JRPG Catch-All

garion333 wrote:

I was looking at Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth yesterday. The game interests me, but I'm afraid that the dated mechanics might get old rather quickly. Anyone have an opinion?

I could never get into it. Nor because the mechanics were bad - in fact I found them fascinating but because it was about impossible not to get a bad ending if you didn't play twice or do FAQs. I still have good memories though of what I did play.

Lenneth is the remake of the PS1 original, IIRC. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (the PS2 game) is the sequel.

Dated mechanics make JRPGs awesome. When they don't use them then people fReAk TeH FOOK OUT! See: FFXIII or Resonance of Fate.

On a happy PSP note. Valkryia Chronicles 2 on August 31st, yay!

Yeah, part of my reasoning for picking up a PSP was because of Valkyria Chronicles. I loooooooooooooooooooooved the first one. A lot. If they can fix some of the AI issues/flaws/exploits I'll be really, really happy.

farley3k wrote:
garion333 wrote:

I was looking at Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth yesterday. The game interests me, but I'm afraid that the dated mechanics might get old rather quickly. Anyone have an opinion?

I could never get into it. Nor because the mechanics were bad - in fact I found them fascinating but because it was about impossible not to get a bad ending if you didn't play twice or do FAQs. I still have good memories though of what I did play.

Describe "impossible" please. From what I know of the game one of its most redeeming qualities is its story, overall, in that it makes sense unlike, well, many jrpgs. It'd be sad to have the end ruin it all ....

garion333 wrote:

Describe "impossible" please. From what I know of the game one of its most redeeming qualities is its story, overall, in that it makes sense unlike, well, many jrpgs. It'd be sad to have the end ruin it all ....

It is one of those JRPGs where there are a lot of endings and to get the good ending you need to perform certain actions - in VP it has to do with sending specific characters to Valhalla as specific times - which are hard to guess until you have played the game or read a FAQ.

Valkyrie Profile is one of my favorite games of all time and will probably be the subject of my first game-related tattoo in a few months. An interesting thing about the PSP version we got is that it is based on the original Japanese code, instead of the slightly enhanced U.S. port we got for the PS1. (Tiny enhancements in the menu system, not a huge deal.)

There are two proper endings to Valkyrie Profile, an "A" and a "B" ending. (There is also a "C" ending if you totally screw up the requirements of sending warriors to Valhalla: basically an unwinnable battle and game over.) Getting the "B" ending is not really a "bad" ending but might be a little bittersweet or unsatisfying to some. Getting the "A" ending requires not playing on "Easy" difficulty, and fulfilling some non-obvious requirements. Despite being satisfying in many ways, it does start to approach the dippier over-the-top melodrama peculiar to JRPGs and some anime. It is difficult to get without a FAQ because of some non-intuitive requirements; I think it is fine to save it for a second playthrough and grab at least a specific "Ending FAQ" (or the strategy guide).

The game features some fantastic writing and a very interesting system, as well as selectable difficulty levels which is nice. On the other hand, there are some long non-interactive parts; for every warrior Valkyrie Lenneth recruits, you have to watch the tragic story leading to their death. Swooping in as somebody's sh*tty life comes to a terrible end, then saying "hey you're a warrior of the Gods now," is a fascinating combination of badass and heartbreaking. Then on top of all these vignettes, the main story is high melodrama populated by an interesting combination of reinterpreted Norse Gods, other immortals with their own personalities, sister Valkyries you may or may not get along with, and the occasional rare mortal human with the will and strength to challenge a minor God.

So in short, if you have a PSP and want a JRPG, I would totally recommend Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth.

I would also strongly consider Lunar: Silver Star Harmony, based on the PS1 port of the oft-remade classic; the game is kind of a cakewalk with minimal grinding, and the dated mechanics are offset by enhancements the get through combat faster (like being able to set up three programmed "strategems" or let your characters use AI on an individual or party level). This is a game you play just to experience the story, which is sweet and populated with adorable characters in an adorable world.

I don't actually recommend them so much, but you might also consider the Star Ocean games if you can't get enough of slightly dated PS1 ports, even after the last two. They are much more straight-up fantasy than sci-fi, and seem to have weird difficulty curves based around how much you want to abuse the game's crafting system. On the bright side, they are an early example of significantly branching storylines with not every character being recruitable in a given playthrough.

I have not played Hexyz Force yet but as I said before I want everybody to buy it on principal because they support installing to memory to reduce/eliminate loading from the UMD, a feature the PSP operating system should support without hacking.

Blind_Evil wrote:

Is VP: Lenneth the sequel or the remake? I lost track of that series. Dated mechanics don't bother me much, I'm currently debating if DQIX is the best JRPG I've played in 10 years.

FYI, there are two sequels: Valkyrie Profile 2 for the PS2, and Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume for the DS. I had trouble getting into VP2 and didn't get far. VP:CotP though, I loved; it was a much different game (light strategy/tactical RPG) but felt more like a spiritual return to form.

And as was pointed out, VP:L for the PSP is a port of the original VP for PS1.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

One of my favorite pieces of game music ever is from Valkyrie Profile. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe I find the swells relaxing. Much of the soundtrack bothers me, but this one, I think, is fantastic.

Sakuraba is a really interesting composer. He seems to be at his best when he tones down his prog rock tendencies and plays it straight; for example, his "restrained" run at the battle music in Valkyrie Profile 2 is one of my favorite battle RPG tunes ever, building and mixing some well-placed bombast with effective orchestration:

I haven't played the first Valkyrie Profile or VP:Lenneth but, incidentally, I have been recently playing a bit of VP2: Silmeria to compare/contrast the combat system of VP2 to Resonance of Fate. (Some folks on another forum mentioned there were some striking similarities and, indeed, you can trace a bit of a lineage between the two.) I feel like the plot in VP2: Silmeria veers into that unfortunate "incomprehensible anime bullsh*t" territory -- especially if you're foolish enough to listen to the English voice acting -- but the actual game mechanics are fascinating.

I'm not sure how many similarities exist between VP: Lenneth and VP2: Silmeria, but I've put Lenneth on my queue to check out (hopefully) soon and I'll be continuing to dig through Silmeria as well. It's an interesting series.

Thanks for all the feedback. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is going to be purchased. I think it's worth a shot. I'm just trying to decide whether to spend $28 on a new copy or $20 on a used ....

I have looked in the direction of Lunar and Hexyz Force. Those, along with Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley (though I may just go the DS route with that series) are on my "wait until you're done with P3P and the prices have come down" radar. I've never met a Star Ocean game I liked, just never clicked.

Thanks for not recommending FFT, btw. The genre has moved on since then.

@Ozy That battle song is incredible. The "well-placed bombast" is definitely different. I like.

One of my favorite pieces of game music ever is from Valkyrie Profile. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe I find the swells relaxing. Much of the soundtrack bothers me, but this one, I think, is fantastic.

VP is a really bittersweet game. It's full of the sort of wild and crazy structural experimentation sh*t that we don't see much of these days. Some mechanics and most of the voice acting I doubt wouldn't stand up, and you'll have to watch lengthy segments in true JRPG fashion, but those sequences are interesting and the sprites still look good. VP is a strange and moody beast that I admire a lot, and have kept.

But unfortunately, I never beat it. I think my copy might be bugged, and to be honest, the game's mood, while highly effective and poetic, eventually gets crushing, so I've been unable to see if I could reach the part that wasn't working again to find out. You meet interesting people, and they die. You're a Valkyrie, so that's the way it has to be, but still.

Did anyone play Dissidia FF? Now that I know I can borrow my roommie's PSP I'm curious.

garion333 wrote:

Thanks for not recommending FFT, btw. The genre has moved down since then.

FTFY.

I found the backstories for the people you recruit in Valkyrie Profile actually stuck with me a bit. Some of them are frustratingly short on details but fill in the blanks later (assuming you don't send the character up to the War). Others seem like they're purposefully short on details altogether, leaving the player to make assumptions about what happened.

The voices are cheese (as always with JRPGs) but not to the point of insanerageface. Choosing who to send up at the end of each chapter SHOULD be a purely statistical choice, and the game gives you the tools to assess their worth in this respect, but interestingly enough I ended up making less-than-ideal choices just because I liked certain characters enough that I didn't want to let them go.

Which, for me, is the mark of a really interesting game.

"insanerageface" is hilarious and immediately understood word.

I enjoy the character and story parts of VP games more than the actual games (how I don't finish.)

Persona 3 remake and Dragon Quest 9 are great handheld jrpg games recently; Persona is actually the better game, DQ9 is more fun just for simple Nintendo nostalgia and lack of goofball voicework IMO

Clemenstation wrote:

. Choosing who to send up at the end of each chapter SHOULD be a purely statistical choice, and the game gives you the tools to assess their worth in this respect, but interestingly enough I ended up making less-than-ideal choices just because I liked certain characters enough that I didn't want to let them go.

Which, for me, is the mark of a really interesting game.

Yeah, Aelia forever.

I also loved how you could level up attributes that were totally unrelated to the character's in-game stats, like 'Can't Swim'

Valkyrie Profile was a game I hunted for in my youth. I saw it once at a walmart while traveling the country and didn't buy it because I really didn't have the money. That was many years ago. I can't bring myself to purchase it for the PS1 for $80- $100 and I don't have a PSP. Maybe one day they will bring it to the PSN and I can be a happy man again.

I bought a PSP because my neighbor hit my car and didn't want to bother with insurance. My car is 13 years old and it was cosmetic damage, so I pocketed the money, spent some of it on the car (engine work) and then went an bought myself a PSP. It's his fault he hit both doors, if it had only hit one door I wouldn't have gotten a PSP.

Lesson: Pray someone hits your car. Or, jump out in front of cars and sue people. It works.

Looks like Square is bringing back Tactics Ogre finally. The article is here, but the choice quote, to me, is:

But even more than that, the best part about Tactics Ogre's return is that it also means Square has gotten the band back together: The new remake is being spearheaded by the core Quest team. That means character design by Akihiko Yoshida, art design and direction by Hiroshi Minagawa, music by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata, and above all, game design and planning by Yasumi Matsuno. This is the same group who crafted masterpieces like Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and (one assumes) the more cohesive parts of Final Fantasy XII. Matsuno has been almost complete missing in action for the past five years, so seeing his name attached prominently to this remake is intriguing.

Edit: Oh, and it's coming to the PSP. Sheesh. Crazy how much is coming to that more-or-less failed platform (says the person who just bought one).

garion333 wrote:

Looks like Square is bringing back Tactics Ogre finally.

I want this on the iPhone. If they can port FFT, this should be no problem as well.

wanderingtaoist wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Looks like Square is bringing back Tactics Ogre finally.

I want this on the iPhone. If they can port FFT, this should be no problem as well.

True, except Square might not see it as worth it. FFT is way more popular, but you never know.

necroyeti wrote:

I also loved how you could level up attributes that were totally unrelated to the character's in-game stats, like 'Can't Swim'

I almost forgot about that. It was pretty cool that depending on these non-stat attributes, certain characters could be more useful in Asgard's War; they would want people with leadership abilities, or who could swim, or were negotiators, or whatever. I think leveling those abilities would affect how well they did up there (you could get progress reports on your Einherjar at the end of each chapter) and if they were crappy enough, I think they'd get killed.

garion333 funny story about your PSP purchase and weirdly, though this system is almost already written off and clearly lost to DS, everyone I know has one and loves playing their choice games on it. Not a failed system, not for JRPGS especially. Dunno if Square has soured on it but, Hexyz Force is underrated, the Persona 3 remake is astounding, Jeanne d'arc is still something Nintendo can't touch. If Sony would use their money and turn this into a classic retro/remake and JRPG machine with simple downloading from PSN store this would become a coveted thing, one of the fondly remembered collector machines like Sega Dreamcast.

Yeah, the DS is certainly king, but it's clear Sony still has clout with certain devs. I mean, why else put the remake of Tactics Ogre on the PSP? The FFT remake sold well enough (not great, but it was a remake) and Advent Children was a hit (I think). Regardless, Crisis Core sold a few million.

Games can sell well on the PSP. I think in many ways we've lost touch with handhold sales. The DS has blown up WAY more than anyone expected. Even more than the GBA. Nintendo games sell like hot cakes. The fact the PSP didn't live up the DS is only one way to look at it. PSP games can still sell in the millions. The FFT remake on the PSP sold more copies than FFT2 on the DS (not by much, but ...).

Anyway, I'm talking out my ass a bit, but even though the DS has clearly dominated the PSP has sold more than the 360 and PS3. Clearly there's a market, even taking piracy into account (which is prevalent on both handhelds).

I think there's a definite market on the PSP for JRPGs, which is why we see so many of them coming out, especially remakes, which is what the DS sees a lot of. Costs can be kept to a minimum, which makes probability easier to achieve, probably.

As I understand it, the PSP is more popular in Japan than it is here thanks to Monster Hunter, so that may have something to do with it, especially for remakes of games that already have an English translation.

Also, if it's a remake of the original SNES game, that was ported to the PS1. If they still have the source for that, it might be somewhat easier to port to the PSP than to the DS.

Arc Rise Fantasia Quick Look.

In other news: Persona 3 looks fantastic on my new (used) PSP. That makes me happy. And Lumines is waaaaay more fun when held in your hand. And I'm glad I didn't buy Half Minute Hero as I kinda hated the demos.

Arc Rise Fantasia looks fun. It's definitely a classic JRPG and doesn't make any bones about it. It's on my list to try out at some point, but I have a huge pile of games to clear through (and a few of the other games in this thread to check out) before I'm likely to delve into it.

Wow. I love this guy's enthusiasm. I don't regret my purchase at all.

garion333 wrote:

In other news: Persona 3 looks fantastic on my new (used) PSP. That makes me happy. And Lumines is waaaaay more fun when held in your hand. And I'm glad I didn't buy Half Minute Hero as I kinda hated the demos.

How does Persona 3 compare to the console version? Is it the full game?

Mystic Violet wrote:

Wow. I love this guy's enthusiasm. I don't regret my purchase at all.

garion333 wrote:

In other news: Persona 3 looks fantastic on my new (used) PSP. That makes me happy. And Lumines is waaaaay more fun when held in your hand. And I'm glad I didn't buy Half Minute Hero as I kinda hated the demos.

How does Persona 3 compare to the console version? Is it the full game?

Kinda awesome how they make their first intern play all the JRPGs. I do like the guy so far, though.

Persona 3 PSP is the full game plus the ability to be a lady, the needed tweaks to dialogue, and minus some of the voice acting IIRC. I can't get through P3 or P4, but I can appreciate why people love 'em so.

Was it this thread where I was complaining about the lack of good current-gen JRPG titles?

Because I started Tales of Vesperia this weekend, and this game is excellent.

It borrows item-leveling mechanics from FF IX, the best bits of real-time fighting from games like Grandia and Eternal Sonata, the sorta-random world encounters from Blue Dragon, is NOT that annoying when it comes to the voice acting, and has nice, clean graphics and well-explained development systems.

Maybe even better than Lost Odyssey so far (10 hours in).

Clemenstation wrote:

Was it this thread where I was complaining about the lack of good current-gen JRPG titles?

Because I started Tales of Vesperia this weekend, and this game is excellent.

It borrows item-leveling mechanics from FF IX, the best bits of real-time fighting from games like Grandia and Eternal Sonata, the sorta-random world encounters from Blue Dragon, is NOT that annoying when it comes to the voice acting, and has nice, clean graphics and well-explained development systems.

Maybe even better than Lost Odyssey so far (10 hours in).

I think overall the game is better than Lost Odyssey, but it doesn't have anything comparable to the excellent "memories" sequences in the latter. Still, it has one of the best protagonists ever in a Tales game, so that counts for something.

If you have access to a Wii or Gamecube and wind up liking Vesperia to the end, definitely check out Tales of Symphonia — it's the best Tales game ever made, and in my top five all-time gaming experiences.