JRPG Catch-All 2.0

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Rather than create a million little mini-threads for each upcoming JRPG, let's have a catch-all for this oft-maligned genre. What JRPGs are on the horizon or have just come out that have you all excited?

Edit: Wanting to chat about Final Fantasy specifically? There's a thread for that!

To read the original JRPG catch-all thread go here!

The Last Remnant is apparently being de-listed from Steam tomorrow, any opinions here on the game? I don't play many JRPGs but the fact that the game will be gone (presumably indefinitely) in a few days makes me a bit curious about it.

fastmav wrote:

Having played every Tales of game since ps3/360/wii gen. My personal favorites are Xillia 1 and 2 (possibly the best combat in series IMO) followed by Graces F. I know people have alot of love for Vesperia and Symphonia. While I enjoyed my time with them I don't think they aged as well as the ps3 games. (Vesperia is supposed to get a remaster later this year I think?) Zestiria is probably the worse one IMO.

I haven't played as many but yes I love Xillia and Graces F. Never finished Symphonia back on GameCube and skipped the remaster.

kyrieee wrote:

The Last Remnant is apparently being de-listed from Steam tomorrow, any opinions here on the game? I don't play many JRPGs but the fact that the game will be gone (presumably indefinitely) in a few days makes me a bit curious about it.

All I can say is that it has a fantastic soundtrack by Tsuyoshi Sekito.

I've had that game in my Steam library forever, but I haven't played it yet. It's a game from Akitoshi Kawazu, so I would expect it to play like nothing else and to have crazy, unexplained systems.

The 360 version should be easy to find (and probably relatively cheap) if you still have a 360. However, from a technical perspective, the PC version is the one to get. I still think Square Enix should have put it on sale before delisting it to make it a no-brainer for anyone who still doesn't have it yet. CDN12.99 is more of a gamble.

Just tagging in so I can keep following the thread.

Stele wrote:
fastmav wrote:

Having played every Tales of game since ps3/360/wii gen. My personal favorites are Xillia 1 and 2 (possibly the best combat in series IMO) followed by Graces F. I know people have alot of love for Vesperia and Symphonia. While I enjoyed my time with them I don't think they aged as well as the ps3 games. (Vesperia is supposed to get a remaster later this year I think?) Zestiria is probably the worse one IMO.

I haven't played as many but yes I love Xillia and Graces F. Never finished Symphonia back on GameCube and skipped the remaster.

Ok, good to know. From what I understand Berseria is a direct prequel to Zestiria so I wondered if I’d want to play that later. I probably won’t make it a priority. I’d rather dip my toe into the Ys, Dragon Quest, Trails, and Ni No Kuni games first.

beanman101283 wrote:

I probably won’t make it a priority. I’d rather dip my toe into the Ys, Dragon Quest, Trails, and Ni No Kuni games first.

So sometime in 2023 then.

beanman101283 wrote:
Stele wrote:
fastmav wrote:

Having played every Tales of game since ps3/360/wii gen. My personal favorites are Xillia 1 and 2 (possibly the best combat in series IMO) followed by Graces F. I know people have alot of love for Vesperia and Symphonia. While I enjoyed my time with them I don't think they aged as well as the ps3 games. (Vesperia is supposed to get a remaster later this year I think?) Zestiria is probably the worse one IMO.

I haven't played as many but yes I love Xillia and Graces F. Never finished Symphonia back on GameCube and skipped the remaster.

Ok, good to know. From what I understand Berseria is a direct prequel to Zestiria so I wondered if I’d want to play that later. I probably won’t make it a priority. I’d rather dip my toe into the Ys, Dragon Quest, Trails, and Ni No Kuni games first.

Having played both I would say its safe to skip Zestiria all together. If one of you is super interested in Berseria, I believe I have a spare key from current Humble Monthly, send me a PM.

I'm tagging. I like reading your recommendations.

Tales of is the only major JRPG franchise that I've played where I haven't been able to find one I enjoy. I like some franchises more than others, obviously, but Tales of is the only one that's just a total void for me.

I've tried Abyss, Symphonia, Xilia, and Zestiria, and my experience with them has all been the same: the art is beautiful, the characters are a mixed bag of intriguing and terrible, and the combat systems are completely incomprehensible. All sound and fury and flashing numbers, and I have no idea what's going on. Battles go well or poorly, and I have no idea why.

Nevertheless, I keep buying them. I have the remaster of Vesperia wishlisted, against my better judgement.

For what it's worth, I feel like Ni No Kuni II does all the same things that the Tales of games have to offer but executes on them better. The art style, the purely anime storylines, the dynamic real time combat: it's all there, but much more engaging.

Fastmav347 wrote:

Having played both I would say its safe to skip Zestiria all together. If one of you is super interested in Berseria, I believe I have a spare key from current Humble Monthly, send me a PM.

I'll defer to bean since I still have Xillia 2 on the pile. Need to get 50+ more hours out of my PS3 before retiring it.

Quote isn't edit

It’s been interesting comparing my experience of Berseria with Final Fantasy, since the latter makes up the bulk of my JRPG experience. Tales has so many quality of life improvements with combat, saving, and exploring that FF’s habits prior to FF13 feel almost criminal.

It’s also impressive how many interlocking systems Berseria keeps layering onto itself. Soul gauges, beasts gauges, blast gauges, combos, equipment upgrading, drop rates, master skills, random skills, excursions, cooking, etc etc etc. The trouble of course is those systems are barely explained, and worse, there’s definitely the feeling that none of it really matters unless you’re playing on a higher difficulty. The game goes out of its way to tell you higher difficulties will yield a better experience with equipment drops and enemy encounters. I’ve spent probably too much time upgrading equipment. It’s cool that stuff is there, but it’s overwhelming and possibly pointless at the default difficulty.

Like I said earlier, I try to tune my combos to the enemies I’m fighting in each area. Other than that, I’m hoping for the best and mainlining the story.

Stele wrote:
Fastmav347 wrote:

Having played both I would say its safe to skip Zestiria all together. If one of you is super interested in Berseria, I believe I have a spare key from current Humble Monthly, send me a PM.

I'll defer to bean since I still have Xillia 2 on the pile. Need to get 50+ more hours out of my PS3 before retiring it.

I’ve got Berseria on PS4 so no need for a PC key for me!

beanman101283 wrote:
Stele wrote:
Fastmav347 wrote:

Having played both I would say its safe to skip Zestiria all together. If one of you is super interested in Berseria, I believe I have a spare key from current Humble Monthly, send me a PM.

I'll defer to bean since I still have Xillia 2 on the pile. Need to get 50+ more hours out of my PS3 before retiring it.

I’ve got Berseria on PS4 so no need for a PC key for me!

Alright then. More pile for me!

Unless Berseria has improved it(it's the only one I haven't played) then Tales of Graces F is the one with the most in depth battle system.

Based on nostalgia I'm more inclined to recommend Tales of Destiny on the PS1, it's my favorite game overall as it hit me right around the same time Suikoden 2 did, which was when I finally realizing the nuance and differences of gameplay mechanics. But of the modern ones I think I like Xillia the most. I really liked how Jude was different than the typical hard headed hero. You can also play as Milla if you want but I more enjoyed her story from a mysterious entity standpoint.

I'll just say that I really didn't care much for Zestiria. I tried on multiple occasions to 'get it' and I'm not sure if it's the main characters or what but I just couldn't get past around 10 hours into it. It's why I haven't played Berseria yet. But I do have it on PC because of Humble so I should probably remedy that at some point.

Ooh, are we ranking Tales games? That's almost as fun as ranking FF games!

/sarc

Seriously though, Xillia 1/2 and Graces are much better choices for older-ish series games than Zestiria. It's the first one in a while that I didn't finish. The characters didn't click and the battle system was bloated compared to some others.

(Symphonia is still a personal favorite but it's...old.)

beanman101283 wrote:

It’s been interesting comparing my experience of Berseria with Final Fantasy, since the latter makes up the bulk of my JRPG experience. Tales has so many quality of life improvements with combat, saving, and exploring that FF’s habits prior to FF13 feel almost criminal.

It’s also impressive how many interlocking systems Berseria keeps layering onto itself. Soul gauges, beasts gauges, blast gauges, combos, equipment upgrading, drop rates, master skills, random skills, excursions, cooking, etc etc etc. The trouble of course is those systems are barely explained, and worse, there’s definitely the feeling that none of it really matters unless you’re playing on a higher difficulty. The game goes out of its way to tell you higher difficulties will yield a better experience with equipment drops and enemy encounters. I’ve spent probably too much time upgrading equipment. It’s cool that stuff is there, but it’s overwhelming and possibly pointless at the default difficulty.

Like I said earlier, I try to tune my combos to the enemies I’m fighting in each area. Other than that, I’m hoping for the best and mainlining the story.

I've only played Symphonia and some of Zestiria, but I feel the same way about the battle systems. A lot of intricacy, not explained super well, and unlike some other games, the layering happens too quickly for you to really get good at any one layer before the next few hit, unless you're already an experienced Tales player. That said, I've really enjoyed the characters and art style, and learning the combat system is fun, so I keep wanting to go back to Zestiria and dive into it. It's funny to hear people say it's one of their least favorite, as it seems to have so much to recommend it (though admittedly, I don't know the other games).

kyrieee wrote:

The Last Remnant is apparently being de-listed from Steam tomorrow, any opinions here on the game? I don't play many JRPGs but the fact that the game will be gone (presumably indefinitely) in a few days makes me a bit curious about it.

I played it for a good 30-40 hours, but that was quite a few years ago. Essentially it's a Final Fantasy game without the Final Fantasy name. So all the same trappings, but no Chocobo's.

I remember enjoying my time with it. It's a bit of a slow burn, and there are some systems to learn. I remember the characters being relatively interesting, there's a lot of lore to get involved in, and as mentioned previously, the music is awesome.

The combat system I think aimed to be more grand, but it was interesting to have groups of characters doing battle, where you don't really control a single character, you more give commands that the group will follow. Then when one group is finished a battle you move to another group. I don't think it worked like they hoped, but... I don't know, it worked well enough.

Now that I've typed that all out, I went to check the Steam store and noticed it's delisted. Oops

kyrieee wrote:

The Last Remnant is apparently being de-listed from Steam tomorrow, any opinions here on the game? I don't play many JRPGs but the fact that the game will be gone (presumably indefinitely) in a few days makes me a bit curious about it.

Check your PMs. Just saying....

sr_malo wrote:

Check your PMs. Just saying....

Oh wow, thanks, that's very kind of you! However, I ended up buying it while at work right before it expired and hadn't seen your message, sorry. Maybe there's someone else in this thread who would like a copy?

I will give you my impressions here once I've played it (waiting on my new PC at the moment).

I already got a free game from this thread this week. Don't want to be greedy. If someone else doesn't take it in a day or two maybe...

Looks like it's already unable to purchase from Steam. They didn't wait for usual store update time at 10am Pacific.

I'm pretty sure I have the 360 disc lying around somewhere. Never got around to it sadly.

The Last Remnant: I won a signed copy of the soundtrack (CD format) in a giveaway. Unfortunately, didn't like the game, so have no attachment to this soundtrack. I'm willing to gift it to anyone who will pay postage.

Stele wrote:

I already got a free game from this thread this week. Don't want to be greedy. If someone else doesn't take it in a day or two maybe...

Looks like it's already unable to purchase from Steam. They didn't wait for usual store update time at 10am Pacific.

It's been (almost) a day. Check your PMs.

I'm 20 hours or so into Tales of Berseria now and finished what I think is the first main act of the game. There are some interesting themes showing up in the story that I'm hoping go somewhere interesting. I've no idea if I should be optimistic about that.

Regarding how flashy yet opaque the combat is, one thing I've realized is that the game really wants the player to explicitly choose to dig in to the combat, but doesn't want to punish you if you don't. I've now got the ability to swap in party members on the fly during battles. I've been doing so randomly just to try to make sure everyone's getting roughly the same exp and gear upgrades. But most of the time, battles happen so quickly there isn't even time to remember to do so. But, if I were to lure enemies toward me to trigger the dangerous encounters, the battles are significantly longer and require more finesse. I'd need to spend more time fiddling with the party's AI tactics, and actually learn the nuances of when and how to swap in party members. Instead of seeing a room full of encounters and taking them on one by one, I could lure all of them together and potentially get more item drops and gear upgrades. This could all be done without bumping up the base difficulty (though I could do that as well, for even more benefits).

It is tempting to start messing around with that stuff, as the dungeons are starting to feel too long and exhausting. If I'm only a third of the way through the game and feeling that way, I probably should look into staving off boredom however I can.

I think Tales of Berseria might be the most overtly sexist game I've ever played. There have been several conversations among the characters about how women are duplicitous, manipulating, hags. In comparison, men are "simple creatures." Most of the context is around adults talking to and around an innocent child-like character who is definitely absorbing everything he hears around him.

Example:

There are other instances as well. Not sure if that's par for the course in Tales of games, but it's definitely anachronistic and offputting here.

Edit: Most of these characters are explicitly presented as bad people, so maybe it's just another aspect of that, but it was still really jarring to see.

Wow, those two male characters are protagonists?

Yikes. I'm glad that the female characters stand up for themselves in that clip, but even so, that's definitely anachronistic and jarring.

I've played Tales of Symphonia and some of Zestiria. I don't remember sexist content in Symphonia, though I played it years ago and probably would have been less sensitive to it then. Zestiria doesn't seem to feature those views of women, from what I've seen.

One of those conversations was in the demo for Berseria, and it immediately put me off the game. That's a step up from the usual background radiation of homophobia and misogyny that plague JRPGs.

"Background radiation" is a good way of putting it.

I may take a break from Berseria this week, as I slightly burned myself out on it this weekend. I'm upwards of 35 hours in and may only be halfway through, depending on which sources I decide to trust.

I ended up bumping up the base difficulty a notch to Moderate, and for a while that did make combat more interesting. It also started triggering more skills appearing on gear drops, which briefly made for some more agonizing choices when it came to selecting which piece of armor to keep. At the end of the day though, gear drops like candy, and the dungeons are way too long for the small amount of enjoyment I'm getting out of the combat. Heading to a destination frequently means traveling over some kind of overworld, followed by an actual dungeon. The amount, and difficulty, of encounters is the same in each, so it basically feels like fighting through two dungeons for every one plot beat. You also have to backtrack a lot once said plot beat has landed. Dungeons have warp points to let you get near the entrance again, but then you still need to run through the overworld to get back to town. Meanwhile, I have unlocked an ability that increases the speed your gear improves if you keep triggering combat encounters in a specified time. The game does everything it can to encourage the player to engage with its combat systems. I think I've hit my limit on getting anything out of it, though.

So I'm certainly going to bump the difficulty back down when I return to the game. The question will be if I set it back to Normal or go further down and just try to breeze through encounters and focus on the story. There's some deft writing and world building in this game, and I mostly find myself enjoying the protagonists and voice acting (with a couple notable exceptions). But then something like the youtube video above happens, which throws me out of the experience completely. We'll see how it goes from here.

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