Discussion in 'The Bridge Over The River Kawaii' started by Afti, Feb 3, 2013.
How about Grimoire then? HAW HAW HAW
Wikipedia says yes.
Well then, it's good that it's possible for games to be part of multiple genres at once! And really, roguelikes and JRPGs have feature sets that would be complementary. In fact I've been designing one for a while... thinking maybe I should check out the persona games.
1. SaGa Frontier
Easily my favourite RPG of all time. On a gameplay perspective, it featured four distinct races, each with their own skills method of character progression and a high degree of customizability. Don't like your dainty mage girl always relegated to healing duties? No problem! Train her in martial arts and make her a pro-wrestler!
From a story and setting perspective, the game features an eclectic mix of characters and locations, crafting a world that mixes sci fi, westerns, mysticism, vampires, tokusatsu heroes and robots into a singular whole. Of particular note is the character of Asellus, both the first female and first homosexual protaganist I played in a RPG. There were a few issues I had with her portrayal, but overall, I felt she was fantastic, especially by the standards of 90s games.
2. Valkyrie Profile
Yet another early RPG to feature a female protaganist, VP also featured a unique setting and storyline populated by a host of interesting characters. Besides, who could ever forget evil Harry Potter Lezard Valeth?
3. Suikoden II
It was tough to pick a favourite out of the venerable Suikoden series, but if I had to pick one, it would be Suikoden II. II took many of the elements introduced in Suikoden I and perfected them, featuring more engaging battles, better developed characters and story that was more personal and far less black and white. Also, it's perhaps the only time where I was actually engaged in a story that utilized the very tired trope of the hero fighting his best friend.
4. Star Ocean 2
Perhaps this entry is based more in nolstalgia than merit, but I loved Star Ocean 2. From its more actiony and real time battle system to its hilariously terrible voice acting ("Crawde has advanced forward!") to its admittedly schizophrenic approach towards featuring a sci fi setting. Bonus points for featuring Ashton Anchors, he first moe guy I've saw in a video game as well as a thinly disguised Iron Chef mini game.
5. Final Fantasy Tactics
Easily my favourite of the Final Fantasy series. It was the game that introduced me to the concept of class based customization and generic party members. Barring some issues I had with its portrayal of gender roles, it featured what I believe was an intricate plot, but most of that got lost in the Engrishy translation.
6. Valkyria Chronicles 2
Probably not the popular choice compared to its PS3 predecessor, but I really enjoyed the increase emphasis on character interaction with your squadmates and the fun, if flawed class system.
7. Persona 3 Portable
It was incredibly difficult picking between 3 & 4, but P3P's girls side and it's commitment to its central theme won out. I cannot emphasise how much I loved how well the game stuck to its theme of mortality. The month leading up to the final battle was perfect in establishing the fear and hopelessness of the characters before they finally rallied and triumphed over their enemy.
8. Suikoden V
A welcome return to form after Suikoden III and IV, which while good, I felt weren't up to the high standards of II. This was the first Suikoden to truly convince me that the series could make the jump from pixels to 3D. Also, it had Miakis and that Maximillian woman, and they were awesome. Shame the series is all but dead now, lingering pathetically in the for of sub par spinoff games...
9. Mana Khemia
A fun, lighthearted take on the school sim RPG, Mana Khemia is my favourite of the Atelier spin off RPGs. The characters each had distinctive and memorable personalities, in addition to being just as unique in combat. Similarly, the game was one of the few RPGs that let you fully utilize everyone in the team rather than an arbitrary limit on the number of people you could bring along. Trying leveling up to alchemy was also nice touch.
10. Final Fantasy XIII
I suspect this will be the most controversial entry on my list, but I really do love XIII, which is my favourite of the mainline FFs. I really enjoyed the battle system, which focused more on macro management of the flow of battle rather than micro managing each individual action. Similarly, I liked every member of the party save Vanille, and whilst the linierity was regrettable, it made themetic sense given the fuitive nature of the party. Finally, I really liked the concept of the Fal'cie who were all powerful but couldn't self terminate, as they reminded in a rather roundabout fashion of the constitutional Seperation of Powers utilized by some governments.
Persona 3/4: Not heavily randomized, no. The floor plan varies as does enemy placement, but each tier of levels draws from a certain pool of monsters, has a set aesthetic, and has fixed objectives. So it's really cosmetic randomization more than anything comparable to a roguelike. The SMT games are more generally more rigid about levels but also more inclined to have encounter gauges and the like (versus Persona's manually avoidable blobs).
I didn't list Etrian Odyssey because I don't really think of it as a JRPG. But I can definitely see the argument for it. It just feels like an old school first person dungeon crawl with a thin anime veneer. In contrast, despite having a similar perspective, SMT: Strange Journey feels like a JRPG with a first person dungeon crawl integrated into it, much like SMT: Nocturne. But that's why I didn't vote for the EO's, along with the fact that while I find them really interesting in the abstract they've never really clicked for me.
Use your gamer brains! JRPGs are VAPID "adventure" games with ABSTRACT combat against WHIMSICAL enemies. That said, moving on:
2. Chrono Trigger
3. Final Fantasy VI
4. Anachronox (hahahaha)
5. Mother 3
6. The World Ends with You
10. [and blank]
The blanks are reserved for future or past JPRGs that are worthy. I've played plenty that are not.
Now I'm literally sitting on a handful of JPRGs left unplayed for decades since I officially abandoned the genre many years ago. Most are PS2. Please feel free to give me the recommendations: Play Now/Throw Away/Eat/Etc or not.
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Final Fantasy IX
Not sure if all are JRPGs but they definitely look it!
P.S. Dark Souls is not anything close to resembling a JRPG but it easily destroys everything in this thread with how awesome it is.
P.P.S. Love Love Love Shiren: The Wanderer - but it's definitely a roguelike, not to be confused with a JRPG!
Okay on one hand, I have to glare the fuck out of you for SaGa Frontier. 7 characters, none of htem good, and just godawful early play, especially Red.
On the other hand, I am a horrible person for forgetting Valkyrie Profile which was a god damn masterpiece, but "early RPG to feature a female protagonist"?
Just sayin' there's this little game from the early 80s called Phantasy Star that may have words with you.
SaGa Frontier was awesome and I will fist fight anyone that says otherwise! >=[
But yeah, I'm aware of Phantasy Star, but that still doesn't change the fact that games such as SaGa and Valkyrie were early RPGs to feature female leads. And I'm almost certain that SaGa Frontier's Asellus was the first lesbian main character in a JRPG.
Ooh, these crazy pills are finally wearing off. At least there's someone who sort of agrees with me on something.
Persona 3 is well liked and pretty fun. Not sure if you've played others in the series, but if you have and liked them, you will probably like it. Decent, playable game.
Phantom Brave is kind of a tactics game and a bit saccharine if you pay attention to story. I enjoyed it personally. People who like math will like the character building mechanics. Disgaia is same company and similar, though most people know that one better and really like it.
FF9 is playable, if you're ok with FF games. It's pretty typical. Had some fun mechanics I didn't hate. Had a few I really did hate.
Suikoden 3 is very YMMV. It's ambitious, but compared to the rest of the series, I dislike it. Can't posisble get good ends in the series without a guide since 100% completeion of character recruiting is mandatory. Not a terrible game though, a lot of the side content is more fun than the main story.
I'm not sure what kind of games you like normally or what points to highlight for you as you migh tlike or dislike. And I can only speak for ones I've played. If you don't care for JRPGs in general though, I don't think any of them will appeal much to you or change your opinion of them. They're pretty standard on most aspects of the genre, IMO.
I've heard a lot of people say Xenoblade and Nocturne are good. About the only bad I've heard is Nocturne's supposed to be pretty hard, I think.
Things I dislike about JRPGs are pretty much a lot of common tropes of genre unfortunately. Grinding is not good. Overly long and frequent cutscenes about bullshit is not good. I've aborted many JRPGs because of this. Random battles I can tolerate but I always prefer a different method.
Out of all the JRPGs I listed in my Top 7, only two have random battles. (Final Fantasy VI, Anachronox). One is overloaded with cutscene bullshit but I was able to put up with it somehow (The World Ends with You), and none require grinding. On the plus side if its got rolling hit counters I'll probably like it. (Earthbound/Mother 3)
You should like Xenoblade Chronicles then, it avoids a lot of JRPG tropes, AND it has monsters you can run around/sneak past.
Nocturne benefits a bit from nostalgia value, I think. If your first introduction the SMT universe of games is something like Persona or Devil Survivor, then you're probably going to find Nocturne disappointing in a lot of ways - it's more battle focused, and the narrative chops aren't quite there to the same degree. And, of course, there are some questionable design decisions that make parts of the game even more difficult than is expected from an SMT game. On the other hand, it's a very solid game, and a good introduction to the typical worldview of an SMT game.
The big difference between JRPGs and western RPGs, if you think about it, is all about the impact of the story.
In a western RPG nothing dramatic really happens. From Ultima to Skyrim what you see the first minute is pretty much what you see all the game. This is very much dependent on the thing Charles underlined. In western RPGs there are basically no contextual changes or PoV changes. You're locked into a system that makes all the game. And it bogs down to how much interactive manipulation the system offers the player.
So, those cutscenes are really what sets JRPGs apart. The world shattering events and huge paradigm shifts. Huge impact of relatively linear story. With some "game" parts plugged in (Final Fantasy VII is a collection of varied mini-games scattered everywhere).
Western RPGs instead are a system with some story parts plugged in.
Though, if you think about it Dragon Quest 7 works pretty much like an Ultima.
That may be the single dumbest post you've ever written, and by god you've written some dumb ones.
What Charles said.
Also, the JRPG formula is originally based on Wizardry, a Western RPG.
I'd like to disagree as well.
There are some Western RPGs that have amazing plot and dramatic events.
There are some JRPG that have more "game parts" than "cutscenes" and improve from such design.
Then you're forgetting that the the old Ultimas up to the 5th had battle screens.
But I guess the point is to simply disagree with me, regardless of the motivation. Carry on.
The difference is that even the early Final Fantasy had mini-games for precise situations needed in the story. Those kind of mini-games that are made specifically for one single situation and that you do once and never see again. That's the stuff I was saying about Final Fantasy 7. In western RPGs the systems make the larger game. There's very rarely something specifically tailored for one situation.
Seriously, what are you even trying to say?
Again, I'd like to disagree.
I may not know the final fantasy series, as you do, since I have not played the series at all.
However, I can say that the Final Fantasy series does not speak for all JRPGs. There are plenty of differences within the systems and structures of many, MANY games.
What about you guys offer motivations instead simply saying "I disagree"? That's a tad too easy.
What I'm saying is that lots of JRPGs use cutscenes to tell their story. You can even take Visual Novels as an example, where you basically have one 50-hours cutscene. I mean how all this story is conveyed through text. EVERYTHING can happen. The story is the biggest element that drives everything. And for that reason you also have characterization as a strong element.
So a JRPG usually goes: CUTSCENE - small game session - CUTSCENE - small game session, and so on. Here and there there's some game or mini-game plugged in, that separates big chunks of story exposition.
In western RPGs instead you usually have a system that makes the game world. Put the player in, populate this simulated world. Take Ultima 8. The big dramatic narrative is the beginning (the Guardian grabs the Avatar and tosses him in the ocean of the world of Pagan), and then the end (the Avatar returns to Britannia, that has been set on fire by the Guardian). Those are two cutscenes, but they aren't used to tell the story of the game all along. Just the beginning and end.
What's about the rest? The Avatar running around, killing stuff, jumping puzzles, and dialogue. Nothing happens outside this system. The story is made entirely of those parts, plus some scripted events when a few characters gather and have a talk.
To recap, you made a meandering post from which it is difficult to extract meaning but seems to have essentially posited that JRPGs are movies with a bit of game bolted on and WRPGs are games with a bit of movie bolted on. Charles indicated that he thought that was dumb. You replied by asserting that clearly what Charles' post indicated was that he had forgotten about Ultima's battle screens.
Pokémon Red is now a WRPG.
Btw, if you wanted the JRPG definition:
1- made in Japan (no really) with typical Japanese style (like super-deformed or manga-like, typical characterization, tropes and so on).
2- have a RPG ruleset. Stats, numbers, levels, customizable equipment and so on.
It's the usual digital/analog type of game design approach. Metal Gear Solid is analog (not rpg), you move the character, shoot, have control. A RPG is digital, stats and numbers usually determine what happens, if you hit or not and by how much. The rules as numbers are exposed to the player.
The sliding scale of digital/analog represents how much a game is close to being an RPG. So what is left is to define the "J", which is Japan. And Japan means more a "flavor" on the type of story and narrative style. Maybe puzzle-like mechanics in gameplay. But the strongest differences are about how the story is handled.
Well, think about it. The Pokemon games still usually have a storyline with enough characterization. So there's the cutscene type of thing.
Though it's true that the Pokemon aren't strong on story, and only rely on the battles and growing/finding of Pokemon. So what defines them? Stats, numbers, that kind of RPG ruleset. So they are RPG.
What makes them Japanese? That they are made over there, have a Japanese visual style, especially the design of the monsters. And then the puzzle-like gameplay.
HRose, ladies and gentlemen The noise in the signal:noise ratio since he started making predictions on his blog.
logical conclusion of HRose's line of reasoning:
Char's Counterattack would be a JRPG if the film was paused before every fight scene so that you could solve a Rubik's cube.
You are missing the point that I was drawing the line between a Japanese style and a western style.
And NOT defining the big group in which to fit ALL JRPGs. I know that there are plenty of JRPGs that are different. My point is that it's much harder to find examples of WESTERN RPGs that follow that model I described.
Or at least I can't come up with any example. So for me it makes a good point about the difference between Japanese and Western RPGs.
Okay, by HRose's definition Dark Souls wins the thread.
It is definitely considered an RPG. It's made in Japan, so it's a JRPG (thought it doesn't have a cutesy/stylized look at all, and in general doesn't have a markedly Japanese style).
On the analog/digital sliding scale it's definitely leaning toward the analog side (to-hit rolls do not exist, you control the character). So it's a RPG-lite kind of gameplay that is only considered RPG because how heavy it is in itemization.
As I said, analog != RPG.
Japanese Action RPG surely would fit much better. It fits the first point, and fits partially the second if you consider the addendum I made about the digital/analog scale.
B-b-but it's a descendant of a radically different line than the main "JRPG" genre and why am I still talking to you
So, Barkley isn't a JRPG?
Yeah, be worried. The bullies in the kindergarten are watching you talking to me and will not let you play with them anymore. ;)
Afti, this way lies the madness HRose predicted 6 months ago on his blog. By his logic, Elona is a JRPG, and nothing good comes of engaging with him.
He's like the human train wreck, though.
I just want to figure out how deep this rabbit hole goes.
What I'm saying is that I'm a big fan of mixed metaphors.
I think HRose is just trying to provoke goofy responses, so...
AN HROSE JRPG:
(I am willing to seriously argue that Betrayal at Krondor does actually have some JRPG-style design, but...)
Oh man, the Dark Clouds. Those were rad and so amazingly freeform. IIRC, there wasn't even too much grinding until later ... didn't finish either one, though. But yes, by Charles' definition (since I think he's the only one who made an effort), it's not really a jRPG, is it.
Totally in for Etrian Odyssey, though. <3 Makes me want to unearth my DS again ... or did I brick it. Hm. I should find out.
Either of the DS Persona games worth playing now? The Shin Megami Tensei games and Xenoblade Chronicles are my Nintendo regrets.
That's a really awkward way of just admitting you were completely terribly wrong.
By DS Persona, Do you mean Devil Survivor and/or Strange journey?
If you could tell me what you hated about SMT, or why you regretted playing them, I could probably help in that matter.
Oh sorry, not regret in that way. I mean, regret never having played them. I was wondering if either of the DS titles was still (or at all) worth playing.
They're good, non-standard JRPGs.
Devil Survivor is character driven, but your choices, and there are a lot of choices, do impact what happens within the story. In that sense, the story isn't linear, and branches off a point. It's set in a modern setting, which I like in JRPGs, and you get a lot of customization over your character: your stats, your individual skills, your demons, are all chosen by the player and his or her competence, or lack of. ,
Devil Survivor can be comparable to Persona as far as story to gameplay concentration goes. If you like interacting with characters and a focus on a narrative story, then this is the game for you.
Strange Journey is a dungeon crawler like Nocturne, except it has an Etrian Oddessey interface. (You do not draw the maps, however). Like in main SMT games, you can negotiate, bribe, or beat a demon into joining your party. It's a lonelier experience than Devil Survivor, however I still got plenty attatched to the recurring companions...that never join your party. The story is mostly formulated by the player's experience and decisions while playing this. (I'd say this game has a subtle story-telling that certain critics seem to look over).
Strange Journey can be comparable to the other Main SMT games. I personally am enjoying this game, but it certainly isn't a normal JRPG at all. Thus, many other gamers may not enjoy this game and its difficulty.
So all in all, if you've only played Persona, you might not like Strange Journey. But, the two are fun games that are worth playing.
Separate names with a comma.