As you may have already noticed, we here at GamingUnion.net have been launching a bunch of new features such as New Game Plus and Gaming's Greatest Companies.
We're finishing off the month with another brand new feature: the JRPG Gamer's Guide. Since a lot of our visitors are fans of classic JRPG series such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and the Tales of series, we thought it would be a great idea to showcase the genre's soon-to-be released and upcoming titles and shed some light on some lesser-known titles that you might not have known or heard about before.
Almost everyone here probably already knows about this game by now, but Square Enix's latest entry in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XIII-2, is set to hit stores at the end of the month in North America and in Europe at the start of next month in February. A sequel to 2010's Final Fantasy XIII, it follows Serah and newcomer Noel Kriss from 700 years in the future as they set out to change his fate as he's the last surviving human from his time.
Many who played the original title complained about the lack of exploration which was something that was fixed in this sequel. Along the way players can pick up fragments which allow them to warp between different time periods and the maps now feature multiple paths instead of the "string" maps that plagued the original.
Our Final Fantasy-centric network site Final Fantasy Union has been covering each of the main characters in detail here, so if you need a quick refresher, it's the place to turn to.
Our resident NIS America fanatic Colin already knows about this upcoming title, but I'd be willing to bet most of our resident JRPG gamers probably haven't heard of this series before. The original title, aptly named Hyperdimension Neptunia and known in Japan as "Super Dimensional Game Neptunia" --- what a mouthful! --- takes place in the fictional world of Gameindustri where the current-gen consoles we all know and love take the place of goddesses, known as "Console Patron Units" or CPUs for short.
The sequel, aptly titled with the suffix "Mk2", has the player control the newcomer CPU Candidates after the characters from the first game get captured from the new evil force threatening to take over their world. For those that had an issue with the game's random encounter system and the game's battle system in the original Neptunia, Mk2 lets you enter battles as you wish by approaching the enemy and lets you move around freely during battle and customize your party's commands to your liking.
If this interests you at all you won't have to wait long as NIS America will be releasing the title on February 28 (Europeans get the title four days earlier on the 24th).
For handheld owners we have two more games. The first releasing next month is Namco Bandai's 3DS re-release of the classic PS2 title Tales of the Abyss. Europe got this game back in November, but North Americans will get their chance at picking up the title on February 14.
The original PS2 release had a number of issues such as lengthy loading times and a number of serious bugs that were inadvertently added into the North American version of the game. Thankfully all these issues have been resolved in the 3DS port, which should make this a much better entry into the long-running Tales of series for those who haven't gotten into the series yet. For those who want to know more about the game, you can check out our review of the European version.
In addition to Tales of the Abyss on the Nintendo 3DS we also have Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 for the Nintendo DS. Unlike the first game which was centered around Tokyo, Devil Survivor 2 takes place all across the country of Japan, although neither of the two games are connected so you don't need to play the first one to enjoy this one.
For the most part the game is similar to its predecessor but adds the ability to level up your relationships with the other characters in a social link-ish way similar to the Persona titles but from a gameplay perspective by giving them stat boosts in battle among other bonuses and affecting the ending of the game depending on who you pal around with.
Fans of strategy JRPGs take note as Atlus will be releasing the game on February 28 in North America. No word on an European release yet though, however.
And last but not least we have a PC title: Carpe Fulgur's Fortune Summoners. Originally set to be released in mid-January, the title is now set for a January 30 release on Steam and other digital download platforms.
An action RPG with Japanese style elements (due to its place of origin), it mixes logic and physics puzzles with hack-and-slash elements similar to what you'd find in games such as Ys (modeled after Wanderers From Ys, not The Oath in Felghana). You have a party of three members and some puzzles even require the use of all of them to pass through them.
The game will be 25 percent off at $15 on its initial release before being raised back up to its normal $20 price so be sure to check out the game next week if you're interested.
That's all for January and February. Next month we'll feature the games coming out in March --- with the big heavy hitter being Tales of Graces f. In the meantime, let us know what you think of this segment in the comments by giving us your thoughts and suggestions. We'll be looking forward to reading your responses!