If You're A Former JRPG Fan, Raise Your Hand
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?
10/2/2015 Ben Dutka