Unfortunate Timing: RPGs Released Late In The PSP’s Life Cycle
The PSP has been winding down in North America over the last few years, and with the Vita on the market, publishers are hesitant to bring over games late in the portable’s life cycle – many of which are RPGs. As an RPG fan, I yearn for and wonder about these games. Maybe an opportunity will arise to bring them digitally to PSN for play on both the PSP and Vita, but until then, I’ve selected eight games that came late in the PSP’s lifespan. Sadly, we will probably always pine for these to release in English.
Grand Knights History
Japanese Release Date: September 1, 2011
The word “Vanillaware” is all fans need to hear. The developer is known for bringing us stunning 2D visuals in games like Odin Sphere, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, and GrimGrimoire. Naturally, when Grand Knights History was announced, excitement mounted. The anticipation was even more palpable since Grand Knights History is an ambitious, online-connected project. Not only do you align yourself with one of the three nations, but you also battle those in opposing nations and expand territories online. Xseed Games announced localization in September 2011, but a year later, Xseed revealed that Vanillaware didn’t have the resources to complete the localization because of the upcoming Vita and PS3 title Dragon’s Crown.
Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki
Japanese Release Date: February 9, 2012
The last time we heard a peep out of the Suikoden series was 2009’s Suikoden Tierkreis. Just like Tierkreis, Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki is a side story that takes place in a universe outside of the main series’ lore. Recruiting Stars of Destiny is still front-and-center as players are launched 100 years into the past to train for an impending battle with the Centennial Monster, who is hell-bent on destroying the world. Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki did not receive the best reviews overseas, so localization looks unlikely. That is unfortunate considering how much nostalgia people have for the series; fans over here are starving for another entry.
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Japanese Release Date: May 17, 2012
In September of 2011, Atlus released the first arc of Persona 2’s story – Innocent Sin – on PSP. Last May, the second half of the story, Eternal Punishment, released in Japan. But now after finally seeing Innocent Sin in action, it only makes sense to bring over Persona 2’s second-half of the story, Eternal Punishment, to North America. Like Innocent Sin’s PSP edition, Eternal Punishment boasts enhanced visuals, but it also entices with a new story arc written by Tadashi Satomi about what happened to Tatsuya (Innocent Sin’s main character) before he joins Eternal Punishment’s party mid-game. Atlus has brought over almost all the Persona titles thus far, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one sees life on our shores even if it’s just a digital release on Vita.
Final Fantasy Type-0
Japanese Release Date: October 27, 2011
Type-0 tells a darker tale than most Final Fantasy titles, and what’s the best way to do that? Throw in a colossal war between four nations and add in earth-shattering magic and mythological beasts just to make things more complicated and wondrous. Let’s face it: Final Fantasy is a big brand that can throw its weight around. With its various entries, popular spinoffs, and big sales, the potential for a quality title to sell well is high. Scoring an almost-perfect 39 from the popular Japanese magazine Famitsu, it stings not having the chance to play what might very well be one of the PSP’s best RPGs. Still, Square Enix rarely passes on a chance to cash in on the franchise, so rumors have been rampant about a potential Vita release. Fingers crossed!
[Next Up: One of the best strategy RPG series around, Falcom love, and dungeon crawling against space dragons ....]
Valkyria Chronicles III
Japanese release date: January 27, 2011
Valkyria Chronicles remains one of the best RPGs on the PlayStation 3, and we were lucky enough for its sequel to see life on the PSP. However, while this distinctive anime strategy game was iterated a third time in Japan, it seems unlikely that Sega will give it a chance in North America. In a late-2011 interview with GameSpot, Hiroshi Seno stated that there were no plans to release a UMD version of VC 3 due to the low sales numbers for Valkyria Chronicles II, although the window was open for a downloadable version for Vita. However, because it has been over a year since this interview and no new information has surfaced, it may be time to look elsewhere for your next strategy fix.
Nayuta no Kiseki
Release Date: July 26, 2012
Nayuta no Kiseki is a huge departure from what we’ve seen in The Legend of Heroes vein – the tale, characters, and the gameplay are completely different. This entry even abandoned “The Legend of Heroes” title, being the first game in the Kiseki series to do so. When so many changes happen in a well-loved franchise, seeing how they live up to the legacy is part of the fun. Can Nayuta's action-oriented battle system hold a candle to its turn-based brethren? For now, we just have to wait and see if this one makes the jump to the Vita like Zero no Kiseki. And as a pipe dream, let’s hope we still get the last two entries in the Sora no Kiseki (Trails in the Sky) arc. Cliffhangers deserve closure. Falcom has always been a PC developer, and there's always Steam.
Japanese release date: October 4, 2012
Back in November of 2010, NIS America and Imageepoch, developers of Luminous Arc and Fate/Extra, announced a partnership where many Imageepoch titles would come stateside. Unfortunately, even previously-announced titles like Black Rock Shooter still haven’t made an English debut, so the just-released Sol Trigger probably has even less of a chance. Sol Trigger takes place in a futuristic world where a power called “Sol” can manifest in many powerful ways, but the Machine Church is collecting it all. In this turn-based RPG, everything revolves around Sol. You can exchange it to activate special moves that gradually grow stronger the more you use them, or exchange Sol for the resurrection of allies. Written by Kazushige Nojima, a scenario writer on Final Fantasy VII, VIII, X, and Kingdom Hearts, this one hurts more than most.
7th Dragon 2020
Japanese release: November 23, 2011
The premise is simple: choose a class and get to killing lots of... space dragons? How else are you going to save the world and have this title make sense? 7th Dragon 2020 is actually a follow-up to 7th Dragon, a DS game, but the PSP sequel adds new classes such as hackers and psychics. This entry also has the infamous Japanese vocaloid Hatsune Miku as a character you have to rescue; I’m adding that detail purely for fan service. This first-person dungeon crawler sold well in Japan, making it a shame we haven’t received it, especially since dungeon crawlers like Unchained Blades have released in English.
Which one of these games would you most like to see localized? What other RPGs are you sad we missed out on?