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The 4 Best JRPGs at Tokyo Game Show 2016

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A lot to love.

The time surrounding Tokyo Game Show is special for fans of Japanese role-playing games: publishers release tons of news on upcoming games, new demos hit the show floor, and, if we're lucky, we get a glimpse of new merchandise featuring our favorite franchises.

But 2016 is special. It's not every year the show floor features a Final Fantasy game--due out in two months, no less--a Kingdom Hearts title, a new Persona, and a handful of new entries in beloved series. Tokyo Game Show 2016 is special for us JRPG fans in that it has all of these, a plethora of experiences across properties that have earned our respect and adoration of the years.

Here are our favorite JRPGs on the show floor at Tokyo Game Show this year.

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Tales of Berseria

Berseria takes the Tales franchise in a darker direction than the series has seen in the past. A demon-possessed young woman, Velvet Crowe, seeks revenge for the sacrifice of her brother to a dark entity. As with all Tales games, Velvet becomes part of a ragtag band of heroes who travel the world in search of their truths--and her shot at revenge. We've only see Berseria in Japanese up to this point, but at Tokyo Game Show this year Bandai Namco shared some of the first English-translated footage for the RPG.

What makes Berseria special is the small changes in makes to long-time elements used in the Tales series. Berseria's Skits--short dialogues between characters--now feature different avatar drawings and more dynamic animations. Players can move freely around the area during battles and control the camera. And a new feature called Break Soul allows characters to charge up more powerful attacks that break their combo limit, making the characters of Berseria seem even more powerful than their previous-game counterparts.

Berseria has been out in Japan since this summer, but the game will finally launch internationally early next year for PlayStation 4 and PC.

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Final Fantasy XV

We couldn't make list of the best JRPGs at Tokyo Game Show without including this one. Final Fantasy XV--long in development, high in anticipation--will launch on November 29 worldwide. This is likely the last time anyone will be able to get their hands on the game pre-release, and while we've done a deep dive into the available demos already, we couldn't help but give XV another go.

Set in the fantasy world of Eos, Noctis--heir to the throne of Lucis--hops in his father's car and sets out with his three best friends on a journey to find his bride-to-be and a way to save his kingdom. What we've seen so far of Final Fantasy XV's colorful cast of characters has already drawn us in. And while it keeps the Final Fantasy series' more fantastical elements, its departure from high-fantasy and into a "fantasy based on reality" makes us feel its people and places are more connected to our world, and more relatable.

It's been nearly seven years since a main numbered Final Fantasy title was released, and we are eagerly awaiting getting our hands on the next one.

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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8

Kingdom Hearts III may still be a long way off from release, and some may roll their eyes at another Kingdom Hearts spin-off, but hear us out: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 isn't a spin-off at all. The game itself is a package containing two separate experiences: a remastered PS4 version of 2012 3DS title Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, a CGI movie explaining the plot of mobile game Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, and a new piece of content--Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage.

This latter piece is why we're so excited for HD 2.8. Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage stars Aqua, one of the three heroes of PSP title Birth by Sleep, following her fall into darkness after attempting to rescue her friends Ventus and Terra. Aqua must conquer the darkness in her own heart and find a way out of the dismal underworld around her--with a little help from Mickey Mouse and some other Disney character favorites, of course. It's refreshing to play as Aqua again after so many years, and the combat and locomotion mechanics used in A Fragmentary Passage are some of the same that will be used in Kingdom Hearts III. So, think of A Fragmentary Passage as an appetizer for Kingdom Hearts III!

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Persona 5

Persona 5 was recently released in Japan, but for fans around the globe the wait will carry us into February of next year. Still, that doesn't dampen our enthusiasm for the long-awaited title. Set in a fictional version of Shibuya, Tokyo's center of pop-culture and commercialism, Persona 5 follows a group of high schoolers who dedicate themselves to stealing the hearts of the wicked and corrupt. Together they vow to better their world using the power of Personas.

The demo available on the show floor at Tokyo Game Show is an excellent illustration of how fun Persona 5's dungeons and battles can be. Combat has significantly changed from the last game, with your protagonist sporting multiple weapons as well as his persona-wielding ability. You can sneak through dungeons and surprise-attack enemies, or run at them head-on to take them down or convince them to join your party. It also helps that the game looks gorgeous, with stunning art-directions and UI designs that could net Persona 5 awards just on its own merit. The game is beautiful and entertaining, and if you speak Japanese, we think it's worth grabbing a copy right now to check out.

Alexa Ray Corriea on Google+

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Alexa Ray Corriea

Alexa Ray Corriea is never not covered in glitter at any given time.

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