One of the video game companies I've been exploring recently is Japanese Developer, Level-5. Level-5 are a company that have created some pretty prominent video games in the industry, such as the popular JRPG 'Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch' and the puzzle series, 'Professor Layton'.
Rather than bring up separate topics for these games, I assumed it might be a better idea to create a topic of discussion for the publisher, and to hopefully draw in areas of discussion for the video games they have created.
In order to start the ball rolling, I'll discuss three of the games I have recently been playing through, starting with one of their prominent game that I used to play when it first game out - Dark Cloud. This was the company's first video game venture, as far as I'm aware. The game utilised an active battling system with RPG elements, focusing on leveling up your weapons, instead of the characters. Through this, they also implemented a durability system for said weapons, making it possible to break them if not repaired frequently. As you can imagine, this was tedious af, but the games were still pretty fun. The game also acted as a sort of city builder game, where the player would collect buildings and people from orbs in a chest in order to place them in cities they belong.
I also recently picked up the sequel to the game, Dark Chronicle, or 'Dark Cloud 2' as it was referred to in the United States. The story appears unrelated, but still builds upon a similar weapon leveling system. However, you don't risk breaking the weapons entirely to the point you lose them, merely having to forgo using them until after you have them repaired. The game is pretty fun, but I find a lot of the challenge in the game is lost when you suddenly get a robot that can do a lot of your fighting. It can be limited, but I try and use the other characters when I can. Unfortunately, a lot of situations involve fighting enemies that the robot is supposed to, so that kind of just ups the challenge significantly when trying to avoid using it.
Finally, the other game I was going to talk about is Rogue Galaxy, an RPG that uses a similar battle system to the Dark Cloud games, although removes the durability of weapons and focus on simply levelling them, rather than the player characters. Instead, the game allows characters to level up. However, the method of learning character abilities does not fall under the usual RPG standard of "level up enough and you'll learn a new ability". Instead, the game utilises a system known as the 'Revelation Flow' - similar to how the License Board from Final Fantasy XII appeared. However, in order to unlock skills, characters need to use items they found on their exploration, such as fruit or accessories. Each character has their own Revelation Flow, and as a result, abilities. These abilities remind me of how Quickening abilities worked in Final Fantasy XII - where a cutscene will appear and a high damaging ability may occur. However, there are other effects, such as healing your team of status effects or raising their attack/defence power. I'm still in the process of playing the game, but so far, it's been highly enjoyable.
All three of these games are actually available on Playstation 4 right now, as part of the system's library of emulated Playstation 2 games. I believe the games have been known to go on sale for events - it may be worth checking it out if you're interested in the game or even the genre. However, these are only a small number of the games created by the company. If you're interested to see if you recognise any of their titles, then you can find their list of games here.