JRPGs that Aren't Final Fantasy Catch-All 2.0

Berseria is fairly consistent throughout. If the novelty of its premise (bunch of jerks trying to kill the savior of the world) isn't enough for you, it's unlikely it'll change your mind going forward. There are twists and turns, character arcs aplenty, but it's a long game, and not something to force yourself to finish.

LastSurprise wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

I'll have to go back, but I think part of the issue is that Secret of Mana is one of those games that's not as great as our memories hold it up to be.

Great for its time. But, I imagine if you tried to show Secret of Mana (the original SNES game) to any person who hadn't play it before, they'd have no patience for going through multiple layers of a radial menu every time they wanted someone to cast a spell. That has to be one of the worst-aging features of the game.

I recently tried to play the SNES Secret of Mana for the first time, and no, the radial menus aren't great. But what actually stands out to me most as a new player in 2019 is how slow it all feels. For an action RPG, the movement speed and time between attacks just feels sluggish. The whole game feels like an underwater level, and consequently the action-based combat just isn't very satisfying.

But that's a problem I have with most games on the SNES. There are a few where the slower speed works with the mood or setting (Castlevania IV, Super Metroid), and some where it just doesn't matter (Final Fantasy), but for action-oriented games it all just feels off and bad (Super Mario World, A Link to the Past, Mega Man X, Secret of Mana, Contra, etc., etc.) I didn't grow up with this console and these games, so their timing isn't burned into my memories. I'm much more used to the speed and fluidity of newer games.

Blind_Evil wrote:

Is The Last Remnant actually worth looking into now? It was reputedly an awful 360 game, but IIRC that was more related to performance, and nobody talked much about the actual plot or mechanics.

I've been playing the PS4 remaster, which I think is the basis for the Switch release. It's fine from a technical performance point of view and actually looks pretty decent for a 10 year old game with a realistic art style.

The plot and setting are both reminiscent of FF12, if you're familiar with that. It's a tale of political intrigue with some supernatural forces in the background. It's not particularly ground breaking but does the job.

The mechanics are where it gets interesting. It does so many things differently to the usual JRPG that it can sometimes seem perverse. Having almost finished the game now, I think some of them work while some are just annoying. I was thinking of writing more about it once I finish but suffice to say you'll probably want to consult a guide before playing, because it's not at all obvious how it works, and you can screw yourself over quite easily if you approach it like a typical JRPG.

Welp, I gave up on Tales of Berseria half-way through. Here's my review:

Once again, I have had my will broken by a Tales again. The first time was with Tales of Symphonia with its generic story with even more generic, boring characters along with a tedious combat system. And here we are again with Tales of Berseria. It's unfortunate as I remember loving Tales of Phantasia as a kid and then Tales of Vesperia as an adult; however, either I've changed or the two games I've played after Vesperia are just that much worse than it was.

The initial hook of the story with Velvet was actually quite compelling. I pitied her and supported her quest for vengeance and it was what allowed me to push past the niggles of concern that crept up as I played. The more I played, however, the less that hook was able to drive me forward. And that's unfortunate because there was so much potential there to tell a great story. The common theme is that our group of misfits are seen as villains by the world and themselves working to destroy the great savior of that world. And had they really pushed that concept, it could have truly been something. Unfortunately, they either lacked the chops or the gumption to do it. And so we ended up with another hopelessly generic storyline of good vs evil, but even more ridiculous with how the characters try to sell you on how villainous you are in spite of your actions and those of the "Good" guys being anything but that.

I cannot really fathom why so many people love the characters or story of this game. It is written like a young teen's first encounter with edgy, dark fantasy. The characters constantly refer to themselves as monsters, killers, and all these other despicable things; however, they never act like monsters, killers, and other despicable things. It's like they are trying to convince the player that they are in spite of their actions. And it just comes across as cringy. On top of how cringy that can be, the dialogue is all very anime-like. I don't mind anime, but the way dialogue is handled in the game reminds me very much of the one aspect of some anime I really dislike. And that is how characters talk unnaturally. It is not even like movie or TV series dialogue, it is an even more weird manner of conversation. I am not sure if it is due to translation or if that is genuinely how they intended these characters to talk, but regardless, it is not a natural way of speaking.

There are numerous moments of the party injerjecting and having skits of dialogue. Absolutely tons of these skits. And while I usually welcome dialogue between characters in my RPGs, so many times these skits were so utterly vapid and uninteresting. For every good and interesting skit, there were three more around that just sapped my energy to even press the button to see them.

The voice acting is both good and bad. Velvet's actress can surely deliver her lines well when the situation calls for it; however, a lot of the time it sounds like she's really trying hard to make every sentence sound dark and edgy. Moments where emotions and the stakes are high are delivered really well by her, but the mundane moments are just kind of silly sometimes due to the way she talks. I blame direction for this as opposed to her. The other characters are not burdened by this and are all delivered pretty competently. So I can definitely praise the game for its voice acting.

The gameplay itself was as tedious as the story, if not moreso. The bulk of it is in the combat, which just wasn't interesting to me. I just persoanlly did not care for it. And that is something that is likely down to personal preference. It just wasn't engaging to me. I know there was more depth to it than on the surface; however, unless you go to a high difficulty, you probably have zero need to use any sort of strategy. And I wasn't really interested in adding even more time to a game that takes inordinate amounts of time to play.

There is so much damn filler and padding to this game. It honestly blows my mind how much they felt the need to drag it out. Most of the areas you travel through are just endless gauntlets where one only need to suffer the tedium of running through them to get to your objective. You will spend so much time just running around through bland environments to get to where you are going. And tons more of it just running right back through it because the game loves to make you backtrack constantly. Almost all of the treasure you find in the game, which there is tons of, is utterly useless. You will eventually start just ignoring most of the stuff you see because you know it will more than likely be useless.

I absolutely despised the puzzles of Tales of Symphonia, so in that regard Berseria was a welcome relief as there were virtually no puzzles in it. I despise puzzles in games. Puzzle games don't have RPG sections. I'm tired of my RPGs having tons of puzzle sections. And especially the puzzles for the sake of padding gameplay of Symphonia.

Ultimately, I came away from this game disappointed once again. Not to the same degree as Symphonia, but still enough to make me drop it half-way through like Symphonia because of how droll it had become. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but I did not.

Do we have any idea of when the remaster of Ni No Kuni will be dropped? I'd like to go back and try that game, but if the remaster is coming to Switch I'll just wait.

FYI the Switch is not getting the remastered version, but a straight port of the last-gen version. Both the remaster and Switch version are out September 20.

beanman101283 wrote:

FYI the Switch is not getting the remastered version, but a straight port of the last-gen version. Both the remaster and Switch version are out September 20.

Is the remake just prettier?

As near as I can tell, the remaster is just prettied-up for 4K. Since the Switch can't push 4K, it's not getting the remaster. There doesn't seem to be any difference in content or features between the remaster and the original.

I imagine the Switch version will still look nice since the game was absolutely gorgeous back when it came out around ~2012.

Still, I'll be getting it on PS4 since my Switch backlog is already big enough.

Vrikk wrote:

I imagine the Switch version will still look nice since the game was absolutely gorgeous back when it came out around ~2012.

Other than a slightly lower level of detail in the character models, the first Ni No Kuni game looks better than the sequel that just released on newer hardware.

I am curious to see if there are any balance adjustments with the port/remaster. I played through the game last year and really enjoyed it, but I know there were a lot of complaints about the timing of certain things in combat (mostly the very narrow window for initiating defend commands) and the leveling of your various monsters. I was definitely at an advantage in that I gave absolutely zero sh*ts about collecting and leveling all the monsters.

Yeah if there's not any gameplay changes it's not worth getting the others.

The original was beautiful already but a bit of a slog to finish. So yeah.

Might as well play the old cheap version or the portable Switch version.

The original is best played on easy task avoid the combat pitfalls.

Of course, combat in Level 5 games is rarely the most enjoyable part.

I thought it was very easy on the default difficulty. It overstayed its welcome a little but I enjoyed it overall.

If anyone over here is interested in the JRPG Club, but hasn’t been reading the thread — we are playing either Nier: Automata or Tactics Ogre this summer, and you could be the tiebreaker! If you are interested in playing either game, come check us out.

This looks really good for a 3DS to Switch/PS4 game. So glad it's happening!

Some interesting Level 5 stuff, most notably that there is another Ni no Kuni game in development for release sometime after the anime airs.

Hopefully the next NNK gets a bit more budget than NNK2 did. And a new combat system.

A couple days ago Compile Heart put up a teaser video. It reminded me of Death end Re;Quest.

Turns out I was right. Death end re;Quest 2 was announced today.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://gematsu.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DerQ2-Fami_07-02-19_001-600x362.jpg)

Nice! I never did get around to picking it up on Vita and I'd much rather play on Switch.

I'd love to pick that up but I'll no doubt still be playing Dragon Quest XI from the month prior.

Any good guides or insight for Y's 8? Everytime I play I spend all my limited time wandering around without making any progress because....well I don't have a clue where I am supposed to go so I just spend all the time lost.

I need more explicit directions. I love the setting, gameplay, etc. but I hate wasting an hour or more accomplishing nothing because I don't know what to do.

Hmm, it's been a while but I thought the next story mission was always marked on the map? Is there a particular point you're stuck at?

I just finished building the watch towers and I do see a couple points on the map that have the icon for story stuff but they are behind areas that require more castaways than I have so I assumed I need to look around more to find them.

Based on your description, I think you are here on the walkthrough. It looks like you need to head north through the Beast Hills and to the Eroded Valley.

That is great. A nice reference that I am going to bookmark.

Evidently Falcom is now working on bringing a couple of the Legend of Heroes games, Trails of Zero and Trails of Azure, to modern platforms. These make up the Crossbell arc, which came out between Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel, but have never come out to the west. This news will probably mean in a couple of years these two games will make it over this way, which is exciting.

https://gematsu.com/2019/07/falcom-t...

I've seen people who have played these games in Japanese say Crossbell is best arc in the series so far. However, since there is some significant story crossover between this and Cold Steel, they spoil each other in a way, I've been holding off on playing the Cold Steel games until Crossbell was playable. Up until now that meant keeping an eye on the fan translations, but since it seems likely there will be an official release down the line I'll probably just wait for that.

Good news, sounds like it's a long way off though if it happens at all.

Yeah, it's going to be a ways off because the most likely scenario is they take the Evolution versions that were ported from PSP to Vita and bring them to PS4 (or whatever system).

Kondo actually talked about this in multiple interviews and his response was the same each time. It's a surprisingly candid answer from someone who is usually rather vague.

He also still mentioned Tokyo Xanadu 2 being on his mind, but it sounds further off than before. If I had to guess, and it's totally a guess, the original plan was to do TX2 after Cold Steel and YS9 but porting Crossbell got bumped up. TX2 is now behind those and the Cold Steel spinoff game.

I'd like the Trails in the Sky series to get a Switch port, but I always wish for that. Now that I got a suitable PC set up, however, it might be worth checking the games out on Steam I suppose.

ccesarano wrote:

I'd like the Trails in the Sky series to get a Switch port, but I always wish for that. Now that I got a suitable PC set up, however, it might be worth checking the games out on Steam I suppose.

The Trails in the Sky games are pretty old and will run on anything (well, almost anything). You've missed the Steam sale though