Video games: the most anticipated JRPGs of 2021

Video games: the most anticipated JRPGs of 2021
Once a niche, today among the most loved and followed in the entire videogame panorama, the JRPG genre could reserve us many surprises during the year that has just begun. It is now difficult to categorize it clearly: the acronym stands for Japanese Role Playing Game, a Japanese role-playing video game, and was coined many years ago to distinguish Western role-playing games from those developed in Japan following very specific settings. In short, it served to distinguish Dragon Quest from Baldur's Gate. Although some classic franchises still resist, today the genre has transformed so much that the theme song has ended up embracing different characteristics that refer to the Japanese tradition of the past, perhaps projecting them into more modern contexts. So we scoured the JRPG landscape of 2021 and looked for the most interesting titles that fans of this genre or some very particular brands should keep an eye on.

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy

Out in January on Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC.

Twenty-second episode of a series perhaps not too well known, but which dates back to 1997, Atelier Ryza 2 is in all likelihood an excellent example of JRPG that has remained faithful to tradition but has nevertheless taken small but important steps in the direction of the future. A direct sequel to the previous Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, the game once again stars alchemist Reisalin "Ryza" Stout who must discover the secrets of the kingdom of Ashra-am Baird along with a colorful cast of supporting actors. Mixing exploration and turn-based combat with the characteristic craft system around which gameplay has always revolved, Atelier Ryza 2 will surely be an unmissable event for fans of the Gust brand and an excellent business card for those approaching for the first time in a title from the Atelier series.

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox

Out in February on PS4 and in the course of 2021 on Switch and PC.

Even Ys IX is a shining example of what is written above about the elasticity of the JRPG acronym which no longer identifies only Japanese turn-based role-playing games: Ys is in fact more a third-person adventure from action-in combat. real time, but the narrative, the cast and the artistic direction in general refer completely to the Japanese tradition. Also in this case we are faced with a new sequel to a series that made its debut many years ago, to be exact in 1987, but do not worry: each chapter is a story in itself, while keeping constant the protagonist Adol and some supporting actors. Monstrum Nox will further evolve the good things experienced with the excellent Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, especially on the front of the dynamic combat system. Let's just hope that the delay in localization does not betray the age of the new Falcom title, which has been out in Japan for over a year.

Bravely Default II

Out in February on Switch.

Despite the title and appearances, it seems that Silicon Studio's JRPG is a new beginning with no narrative link to the previous Bravely Default and Bravely Second. This does not mean that we do not expect some absurd twist focused on subtitles and puns as in the first two episodes, also because the Japanese developer has remained very faithful to that approach so traditional and at the same time so modern that it has made converts on Nintendo 3DS. Some gameplay dynamics have changed and random fights have disappeared, but the heart of the old school JRPG has remained the same: by leveling up the various classes you can combine skills and roles in battle that open the doors to countless strategies, while the four predestined heroes challenge their bizarre enemies to save a world on the brink. The demo is already available on Nintendo eShop with the first chapter of the adventure and will allow you to touch one of the first JRPGs to be released in 2021.

Persona 5 Strikers

Out in February on Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC.

The sequel to the amazing JRPG released in 2017 shouldn't be on this list because ... it's not a JRPG: Persona 5 Strikers is, in fact, a musou developed by Omega Force and P-Studio on behalf of Atlus . But we know that Persona 5 has a lot of fans and it seemed a real injustice to leave it on the sidelines, not to mention that Omega Force seems to have found an interesting compromise that brings the genre of Dinasty Warriors closer to the traditional JRPG characteristics of Persona 5: the fights, for example. , they are not fully action, enemies continue to have weaknesses, Joker can capture and merge different people and there will even be stealth sections in the dungeons. Gamers who loved the original might also enjoy this very special sequel, which takes place three months after the conclusion of the story told in Persona 5.

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

In release on Switch in 2021.

The brilliant strategic series Nippon Ichi has already landed on Switch with the various conversions of Disgaea, Disgaea 4 and Disgaea 5 but now it's the turn of a new chapter in the crazy story of the Netherworld. We still don't have a lot of information on Disgaea 6: we know that the new protagonist, Zed, can "super reincarnate" and that therefore the possibility of breaking through the traditional limits of parameters and statistics will certainly return to inflict billions of damage to the monsters that will block us step. Disgaea 6 is still an absolutely tactical JRPG with turn-based fighting and to prevail you will need to use your brain, not just brute force. Among other things, we are curious to see in action the renewed 3D cel-shaded look which represents an important evolution for the franchise, but which maintains all its colorful and lively cartoon atmosphere.

Edge of Eternity

Out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2021.

It's been more than five years since Midgar Studio managed to get Edge of Eternity funded on Kickstarter, and that it was already the second time that he tried it: at the time, the JRPG of the French developer could count almost only on the compositions of the great Yasunori Mitsuda, but over time the project began to walk on its legs and now we hope it will see the light right in 2021. Set in the world of Heryon, the game will see us explore huge scenarios in search of a cure for the Corrosion, the biological weapon that the mysterious invading Archelites are using to exterminate the population. A little Final Fantasy, a little Xenoblade Chronicles, Edge of Eternity is an RPG with turn-based strategic combat that takes place inside grids called Nexus in which you have to evaluate not only your own movements, but also those of the enemies. Between craftsmanship and skills to be unlocked to customize the protagonists, the Midgar Studio title could prove to be a very pleasant surprise.

Final Fantasy XVI

Out on PlayStation 5 and PC in the course of 2021 .. .?

We still don't know what form the new Final Fantasy will take - will it be a traditional JRPG or an open world with action combat? - but we're pretty sure the team behind us wouldn't be able to make a hole in the water even if they wanted to. Produced by Naoki Yoshida, the genius who regenerated Final Fantasy XIV by transforming a disastrous product into one of Square Enix's best titles, and directed by Hiroshi Takai, the new Final Fantasy seems to evoke the atmospheres and theatrical drama of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. Yoshida has promised that we will find out more about the game over the course of these months: for now we have made a gigantic summary of every known detail in our latest mega preview. It goes without saying that Final Fantasy XVI is one of the most anticipated video games of the new generation, and we wholeheartedly hope it will arrive within the year, even if it is very difficult.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

Coming out on Switch in 2021.

Announced together with Monster Hunter Rise, Monster Hunter Stories 2 cements the return with great fanfare of the Capcom series on Nintendo consoles after the wonderful parenthesis of Monster Hunter World. In reality we have not seen almost anything of this sequel, which continues the story that began on Nintendo 3DS with the first Monster Hunter Stories, but the illustrations and the short teasers shown suggest that it will be set several generations away: it would therefore represent an excellent point. beginning even for those who missed the first episode. There is no reason to believe that Capcom has put his hand to the peculiar mechanics of a title that distanced itself from the hunts of the mother series to stage turn-based battles between colorful monsters that we can tame and customize. There are still several months left for the release, scheduled for the summer at least in Japan: stay tuned.

NEO: The World Ends With You

Out on PlayStation 4 and Switch during the 2021.

It is difficult to describe the enthusiasm of those who had now lost hope in the sequel to one of the most characteristic JRPGs that Square Enix has produced in the last twenty years: the first The World Ends with You dates back to 2007 , was released on Nintendo DS and has only recently been revived on mobile systems and Nintendo Switch. NEO: The World Ends With You will continue that story in a few months, trapping the new protagonists in another macabre game between life and death. The trailer that Square Enix released a few weeks ago didn't make a super positive impression on us, but what we saw is indisputably in line with the sparkling atmosphere of the unforgettable original title. We just need to figure out how to play now that the touch controls have disappeared, but we're pretty sure we'll know more soon.

SaGa Frontier Remastered

Out on PS4, Switch , PC and mobile systems in the course of 2021.

Square Enix seems to want to dig into the past to face the future: after having resurrected Trials of Mana with a compilation and a good remake last year, now it's up to a very controversial title of the PlayStation era. SaGa Frontier Remastered seems to be a very faithful conversion of the original released in 1998, obviously in high resolution. Players will be able to choose one of the eight main characters as the protagonist, to then see them cross paths or blades in a colorful and bizarre sci-fi world. New storylines and secondary missions will deepen the story and the characters, while the turn-based combat system, while remaining unchanged, should be more accessible and guarantee greater control of the RPG part. Vintage lovers should keep an eye on it.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster

Out on PlayStation 4 and Switch in 2021.

Ci we would love to be able to dedicate these lines to Shin Megami Tensei V, but we have seen little and nothing about the next Atlus title - scheduled for 2021 anyway - and we could only speculate. Over the course of the year, however, fans old and new of the series will be able to get their hands on what promises to be a gem: Nocturne, released for the first time in 2003 on PlayStation 2, is one of the most popular Shin Megami Tensei. and the remastered version we will play will include an unprecedented series of features that will make it a great starting point for those who want to get closer to the series. Those who already know it, because maybe they played the excellent Shin Megami Tensei IV on Nintendo 3DS, will recognize all the best features of the Atlus franchise, among which a bizarre plot, a very deep and satisfying combat system, a difficulty above the lines.

Tales of Arise

Released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2021 ...?

It is with immense despair that we warn you that you have to take the above line with a grain of salt: a few weeks ago, producer Yusuke Tomizawa revealed that the Bandai Namco title has entered the final stage of development, but we don't see any trailers or images for months and the pandemic has enormously slowed down the processing of a JRPG on which the team is putting body and soul. Fans of the Tales series have been waiting for a new game from 2016, the year Tales of Berseria was released, and the little we have seen so far seems to indicate significant news in terms of gameplay: Tales of Arise will respect the tradition of the franchise with its action fights. and an A-list anime storyline, but it will introduce some major changes that we're eager to see. So we greet you with the hope not so much to have some more information, and soon, but above all to get your hands on one of the titles we look forward to most this year.

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