How to embrace a genre
Trying something new can be intimidating. Whether it’s going to the gym, learning to drive or meeting new people, you can often be left feeling like you’ve just stumbled into a member’s only club and you’ll probably want to leave or give up. Well, I really can’t help you with those other things, but if you fancy picking up a new RPG to fill in some of the hours between sleeps, maybe this article can help.
Just like buying cigarette sweeties is a gateway to doing meth, the action RPG is the best way to get into the genre without having to spend two weeks reading wikis and posting questions on GameFaqs. Now while games series like Yakuza and Zelda are action games with RPG elements, I’d say a game like Ys VIII is a great introduction to this sub-genre.
Don’t be scared with the number in that title, the Ys games are all fairly standalone even though the main character Adol, and his beefy pal Dogi, feature in all of them.
The game is set on a cursed island and while it’s not as open as a game like Skyrim, the map is pretty huge and as you play you’ll unlock new abilities, like being able to walk without sinking on mud, double jumps and climbing gloves, which help you reach previously blocked off areas.
So far, so good, but what about the combat? Well, let me tell you, it’s very straightforward; you’ve got a quick light attack, a stronger attack, a dodge and block button.
The more you attack you gain action points, like a stamina bar, and you get to use much stronger attacks. These attacks can stun, poison or inflict other status effects and they can level up as well. Honestly, it’s not hard to get a hang of and it’s really satisfying to play. The version I played was on the Switch and it’s a great game for commuting that rewards exploration and it’s full of characters you’ll grow to love.
Hopefully, you stopped reading this article for long enough to go and play Ys VIII and now you’re ready for something a little more in-depth. Well, I’ve got the game for you buster: Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Like Ys, don’t be worried about the number in the title, it’s not essential that you play the first game in the series, although it might be worth reading about the plot on wikipedia.
The first thing you’ll realise when you start Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is that it’s a lot more complicated than Ys, but don’t let that put you off, because it’s worth learning.
I’m not going to go into depth here because I would just confuse myself and you, but simply, you have moves that can inflict “break”, which then give you the chance to knock over the enemy (called “topple”), then you can “launch” then into the air and finally “smash” them back to earth. There’s a whole load more to it, but this can get you started.
The world of XC 2 is huge and at times it’s almost daunting, but it’s a true adventure unlike anything else you can find on the Switch or on other consoles and again like Ys, the characters are charming and fun to be around, which is good because you’ll be seeing a lot of them as you play through the game. The expansion pass is well worth the money as well, with the recently released Torna - The Golden Country serving as a massive prequel to the main story. I’m only a few hours into it, but it’s been excellent so far.
“What if I don’t own a Switch Scott?”, I hear you ask? Well, I’ve recently been playing Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age as you can see in this video, and although I’ve not been able to play as much as I would’ve liked, it’s a great JRPG that looks stunning while also serving as a great introduction to classic JRPG mechanics and structure. I’d waffle on about it some more, but you can read my thoughts elsewhere in this magazine or via the video above!
You can also check out Joe’s video for the Pocket Edition of Final Fantasy XV, but I’ve not played it yet, so it might be shite.
Getting into any new genre of video game can be a right pain, because the options are almost limitless and everyone you ask has an opinion that contradicts the next person. These are just a few of my recommendations based on games that I’ve recently played and are pretty easy to get hold of. I’m hoping to write another article soon for those of you who are interested in older games, although with the closure of some pretty popular sites, ROMS are becoming a little harder to find.
Not that any of you upstanding citizens would do such a thing.