Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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JRPG 101 for the ignorant PC gamer

Discussion in 'jRPG Weeaboo Discussion' started by Young_Hollow, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Irxygender: ⚧ Arcane

    Irxy
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    Well, I played ~2/3 of jrpgs released for snes and genesis, ~1/2 of ps1 era jrpgs and about a dozen+ of ps2 jrpgs. Persona 5 is the only jrpg I own for PS4, though I'm grabbing most jrpgs which are released on steam nowadays, currently playing the Heroes series.
    And while I wouldn't call myself the biggest jrpg fan, I'm well acquainted with the genre and all major series.
     
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  2. Raghargender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Is it troll account? 17 posts and he's asking about definition of RPG?

    Well JRPG is RPG made in Japan. They are quite backwards, thus they are making RPGs like rest of world was doing 15 years ago, just with better graphics. Considering writing in last few ones went down, they can't even make the but it's because writing required some railroading, excuse.
     
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  3. Crossgender: ⚧ Educated

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    You could just as easily draw the opposite conclusion. Compare for example Wizardry 1 (which laid the foundation for 'traditional' turn-based JRPG combat systems like SMT, FF and DQ) to its final installment, Wizardry 8, to see how much the franchise changed, from the shift to an open world, a greater emphasis on NPC interaction and the combat system which now takes into account things like distance and movement. Then consider that the vast majority of turn-based JRPG's, including recent ones like Persona 5, still use the combat system derived from Wizardry 1, with combat taking place in an abstract battle arena separate from the environment wherein characters can't move and your surroundings don't factor into combat, even though the Wizardry series that inspired that combat system moved away from it long ago.

    The lack of PnP influence on JRPG's means they have a much narrower set of influences to draw from. Take for example something like the thief archetype and their suite of skills: stealth (or invisibility magic), pickpocketing, lockpicking, sabotage/trap-laying, etc. In many cRPG's this only acts as a supplement to the normal gameplay loop, but you also have games like Deus Ex, Invisible Inc. and Jagged Alliance 2 that are very much designed around stealth tactics. Either way, it's a set of gameplay mechanics that are almost non-existent in Japanese RPG's.

    You could argue that JRPG's compensate by having other influences to draw from. But that wouldn't make them 'less conservative' in general, just less conservative in some other respects.

    I'm pretty sure all the Atelier games culminate in an epic boss fight against a Big Bad Evil, so I have no idea what you're talking about. I could point to Ultima IV and a number of strategy/cRPG hybrids where rather than defeating a bad guy you have an open-ended goal, but it would be equally dishonest. Most every RPG, Japanese or Western, is about defeating some kind of tangible antagonist, and Japanese RPG's as a rule certainly tend to have far more epic plots.

    :retarded: Mass appeal? You're talking about a subgenre of RPG's that almost died out in the 90's (and never really recovered) specifically because no one bought them. Japanese RPG's have been significantly more mainstream and mass market-oriented for most of their existence, due to releasing on consoles. Western RPG's only achieved a similar level of popularity when they fully made the jump to consoles during the Xbox360/PS3 generation, and even then that level of popularity only applies to the likes of Bethesda and Bioware, compared to dozens of JRPG developers who are still succesful enough to frequently produce new games.

    If you don't believe me, just take a look at what the lowliest of gaming plebs think: https://www.gamefaqs.com/features/bge20_vote.
     
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  4. I'm With Her Hobo Elfgender: ⚧ for prison Arcane

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    Yes, mass appeal. Why else do you have studios like Obsidian make games as generic as PoE when they get the chance to make any RPG they want? Or why when the chance to make a South Park RPG they make manage to make it less of an RPG than the sequel that Ubisoft, of all people, make? It's done for mass appeal. You make a generic fantasy setting that everyone is familiar with because it appeals to them. You make a game that's light on the systems because you want it to appeal to as many people as possible and not just a niche of people who are both RPG and South Park fans. Hell, most of Obsidian games have just been piggy backing on the backs of other popular and established games, because they want to sell a game that appeals to, as I say again, a wide audience. They aren't in the market to make a unique RPG, they are in the market to make money, and to make money you make something have mass appeal.
     
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  5. Crossgender: ⚧ Educated

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    You are aware Stick of Truth was designed as a Paper Mario clone at the request of the creators of South Park, who grew up playing Paper Mario and other console RPG's, which they talked about in interviews? It's almost like that thing I was saying about mass appeal.

    Not that I disagree that PoE is discount Baldur's Gate, and that Obsidian lacks a strong creative identity, but how does help your argument again? We're still talking about a developer of which half their games are same-engine sequels to Bioware and Bethesda games (Kotor 2, New Vegas, NWN2 and its expansions). You're reiterating the exact thing I said: the western RPG genre as a whole can't be described as having mass appeal, with the exception of outliers like Bioware and Bethesda (and the odd piggybacker like Obsidian). I wouldn't be surprised if the amount of commercial, non-shovelware JRPG's outnumbered their Western equivalents by a factor of 30 or 40.
     
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  6. Suicidalgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    I'd add the Front Mission series to these recommendations.
     
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  7. I'm With Her Hobo Elfgender: ⚧ for prison Arcane

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    Yeah, exactly. My point is that a poor argument like jRPGs being dull and generic anime grind games with no choices or character development is a silly non-argument and you could make an equal case about western RPGs all being D&D derivatives that try to ape HBO. Obviously that's not true, but it is an observation someone could make if all they did was play the mainstream RPG releases. But when you look behind the veil then you start finding games that are actually interesting and try to do things differently. It's easy to think that jRPGs are dull and by the books if all you know is Final Fantasy, but the reason we got FF in the west is because it had the most mainstream appeal. The Saga games, for example, were a lot more complex and had less mainstream appeal, which is why we only saw a few of them released in the west.

    For certain. Discounting indies, there aren't many western devs who are dedicated to making RPGs anymore. In NA alone the biggest ones are Obsidian, Bethesda and Bioware. And two of those aren't even trying to make an RPG anymore.
     
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  8. Hyperiongender: ⚧ Arbiter

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    Didn't we just have this exact discussion like a week ago? And it's starting again? From the same goddamned crew of people?

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Maxiegender: ⚧ Magister

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    Please tell me which Final Fantasy games are actually worth playing, fellow weebs
     
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  10. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banvillegender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

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    The original Final Fantasy (1987) was a competent D&D-clone with influences from Wizardry and Ultima III, though there are better, similar games you could play starting with those two.

    Of the next four games in the series, three were originally released only in Japan. Although they eventually had international releases on later systems (i.e. the Sony Playstation), I've never played them and so can't really comment on FFs II, III, and V.

    Final Fantasy IV (1991) was originally called FF II when it was released outside Japan on the SNES. It's the first game from the series in the JRPG subgenre, having a heavy focus on story and characterization, and taking advantage of its excellent graphics and soundtrack; thus setting the standard for later games in the series (at least through FF X in 2001). It also introduced the Active Time Battle system, which would be used until FF X reverted to a turn-based system.

    Final Fantasy VI (1994), which was originally called FF III in its SNES release outside Japan, is similar to FF IV but has a better soundtrack (IMO the best in all videogames, despite the limitations of the SNES' sound capabilities), inspired steampunk setting, and ensemble cast of player-characters. Definitely the best of the series.

    Final Fantasy VII (1997) was a disappointment. Even in the realm of graphics, although it made a technical leap to 3D graphics on the Playstation, these were crudely done, especially for characters, and it's the only FF that looks ugly --- even before taking into account the inevitable aging of 3D graphics. The narrative and characters were intentionally 'darker and edgier', with an angsty teenage vibe. Combat was reduced to just 3 PCs at a time.

    Final Fantasy VIII (1999) was likewise disappointing. Although it managed to improve the graphics considerably, combat became even worse, with an irritating junction system, the necessity of 'drawing' magic from enemies and stocking up 300 of each spell, and prolonged 'guardian force' animations. The plot was generally better than the previous game but fell down hard at the end, and the player-characters were non-entities with an age range of 15-19.

    Final Fantasy IX (2000) intentionally harked back to earlier games in the series, especially FF IV, and therefore managed to be better than the previous two games. Graphics adopted cartoonish designs that might be off-putting at first but actually suit it. Combat returned to 4 PCs at a time.

    Final Fantasy X (2001) jumped to the Playstation 2, with graphics that were amazing at the time, though subject to the aging that afflicts all 3D graphics. The ATB system was replaced with a turn-based system operating at the individual level, letting the player know which characters/enemies had the next few turns in advance. Although only 3 PCs were available in combat a time, you could switch PCs in and out of combat without losing a turn. Exploration, on the other hand, became even more linear than in earlier games. The setting was a rather unique, post-post-apocalyptic environment. This was the first game in the series to adopt voice-acting, with unfortunate repercussions. Nobuo Uematsu only composed part of the soundtrack (more or less all the better tracks) and parted ways with the series soon afterward.

    FFs XI and XIV were MMORPGs.

    Final Fantasy XII (2006) had issues in development, with the director resigning. What emerged was heavily influenced by MMORPGs. Combat was based around a 'gambit' system where the PCs (3 at a time) fought automatically in combat according to a series of simply if-then statements, and the player mostly just sat back and watched, with occasional interventions. The second half of the game was twice as long as it should have been, i.e. actually two-thirds of the game rather than half, with remarkably little occurring in terms of plot development or characterization. Of the 6 PCs, half shouldn't even be in the game, especially the character who serves as the initial protagonist.

    Final Fantasy XIII (2009) had even more serious issues in development before its ultimate release on the PS3. The game was so 'streamlined' that you spend the entire time effectively running down a tunnel, without even a pretense of exploration. Combat consists of watching the PCs (3 at a time) act according to whatever role (of 6) they've been assigned, with the player occasionally shifting from one set of roles to a different one. The tutorial lasts into the second half of the game, before you are finally granted access to all 6 roles for all 6 PCs. Similarly, the plot and setting are a mess, and all 3 male PCs are annoyingly whiny. If FF XIII count as an RPG, it's the worst RPG I've ever completed.

    Final Fantasy XV (2016) made XII and XIII seem like pikers when it comes to troubled development. It was originally intended as a tie-in to FF XIII and underwent numerous wholesale transformations before its final release on the PS4 as an open-world road-trip RPG. In many ways, the game seems influenced by Dragon's Dogma, except far worse in every important respect. You're stuck with just 4 PCs, there's almost no character development or customization, combat consists largely of holding down a button, and even the exploration mostly involves driving your car as near as possible to your destination and then running a brief distance to reach a combat (there are eventually a few, small dungeons). The plot is a complete mess from very early in the game, and there comes a point where you leave the main landmass and the game becomes almost completely linear until the end.

    tl;dr FFs VI, IV, and IX; and possibly the original
     
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  11. Maxiegender: ⚧ Magister

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    Thanks for this really informative and very useful post, I will look into the three ones you recommended (having heard similar critique of other entries)
     
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  12. newtmonkeygender: ⚧ Learned

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    Final Fantasy I through III are all good.

    Final Fantasy I is just as Zed Duke of Banville described. If you decide to play it, though, avoid the modern remakes because they ruin the balance (make it too easy) and strip out the D&D style magic system for boring spell points. The PSX remake set to play with original rules is the best version imo.

    Final Fantasy II is generally hated, but that's because people just read a FAQ and blindly follow the retarded advice in it. Don't try to "cheat" and the game plays find the whole way through. Specialize your characters, always focus on avoid/accuracy over strength/def, and be sure to build your mages from the very start (cast a lot of spells). The PSX remake is great.

    Final Fantasy III is the first FF game with the "job" system, but it's more of a puzzle aspect to the game, as certain areas/bosses require certain jobs in your party (for example, one boss basically requires that all characters are Dragoons so that you have them jump to avoid what otherwise would be a total party kill attack, and there is an area where monsters are only hurt by magic). It's fun, and it basically looks like 8-bit FF IV (they share many of the same tiles and graphics).

    Note that the first FF is very inspired by Wizardry in terms combat. The key to victory (without grinding) is stacked buffs/debuffs and finding and using equipment that casts magic in battle. FF II and III play pretty much the same. A key tactic against bosses is to keep your mages alive as you stack buffs and debuffs for several rounds, and then finally unleash devastating single melee attacks that hit a dozen times for hundreds or thousands of points of damage.

    Final Fantasy IV was a disappointment. I loved it when I was a kid, but replaying it showed how extremely linear it is. Characters join and leave your party according to the story, so any two players will have the same exact party at the same point in the story. This means the game is balanced very well, but also makes it boring, as you'll never be lucky enough to have an overpowered party and steamroll through a tough encounter (or conversely, be stuck with an underpowered party and have to think your way through). The real time battle system, I felt, really added nothing to the game. Yes, it allows things to happen that could not happen in strict turn-based combat (enemies reacting immediately to attacks by switching to high defense forms or being able to do things on timers), but what you gain doesn't make up for the loss of being able to really sit back and decided on a strategy from round to round.

    Final Fantasy VI is a major step up from IV. The first half of the game is linear (though you do get to customize your party in several ways), but the second half drops you in a whole new world where you just have to explore and figure things out (much of which is optional). This optional content provides you with awesome gear or additional story stuff, and really makes VI one of the best in the series.

    Final Fantasy VII is generally seen as a huge change from FFVI, but in replaying it recently, I found that it is MUCH closer in feel and play to FFVI than to FFVIII. It's got much more customization and optional stuff than FFIV (like FFVI) and has a weird mashup of fantasy and steampunk/scifi (again, like FFVI).

    After that, I completely lose interest in the series, though I have played them all (with the exception of the online only games).
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 2:36 AM
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  13. TigerKneegender: ⚧ Prophet

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    The correct answer to "Which Final Fantasy games are worth playing" is "5 and Tactics".
     
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  14. Irxygender: ⚧ Arcane

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    If you're 30+, then none. FF games are great if you're a teenager or a modern young adult with a teenager mentality - I was total blown by FF7 when it came out, everything seemed so awesome and better than any western rpgs I played. The edgy plot, the characters who are not just a portrait with stats, the flashy combat... But those games don't age well, even compared to most other jrpgs. I tried replaying the older FFs a couple of years ago, also checked the new ones - frankly, it's crap.
     
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  15. Ausdoerrtgender: ⚧ Augur

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    FFIX is actually a "spiritual successor" to FFIII, not FFIV. Also notable is the return of "front and back rows" in the party.

    FFV is easily the best pre-storyfag FF game.
     
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  16. spekkiogender: ⚧ Arcane

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    From what I've completed (4-9), I've liked 5 the most.

    Tactics is actually a part of Ogre Battle / Tactics Ogre series (same devs), only with some FF shit mixed in (spells, monsters, locations). It's also a completely different genre (japtactical game).
     
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  17. Irxygender: ⚧ Arcane

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    The only thing common for all FF games are chocobos. And Cid for the later games.
     
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  18. Ausdoerrtgender: ⚧ Augur

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    Cid's been around since FFII, same as Chocobos.

    Also moogles since FFIII (but not as consistently).
     
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  19. Delteriusgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Japanese RPGs aren't Final Fantasy.
     
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  20. Crossgender: ⚧ Educated

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    Okay, let's pick a random, relatively niche Japanese RPG from the late 90's.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breath_of_Fire_III

    Now let's pick a late 90's cRPG:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Shock_2

    In the US alone, Breath of Fire III sold four times as much as System Shock 2. And this disparity was arguably even greater during the early to mid 90's.

    You might argue that I'm being dishonest with this particular comparison, but considering virtually every western RPG developer was closed down in the late 90's/early 2000's (except for Bioware and Bethesda, who made the jump to console), whereas even niche JRPG's spawned numerous sequels that got localized, I think the facts speak for themselves.
     
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  21. Delteriusgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Breath of Fire? Really?
     
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  22. Damned Registrationsgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Yeah, I'd argue third game in a trilogy on a new console doesn't exactly qualify as 'niche.' Lets try... Koudelka. Welp. Can't find sales figures. Perhaps a bit too niche. Lets go with... Vanguard Bandits. Also no info. Seems defunct japanese companies are hard to find sales records for, at least in english. Kartia... aha. Found this:

    Granted, theres a lot of sales about 50k, but I also could have cherry picked Persona, which is now hugely popular, and compared it with some infinity engine game.
     
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  23. Crossgender: ⚧ Educated

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    So what you're saying is that all but a handful of the most niche and poorly advertised late 90's JRPG's outsold System Shock 2 in the US? Thanks for proving my argument. Some of the lower-ranking games were even released several years after the PS2's launch, and still managed to sell on par or outsell it.

    And those are the US sales, even many of the lower-ranking titles managed to sell like a million copies in Japan. The same can't be said about western RPG sales, obviously.

    Wouldn't particularly help your argument. Baldur's Gate was always an outlier, and most Infinity Engine games are not Baldur's Gate.
     
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  24. Ivangender: ⚧ Arcane

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    For the music only. Gameplay is booooooooring
    this is still one of my go-to cardio songs
     
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  25. GrainWetskigender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Is that supposed to be a bad thing?
     
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