JRPGs that Aren't Final Fantasy Catch-All 2.0

Most of my JRPG experience is vicarious---watching my partner Beldera play---but I like to follow this thread so...*post*

[edit] Whoops, page two!

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Thats a good sign, I totally missed that game on ps3.

Fastmav347 wrote:

Thats a good sign, I totally missed that game on ps3.

Yeah the only PS3 game still on my wishlist at Amazon. Can rename it to PS4 wishlist now instead of PS3/PS4, haha.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

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SUCH a good game. Very unusual, have to pack away a lot of preconceived notions, but SO GOOD.

Make sure if some of you pick it up for the first time that you spend time in the (optional) tutorials and getting a feel for the battle system in the (optional) arena that unlocks immediately. It's a very different one and will change the game from fairly easy to impossible if you don't understand what's going on

I'm really happy this is getting a remaster. It's one of my favorite games from that console generation. Top two or three JRPGs from that time.

Oh wow, I was just thinking about this game the other day. One of the few I got all achievements for on the 360. Not sure I can face the grind again, great game though.

I already own it twice. If you're stuck with just a PS3 then it goes on sale for $5 from time to time.

Oh man, gonna have to play it a third time! (Yep, I 100% it on both platforms already.)

I really like this game despite a couple of flaws. The complexity of the combat system makes it that much more rewarding when you master it, and the theme/look/aesthetics are completely my jam.

For fun or the downward spiral of madness: what is some of your dude’s favorite themes of JRPGs. The young boy from a tiny village? The broody anti hero? The unwinnable battle? Or perhaps having 99 of things in the inventory?

I like the flow state more traditional JRPGs tend to induce in me. Running through dungeons, grinding encounters (random or otherwise, doesn't matter to me), watching numbers going up, the flow of going from field to dungeon to town, rinse and repeat. More than any of the JRPG cliches, that's what I tend to enjoy in the genre. They're comforting, and have enough mechanical complexity to keep me engaged throughout.

I'm nearing the end of Tales of Berseria, having 60+ hours invested at this point. I suspect there are another 8-10 hours to go, possibly more if I really want to mess around with side quests. But the biggest story revelations have dropped, including answers to mysteries introduced in the opening couple hours, and the characters are in the midst of refocusing themselves on their ultimate goal. Narratively speaking, it's one of the best JRPGs I've played in my somewhat limited experience. It just feels.. solid. Character motivations make sense, they do a good job of seeding foreshadowing throughout in ways that make sense, and they explore recurring themes in ways that have interesting, even cathartic, payoffs, at the end. The sexist anime bullsh*t is unfortunate and unnecessary, marring the good things they've done with the story otherwise.

I've been playing on the easiest difficulty. It doesn't reduce the time battles take, sadly, but it makes the combat more button mashy. There's plenty of depth for those interested. I, however, am not one of those. I'm curious what I'll think of other action RPG games in the genre as I expand what I play. I do miss my turn based JRPGs.

I suspect I won't ever go back and play the older Tales of games after this, and it'll probably take an absurdly high amount of acclaim to get me to try ones in the future. I'm glad I finally tried the series, though.

This is one of my favorite things: The Grant List of Console RPG Tropes. It's pretty old, but still on point. Every couple years, I find this list, go through it again, and reminisce about different games that used these tropes. This list is rife with spoilers for decades-old games, by the way.

Here are a few of my favorites:

26. Local Control Rule
Although the boss monster terrorizing the first city in the game is less powerful than the non-boss monsters that are only casual nuisances to cities later in the game, nobody from the first city ever thinks of hiring a few mercenaries from the later cities to kill the monster.

27. Nostradamus Rule
All legends are 100% accurate. All rumors are entirely factual. All prophecies will come true, and not just someday but almost immediately.

90. Guy in the Street Rule
No matter how fast you travel, rumors of world events always travel faster. When you get to anywhere, the people on the street are already talking about where you've been. The stories of your past experiences will spread even if no witnesses were around to see them.

116. You Always Travel In The Right Circles
Whenever you meet a villager or other such incidental character who promises to give you some great piece of needed knowledge or a required object in exchange for a seemingly simple item, such as a bar of soap or a nice straw mat, be prepared to spend at least an hour chasing around the world exchanging useless innocuous item after item with bizarre strangers until you can get that elusive first item you were asked for.

153. "Mommy, why didn't they just use a Phoenix Down on Aeris?"
Don't expect battle mechanics to carry over into the "real world."

183. Adam Smith's Revenge
By the end of the game you are renowned everywhere as the Legendary Heroes, every surviving government and authority figure has rallied behind you, the fate of the world is obviously hanging in the balance, and out of nowhere random passers-by give you a pat on the back and heartfelt good luck wishes. However, shopkeepers won't even give you a discount, much less free supplies for the final battle with evil.

184. Adam Smith's Corollary
No matter how thoroughly devastated the continent/planet/universe is, there's always some shopkeeper who survived the end of the world and sits outside the gates of the villain's castle, selling the most powerful equipment in the game, like nothing ever happened.

beanman101283 wrote:

I like the flow state more traditional JRPGs tend to induce in me.

I definitely like the rhythm of JRPGs, especially dungeon crawlers where you plow a bit further into a maze, go back to town to cash in what you've acquired, repeat.

But I'm also drawn to JRPGs for two other reasons:

  1. The visual and character designs. Thanks in large part, I think, to the influence of anime, JRPGs tend to have designs with bold color palettes and striking silhouettes with a stronger emphasis put on being visually interesting than on being realistic. JRPGs tend to use the full spectrum of color, including those oft-neglected pinks and purples.
  2. While the mood and tone can change significantly in a game, the trend is toward optimism and happiness. This is something that gets mocked about JRPGs fairly often: characters will be facing off against the Great Big Bad, and they stop to have a moment where they talk about the value of friendship, or they stop for some pratfall gag about someone's hair or clumsiness or enormous appetite for cheese. But I find that focus on happiness and humor really refreshing. I find Western RPGs to be consistently dour, pessimistic, and amoral with a sense of humor that tends to be cruel and sarcastic. It's nice to not be steeped in that worldview for hours on end.

Selling Y's VIII in case you don't check the trading thread.

JohnKillo wrote:

For fun or the downward spiral of madness: what is some of your dude’s favorite themes of JRPGs. The young boy from a tiny village? The broody anti hero? The unwinnable battle? Or perhaps having 99 of things in the inventory?

Among those, the young boy from a tiny village, because it's usually used to contrast a wide interesting world they put an emphasis on designing. Although I like a lot of things about (J)RPGs, exploration is usually a little further up there for me than most. It doesn't need to be realistic exploration, at least not any more than the personalities and hairstyles of my ragtag group of friends are realistic; I just want to see fantastic new vistas on my travels.

I always liked the good/moral to a fault protaganists of these games. And I love a heroic sacrifice or selfless acts of heroism in my jrpgs. I know shades of grey are far more interesting stories usually but with these types of games it rarely captures my attention. In a sucker for rule/destroy the world because I'm evil the old cliches still work for me.

I come to jrpgs for "simple" stories and mechanics its totally a comfort food. Likely the reason I've drifted more modern jrpgs and stick to the older stuff.

Still really happy Clocky is back. Always enjoy your posts.

LastSurprise wrote:

This is one of my favorite things: The Grant List of Console RPG Tropes. It's pretty old, but still on point. Every couple years, I find this list, go through it again, and reminisce about different games that used these tropes. This list is rife with spoilers for decades-old games, by the way.

I had not seen this before.... and there goes my productivity today.

Favorites so far are:

Magical Inequality Theorem
In the course of your travels you may find useful-sounding spells such as Petrify, Silence, and Instant Death. However, you will end up never using these spells in combat because a) all ordinary enemies can be killed with a few normal attacks, making fancy attacks unneccessary, b) all bosses and other stronger-than-average monsters are immune to those effects so there's no point in using them for long fights where they'd actually come in handy, and c) the spells usually don't work anyway.

Magical Inequality Corollary
When the enemy uses Petrify, Silence, Instant Death, et cetera spells on you, they will be effective 100% of the time.

Stele wrote:

Still really happy Clocky is back. Always enjoy your posts.

She's always a Real Gamer Girl to me.

To jump on this themes band wagon, I think a lot of what Clock said applies (because when does it not), but also the fact that JRPG's are so incredibly diverse.

They can take place in any time period in any sort of world without regard for anything but aesthetic appeal. What? It's a combination of 16th and 19th century fashion and architecture? Doesn't matter, looks cool. We're flying by Renaissance Faire rules here, people. Doesn't matter if the eras and cultures are completely unrelated, as long as they look sweet side-by-side we're good.

However, following "trends" in JRPG's is way different from Western games, and I tend to like the trends in JRPG's better. Or at least have a higher tolerance for them. Japanese games have always had side quests and item collections, but Western games are all seeming to try and ape Grand Theft Auto or Assassin's Creed in some fashion. Japanese games are just evolving what they've been doing for decades now.

I think primarily, however, I just like the nature in which Japanese games tell their stories better. They don't care about "immersion" in the way a post-Half-Life American gamer market became obsessed with it. Here, have a cut-scene! Make it ten minutes long! We got a story to tell and you're gonna be a part of it whether you like it or not! But this usually means you're spending less time staring in the dead fish eyes of a droll NPC speaking about how you need to clear their absurdly large sewer of a basement of plus-sized rats.

While Western games are also catching up, Japanese games are also ahead of us in terms of applying themes to story-telling in games. Sure, they're not all good and a lot of them can be summarized as "War is bad", but every once in a while you get someone with something truly interesting to say about the human condition (and I'm not just talking about Yoko Taro!).

Yeah, you got duds, and yeah, it's not a culture of games misappropriately shoved into a single genre that's without its problems and bad habits. But if you told me all the old guys at BioWare were coming together again to make a brand new classic Western RPG, I'd still be less excited than a new JRPG with even half that pedigree.

Too bad they're all so time consuming...

The Alliance Alive has reminded me of one of my least favorite JRPG design tropes: the Tower. Roughly paralleled in Western games by that part where you're inexplicably required to become quasi-Roman gladiators, the Tower is that mandatory part of the game where you have to climb a tower filled with goons to get a MacGuffin at the top. You know the drill: maze-like routes up, minibosses every couple floors, a save point halfway, no shops, etc. God help you if you're not adequately prepared and don't have a save file from before you start climbing.

I hate the Tower. I always hate the Tower. It's rote, it's predictable, and it's never fun.

Oddly enough you're actually making me think of The Mage's Tower in Dragon Age: Origins, which then drops you into a Dream World dungeon that was lengthy and irritating. Easily the worst part of that game for me.

Yeah, the Fade was terrible.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

The Alliance Alive has reminded me of one of my least favorite JRPG design tropes: the Tower. Roughly paralleled in Western games by that part where you're inexplicably required to become quasi-Roman gladiators, the Tower is that mandatory part of the game where you have to climb a tower filled with goons to get a MacGuffin at the top. You know the drill: maze-like routes up, minibosses every couple floors, a save point halfway, no shops, etc. God help you if you're not adequately prepared and don't have a save file from before you start climbing.

I hate the Tower. I always hate the Tower. It's rote, it's predictable, and it's never fun.

I recently finished FF15 (more in that thread soon, hopefully) and the only unenjoyable part of the game was that section. Chapter 13, absurdly long and absurdly boring, completely breaking the rhythm of the rest of the game. I was overpowered but it just wasn't fun. (Chapters 14-15 returned to the previous enjoyable romp.)

I am near the end of FFVI and am dreading kefka's stupid tower. But I really should finish it.

Well, you don’t need to do Kefka’s Tower. And you can equip the Moogle Charm to make it easy as pie.

Kit (wife) loved Eternal Sonata. She's a music teacher and not great at action games so the music theme and the sorta-turn-based combat was perfect for her.

Are there any other games with that combat style? If I recall correctly, when it was your character's turn, you had a time-metre on the left side and you could move and attack during that time slice. There were light and dark spells and they worked differently whether you were in a shadow or not. Early in the game, the combat was easier - time only counted down while you moved, etc. As you progressed further, the time counted down whether you were doing something or not.

If I could find a game with combat close to ES that has cute characters and isn't hard, she would seriously appreciate it. Has to be fantasy based. Something she really liked was that she could assign a character to the second XBox controller and I could control a dude in combat.

I looked at Tales of Vesperia, but the combat won't work for her. It's too frantic.

"Eternal Sonata sucked - the story and voice acting was horrible!"

Got that out of the way, no need to revisit it. Thanks.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. We have a PS3, Switches, and PCs.

-BEP

ps. Ni-No-Kuni didn't work for her. Sad.

Have either of you tried Costume Quest? It’s not fantasy but is adorable and easy to play.