Favourite JRPG... EVER!

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Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by MattS on Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:38 am

I know there are a lot of fans of the JRPG genre at Digitally Downloaded, so I thought I'd open up a topic to chat specifically about what our favourite games in this very big and varied genre.

For me I'm going to list two;

Nier - Nier is, for me, the finest example of a story in a game ever. There is a raw emotion that this game generates that manages to be as effective as any film or book, while also using the strength of the game format to create a unique experience.

And the music. Oh, the music.

Atelier Meruru - I like all the Atelier games, but Meruru is my very favourite as it adds in some nice city-building elements to the alchemy and the turn-based fighting.

What do I like most about these games? They are cheerful and fun. They make me happy when I play them. So few games focus purely on that happiness thing. It's almost like GUST is owned by Nintendo or something.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by CanisWolfred on Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:22 am

I'll do it by Type:

Turn-Based RPG:

Probably Chrono Trigger. While most youngins these days will say it's just a good JRPG with no stand-out features, I think they need to understand the best part about CT is its pacing. There's remarkably little filler for a JRPG - Dungeons and battles are short, but sweet, the story moves at a reasonable pace instead of faffing about in the same location for too long. Most importantly, nearly everything you do comes back to you somehow. There's only a few side quests, and you'll pretty much always see the fruits of your labor at some point, whether it's getting your own statue, seeing the forest you helped create, etc. It makes the whole game so incredibly satisfying in a way you rarely see in other games of its type.

Honorable Mention goes out to Final Fantasy V.

Action-RPG:

Nostalgia wants to say Kingdom Hearts, but I think I'm gonna go with Tales of Vesperia, as it's the most well-rounded Action-RPG I've played. It's great on most fronts, with fun gameplay, interesting overworld, fantastic characters, beautiful art and music, and a great battle system. Only its story is lacking, and even then it served its purpose quite well. I guess taking each part individually, ToV isn't the best action RPG out there, nor is it the greatest Tales game, but I have yet to see an RPG that comes togther so well and left so many more good impressions than bad. Literally only the Final dungeon and Final Boss Fight, out of a huge 60+ hour quest, was I actually unhappy with the game to any extent. I base my favorites on how much I enjoy my time with them, and this one definitely has the best joy-to-time ratio out of any other action RPG I've played.

And Ys Seven gets an Honorable mention for having a simple-yet-immensly-fun battle system and some absolutely amazing boss fights.

Mixed Battle system:

Definitely have to go with Xenoblade Chronicles on this one. It's rare that I care for this type of battle system, but XC definitely gets it down pat. In fact, there are tons of little improvements and innovations throughout this game that I really admire, so many that I don't even think I could fit it all into one comment. I'll just say that XC shows exactly how JRPGs should be innovating - not by trying to constantly reinvent the wheel, but by finding every possible flaw with the existing system, and improve them. This game, for the most part, really gets that down. It's not perfect, mind you - I still wish I had more control over the AI characters, the battle chatter can get on some people's nerves after a while, the amount of subquests can be overwhelming, and I've seen PS2 games with less grainy textures than XC. Also, while I haven't finished it yet, I hear that the story gets confusing near the end, which wouldn't surprise me since the director seems to like his games stories that way. But overall, this is about as good as this style of game could possibly be.

Honorable Mention goes to Ni no Kuni for being so freakin beautiful.

Strategy RPG:

Definitely gonna have to go with 2nd Super Robot Taisen Z: Hakai-Hen/Saisei-Hen. The entire series is literally THE greatest love-letter to Giant Robot anime nerds the world over, and this game manages to top them all in every concievable way. The story...seems interesting. I don't know what's going on, but it's not head-hurtingly idiodic like usual; They picked out an insane amount of All-Star series, all of which are great, and are well-represented (not to mention they all work well together). I should note that this game alone introduced me to a lot of my favorite shows right now, especially Votoms; The animations are incredible, sometimes better than the shows they're representing (they somehow figured out a way to make the Gurren Laggan's atacks more insane, for instance); The gameplay itself is the best the series has ever seen from my experience (and I've played a lot of these games), though it's still simple enough that you don't even need to know Japanese to play them; The stages were interesting, too, covering the best parts of all the series in a natural order that made sense (for the most part); Also, the original unit was amazing! It was a very versatile unit with the right balance of Super Robot and Real Robot elements, and the pilot was pretty B-A, too. Really, My only complaint is that it's too long. It's One big game stretched accross two seperately sold discs...totally over 100 missions...that can take over an hour each. Yeah, it's a pretty long game.

Honorable mention goes out to Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor for having the most interesting story in a Strategy RPG.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Magikarp on Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:09 am

Despite being a JRPG fan I've never played any of the "greats" of the genre, so I'll just list a few which resonated with me.

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire: Half nostalgia, half little reasons. I'd say that the third gen of Pokemon is the perfect example of how to design a game world which players will want to explore (well, maybe except for the watery part near the end). Each city wasn't just a bunch of houses and necessary tasks to progress the plot, as with the last two games, but they actually felt dynamic and cohesive to the game's plot. From the treetop village to the little retirement retreat built around a hot spring to the ancient-evil-guarding aquatic city in a volcano crater, nothing in this game felt obligatory and there was a real sense of excitement when you entered a new area and you saw what it had to offer. Plus, I'd argue that it has some of the best music in the series.

Ys Series: I'm only beginning to scratch the surface into this 30-year-spanning series but so far everything I've played has been excellent. The story and characters haven't been anything to write home about, but the action has always been intense, the exploration engaging and the bosses are carefully thought through and require deep thought as well as planning to defeat. Also, the music is amazing, but then again Falcom has a house band just to compose their soundtracks :p

Golden Sun: The Lost Age: Two reasons here. First are dungeon puzzles, which have a Zelda vibe and make trudging through the longer levels somewhat less monotonous. Another is that out of all the Golden Sun games, this one has a difficulty level which backs up the incredible amount of choice offered in battles. The fact that your character classes switch mid battle and thus your stats are constantly fluctuating, as well as the various ways of attacking, healing and buffing, it was a shame to see that the other games would just let you succeed by using normal attacks on every enemy. Some points are lost for the overwhelming amount of exposition, and the fact that somehow at the end of the game, despite all this exposition, the story and characters were not nearly as defined as they should be.

It's pretty obvious that not owning a Sony console, and living in Australia, has hampered my accessibility to jrpg's :/

Looking forward to Bravely Default and SMT4 coming soon, and if I ever get around to buying a vita, Persona 4 Golden!
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by MattS on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:25 am

Magikarp wrote:Despite being a JRPG fan I've never played any of the "greats" of the genre, so I'll just list a few which resonated with me.

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire: Half nostalgia, half little reasons. I'd say that the third gen of Pokemon is the perfect example of how to design a game world which players will want to explore (well, maybe except for the watery part near the end). Each city wasn't just a bunch of houses and necessary tasks to progress the plot, as with the last two games, but they actually felt dynamic and cohesive to the game's plot. From the treetop village to the little retirement retreat built around a hot spring to the ancient-evil-guarding aquatic city in a volcano crater, nothing in this game felt obligatory and there was a real sense of excitement when you entered a new area and you saw what it had to offer. Plus, I'd argue that it has some of the best music in the series.

Ys Series: I'm only beginning to scratch the surface into this 30-year-spanning series but so far everything I've played has been excellent. The story and characters haven't been anything to write home about, but the action has always been intense, the exploration engaging and the bosses are carefully thought through and require deep thought as well as planning to defeat. Also, the music is amazing, but then again Falcom has a house band just to compose their soundtracks :p

Golden Sun: The Lost Age: Two reasons here. First are dungeon puzzles, which have a Zelda vibe and make trudging through the longer levels somewhat less monotonous. Another is that out of all the Golden Sun games, this one has a difficulty level which backs up the incredible amount of choice offered in battles. The fact that your character classes switch mid battle and thus your stats are constantly fluctuating, as well as the various ways of attacking, healing and buffing, it was a shame to see that the other games would just let you succeed by using normal attacks on every enemy. Some points are lost for the overwhelming amount of exposition, and the fact that somehow at the end of the game, despite all this exposition, the story and characters were not nearly as defined as they should be.

It's pretty obvious that not owning a Sony console, and living in Australia, has hampered my accessibility to jrpg's :/

Looking forward to Bravely Default and SMT4 coming soon, and if I ever get around to buying a vita, Persona 4 Golden!

Yeah, Australia really does suffer when it comes to JRPGs. Thank goodness for NISA - it's basically the only one willing to bring down riskier projects for us.

As for Persona 4 Golden - it's worth buying a Vita for. That JRPG is incredible - by far the strongest Atlus RPG, and a powerful example of how a JRPG can focus on something other than combat and succeed.

Just be aware that it is a time sink. There's no real way to speed run it - you're looking at a solid 70+ hour investment each and every time you want to get through it.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Stealth on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:40 am

Too many and I have played them all
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Chalgyr on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:41 pm

Similar to Stealth - I have played a ton. Hard to choose. Final Fantasy titles in general sit really well with me. Of that series, X is my favorite. I'm currently playing Time & Eternity. I'm enjoying it, but it's not a top 10 for me from the genre either.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Shaan Joshi on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:15 pm

I haven't played many JRPGs, but I do enjoy the Paper Mario series. Also, for some odd reason, Bastion is listed as an action role playing game on Wikipedia, so I'm gonna throw that one here too Razz
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by jim269 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:37 pm

suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 and oh did i mention suikoden 2? love it and is still my all time fave game!

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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Midori on Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:28 am

@Shaan
Definitely enjoyed the Paper Mario games as well. Well, more accurately, the first three and half an hour with the fourth. I'd say the second one was the best of the lot.

As for my personal favorite, I'm not sure I want to endure the mental strain of narrowing such things down and systematically discerning what I believe has the best battle system and whatnot. So here's a cop-out answer: Pokemon Platinum, since it strengthened the dwindling bonds between friends and family at the time. Granted, every preceding and subsequent release has done the same, but Platinum did it the most successfully. If there's one thing Pokemon nails, it's the social aspect. Having multiple people in a room playing solo yet exchanging information, bickering, and organizing theoretical trades for hours on end was strangely relaxing. The voice chat-enabled Wi-Fi certainly helped as well.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Chalgyr on Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:08 pm

jim269 wrote:suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 and oh did i mention suikoden 2? love it and is still my all time fave game!

So... there's this game that came out a few years ago called Suikoden 2. Ever heard of it by chance? Very Happy

Seriously - I never did play that one. I played the first on... ps1? A long time ago. Thoroughly enjoyed it, but just never had a chance to play any of the others.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by jim269 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:18 pm

Chalgyr wrote:
jim269 wrote:suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 suikoden 2 and oh did i mention suikoden 2? love it and is still my all time fave game!

So... there's this game that came out a few years ago called Suikoden 2. Ever heard of it by chance? Very Happy

Seriously - I never did play that one. I played the first on... ps1? A long time ago. Thoroughly enjoyed it, but just never had a chance to play any of the others.

its for PS1 and its better then the first and better then the newer ones (although i did like 5 a lot also) the game isn't cheep now though its maybe about $100ish i wish they would put it on PSN and a warning...the game had some sad parts in it

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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Chalgyr on Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:54 pm

Sad parts aren't such a bad thing. It means you're invested in the characters and stories, so that's good imo. I would love to see more games like that put out on the various PSN/eShop/Virtual Console/Arcade stores. I have a huge collection of older games, starting with the NES and SMS through the current generation - but I definitely don't have that one, and I know there are quite a few others I am missing as well. Good to know a bit about it though, something for me to keep an eye out for one of these days at a garage sale (I cannot begin to tell you how many good, pricy games I have picked up that way over the last few years. Just a couple weeks ago, I picked up Bad Fur Day for my N64 for a buck. I already had a copy, but seeing as it goes for about $70 on Ebay? I couldn't resist grabbing a second one).
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Shaan Joshi on Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:46 pm

Midori wrote:@Shaan
Definitely enjoyed the Paper Mario games as well. Well, more accurately, the first three and half an hour with the fourth. I'd say the second one was the best of the lot.

Yeah, Thousand Year Door is the best of the bunch, followed by the original Paper Mario. To be honest, they are roughly the same game, but they are so much fun, and the cast of characters makes up for it.

I was not that happy with the latest two Paper Mario titles. The Wii game wasn't bad, but it was more of an action platformer, and the 3DS one is pretty mediocre in my honest opinion. They took out everything that made the series enjoyable. RPG battles without LEVELLING UP? An open world replaced by level select much like the old Mario games on NES? Ugh, it was just awful. It came to the point where the combat was so boring I just skipped every encounter, since there is no penalty (when you don't level up from battles, you don't have a need to fight)
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Midori on Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:53 am

Shaan Joshi wrote: I was not that happy with the latest two Paper Mario titles. The Wii game wasn't bad, but it was more of an action platformer, and the 3DS one is pretty mediocre in my honest opinion. They took out everything that made the series enjoyable. RPG battles without LEVELLING UP? An open world replaced by level select much like the old Mario games on NES? Ugh, it was just awful. It came to the point where the combat was so boring I just skipped every encounter, since there is no penalty (when you don't level up from battles, you don't have a need to fight)
Man, couldn't agree more. I accumulated so many coins early on in the game that battles quickly became irrelevant and turned basic navigation into more of an obstacle course. Considering how awkwardly the game was designed (having to constantly backtrack through numbered levels and convert objects with very little direction) and the lack of compelling characters or story, there was no reason to press onward. I can deal with change if it's actually implemented properly, but this was the most disappointed I've been with a Nintendo game in years.

Super Paper Mario wasn't the greatest either, but I appreciated its brand of humour, the characters, and the general feel of the world far more. It may have had its own identity, but it still retained the general spirit of the first two (and the Pit of 100 Trials Smile ). That said, I did go back to play it fairly recently and realized there are some decidedly obnoxious segments that serve little purpose such as having to run in a hamster wheel with a button held down for several minutes and having to write down pages of block orderings. A couple sequences are charming in an odd way but most are just redundant and tedious.

I recall hearing that they're never going back to the style of the original, but hopefully the next game is at least radically different from Sticker Star.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by CanisWolfred on Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:02 am

Just want to mention - I tried to narrow down the top 36 RPGs I should finish soon across all consoles. I could not. I think 20 of them were on the PS2 alone. I forgot how many good RPGs I had on that console. I miss those days...
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by MattS on Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:22 am

CanisWolfred wrote:Just want to mention - I tried to narrow down the top 36 RPGs I should finish soon across all consoles. I could not. I think 20 of them were on the PS2 alone. I forgot how many good RPGs I had on that console. I miss those days...

My biggest PS2 RPG regret was never quite getting to the end of La Pucelle Tactics.

I agree it was a great console for JRPGs - the NISA games of that time were brilliant, and SMT: Nocturne (or Lucifer's Call, depending on your region) remains my favourite game of the SMT series. Mind you, my review is quoted on the back of the box, so I'm a little biased.

And of course King's Field IV, which easily outdoes the Souls games in my opinion.

But then the PS3 has been a RPG beast as well. It's the first Sony console with genuine Western RPG support - Dragon's Age, Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur are all very enjoyable, and some of the B-grade WRPG stuff - Risen 2, ArcaniA and Two Worlds 2 - is like the Barbarian movies of the 80's - horrible, but endlessly entertaining as well.

And then there's the PS3 JRPGs, where players have been truly spoiled for choice. Four brilliant Atelier games, two excellent Hyperdimension Neptunia titles (I'm glad they're remaking the first, rather than porting it, to the Vita...), Star Ocean IV, two Souls games, Ni No Kuni, Mugen Souls, Trinity Universe, Legasista, two superb Agarest War games, Enchanted Arms... list goes on and on.

The JRPG is anything but dead, as the PS3 proves. If only it got Last Odyssey, it would have been the only console worth buying for JRPGs this gen.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by CanisWolfred on Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:58 am

I honestly only enjoyed 5 or 6 JRPGs on consoles this Gen. If nothing else, JRPGs are definitely changing, and not in the way I'd like.

That's not to say every game on the PS2 was great - Honestly, SMT games and TotA aside, I thought most of the PS2 RPGs I own were good at best - but that's more than I can say for a lot of the JRPGs I've played this gen. Really, I just miss being able to enjoy an RPG without it being on a small screen...
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by turtleリンク on Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:52 am

I haven't played many JRPGS, but off the top of my head I'd have to say Persona 4 Golden, Mother 3, and Dragon Quest VIII.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Professor Clayton on Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:11 pm

My favorite would have to be Xenoblade Chronicles, because of the gigantic open world, awesome story (so far, anyway, I'm level 44) and great battle system.
It's the opposite of Sticker Star, which tried to fix what was already fine. Xenoblade, like CanisWolfred said, really improves where most RPGs need the improvement. And in Xenoblade, I got out of the way to fight every enemy, while in Sticker Star, I would avoid them. >_>
Dragon Quest IX and Final Fantasy V get a mention, because nostalgia.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by CanisWolfred on Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:02 am

Professor Clayton wrote:My favorite would have to be Xenoblade Chronicles, because of the gigantic open world, awesome story (so far, anyway, I'm level 44) and great battle system.
It's the opposite of Sticker Star, which tried to fix what was already fine. Xenoblade, like CanisWolfred said, really improves where most RPGs need the improvement. And in Xenoblade, I got out of the way to fight every enemy, while in Sticker Star, I would avoid them. >_>
Dragon Quest IX and Final Fantasy V get a mention, because nostalgia.  
I approve of this post.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by MattS on Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:54 am

Professor Clayton wrote:My favorite would have to be Xenoblade Chronicles, because of the gigantic open world, awesome story (so far, anyway, I'm level 44) and great battle system.
It's the opposite of Sticker Star, which tried to fix what was already fine. Xenoblade, like CanisWolfred said, really improves where most RPGs need the improvement. And in Xenoblade, I got out of the way to fight every enemy, while in Sticker Star, I would avoid them. >_>
Dragon Quest IX and Final Fantasy V get a mention, because nostalgia.  
Hah! Most people don't list FFV as a favourite in the series - it's the one that has the least remakes and is sandwitched between FFIV (the MOST remakes) and VI (many consider the finest in the series ever). So it's a bit of a lost classic.

It's one of my favourites too - I like the cut of your jib, good sir.

As for Xenoblade... really not my thing, sadly. I thought it was a good game, but that's it; good.

Of the Wii JRPGs I'm far more partial to Final Fantasy Chocobo's Dungeon, Pandora's Tower and Fragile Dreams.
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Chalgyr on Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:23 pm

Sadly, I never got to play Xenoblade Chronicles, and you can NOT find that puppy anymore. Sad Well, at least not for less than about $250
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by MattS on Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:31 am

Chalgyr wrote:Sadly, I never got to play Xenoblade Chronicles, and you can NOT find that puppy anymore. Sad Well, at least not for less than about $250
I'd send you my copy but... region locking is a bummer Sad
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Midori on Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:43 am

@Chalgyr - The cheapest method would be to rent it off GameFly with the cheapest subscription and use the "Keep It" option to buy it permanently once it ships. You're looking at closer to $70~ (with the subscription also taken into account). Unfortunately, whether you can keep the game or not depends on their stock at the time so I would check with them before paying a cent or you'd really have to rush through the game. I do know they had plenty available two months ago but I'm in Canada so they don't ship to me. Razz
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Re: Favourite JRPG... EVER!

Post by Chalgyr on Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:56 pm

Midori wrote:@Chalgyr - The cheapest method would be to rent it off GameFly with the cheapest subscription and use the "Keep It" option to buy it permanently once it ships. You're looking at closer to $70~ (with the subscription also taken into account). Unfortunately, whether you can keep the game or not depends on their stock at the time so I would check with them before paying a cent or you'd really have to rush through the game. I do know they had plenty available two months ago but I'm in Canada so they don't ship to me. Razz
That's... pretty devious. I kind of love it. I was really surprised how quickly that bad boy went up in price, and I just never got around to playing it.

Matt - thanks for the offer bud. It's the um... thought that counts?

Also, to the theme of this thread? I have to give a pretty serious nod to Persona 4 Golden after having spent the last 3 months with that one. Smile
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