The PlayStation has always been the go-to console for Japanese role-playing games. That hasn’t changed with the release of the PS4, but during the first year the console was available, RPG fans didn’t see many releases in the genre. That’ll change in 2015 and beyond, as several high profile Japanese RPGs will hit the platform. Let’s take a look at what RPG fans can look forward to over the coming year.
Modern RPGs have taken a detour from their roots, offering a more action-oriented experience. Thankfully Atlus has kept up with the Persona series, which offers more traditional RPG gameplay. Next year Person 5 will release on the PlayStation 4, offering more of the traditional elements fans have come to love.
This time around, newcomers will find an easier path to get into the franchise. While the random dungeon generator and “slice of life” style high school features will remain, this game was built with the idea that a lot of new players will be picking up their first Persona title when the game releases on the PS4 next year. Persona 5 is expected to offer more emotion in the story, while still retaining the trademark Persona gameplay.
For those unfamiliar with how Persona games generally play, the main focus of the series revolves around Personas. These are avatars projected from each character’s inner self that closely resemble mythological figures. Each Persona represents the superficial appearances worn by most people in order to face and cope with the hardships of life. Persona games are turn-based RPGs that offer a simulated high school life, as well as the ability to enter randomly generated dungeons through the TV World.
The Disgaea series has always had a steady following, and that will continue with the 2015 release of Disgaea 5 on the PS4. The Disgaea games are strategy RPGs that offer turn-based combat across a grid, similar to that of the Final Fantasy Tactics series. While some of the Disgaea titles are linked or even direct sequels, Disgaea 5 does not follow any of the primary characters from the previous entries. Laharl and his cohorts from Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, the most recent release, may make a cameo, but the story is set if a different Netherworld.
Fans of the Disgaea games enjoy the wide variety of combo attack potential that is created by attacking the same target with multiple characters positioned on the grid in a specific manner. The witty dialogue between characters and the comical story are also widely appealing aspects of the Disgaea series. Disgaea 5 picks up in a time where the evil demon emperor Void Dark conquered multiple Netherworlds. It’s up to Killia and his team to rise up and defeat the evil emperor.
Final Fantasy 15
Square Enix may have upset a lot of fans with the announcement of the PC version of Final Fantasy 7 coming to the PS4, but that won’t stop them from buying Final Fantasy 15 when it hits the PS4 in 2015. The last few Final Fantasy titles have moved away from the more traditional turn-based combat that all of the older titles use. Final Fantasy 15 follows that trend with combat that feels more like Kingdom Hearts than most of the previous Final Fantasy experiences.
As one of the most visually impressive games hitting the PlayStation 4 next year, Final Fantasy 15 is a jaw dropper. Players take control of Noctis Lucis Caelum and his friends Gladiolus Amicitia, Ignis Stupeo Scientia, Prompto Argentum and Cor Leonis. Noctis is the main character in the game and the prince of Lucis. Gladiolus is Noctis’ best friend and heir to a family that has guarded the royal family for generations. Ignis is a military tactician, while Prompto is a lower class citizen and Cor is essentially the guardian to this group of friends.
Final Fantasy 15 is set in an Earth-like realm, which mimics medieval times. You can move between characters and switch between magic and melee attacks on the fly. Most of the travel in the game is done via a car that the group of friends rides around in. As more of an action-RPG title, it’s expected that Final Fantasy 15 will appeal to a much larger audience compared to the poor reception of the Final Fantasy 13 series of games.
Kingdom Hearts 3
The ever-popular collaboration between Disney and Square Enix continues on the PlayStation 4 in the coming years. The new game picks up where Dream Drop Distance left off, with Sora as the main character, searching for the seven guardians of light with Donald and Goofy. Meanwhile, King Mickey and Riku are on the lookout for previous Keyblade wielders. All of this is necessary to stop Master Xehanort.
While Kingdom Hearts 3 will play very similar to the previous console games in the series, there are a few noteworthy changes. First and foremost, the game runs on Unreal Engine 4. It’s been stated that while the game still looks and feels like Kingdom Hearts, the change in the graphics engine is noticeable.
With Disney’s acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars, there’s been quite a bit of chatter as to whether or not worlds from either property would appear in the new game. While the final world list has yet to be decided, Star Wars and Marvel are both available to Square Enix should the development team decide to use them. Kingdom Hearts producer, Tetsuya Nomura, has stated that it’s also possible to see worlds that have already appeared in previous games, so long as there’s a wide variety between the worlds.
Which PS4 RPG are you most looking forward to?