The GWJ JRPG Club Version 2.5 HD Remaster: Now Playing Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (Q4 2021)

1. Monster Hunter Stories
2. The World Ends with You
3. The Alliance Alive

1. The Alliance Alive
2. Octopath Traveler

1. Octopath Traveler
2. The World Ends with You

Lunch consisting of bubbly water, pizza, and JRPG research led me to this...

1. Alliance Alive
2. Monster Hunter Stories
3. The World Ends with You

Random pizza-inspired thoughts...
The description for Alliance Alive reads like "Every Japanese RPG Ever Made". Not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure seems like they found the "Japanese RPG Template" and just changed the names. Still, it seems well executed and doesn't stay past its welcome.

Monster Hunter Stories sounds quite a bit different than the core of the series, but it sounds well done, and I think I'd enjoy it. I noticed they have an App store version for $20 too, which might be a good option.

I'm not sure I'd enjoy the combat system in The World Ends with You, but according to Amazon I bought the game ... TWICE ... in 2007. Not sure why the 2007 Version of Me bought two copies or even where they are, but I'd definitely give it a shot if I could complete the prequel quest: Find Your Game: The World Ends with You.

Octopath Traveler sounds pretty cool when you read the description. But yeah, some of those Steam reviews make me feel like I'd really struggle to complete it. With so many games in my backlog, I'd also be a bit reluctant to drop $30 on it at the moment.

Apparently I'm a single issue voter this time around:

The World Ends With You.

Alas, nothing for me this quarter.

Perhaps that's for the best; with the looming shutdown of PS3 and Vita online purchases, I think I'll prioritize my backlog accordingly.

A_Unicycle wrote:
LastSurprise wrote:

Whoops, you're right! I totally missed that. A_Unicycle, would you strike one from your picks?

Upon reading more on Octopath Traveller, I'm not too sure about it. Lots of complaints from people saying it's very long and battles become tedious.

I'm going to push back on this impression of Octopath Traveler just a bit. I think a lot of that comes down to how you choose to play the game.

The short version is that the game gives you eight characters, but it really seems to be designed to support building a party of just four. A lot of the complaints about the game being repetitive seem to come from people who recruited all eight characters in a row right at the start of the game and then spent the rest of their time trying to juggle an oversized party. This is potentially the worst way to play it.

The game works best if you pick a starting character, then recruit the next three party members you encounter on your way to your next quest line. And then stop getting more people and play the game with what you have. You'll end up with a balanced, interesting party regardless of which set of four you end up with, and you won't end up grinding through eight different repetitive origin stories.

The only reason to recruit every character and complete all of their stories is to get access to an ultra-hard boss rush dungeon in the post-game. That's it. Think of the other four characters as an interesting new game+ rather than something you need to collect and level your first time through.

That's all really good to know. Clock, if you've played a good amount of Octopath, I'd love to get your take on what counts as "finishing" it. Clearly not the boss rush dungeon you mention. Is the game done when you fully finish one character's storyline? Or is there a final boss that you face after one or more storylines?

The credits roll after you complete any single character's story. The stories are all standalone, so there's not really a moment where everything comes together and you save the world from the big bad boss.

Personally, I'm counting it as "done" when I've finished the stories for all four of the characters in my party.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

The description for Alliance Alive reads like "Every Japanese RPG Ever Made". Not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure seems like they found the "Japanese RPG Template" and just changed the names. Still, it seems well executed and doesn't stay past its welcome.

I'd say at it's at times intriguing, at other times haunting. It's a really sadly under-appreciated game (I played it on 3DS). It left me with a lot of questions at the end and has stayed with me more than many other JRPGs. Great soundtrack.

Mr GT Chris wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:

The description for Alliance Alive reads like "Every Japanese RPG Ever Made". Not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure seems like they found the "Japanese RPG Template" and just changed the names. Still, it seems well executed and doesn't stay past its welcome.

I'd say at it's at times intriguing, at other times haunting. It's a really sadly under-appreciated game (I played it on 3DS). It left me with a lot of questions at the end and has stayed with me more than many other JRPGs. Great soundtrack.

I'll echo this. The Alliance Alive was to me one of the gems of the 3DS. The plot certainly looks generic from the outside, but the game itself is pretty unique. It has a heavy influence from the SaGa series with a dash of Suikoden NPC recruitment, plus a real melancholy to the story and world. It would be a good club pick if only to get more people to play it.

I would suspect the devs borrowed elements of The Death Gate Cycle series of novels which I really enjoyed when I was younger except that I'm 99% sure they never read them. And I wouldn't care if they had.

Edit:

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I'll echo this. The Alliance Alive was to me one of the gems of the 3DS. The plot certainly looks generic from the outside, but the game itself is pretty unique. It has a heavy influence from the SaGa series with a dash of Suikoden NPC recruitment, plus a real melancholy to the story and world. It would be a good club pick if only to get more people to play it. :)

If I recall, your recommendation in the JRPG thread was one of the reasons I played it!

Monster Hunter Stories
The Alliance Alive

1. The Alliance Alive

ClockworkHouse wrote:
A_Unicycle wrote:
LastSurprise wrote:

Whoops, you're right! I totally missed that. A_Unicycle, would you strike one from your picks?

Upon reading more on Octopath Traveller, I'm not too sure about it. Lots of complaints from people saying it's very long and battles become tedious.

I'm going to push back on this impression of Octopath Traveler just a bit. I think a lot of that comes down to how you choose to play the game.

The short version is that the game gives you eight characters, but it really seems to be designed to support building a party of just four. A lot of the complaints about the game being repetitive seem to come from people who recruited all eight characters in a row right at the start of the game and then spent the rest of their time trying to juggle an oversized party. This is potentially the worst way to play it.

The game works best if you pick a starting character, then recruit the next three party members you encounter on your way to your next quest line. And then stop getting more people and play the game with what you have. You'll end up with a balanced, interesting party regardless of which set of four you end up with, and you won't end up grinding through eight different repetitive origin stories.

The only reason to recruit every character and complete all of their stories is to get access to an ultra-hard boss rush dungeon in the post-game. That's it. Think of the other four characters as an interesting new game+ rather than something you need to collect and level your first time through.

This is really helpful, thanks. If it wins, I'd be more inclined to pick it up after reading through this. It makes sense with what people were saying about the game on Steam too.

Mr GT Chris wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

I'll echo this. The Alliance Alive was to me one of the gems of the 3DS. The plot certainly looks generic from the outside, but the game itself is pretty unique. It has a heavy influence from the SaGa series with a dash of Suikoden NPC recruitment, plus a real melancholy to the story and world. It would be a good club pick if only to get more people to play it. :)

If I recall, your recommendation in the JRPG thread was one of the reasons I played it!

And it's one of the reasons I've been interested in it, for sure.

I've gone back and forth on my vote quite a bit. I'd be happy to play any of these games, but here's my ranking:

1. The Alliance Alive
2. Octopath Traveler
3. The World Ends with You
4. Monster Hunter Stories

Octopath Traveler's demo was getting me inspired to play it. It has such a delightfully old-school feel, and the graphics are like beautiful little dioramas. But ultimately, The Alliance Alive edges it out because I'd play it on PS4, and Octopath Traveler on the Switch, and my wife wants to finish Fire Emblem and play Hades so The Alliance Alive will not be competing with her gaming time. But I also feel like any choice will be a winner.

Octopath Traveler is part of Xbox&PC Game Pass as of today, if that makes a difference to anyone.

Well, I'll be playing Octopath Traveler regardless of what y'all choose, because... Game Pass!

I do love lurking in these threads for impressions, though.

Just one for me:

The Alliance Alive

The Alliance Alive
Octopath Traveler
Monster Hunter Stories

Reading the tea leaves I'm not sure this vote will matter much but here we are:

1. Monster Hunter Stories
2. The World Ends with You
3. Octopath Traveler

I quite like the idea of playing stories or TWEWY on iOS and Octopath Traveler is sitting on gamepass just waiting for me.

One more day for voting, folks!

And we have a winner! Our second game for 2021 will be: The Alliance Alive!

Breakdown of voting:

Spoiler:

Round 1:
Total votes: 14 (8 needed to win)
Alliance Alive - 6 first place votes, 2 second place votes
Octopath Traveler - 4 first place, 3 second place votes
Monster Hunter Stories - 4 first place, 1 second place vote
The World Ends With You (eliminated) - 1 first place, 4 second place votes

Round 2:
Total votes: 13 (7 needed to win) - bobbywatson's ballot dropped out
Alliance Alive - 6 first place votes, 3 second place votes
Octopath Traveler - 4 first place, 4 second place votes
Monster Hunter Stories (eliminated) - 4 first place, 1 second place vote

Round 3:
Total votes: 12 (7 needed to win) - Sundown's ballot dropped out
Alliance Alive - 8 first place votes, 1 second place vote
Octopath Traveler - 5 first place, 3 second place votes

The new thread is up, and the front page is updated. Looking forward to this one!

Also, a friendly reminder, only a few days left to finish Chrono Trigger for the club. If you haven't done so yet, but are hoping to, now's the time for that final push.

Woohoo! Now, if I can just finish DQ XI...

Wow, I thought for sure Octopath Traveler was going to win. My super scientific method of skimming through everyone's votes in 20 seconds has failed me.

I'm looking forward to Alliance Alive though. Winter's are pretty long here, and the whole idea of bringing back the sun and sky really appeals to me as we head into spring.

We have two levels! Congrats to Mr GT Chris for finishing Chrono Trigger!

And to bobbywatson for finishing DQ XI!

Congratulations are in order!

Congrats to Mind Elemental for finishing DQ XI!

And to walterqchocobo for finishing the true final boss! Time to celebrate with some victory fanfare...

Thanks, LastSurprise!

Guys, Mr GT Chris beat DQ XI in Japanese. What an achievement! This calls for the big fanfare:

And Cronox joins us with a finish and a new level! Congratulations.