Discussion in 'The Bridge Over The River Kawaii' started by Afti, Feb 3, 2013.
And you think the Final Fantasy series peaked with XII, so I agree. Bigger problems.
Yes, far be it for me to laud the achievements of game designers who did something interesting to hybridize JRPGs with some of the better ideas of other genres versus the mechanically embarrassing, cutscene-driven angsterpiece that is VII. I can't help it that I wasn't playing jrpgs when FFVI etc were impressive and can only appreciate them retrospectively as decent pastimes for a portable platform.
Because I started writing them all out for myself, realized there were only a few, so made the list a personal ranking rather than just the top ten, which is what I assume
Afti will look at.
YMMV I guess. To me, it's one of the best space games I ever played, up there with Mass Effect and Tie Fighter I think. And I didn't even get to the MINDBLOWING shit that I know is coming.
Eh, it's not amazing, but it's functional enough. I also think I quit just before the more egregious faults of the game became apparent. The singing bit was excruciating, I'll give you (I was literally squirming in my chair through that) but the mechanics are mostly OK. I assume if I'd finished both games FF12 would be above this, and maybe other things. As I saw them, though, this was fine and had less exasperating bullshit than the game below it.
I know, and it's probable my judgment of the game is colored by the fact that I ragequit it because of one of those moments (having to kill a wall-of-flame type thingy, IIRC. But I can't really help that color, and it's supposed to be a subjective list anyway.
1. Tales of Vesperia
2. Persona 4
3. Skies of Arcadia
4. Final Fantasy VIII
5. Dragon Quest 8
6. Chrono Trigger
7. Final Fantasy XII
8. Persona 3
9. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
10. Xenoblade Chronicles
Dark cloud 2 / dark chronicle is a jrpg isn't it? Amazed nobody picked that. A bit surprised about pokemon too. I'm also trying to decide if disgaea, final fantasy tactics, and fire emblem should count. Because if they do, they're going to dominate my list and push out real jrpgs.
Wait, I can't believe I completely forgot the Kingdom Hearts series! For some reason, the Disney characters make me forget the J-ishness of the RPG. Now I need to go back and edit my vote.
Oh shit, I totally forgot about that game. That is number 2 for me after Super Mario RPG. I am serious about this.
I can't believe I forgot about Infinite Space. Thanks
Astromarine, I edited it into my listing.
Edit: And anything that FFXII tried to do, XC did, and then did it better, and bigger, and more awesome, with less faux-high-art frippery and awkward pseudo-prose as dialogue. So you should totally be checking that out, ASAP.
Alright, let's do this.
Lunar - The Silver Star (even if Rhonda Gibson is apparently a terrible actress)
Shining Force II
Phantasy Star (series, but especially II)
Shin Megami Tensei (the whole series. Persona, Devil Survivor, etc.)
Skies of Arcadia
Pokemon (It's a JRPG. You know it's a JRPG. It's a series that not only won't end but actually manages to get better, enough for adults to jump in late and have a lot of fun).
Resonance of Fate - mostly. The combat is not JRPG normal, but the rest of the mechanics and theme are definitely qualified.
Ni no Kuni
What drugs are you people on who are voting for Okami and Odin Sphere? Look man they're Japanese, they're mindblowing, they're not RPGs. Not at all. Okami is an adventure game in the Zelda style (which is similar to but still not an RPG), and Odin Sphere IS A BRAWLER. IT IS A SIDE SCROLLING BRAWLER.
Jesus tits guys come on, at that point we're going to have to...wait...can we?
Okay fuck you, if we're including Japanese brawlers as JRPGs my new number 10 entry is Streets of Rage.
Edit: I FORGOT VALKYRIE PROFILE I AM A HORRIBLE PERSON.
You may have forgotten about it because Kingdom Hearts is not a JRPG by any stretch of the imagination. Neither is Dark Souls, while we're at it.
Dark Souls isn't a JRPG because it's not an RPG or because it's not JRPG enough to be a JRPG? Because at least personally, I'd define any game that uses stats and levels as an RPG, and Dark Souls does that, and trying to come up with a quality to define JRPGs aside from "RPGs made in Japan" seems futile to me. Or would a better definition of an RPG be a game that uses turn-based combat in some fashion? Then I guess that Dark Souls wouldn't be an RPG. But then there's the fact that the acronym/initialism/whatever it's called RPG is for "role-playing game" which I'd think of as meaning there's a strong element of story and atmosphere to it, which Dark Souls does.
You don't need a definition for JRPG. A JRPG is a JRPG and people who are actually familiar with games and the history of games knows what a JRPG is at the mere mention.
And yet almost nobody in this thread has managed to post a list composed entirely of actual JRPGs.
Dark Souls is an action game. Just because it has swords and armor and keeps track of stats and levels doesn't make it a JRPG or an RPG in general. Dynasty Warriors 6 is a JRPG by that criterion.
No one under 30, anyway.
It's a game where characters from Final Fantasy show up and have major speaking roles; some only cameo, others recur throughout the series. It has a super-complex plotline where villains make grand statements about the ultimately corrupt and pointless nature of humanity, while a kid with spiky hair and an enormous weapon makes statements about friendship, and they're all fighting over confusing metaphysical stuff. The protagonist levels up from killing things. He leads around a consistent party of characters who have a lot of conversations during pivotal cut scenes that advance the plot. The plot is entirely fixed, as is the ending, as are the available characters for the party. And it was produced by Square Enix.
I...I really am not sure how we are defining JRPG if that doesn't qualify. Does it have to have turn-based combat? Is it not allowed to touch any non-Japanese intellectual properties? It's more twitch-based than Final Fantasy X, but so was Final Fantasy XIII. It's less linear than Final Fantasy XIII, but so was Final Fantasy XII. I'm honestly not sure what makes Kingdom Hearts not a JRPG, so I think "by any stretch of the imagination" is a bit unfair, here. What's ruling out its JRPG nature?
Congratulations, you described a setting. Not a game.
It's an action game. Your success depends on your twitch skills as much or moreso than your stats or choices. It could fairly be called a hybrid in some cases (some of the games more than others), but it's still an action game with JRPG elements grafted onto it. Similarly, you wouldn't call KH:Chain of Memories a card battle game just because the battle system uses cards.
I described a setting, the characters, the plot, and a portion of the mechanics. Whatever nebulous remaining aspect you are pointing to as the ~~game~~ that somehow disqualifies this as a JRPG, I'm not seeing it.
Oo, but let me try to guess! Is it about hitting X instead of O to attack? Or maybe it's whether or not you get to distribute points in stats when you level! Is it how many different things you can equip? Or how close the camera gets to my character during the combat scenes? Were there not enough puzzles? Do the occasional platforming aspects disqualify it?
See, that makes sense. I view it as a JRPG with action game mechanics grafted on, but then, I view the mechanics of a game as being pretty far down the list of what defines a JRPG. Present, yeah, but not really The Most Important by a long shot. Sounds like I'm working on a different definition than some people.
No one not named
wallapuctus I'm going to say, and the latter two only listed two games each. My excuse is that I explicitly said I was playing by the stated rules rather than actually listing JRPGs and I don't know how many other people did the same thing, but I don't think it's probably most people.
If having batshit insane Eva-on-meth platlines made a game a JRPG, Sin & Punishment would qualify.
On the flip side, if you're not including twitch games, than everyone needs to pull TWEWY off their lists right now. (The shitty iOS ghetto version is slower, but even in that form the game is decidedly more twitch-oriented than most JRPGs.)
I'm not saying that Kingdom Hearts is or isn't a JRPG, mind you; this sort of edge case is exactly what I set out to leave up to the collective. But there's definitely real argument to be made either way there.
What disqualifies it is that anyone familiar with games would classify it primarily as an action rpg, which is by definition a different genre than JRPG.
Also, I missed the 'character levels up' part in my previous post. Which you are correct, is a mechanic. However, it is a mechanic that is in almost every game made these days, and thus doesn't not particularly inform the genre.
There are always going to be edge cases and situations where some people are pushing the outer boundaries of a definition. You are, explicitly, just gaming the standards on the basis of it being a Japanese developer, not actually making an argument for the JRPGness of Dark Souls. Just because it's difficult to define doesn't mean you give up altogether in terms of categorization. I mean, I guess you could theoretically make an actual argument for it, but it probably wouldn't be much good and in any case it would almost certainly be ex post facto.
In contrast, while I don't think of Kingdom Hearts as a JRPG (primarily as a result of the combat tilting more towards "upgradeable action" than being tactically similar to what you do in most JRPGs of that gen), I can see that being advanced as an argument. Same for Dark Cloud. It's really not a conversation that's going to do much if it just breaks down into essentialism, but neither is it much good if it's just "whatever Japanese", so it's worth it to have the conversations if you're interested in the topic.
The other thing is something we've talked about elsewhere, which
Horrible Oscar summed up nicely with respect to Valkyria Chronicles, which is that there's going to be a Sangry-Kawaii divide, more than likely, and a general Story/Aesthetics vs Mechanics prioritization.
Now now, my dark souls choice was clearly cheeky but otherwise my list is kosher. Maybe you can disqualify Nier as action RPGish, which it is, but I still have 11 purebreds on there, so a full list with 1 to spare. :)
Dark Souls barely scratches the surface. This thread is lousy with roguelikes, SRPGs, turn-based strategy games, adventure games, and beat-em-ups. @Zekedms's jokey suggestion of Streets of Rage is only barely beyond the bounds of what's already gone on in here. River City Ransom really wouldn't be.
I found Kingdom Hearts to be about as twitch-based as Final Fantasy XIII. But then, I tend to be so bad at twitch-based gaming that if I can actually beat a game, I assume it can't be all that damn twitchy. And I did manage to get through KH1 and 2. The World Ends With You, I gave up in screaming frustration pretty early on, due to aforementioned twitchy aspects; I would've classed it as a side-scrolling brawler with some cool (if not-for-me) gimmicks, though it certainly hits JRPG in its plot/setting/character approach.
I did pull off the Disgaea games from my list, though, because that sort of grid/tactical approach did seem significantly different mechanically to me from the JRPG standard in a way that seemed more important than the twitch/non-twitch thing. And Valkyria Chronicles apes FPS mechanics just about at some point, but since it's done in turns and with pausing to aim, I figured that still fit in the general category.
<tangent>Overall, it seems like it's a sign of great health in the genre if it makes enough edge cases to keep people arguing about what qualifies. I don't see a lot of argument over what makes a game qualify as a 4X game, but I don't see a lot of new 4X games being made, either. I rather like that JRPGs have that whole messy overlap with other game genres, so that I occasionally get to try out mechanical stuff that I never would've touched in its usual setting.</tangent>
Again, some are arguments, some are trolls, and some are people just liking games enough that they want to slap them on every list. But you framed yours as a rules exploit right off the bat, so it's a good example to use.
I warned you people. You knew this would happen.
But no, now we get the mandatory 50 pages of arguing that KAWAII CHAINSAW MUSICAL VI: DATE WITH THE DEAD IS A JRPG/NO IT'S NOT/YES IT IS/YOUR MOM/YOUR MOM.
If you believe in good faith that a game can legitimately be called a JRPG, than for the purposes of your vote, it's a JRPG. I'm assuming that our userbase is not stupid, here. I tend to lean toward "not a JRPG" on Kingdom Hearts, but the world will not end if it is included on this list by popular demand.
If you're taking the piss (extarbags' Dark Souls vote) than that won't be counted.
[quote="Afti, post: 452093, member: 1065"
If you believe in good faith that a game can legitimately be called a JRPG, than for the purposes of your vote, it's a JRPG. I'm assuming that our userbase is not stupid, here. I tend to lean toward "not a JRPG" on Kingdom Hearts, but the world will not end if it is included on this list by popular demand.[/quote]
But the world ends with y--
...no, sorry, couldn't do it. But point taken. I shall stop fiddling with my list, because I am pretty happy with things on it fitting the JRPG mold by my understanding of the term, but I will also stop arguing definitions with other people who understand it differently.
(Unless we make a whole new thread just to argue about the definition of the True Nature Of JRPGness, but where's the fun in that?)
I'm not sure it's useful to play 'more geek than thou' in what was, I gather, supposed to be a fun little thread. Especially over, well, JRPGs. Here's my list, though:
1. Persona 4 (Although it's a hard decision, ultimately this goes to the top of the list for sheer polish. Everything it decides to include, it includes WELL. It also strikes a balance that lets casual gamers succeed and have fun, while still offering tons of exploitation and customization options for those who want to go deeper into the systems and kill all the things. The localization is also phenomenal, and they struck a good balance with the voice actors. While production values are not core gameplay, it contributes to the over all experience. And since the gameplay itself is excellent...)
2. Persona 3 (Everything said above, but P3 remains a touch unpolished in comparison to its younger sibling.)
3. Tales of the Abyss (The Tales series, in general, is excellent, but this is without a doubt my favorite. It beats out Tales of Graces f because it allows more sandbox wandering and play, in a larger feeling world. The story is solid, the characters show a lot of progression - the main character in particular - and there's a tremendous attention to detail. And the DS port has removed some of the coding issues that made certain things (like the overworld map) pains in the rear.)
4. Suikoden III (Beats out the other Suikodens by just a smidge, mostly because I like the ambition. I think it's an effective storytelling tool to show a messy descent into war from several different PoVs, one that has a nice THEMATIC as well as gameplay resonance. I love the Suikodens in general for their little diversions into strategy and city/stronghold building, but III goes a bit above and beyond by also allowing you to choose the shape of the narrative a little more than before.)
5. Xenoblade Chronicles (Why is this only midway? Well, because although it's a wonderful, groundbreaking game, I think that it suffers a little from the fact that the designers were trying to do seriously new things, and didn't always succeed. For example, the Heart to Hearts are a lovely thing - except that sometimes you're making wild guesses at the right response, because you're asked a question that you have no context for. That, and stripperrific female armors. Black bikini? Seriously? Yes, you can oil up the guys and put them in their underwear, but you have to make the decision to do that - all too often, the female outfits DEFAULTED to 'good God'. I suspect that if they make another game in the XC series, and polish it up, this will be at the top of my next list. I'd especially like to see more done with the community affinity nets.)
6. Final Fantasy X-2 (My favorite FF of all time. More open gameplay (comparatively speaking - this IS a JRPG, after all), all-female cast with a lot of customization possibilities, gorgeous graphics, a return to an interesting setting post Big Event, and gameplay that doesn't make me want to tear my hair out.)
7. Devil Summoner 2 (This would have gone higher if it had any voice acting at all, really. A fresh, interesting setting of 1920s Japan, fun characters, all the SMT goodness without some of the crazy broken difficulty levels of, say, Nocturne, and a cool story. It's very, very gamable, and could have used some of the love that was lavished on, say, Persona 3 and 4 re: localization.)
8. Wild Arms 4 (Science fantasy for the win! Very tactical turn-based play, good characters, and engaging storyline make this an excellent play experience. It doesn't break any major boundaries, or revolutionize the genre, but it's solid in everything it sets out to do. It only goes lower because I hate the freakin' jumping puzzles.)
9. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (I admit, this is here for novelty of premise and concept appeal alone. A blend of JRPGs and musicals, with musical interludes by the cast? Hilarious and delightful to play. The gameplay is also interesting, and not too difficult, but there's still enough challenge to keep me wanting more. It's not a classic, but it was trying to bring some new stuff to the table, and I can respect that.)
10. Atelier Totori (The position as 10 should not, in any way, suggest that this is not a great game. It is. The shift in the Atelier series' emphasis just means that it doesn't quite hold up to some of the more epic games further up the list, in my eyes. The difficulty level is fairly low, and the place where the gameplay shines - crafting - isn't a traditional focus of JRPGs outside of the Atelier studios. But of all the related games, this is probably the most polished, enjoyable, and satisfying one, for my money.)
The fact is, traditional JRPG mechanics are heavily inspired by Wizardry, of all things, via a long chain of descent with modification. JRPGness isn't just a matter of being a turn-based thing with random battles and little figures on screen that act on an action timer. TWEWY pushes my JRPG buttons in the following ways:
* Predefined party of colorful characters
* Customization is based on equipment and buffs, but not direct adjustment of ability scores by the player
* Focus on grind and random encounters (in the postgame, at least)
* Minigame plays a major in-story role (as opposed to being an interface mechanic)
* Big special attack has long animation (this is not a minor stylistic point; it suggests a specific emphasis on spectacle in combat over player agency!)
* Conversations largely non-interactive with minimal player choice; story linear
If it's not a JRPG, it's geared to people who like JRPGs, at the very least. Saying that it's not cut from the same mold is like saying that Myst and its derivatives weren't really adventure games due to the lack of traditional inventory puzzles, conversations, and so on. I don't think that action RPGs and JRPGs are mutually exclusive. A strong case can be made for including Secret of Mana games, for example, under both categories.
Someone besides me actually remembers this game?! New favourite person!
Also, your list = my list (for the most part). Are you my doppelgänger or something?
Tentative list as of right now (I'll edit later):
1) Persona 3 Portable
I'd rate P4 as better than P3 FES and P3P as better than both of them. It improved on P3 by including a) a new (better) protagonist, b) new (much better) S.links, c) the ability to command your stupid gormless teammates so that they aren't wasting their turns drooling or eating their own shoes or casting Marin freaking Karin rather than healing me.
Got me back into JRPGs. Great characters, interesting story, and refreshingly non-high fantasy. I loved how they set it in Shibuya and made the gameplay centre around coordinating fashionable outfits and collecting trendy crap like designer pins (which are actually useful for once). Also has mindreading which is one of the best features that you can ever put in a game.
3) Golden Sun: The Lost Age (I liked the sequel slightly better than the first, but they're both really good)
The Golden Sun games on the GBA are incredible RPGs. The big thing that stood out for me was how much care went into the worldbuilding. I really cared about the setting, and even though it may seem like the usual swords 'n' sorcery vaguely medieval fantasy world at first, it's so much more. Also, mindreading. It's both a blessing and a curse. I can never leave a town before both talking to, and reading the minds of every single person.
4) Skies of Arcadia Legends
Dameceles said. I'm a sucker for an interesting setting, since so many average RPGs just seem so lifeless and cookie-cutter. I don't think there's ever been another JRPG about sky pirates (unless you could FF X-2 and that XII sequel for DS), and the characters are funny and likeable and easy to fall in love with.
5) Soul Nomad and the World Eaters
Dameceles said. Also, the gameplay is like a mashup of Disgaea and Ogre Battle. What's not to love?
Not sure if this counts as a JRPG since it's more of a straight-up RTS, but I'll list it anyway. It's Vanillaware, so you know it's gonna be gorgeous, but I also really like the smaller scale of the story (in contrast to the epic Nibelungenlied homage that is Odin Sphere, which I also love to bits through it can get a bit bogged down in too many intertwining storylines). The premise at its most basic is Groundhog Day + Harry Potter, but the characters (and the excellent VA work) bring the whole thing together.
I might replace Grimgrimoire with Odin Sphere, since I like them about the same and OS is more of an RPG than GG.
7) Summon Night: Swordcraft Story
Excellent action-RPG with gameplay in the style of the Tales games (though with only one player-character on screen). I like the setting, the story, the characters, and the crafting. I also really like how neatly the gameplay fits the story. You are a craftknight, and your dream is to one day fashion incredibly powerful weapons. The game's crafting mechanic allows you to do precisely that. In addition, the fact that the story centers around a tournament (to determine the new Craftlord of Iron) keeps the pacing steady (something that the sequel had trouble with) and gives you bosses with more personality than the standard enormous monster.
8) Tales of the Abyss (possibly Symphonia)
I haven't finished ToA yet, but it's shaping up to be even better than Symphonia was, mostly because I find Luke way more interesting than Lloyd and Tear beats out Colette by a long shot. ToS has the nostalgia factor on its side, though.
Excited to see Skies of Arcadia and Paper Mario TYD in here. Not as excited to see some of the others, or the arguing...
Seriously though, everytime somebody tells me Kingdom Hearts is good I just kind look at them worriedly and say, "Really? Really? Are you sure...? <:("
Then they tell me I'm a hipster because I hate all the mainstream Square moneymaker bullshit games that come out anymore. I can live with that though.
Come on dude, Kingdom Hearts is the raw incarnation of childlike joy, and the games are, from the second main game on, pretty fucking solid action games. Also there's hilarious levels of homoeroticism with Sora ignoring hot ass Kairi in favor of his "best friend" Rikku.
It's J as fuck, though RPG, not so much.
I really think that game and everythign Square does anymore is just.. Overly-hyped unpleasantness pandering to specific groups. I could go on forever on one of my snooty 'Video Games were an art form before they truley became a part of every household and not just a cult passion' rants. But nobody wants that.
Suffice to say it's extremely not my taste. I won't deny it has good points, but as a whole, not my thing.
I respectfully disagree, but I can see where you're coming from. Also I've never even liked Square to begin with, so clearly I am EXACTLY who they're pandering to with that series. Plus the games outside of the main series (particularly 358/2 Days) will make motherfuckers cry.
I think a little of my extreme revulsion is influenced by the fact that my friends in high school for the most part were textbook weeaboos before I knew what that was. I didn't agree with them on a lot, but they were as close to people with common interests as I got at the time. There's rarely a middle ground in girl gamers I've met in real life between compeltely uninterested in anything to do with video games or Japanese culture, and the full-on creepy yaoi fangirls who give themselves Japanese names and go scary on you quick.
I still had good times with them, but their WORSHIP of Kingdom Hearts when I really didn't see anything so spectacular about it has left me jaded, I think.
It's a good rule not to dislike something because someone else likes it. I'm sure there are plenty of idiots who like the things I like. This does not reduce their worth; it only means that they can work on more than one level.
For example, some people like the Persona 4 because of the smooth fusion system, the well-paced mystery, and the rich character development, while I appreciate the cross-dressing beauty pageant, Igor's nose, being tested on burglar schedules, and the fox that eats your money. It's not my fault that other people have goofy priorities and no sense of what makes a piece of art eternal.
Separate names with a comma.