When it comes to gaming I would consider myself quite varied in my tastes towards different genres: Be it shooters, fighting games, puzzlers, action games, etc. I’m pretty down with playing whatever, and will not limit myself in playing anything that catches my curiosity. But, upon growing up, I acquired a certain
deranged obsession taste towards Japanese role-playing games back on the PS1. It only escalated when the PS2, my favorite console to date, came around. Unfortunately, and as time has gone by, these titles have become noticeably more niche on the current gen of consoles. Not saying they don’t exist on consoles nowadays, since this year alone has more than proved that wrong (like I really enjoyed Tales of Graces F and Atelier Meruru), but, as a whole, they seem to have stepped aside for more popular stuff like shooters. And that’s just how it is. With that though, it seems Japanese developers have focused their efforts in giving them a new home on portable devices like the PSP and what seems to be likely be the Vita as well. This may be discouraging to some, but for me, it has actually made playing these more in-depth experiences more convenient as I grow older.
To set some personal background, I’ve been more inclined to play handheld games these past couple of years over my consoles because of my current lifestyle (and my fondness towards rpgs). From my occasional commutes, breaks at work, waiting to order a meal *I don’t care if I get weird looks!*, or right before I call it night (even if, depending on the game… it may overlap with the next morning), I’ve found a routine in getting glued to the tiny screens of the these devices when I have an opportunity. I may not embody the greatest role-model for children or adults, but I don’t care. People seem to have this myth that with handhelds, you need to be in one place for a crazy long time to enjoy them. Which to a certain extent is true, they have saved me on several plane rides, but I can’t help but think these individuals are not aware of the convenience of a sleep mode of these devices. Where immediately picking up where you left off is no big deal, so you can have gaming sessions of whatever duration. Making rpgs in general much more convenient, especially ones with save points spaced apart and don’t constantly auto-save.
One of my favorite games this year was actually a very much under-looked PSP title by the name of Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time. Despite the easy name to poke fun at, it’s actually quite a gem of a strategy rpg. The game really reminded me why I liked certain old school rpg classics I played way back when on the PS1:like Star Ocean: The Second Story or Suikoden II. Granted, the gameplay is pretty different those two games, but it has certain classic old-school charm you cannot really get with modern games or even Japanese rpgs. Toss in a well-localized script/solid narrative, story branches, and an interesting rts/turn-based strategy rpg combat system, and it was definitely a winner in my eyes. Even beyond this game, I’ve found a plenty of rpg gems: Ys Seven, Patapon 3, Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman (that’s a real name…) to name a few, as well as more known rpg stuff like Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Persona 3 Portable, Valkyria Chronicles 2to be fairly fun on portable devices.
Of course, with most gaming hardware, the need to move on is a necessity, I can’t play the PSP forever (well, technically I could for some, but…). So, recently, I got myself a Vita in hopes of continuing to fuel my fond nature towards rpgs, as well as playing the other solid looking titles. With new/upcoming games like Persona 4: Golden (The original was easily being one of my favorite games, well, ever), Ragnarok Odyssey, and Soul Sacrifice, I expect only positive things from it like my experience with the PSP in the long-run.
PS: I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for more games like Ys: Celceta Sea of Trees, God Eater 2, Phantasy Star Online 2, and Zero no Kiseki to make it overseas as well. (pretty please?)