JRPG Gamer's Guide: March 2012 (Bumper Edition)

By Shawn Collier on March 25, 2012, 4:11PM EDT

It's almost the end of the month again, which means one of GamingUnion.net's newest features, the JRPG Gamer's Guide, is back again for another monthly dosage of JRPG gaming goodness. For those who haven't read our previous guides, this segment showcases all of the upcoming JRPGs that we feel you should keep your eye out for.

There hasn't been a great deal of news on the JRPG front though, so apologies if some of the categories are the same as the last feature - the actual content is different though, so don't let that put you off!

Anyway, without further adieu, I think it's best that we delve into the first game for this month, Xenoblade Chronicles!

Xenoblade Chronicles

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Europe already got their chance to play this epic Wii release last Summer, but North American JRPG fans will soon have their chance on April 6.

The game is known for having absolutely huge landscapes, especially for a Wii title, along with its unique real-time battle system which blends classic RPG styles with a system similar to Final Fantasy XII.

The game has received over 90 percent overall ratings in all of the major game review trackers and got numerous Game of the Year awards last year from the European press, so if you're a North American JRPG fan you should really check out this game when it hits in two months time.

Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention

Buy from Amazon.com / Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Missed out on the original PS3 release? With Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, you can take Nippon Ichi's charming, and ever-humorous cast of Netherworld denizens out everywhere you go.

Planned for release on the PS Vita in April, this portable re-release will include every single piece of DLC released for the PS3 version, as well as four brand new scenarios and two characters on top of the already lengthy experience. Fans can expect plenty of new features, and certainly lots of grinding as the Item Worlds make their grand return.

Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention will arrive on April 17 for the PlayStation Vita.

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is the third game in the recent Arland trilogy and is the thirteenth game in the series as a whole.

The titular character, Meruru, is the princess of Arls, a little kingdom that's situated north of the republic of Arland. After she meets with with Totori, the star of the previous title in the trilogy Atelier Totori, she becomes enamored with the power of alchemy and decides to become a student under Totori.

Atelier Meruru features a brand new "Development" system that will enable Meruru to further develop her kingdom. Doing so unlocks new areas to explore, and affects the appearance of the world around her. Expect plenty of item synthesis, gathering and questing. The Assist battle system returns with a new addition dubbed "Turn-Cost," a turn-based mechanic that will add more depth and strategy to battles.

The Atelier series has been a refreshing experience in the JRPG scene, with a well-balanced focus on story, characters, and gameplay. The previous game, Atelier Totori, was very well received, setting itself apart from its contemporaries with a more personable, and emotionally-charged story. Fans can expect even more of that in Atelier Meruru, as several familiar faces will return to meet the new.

The game is set to be released sometime in May in both North America and Europe exclusively on the PS3.



It's a little farther off than the rest of the games featured thus far, but Atlus and Sting's upcoming North American release of the PSP strategy JRPG Gungnir is coming in the very near future.

Part of Sting's Dept. Heaven series of games (which thus far includes Riviera, Yggdra Union and Knights in the Nightmare), it's quite different from the developer's previous works as it focuses less on a completely unique and sometimes cumbersome system and utilizes elements from the classic strategy JRPG genre, but with its own unique touches.

Building upon the traditional action queue of turn-based strategy RPGs, actions in Gungnir all have a numerical wait interval associated with them. Faster actions bear smaller numbers, allowing them to precede slower preexisting attacks. Should the player wish, they may sacrifice tactical points, which afford them more combat options, in order to accelerate actions. This classic balance of risk and reward, a staple of Sting titles, enriches the game's deep strategic battles and gives the player far more critical decisions to weigh.

Atlus will be releasing Gungnir on the Sony PSP both in UMD and digital format on June 12.

That's all for this month. 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!

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