to know early on. The minigames are fun and not massive time sinks if you don't want them to be. This game kind of has the opposite feel to to Star Ocean.
I would rate this game highly if not for the massive pacing issues in the middle of the game. The pacing from level 1 to level X is perfect. But from level X to level Y, all of a sudden I am getting absolutely destroyed, and leveling is quite slow unless you take up the game's offer of "optional" content. Money is much the same "optional", that unless you want to spend 50 hours doing it the hard way, you are kind of forced to either look up a way to make it work or doing the "optional" content. Level Y pretty much stays consistent for the rest of the game in my experience so after you pass that mountain all of a sudden everything is so easy you could win without looking. It is very disappointing, but I suppose it is too be expected for this team's first JRPG. The final bits of grinding and relationship building are fair time sinks for the effort put in, so I look upon it more favorably. The music wasn't as good as Star Ocean, but there were still some tunes I liked, some of which come from other games. Overall a good first attempt for the studio in the JRPG space, and I am excited for the next game.