I can't remember the last time I played and completed a new JRPG.

And I'm not alone. I know several people who fall into the "former JRPG fan" group, as we were all about games like Final Fantasy , Suikoden , Wild ARMs , Chrono Cross , Legend of Dragoon , SaGa Frontier , Breath of Fire , Legend of Legaia , Star Ocean , Threads of Fate , etc. back in the glory days of the original PlayStation.

Most have no comprehension of the massive amount of gameplay variety in those games, by the way, as many just assume they all had very much the same turn-based mechanic. None of that was even remotely true, of course, as here you could find more variety within one genre than you could in any other genre on the planet. The deep, intricate systems in one was nothing like the systems and mechanics in another; playing Star Ocean: The 2nd Story was absolutely nothing like playing Breath of Fire III , for instance. So different in fact, that the uninitiated would probably consider them two completely different games.

But there was something else: Then, and into the PS2 generation, so many JRPGs were good . They're not anymore. I'm sorry, they're just not. I mean, some are fine, like the games in the Atelier and Tales franchises but they just don't provide the same memorable experiences. They also tend to lag well behind the AAA productions in the West, which also wasn't true back in the day. Furthermore, as Japanese games still dominated then, it's true that gamers in North America and Europe had little choice but to play all Japanese titles (on consoles, at any rate). So, you either accepted the very different Japanese culture and style, or you didn't play much. These days, we obviously have plenty of Western-oriented options and I'm sure that has had an impact as well.

And of course, you could always argue that as just about every major RPG, Japanese ones included, are basically real-time and nothing but real-time, those who actually enjoyed turn-based mechanics just don't care anymore. It also offers less variety when you completely cut out turn-based and partly cut out hybrids, and solely focus on flashy action, which is apparently what most JRPGs do today. They also haven't taken the time to produce better scripts and voice acting; they haven't advanced at an acceptable rate, and neither have other technical and artistic elements. All of this combined has resulted in the demise of the "JRPG fan," as far as many are concerned.

Do you qualify?

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Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

Seems a bit odd and bitter to phrase it that way. Question, if no recent horror flick has tickled your fancy, are you a 'former' horror fan? What about if you only like old books?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

"Question, if no recent horror flick has tickled your fancy, are you a 'former' horror fan?"

Um, yeah. If you don't care about horror movies anymore and you haven't seen one in 15 years, how exactly are you still a fan?

Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

Simple, by still watching the ones you like. Unless you stopped liking those too I still don't get how you can be a 'former' fan. I consider myself a former fan of racing games because I just can't seem to enjoy them as much as I used to, old or new ones. JRPGs I still love very much.

SaiyanSenpai
SaiyanSenpai
5 years ago

Ben, I'm still playing Persona 4 Golden, so…STILL a JRPG fan.

Shauneepeak
Shauneepeak
5 years ago

I get where Ben is coming from I don't think "former" is the right word maybe Jaded would be better due to the current state of the industry.

Also Saiyan Golden is just a remake of a game that came out in 2008 on the PS2, still a freaking amazing game but can't really be considered "new".

Hopefully Persona 5 can breathe some life into the genre, seriously the decision to put it on the PS4 was the smartest move possible.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

I'm confused. How do you not watch a horror flick in 15 years but still keep watching them at the same time?

trumpetmon65
trumpetmon65
5 years ago

I'm still a fan myself, but it is very hard to find a game I like. Honestly, I think voice acting and bad scripts hurt the genre more than anything. It's hard to find a good epic with good pacing and character development and dialogue and acting.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

jrpg fans didn't care about those things at the time.

trumpetmon65
trumpetmon65
5 years ago

Let's face it. A forty hour story is really hard to make with today's expectations

tes37
tes37
5 years ago

I think I threw my arm out of socket. Next time I'll raise my hand a little slower.

I'm hoping Level 5 gives us something close to a turn-based rpg with their new US studio they're opening up.

ryu
ryu
5 years ago

i think i put like 80 hours in VP silmeria with no regrets, haven't finished another jrpg since..

Corvo
Corvo
5 years ago

Yeah. Keeping my hand down. I still play some Japanese RPGs. I mean, Bloodborne ain't going anywhere and
Dark souls 3 is right around the corner along with Disgaea 5 and Persona 5. Just because I don't play Fairy Fencer or the Atelier series doesn't mean I'm not a fan.

kokoro
kokoro
5 years ago

Parasite eve, anyone? I'm playing it now on my ps1.

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
5 years ago

No I do not qualify. While the PS3 was lacking in JRPGs have you seen the line up for 2016 – Final Fantasy XV, Persona 5, Star Ocean 5, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 (Dream Drop Dostance in HD) and possible late Ron Dragon Quest XI, KH3 and NieR 2…. That is a lot to get excited about no? I think the potential of the JRPG is still there and I prey for much success as the genre does need it.

Last gen I didn't rely on my PS3, the Wii in its last breath of life released Pandoras Tower, The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles – all these games were phenomenal but Xenoblade was something else. It brought bald everything I loved about JRPGs. Grand scores as you travel across an exciting world, characters you get immersed with and care for, a battle system which is modern but full of tactical advantages. But most of all, it was an adventure – the key feature I ask for in a JRPG. A journey which has lost of twists and lessons along the way presenting a story which is memorable.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

The only potential real JRPG in there is Persona 5.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

Just all action, Vivi. Run around and hit things; they'll all play very similarly, and the emphasis will always be on how you press the buttons as opposed to role-playing strategy.

Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

You know, sometimes you give the impression that you can't enjoy a JRPG if it's not turn-based. I miss the style a lot too, but that doesn't exactly make any other form of combat inherently less enjoyable. And honestly, aside from a handful of games, JRPGs didn't use strategy so much as just figuring out patterns and exploiting them. Oh and lots and lots of grinding for bonus bosses.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

Wrong impression. It's also wrong to assume that every JRPG I list is turn-based. In fact, most of the ones, especially on PS2, weren't pure turn-based at all. From Star Ocean to Dark Cloud to Kingdom Hearts to Valkyrie Profile, most were hybrids.

It's also just a stupid stereotype that you have to constantly grind to beat bosses; that basically stopped being true after the 16-bit era was over. The only time grinding was ever necessary was if you wanted to do the optional stuff, like Mastering Knights of the Round Materia in FFVII, or something like that. I don't recall ever having to grind to beat regular storyline bosses, unless you count someone who runs from every battle like a moron and then wonders why they can't progress beyond a certain boss fight.

You also can't "exploit" much of anything in any decent JRPG I ever played. You have to learn the systems but as each one is completely different, you actually have to LEARN. The Judgment Ring in the Shadow Hearts games was nothing like the hybrid team combat in Star Ocean, which in turn was nothing like the Arts in Legaia or any of the systems in the FFs (Junction, Sphere Grid, whatever).

Did you even play the old games? Doesn't sound like you're remembering them very well at all.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/3/2015 4:39:33 PM

Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

"Oh and lots and lots of grinding for BONUS bosses." Reading comprehension, Ben. Same when I mentioned exploiting patterns. I don't mean gameplay exploits, I mean figuring out the boss' pattern and then completely predicting it. That's really not what I'd define as strategy.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

No? And I assume you can prove to me why real-time combat systems somehow do require you to use strategy as opposed to "exploits," as you call them?

Based on your definition, it sounds to me like every single video game on the planet is more about exploiting than learning.

Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

You assume wrong, which is weird since I never said that. At least not in the sense I believe you're thinking of. There's no strategy required in KH, but certainly a lot in the Total War series. Just as there's a lot more strategic thinking needed in FFT than FFVII. Strategy is an overall plan to achieve a certain goal while attempting to account for variables. In the broadest sense many of the more well known turn-based RPGs can count, but there isn't really much to account for when it's easy to know exactly what the boss will do next turn.


Last edited by Draguss on 10/3/2015 10:22:02 PM

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

Most JRPG bosses I've ever fought have been "figure out which element/attack it is weak against and spam that until they're dead" or "just level up enough that no matter what attack you use you will win". Occasionally you'll have to plan out your attacks one or two moves in advance because the boss will use some special attack that requires you to do something to defend/recover. There's no real strategy.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

Sounds like you've both played all of two JRPGs in your lifetimes.

There are bosses that you encounter in various franchises, and I can think of three off the top of my head (Shadow Hearts, Legaia, and Star Ocean), that if you don't have a strategy, you will invariably lose, regardless of your strength. You have to know how and when to execute a plan of action, not just what the boss is weak or strong against, or which attacks they'll use.

You all act like all turn-based RPGs are like, "oh, he's fire-based so I'll use a water spell, yay!" or some such dumbed-down stereotypical garbage. It's like you have zero experience with any other style.

I'm also still waiting to hear why real-time RPGs are just so much more strategic or really, how any action game requires a strategy while a turn-based mechanic doesn't. Planning moves in advance is just about the deepest any video game goes in any genre; acting like it's somehow shallower in turn-based systems just because you don't have to press the buttons faster is idiotic.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/4/2015 9:14:22 PM

Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

You'll be waiting a while then, cause I still don't see anyone on this particular comment thread even trying to imply that. I already gave you two examples of games that require strategy, one turn-based and one real-time. Never implied either was superior. And really Ben, trying to accuse someone of only playing a couple of games in the genre is a terrible argument.

I was bloody addicted to them, the type to beat all the superbosses and 100% everything. Eventually even went back and played the pre-ps1 classics. I just acknowledge their flaws as well as everything I love about them. You act like turn-based RPGs were some sort of marvel of gameplay perfection. Planning moves in advance is not the deepest we've gotten with strategy in video games, not when you can perfectly predict what's coming next turn.

Ben, I honestly respect you as a reviewer, and I like this site. But whenever this topic comes up you seem so damn bitter and act so confrontational it's bloody annoying.


Last edited by Draguss on 10/5/2015 12:05:12 AM

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

The "you only played two JRPGs in your life" argument reminds me of the time you used to accuse people on the forum of not being 'real' Playstation fans when they disagreed with you. It's a really odd variation of a No True Scotsman argument, like no REAL JRPG fan could disagree with you because a REAL JRPG fan would have played all the same JRPGs you did and come to the same exact conclusions.

Whether it's Final Fantasy, Xenosaga, Chrono Cross, Jade Cocoon, Persona, Phantasy Star, or Dragon Quest etc., I've never encountered bosses that required any in depth strategy. I think some fans of the genre ascribe a certain mythological depth to the games as a defense of obviously obsolete mechanics.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

Bio, I simply cannot agree that a simpler difficulty indicates obsolete mechanics. With the exception of games like Dark Souls, games today are infinitely more straightforward and easier than the games of old. In fact most games employ a very easy hack n' slash mentality for most everything along the main story arch.

With turn based games from the past like FF, Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior 7 was not easy nor was it simplistic), or Xenosaga, if you simply tread along the storyline, it stays fairly difficult. Power leveling of course made it easy. And maybe there's a way to combat that.

But look at the evolution of turn based. FFXII, for example, was not that easy. I would agree that the main storyline was relatively straight-forward, but basically ALL games are for the main story. It only gets more difficult for the side stuff. Gilgamesh in FFXII was a challenge, for example, made easy only because you used a guide (but if you're gonna use a guide, don't complain about it being easy. Honestly.). And other turn-based/ATE/real-time hybrids like FFXIV are also a challenge.

I think my point is starting to spread out because there's just way too much information to disagree with the sentiment that "easy" means "obsolete". It just isn't true. If you're paying attention to the industry, "turn-based" has evolved to a bit of a hybrid, but it still exists, and it still works.

Dragon Quest 8 could have been far more advanced than the traditional line-up. So could have FFX. Even by the PS2 era. But they were turn-based. And they were successful. And it's NOT because it was all the PS2 tech allowed them to do.

There's a reason for that.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

I'm not saying JRPGs were turn based on PS2 because of technological limitations. By that time they were just formulaic, relying on minor updates to systems that were created back when there were legitimate technological limitations. One reason JRPGs started losing their commercial appeal, IMO, is that they didn't evolve enough. The PS2 absolutely could have handled more complex systems than FFX's CTB, especially since FXII did just that. The problem is that JRPGs found themselves in the same pickle that traditional point-and-click adventure games did, in that they allowed themselves to become defined by gameplay mechanics they no longer needed to use. They didn't adapt, so now they're dying out (though we're getting Syberia III pretty soon and I'm hyped for that).

And I don't think JRPGs are necessarily any easier than WRPGs or action adventure games. I just disagree with this notion that they required more strategy or intelligence, because they didn't. Whether you're talking about Zelda, Final Fantasy, or even Ninja Gaiden, most games come down to recognizing and exploiting patterns/weaknesses. Final Fantasy Boss X will use Reflect followed by casting Flare on himself, so you need to use Dispel on him after he casts Reflect but before Flare, so he damages himself. That's not strategy, that's pattern recognition and exploitation. Alma has extra vulnerability frames after certain attacks, so Dragon Ninja Ryu Hayabusa needs to evade until she makes those attacks and then take advantage of the gap to unleash his attack. That's not strategy, that's pattern recognition and exploitation.

Games that require actual strategy are typically real time and turn based strategy, where you have to think several steps ahead and it can't be entirely reactionary. If all you ever do is react to your opponents in Starcraft or Civilization V, you're going to lose. You have to anticipate, you have to have a gameplan going in that is independent of the opposition's actions. That's strategy. Final Fantasy Tactics requires strategy. Final Fantasy Roman Numeral Goes Here does not.

Doesn't make Civ or Starcraft BETTER games. I like JRPGs way more than I like RTS or TBS. I just don't buy into this "JRPGs are so strategic" stuff. You can like, even love, a genre without ascribing false qualities to it.


Last edited by Bio on 10/5/2015 12:07:37 PM

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
5 years ago

With titles like FFXV, KH, Persona 5, Tales of Zestiria, Tales of Berseria, Star Ocean 5 and Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna coming.
There's still hope for the "former" fans.

Oh, and I'm still a JRPG fan.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

I'm hoping Suikoden is sold off to someone that wants to use it as Konami dies.

MrAnonymity
MrAnonymity
5 years ago

My concern with the future of Suikoden lies with the disbanding of the Suikoden team BEFORE all of this crap with Konami. Alas, IF Konami sold the rights to Suikoden, it is possible that there could be a future for the series.

TheOldOne
TheOldOne
5 years ago

I think the last JRPG that I played was Resonance of Fate. Before that I have played american numbered Final Fantasy I, III, VII, VIII (the pic you used), IX, X, Suikoden III, etc.

Nowadays it needs to meet my expectations on a high review on graphics and story. Why? There are too many and I could not afford to lose too many hours in more than one or two games (got family now).


Last edited by TheOldOne on 10/3/2015 8:08:22 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

Persona 5 man.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

lol I was playing FF VIII last night for some fun.

Yes of course you know I am one but I'd like to center on something that the anti-turn based crowd doesn't seem to get.

We want to manage and direct a battle with many many options at each stage of the conflict that can't be just mapped to action buttons.

That's about it. We want to manage an ongoing conflict, not stomp the bad guy. In fact sometimes you even want to keep certain bad guys alive for awhile. There are big decisions to make. Action/auto RPGs don't allow for this.

Battle systems were not put in place because it was hard to have real time battles in early gaming. If that were so there would be no Zelda.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

"Battle systems were not put in place because it was hard to have real time battles in early gaming. If that were so there would be no Zelda."

Very true. It is also true that to some extent, I think developers would've given us real-time if they had the technological means back in the day. But the idea that turn-based is inherently inferior has always been wrong. It's merely a different style of gameplay and one that requires a brain as opposed to dexterity.

Draguss
Draguss
5 years ago

Tales series has always had real-time combat as far as I can remember, so it's certainly true that we didn't just have turn-based because that's all we could do.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

Tales was after the 16 bit era.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

"We want to manage and direct a battle with many many options at each stage of the conflict that can't be just mapped to action buttons.

That's about it. We want to manage an ongoing conflict, not stomp the bad guy. In fact sometimes you even want to keep certain bad guys alive for awhile. There are big decisions to make. Action/auto RPGs don't allow for this."

That's a fine argument, and I agree for the most part, but wanting to micromanage battles is a lot different from saying those systems require some extra level of intelligence or strategy.

As for why we had systems like this back in the 8-bit days, Zelda is a far cry from FF or Dragon Quest. In Zelda you had your main weapon and a sub weapon and that was it. RPGs wanted to offer more complexity to encounters, with magic, potions, summons, etc. and mix that with multiple party members. The only way to do that back then was with menu-heavy, turn based systems.

These days we don't need menu-heavy turn based systems to manage that, because we have much more powerful machines that can handle complex enemy and ally AI, and controllers with more than 2 action buttons on them. If anything, FFXII requires a more forward thinking approach (if you use gambits) than FFVIII does, because if you're not properly managing gambits going into battle you're going to wind up with AI allies working against you. In FFVII/VIII etc. you have all the time in the world to select each individual action, and can play in a very reactionary way; oh the boss just nailed my whole party with status elements, now I can take some time and dig through my menus and see if I have any remedies or if I need to cast Esuna or what.

Pointing this out doesn't make someone "anti-turn based", it's just acknowledging the limitations and realities of the systems. I love those old ATB games, and I still replay FFVIII and IX once every other year or so. I just don't pretend they're something they're not.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

Bio, if that's true about your point of turn based being obsolete only because we couldn't have complexity with multiple party members, etc., why were turn-based games still so wildly successful in the PS2 era when it was quite clear you could have a multitude of abilities and party members in games like Kingdom Hearts?

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

Because it was during the PS2 era when it started becoming clear that there were better uses of the more powerful technology, and it takes time for developers to adapt. Because people hadn't yet, for the most part, gotten tired of it by that point. Because any genre can rest on its laurels for a few years and still do well. Because it wasn't until the latter part of that era that WRPGs on PC and Xbox started really showing what new and interesting things you could do within the same framework, without relying on turn based systems.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

There are TONS of PC games (which is presumably far more advanced, according to the PC master race, than consoles) that have staunchly turn-based mechanics that are held in high regard.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

Yeah, and I made that point in my other reply to you in that other comment thread. Those games are turn based strategy games like Civ, or real time strategy games like Starcraft, depending on how nitpicky we want to be with what a 'turn' is. Entirely different genres than RPGs, and pretty much the two where actual strategy is required.

And the reason why they're almost entirely exclusive to PC is because there isn't a controller out there complex enough to handle all the shit you need to do in a Civ or Starcraft match with any semblance of efficiency; they're simply too complex.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

I've never been into Starcraft, so I don't know. But civ on PS3 worked fine.

Still, nice to just tap "r" for build a road.

But if games like Valkyria Chronicles, Resonance of Fate, Eternal Sonata, Ni No Kuni (I'd call it a hybrid), WKC (I liked it, anyways), FFXIV, Torment, Wasteland 2, Bards tale 4, the remakes of FFX, etc. weren't so damn fun, I might be inclined to agree with you.

But they are. And many feel fresh, as well.

And don't forget how well received some handheld titles like Bravely Default were received.


Last edited by Underdog15 on 10/6/2015 2:11:00 PM

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

And despite their cheesiness, the Atelier games have a lot going on, too. I admit. I also liked them.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

And how successful were those games, compared to JRPGs at their height?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

Hey I just thought of something, Selfie Tilmitt was the first selfie.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

Except her name was Selphie, not Selfie, and people have been taking selfies as long as cameras have existed, and before that people paid other people to paint selfies of them ūüėõ

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

LOL
There's actually some pretty cool fan art out there of Selphie taking Selfies.

If Bio's gonna be a party pooper, I feel it necessary to point out that portraits =/= selfies.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

People have been painting self portraits for years. Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk, by da Vinci, is a good example ūüėČ

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

Paaaaaaarty POOPER!

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

What can I say I like to poop at parties. If you invite me to a party at your house the first thing I am going to do when I arrive is ask where the toilet is so I can wreck it.