JRPG Catch-All

Minarchist wrote:

In my experience that information has been exceedingly difficult to come by. The most credible thing I've heard actually debunks the common "R&D1" myth (as though there is an R&D2), and just says that Atlus' in-house development is all one big team, and people are assigned to various projects as necessary.

Someone needs to write a nice long feature about this.

I noticed that Index Corp (which bought and dissolved Atlus) is a public company, so I was hoping they might have some illuminating filings, but they are not traded in the US. Atlus is no longer a public company (having been dissolved by its parent after an acquisition), but it apparently was for at least a while; I wonder if their old filings might say something useful. Unfortunately I don't read Japanese and I don't know anything about Japanese securities filings.

Minarchist wrote:

In my experience that information has been exceedingly difficult to come by. The most credible thing I've heard actually debunks the common "R&D1" myth (as though there is an R&D2), and just says that Atlus' in-house development is all one big team, and people are assigned to various projects as necessary.

This jives with what I've found, as well. There don't seem to be departments or studios inside of Atlus in the same way that there are with, say, Nintendo or Square-Enix. I have no idea what their development structure is beyond that or even who the mythical "Team Persona" might be. I've seen "Team Persona" used as a reference to everything from a full development staff to three or four directors and producers.

I just beat Jeanne D'Arc this morning. The game was really fun, and probably the first SRPG game I've played all the way to the credits

Anyway, I moved on to the next game on my backlog - Valkyrie Profile Lenneth. I am about two hours into the game, making my way through the first real dungeon (the one with Undead and some gorillas). The game seems to have some depth to it (I've noticed a 'transmutation' menu, so it seems there is some form of crafting there). The battle system seems OK, though there seems to be a lot to it that I've not yet discovered... For example - I can attack with more than one character at a time, but I haven't noticed any combos? If I attack with all four, I can do an 'overdrive' attack with one or two characters, but I don't know which character to choose. Is this going to be explained better in the game itself, or should I find an FAQ?

The battle system reminds me of Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier (terrible title that I had to google to get it right) - though in Endless Frontier it was fresh&fun at first, it got tedious and boring fairly quickly...

MsbS wrote:

I just beat Jeanne D'Arc this morning. The game was really fun, and probably the first SRPG game I've played all the way to the credits

Anyway, I moved on to the next game on my backlog - Valkyrie Profile Lenneth. I am about two hours into the game, making my way through the first real dungeon (the one with Undead and some gorillas). The game seems to have some depth to it (I've noticed a 'transmutation' menu, so it seems there is some form of crafting there). The battle system seems OK, though there seems to be a lot to it that I've not yet discovered... For example - I can attack with more than one character at a time, but I haven't noticed any combos? If I attack with all four, I can do an 'overdrive' attack with one or two characters, but I don't know which character to choose. Is this going to be explained better in the game itself, or should I find an FAQ?

The battle system reminds me of Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier (terrible title that I had to google to get it right) - though in Endless Frontier it was fresh&fun at first, it got tedious and boring fairly quickly...

I played Valkyrie Profile Lenneth (that's the port of the original VP right?) a bunch, though I didn't finish it. I love that world and the somber tone of all the stories. I don't know if I ever really got a handle on the mechanics, but it's on my long list of games I want to revisit if I turn out to be immortal.

MsbS wrote:

I just beat Jeanne D'Arc this morning. The game was really fun, and probably the first SRPG game I've played all the way to the credits :-)

Just started that. Such a beautiful game, with all those Level 5 little touches I've grown to love.

KidDork wrote:
MsbS wrote:

I just beat Jeanne D'Arc this morning. The game was really fun, and probably the first SRPG game I've played all the way to the credits :-)

Just started that. Such a beautiful game, with all those Level 5 little touches I've grown to love.

Still on my Vita to finish. It's probably up after Persona 4. Unless Fire Emblem for the 3DS is out by then.

Another 30-40 minutes into VP: Lenneth (PSP), I'm not impressed. I can see how it could be so much better by simply being more user friendly. I beat the first dungeon, but could not get out of it. I had to check an FAQ. How was I supposed to know that you have to climb the wall in the 1st room, if I entered the dungeon by simply floating down straight into the room? The second dungeon - I got stuck again, just because the game did not instruct me how to slide under a wall. Yeah, I could have read the instruction manual, but then - there are some fragments of tutorial within the game itself, why not cover all important topics?
In the first town (playing as Angrim) I thought all the inhabitants were mute, because instinctively, I would stand right where the NPC is and click a button. I had no idea you have to stand in front of them to initiate a conversation. I mean, it does make sense, but all the other RPGs taught me different. But the worst was the dialogue with a Sprite (at the end of the first dungeon). One of the dialogue options was basically a help system, explaining various intricacies of the game (about 15 various options). But when I choose one topic, the Sprite explains it, and the conversation ends. To get to another help topic, you need 3 or 4 clicks and reading the same standard 'conversation starter' greeting. Pretty awkward, if you ask me.
The story feels kinda weird so far, like a set of randomly glued together fragments. It might be just my impression, or maybe poor translation, but somehow it did not just draw me in...
One more thing I don't like is the time limit, which means I won't be able to just freely roam around, explore, level/grind. I'm not sure how 'pressing' the time limit is though, so maybe it's not that bad (like in Fallout 1 where you could buy some more time). So far, I lost one 'time unit' by simply entering a random village instead of using the 'concentrate' feature to find a place of interest. Another thing that could be simplified/automated, if I am supposed to use the 'concentration' every time I enter the world map...

I'll stick around for a few more hours, hoping to get some likable characters, and some more feel of the battle systems, which seems pretty deep and fun. Oh, and the Dragon Servant enemies are also annoying - 2 out of 3 characters I have cannot hurt them, and the third character only attacks once per two turns - argh!

Sounds to me that a lot of what you don't like is that it's a PS1 game with all the trappings of that era.

garion333 wrote:

Sounds to me that a lot of what you don't like is that it's a PS1 game with all the trappings of that era.

Well, I'm not sure - is streamlining and good UI design such a novelty?

I really don't mind having no in-game tutorials, and relying on a printed manual. But having only part of instructions in the game is really confusing...

Anyway, I am seriously considering restarting the game in Hard mode. I've only put around 3 hours into it, and one of the FAQs suggested that Hard was in fact the easiest, as it igves you access to more powerful items, more characters, and there is also more time to grind/level (28 time units per Chapter, as opposed to 24 on Normal). Also, I will have an opportunity to re-read those supposedly helpful hints and get to talk to the townsfolk (now that I know how it is done).

I remember trying to play that game on the playstation. It seemed like one of those games were you had to play with a walkthrough in hand if you wanted to have any chance of having a good ending.

master0 wrote:

I remember trying to play that game on the playstation. It seemed like one of those games were you had to play with a walkthrough in hand if you wanted to have any chance of having a good ending.

To get the "best" ending, yeah.

I'm mixed on how I feel about that kind of mechanic. Risk/reward and sacrifice can be really powerful tools for game narratives, but I don't think they're well implemented usually. Having the idea that you're missing out on stuff shoved in your face is the impetus for walkthrough-abiding (for me anyway). Games from other genres have, IMO, done it better than RPGs in general. In Black Ops 2 all the choices are made in the blink of an eye, so you don't have time to wring your hands and ruminate on the consequences. In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, you never really know what inputs are going to have an effect and what aren't, and there aren't "good" or "bad" consequences, so it's a lot more interesting and open.

Metro 2033 does this well. There is no good / bad meter. No silly "save the old lady / kick the old lady" false choices. Just lots of little things you can do that slightly alter the ending.

Actually, I also threw in the towel on VP: Lenneth (PSP) after 40 minutes or so. I'm sure it would have been better back in the PS1 days but some games just don't hold up (and some do, Suikoden etc.). Luckily I was only borrowing it from a friend.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

Actually, I also threw in the towel on VP: Lenneth (PSP) after 40 minutes or so. I'm sure it would have been better back in the PS1 days but some games just don't hold up (and some do, Suikoden etc.). Luckily I was only borrowing it from a friend.

Suikoden is fantastic and was the last rpg series I really could enjoy. The witch actually had what I considered a good consequence system, from what I played. They had clear choices, but tended to be morally grey. Best of all you never knew the outcome of you choice til a few hours in. That said I'm not sure about the ending as I never finished the game as the gameplay was awful.

Alpha Protocol was also really good at that too. Better game to boot.

Games that have choices aren't exactly what I was talking about, more games that make you feel like you're missing out if you're just playing freely.

Regarding Valkyrie Profile, I would buy it in a heartbeat if the Vita would let me. PS1 or PSP, I don't care. I remember really loving that game as a kid but I don't remember why.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

Actually, I also threw in the towel on VP: Lenneth (PSP) after 40 minutes or so. I'm sure it would have been better back in the PS1 days but some games just don't hold up (and some do, Suikoden etc.). Luckily I was only borrowing it from a friend.

VP is an obtuse game series. The recent DS version has a sacrafice mechanic that you should never use. It places you in battles that are near impossible to win and always temp you to screw your party members over to win the battle.

MsbS wrote:

Anyway, I am seriously considering restarting the game in Hard mode. I've only put around 3 hours into it, and one of the FAQs suggested that Hard was in fact the easiest, as it igves you access to more powerful items, more characters, and there is also more time to grind/level (28 time units per Chapter, as opposed to 24 on Normal). Also, I will have an opportunity to re-read those supposedly helpful hints and get to talk to the townsfolk (now that I know how it is done).

I'm not sure I agree with this. To balance these "easier" things, the leveling works differently: everyone you pick up starts at level 1, for example. Those "more characters" means you have to make more hard choices about who to level up with your limited time. Go for Hard if you are into the game and want to really get into it and unlock all of the extras; but since you are already finding it frustrating...

Like a lot of PS1 games, a FAQ or strategy guide is almost required in parts, I agree. Especially with the time limit thrown in... which is more than enough time, *IF* you don't waste it. I don't want to defend this so much as say "don't feel guilty, use a guide."

I feel as though the real strength of the game is in the little stories of the characters. You will spend a lot of time watching cutscenes that, if you don't enjoy them, this probably isn't a great game for you.

JohnKillo wrote:

VP is an obtuse game series. The recent DS version has a sacrafice mechanic that you should never use. It places you in battles that are near impossible to win and always temp you to screw your party members over to win the battle.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with this, too (something I go into in the thread specifically for Valkyrie Profile: Covenant Of The Plume, the game to which you refer). You should absolutely use the sacrifice mechanic, and use it OFTEN, on your first time through the game. You won't get the best ending, but the balance is such that you are intended to go for the better endings on a New Game+. There are entirely different story paths showing the war (which serves as the backdrop to the game's plot) from different perspectives, with branches based on whether you sacrifice people in battle; so New Game+ isn't just "do everything all over again with my powers carried over from the last game" but potentially a whole new story and battles. In New Game+, you keep the bonus powers you learn from sacrifices in previous games, so it makes sense to do it often the first time around, take the "bad" ending, then carry all that power over so you don't have to struggle to avoid sacrifices.

All due respect to you if you feel differently and want to only do a single playthrough and get the best ending... but you're missing out on a lot the game has to offer if you do so.

JohnKillo wrote:
Mr GT Chris wrote:

Actually, I also threw in the towel on VP: Lenneth (PSP) after 40 minutes or so. I'm sure it would have been better back in the PS1 days but some games just don't hold up (and some do, Suikoden etc.). Luckily I was only borrowing it from a friend.

VP is an obtuse game series. The recent DS version has a sacrafice mechanic that you should never use. It places you in battles that are near impossible to win and always temp you to screw your party members over to win the battle.

Well, Covenant of the Plume (just abbreviate to VP:CoP?) I imagine was also meant to be played several times over, considering the nature of its NG+ and choices system. I know I played the game trying not to sacrifice anyone at all, but this required a restart and a few repeated missions to pull off. This, I believe, is the hard way to go about it. You're technically supposed to use Sacrifice once in a while, as those abilities also roll over into NG+. In other words, by sacrificing on early play throughs and getting the tragic endings, you find yourself more than capable of a playthrough where sacrifice isn't at all necessary.

It's a really interesting game.

beeporama wrote:
MsbS wrote:

Anyway, I am seriously considering restarting the game in Hard mode. I've only put around 3 hours into it, and one of the FAQs suggested that Hard was in fact the easiest, as it igves you access to more powerful items, more characters, and there is also more time to grind/level (28 time units per Chapter, as opposed to 24 on Normal). Also, I will have an opportunity to re-read those supposedly helpful hints and get to talk to the townsfolk (now that I know how it is done).

I'm not sure I agree with this. To balance these "easier" things, the leveling works differently: everyone you pick up starts at level 1, for example. Those "more characters" means you have to make more hard choices about who to level up with your limited time. Go for Hard if you are into the game and want to really get into it and unlock all of the extras; but since you are already finding it frustrating...

Like a lot of PS1 games, a FAQ or strategy guide is almost required in parts, I agree. Especially with the time limit thrown in... which is more than enough time, *IF* you don't waste it. I don't want to defend this so much as say "don't feel guilty, use a guide."

Thanks for your tips. Then it is decided - I will restart in Normal mode (I lost 1 Period by forgetting to concentrate and visiting a random village, and I lost 2 Artifacts before I read that you don't really need to give them away to Odin as long as you provide capable heroes). I also need to find out how to use the Heal spell - the Princess has it, but it is grayed out in her Abilities menu. I suppose it's only usable in the battle? I have to check it for myself...

beeporama wrote:
JohnKillo wrote:

VP is an obtuse game series. The recent DS version has a sacrafice mechanic that you should never use. It places you in battles that are near impossible to win and always temp you to screw your party members over to win the battle.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with this, too (something I go into in the thread specifically for Valkyrie Profile: Covenant Of The Plume, the game to which you refer). You should absolutely use the sacrifice mechanic, and use it OFTEN, on your first time through the game. You won't get the best ending, but the balance is such that you are intended to go for the better endings on a New Game+. There are entirely different story paths showing the war (which serves as the backdrop to the game's plot) from different perspectives, with branches based on whether you sacrifice people in battle; so New Game+ isn't just "do everything all over again with my powers carried over from the last game" but potentially a whole new story and battles. In New Game+, you keep the bonus powers you learn from sacrifices in previous games, so it makes sense to do it often the first time around, take the "bad" ending, then carry all that power over so you don't have to struggle to avoid sacrifices.

All due respect to you if you feel differently and want to only do a single playthrough and get the best ending... but you're missing out on a lot the game has to offer if you do so.

Really? It always seems that the game was punishing you. Thank you for that explanation. Hmm. I should go back to it then. I just felt that it seemed like if you sacrificed someone the game says you messed up. I agree you with you having recently played 999. The bad endings gave you something. I wasn't trying for the best ending in Valkyrie Profile though.

JohnKillo wrote:

Really? It always seems that the game was punishing you. Thank you for that explanation. Hmm. I should go back to it then. I just felt that it seemed like if you sacrificed someone the game says you messed up. I agree you with you having recently played 999. The bad endings gave you something. I wasn't trying for the best ending in Valkyrie Profile though.

Oh yeah, the game is going to make you feel GUILTY for sacrificing, no doubt. I think we're conditioned to try to always be a hero in games, but a handful of games (Infamous, Bioshock) let you be bad with varying degrees of success; and a handful require it. VP:CotP might have been better if, like 999, they made it outright impossible to get the best ending your first time through, just so you aren't tempted to shoot for it. Or if perhaps they had the main character struggle more with the decision.

On the other hand, I do like that being evil is significantly rewarded. That's the whole reason people do evil things, right? Being the good guy brings you more satisfaction, but it should be far more difficult, because that's usually how life works! Going the bad route once makes the good route even more satisfying, I think.

The 3ds is starting to look real good lately, bah resist.

So... Ni No Kuni is delayed until February 1st.... in Europe. Hopefully the NA release is still on schedule.

master0 wrote:

The 3ds is starting to look real good lately, bah resist.

Joooiiiiiinnnnn uuuuusssss.... Joooooiiinnnn uuuuuusssss....

Pokemon in 3d is weird. Very, very weird, but welcome.

Still need to try that Ni No Kuni demo. Installed it on PS3 like the day it came out, but haven't been in to play it.

garion333 wrote:

Pokemon in 3d is weird. Very, very weird, but welcome.

It looks vaguely Dragon Quest-esque. Which isn't a bad thing.

Corpse Party's sequel is set to release on PSN in the 15th for $20. Apparently it's twice the length/size of the previous game.

garion333 wrote:

Corpse Party's sequel is set to release on PSN in the 15th for $20. Apparently it's twice the length/size of the previous game.

Curious what you thought about the first game, if you've played it. I just finished the main five chapters. The second is a must-play for me.

The screens for the next Shin Megami Tensei 4 look so good.

JohnKillo wrote:

The screens for the next Shin Megami Tensei 4 look so good.

Meeeeee want. I'm hoping for a Fall/Winter 2013 release for us on that one. I can't imagine it's going to be much longer before a Japanese release date is announced at least. Wouldn't mind some more rumors about Devil Survivor 2: Overclocked either.

But, for now, I bask in the Fire Emblem, Etrian Odyssey 4, and Soul Hackers goodness that the next 3 months will bring. Not sure how any JRPGer will be able to survive without a 3DS much longer; it wasn't getting much love from that direction at first, but 2013's starting with a blaze of glory.

Edit: Freak out moment, what is a DEMONICA from Strange Journey doing in SMT4? http://megaten4.jp/#/chara