We continue our coverage of the 2022 Steam Summer Sale with a look at the best deals for JRPGs! These are ideal if you want to get lost in story-rich worlds and have your anime character undergo the long level grind they deserve!
Octopath is the game that pioneered Square Enix’s HD-2D artstyle, and we have to say: They nailed it pretty well for their first attempt. While reminiscent of the SNES era of JRPGs, HD-2D takes the Pixel-look and updates it to make the world come alive. It’s goes a long way to feel the impact of your flashy attacks destroying the enemy’s guard. Even on the overworld, the lighting effects and for the various regions do a good job setting the right mood.
One defining feature of Octopath is the multitude of characters. As the title suggests, you’ll get to learn the tale of eight in total, all traveling the lands for a different reason. They’ve all got unique ways to interact with their surroundings; like a Scholar making investigations and a Swordsman challenging people to a duel. The gameplay starts off simple, but ramps up in the later parts when you’ll be able to switch classes and unlock new and more powerful ones.
One part that got the short end with the eight-travelers-from-all-over idea is the storytelling. It’s like segmented main pieces that never got the connecting parts to fill out. Since the game can be started in eight different locations it’s no easy task to make the narration work as well as a linearly structured title could. There are some noteworthy moments when the cast has some interactions that flesh them, as a group, out. Beyond that, they just take turns on who gets to be the main character while the others watch on from the sidelines until a battle starts.
Did we mention how good the battle music is? This game has a fantastic soundtrack.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The seventh entry in the Yakuza series has turn-based combat and thus departs from its traditional action pace. Whether or not you can vibe with that decision, it doesn’t take away from the absolute lunacy going on with the story. Wanna beat up men wearing diapers in a Nursery? Encourage people by feeding ungodly spicy food? The depths the Yakuza games go to provide entertaining side-quests and minigames is respectable to say the least.
At its core, the game is still about… well, the Yakuza. That is to say you fight against them with your party of misfits you assemble throughout the story. However, the real gift of the setting is the city you get to explore. Inspired by Yokohama, this entry in the series notably takes place in a newly designed open world. That makes it a great starting point for newcomers while giving veterans a fresh look at a diverse Japanese metropolis.
Tales of Arise
Another long-running JRPG series is the “Tales of” franchise. Tales of Arise, like its predecessors, is a more grounded approach to the genre.
Unlike the first two games we discussed, this one offers the whole action combat package with dodge rolls and air juggle combos. Instead of making calculated decisions turn by turn, you can feel the enjoyment of landing fast melee strikes or casting a series of powerful spells.
The story makes up a sizable chunk of the game, either in the way of long cutscenes and texts providing detailed worldbuilding or personal moments with your party members. Even if not every moment is a fully animated immersive experience, the game doesn’t need that to get across its meaningful topics and likable characters.
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
This one’s for the people that prefer extra weird JRPGs. Playing in a post-apocalyptic setting, 8 people are left to explore the island they are stranded on. Well, not exactly the island itself, but the dungeons that sprawl underneath. That’s right! It’s a dungeon crawler, a first-person one at that. So it doubles down on the slow and strategic gameplay by making tile-based movement a part of your turns.
In terms of the story, the characters all age rapidly as you play. This effects what their fighting capabilities are and goes on until they’re too old, at which point a clone (reincarnation?) is created. That way you can play as a child and go from there. What this unconventional worldbuilding exactly entails is up to you to discover, but don’t expect world peace and happy ever after from the creators of the Danganronpa games.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition
Cyber Sleuth is a hard sell for people that never had any connection to Digimon in the past. Imagine Pokémon, but instead of a cute electric mouse you’ve got the yellow poop emoji and DJ-monkey with sunglasses and a gold chain. Long story short, it’s worth a look if you’ve been aching for a Pokémon game that goes more in-depth with the monster training and offers more rewarding challenges to overcome.
At the end of the day, it’s a decent game for anyone that wants to re-experience the fond memories of watching the anime. Fortunately, the story is not just a retelling but still captures the same kind of charm. As is tradition, the stakes escalate equally fast towards the later parts, when the poop emoji and DJ monkey triple-ultra-digi-volve and threaten world domination! This is only slightly exaggerated.
Prices & Discounts
Prices may vary based on your region.
- Octopath Traveler ($20.95, 50% off)
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon ($28.29, 55% off)
- Tales of Arise ($31.43, 50% off)
- Zanki Zero: Last Beginning ($25.15, 60% off)
- Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition ($20.95, 50% off)
Which hour-long journey will you embark on? Did you have great enough taste to have already played some of these? Let us know in the comments below!
The Steam Summer Sale is in bloom! Check out our other highlights to find the best deals for you: