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My Love Of JRPGs Is Dying

I very nearly titled this article, "My Love Of JRPGs Is Dead" but I have to admit, I might be interested in the upcoming Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, and I have enjoyed a few recent titles like Atelier Totori: Adventurer of Arland.

But there's no doubt that my adoration of the sub-genre is on life support. During the PS1 era, I was all about RPGs. That also included some WRPGs on PC like Baldurs Gate, Diablo, Icewindale, Heroes of Might & Magic, etc., but for the most part, I just wanted my JRPGs. I wanted every Final Fantasy, I wanted the Suikoden, Wild ARMs, Saga Frontier, and Breath of Fire franchises. I wanted Legend of Legaia, Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Mana, and even Granstream Saga. I wanted anything Squaresoft made, from Vagrant Story to Chrono Cross to Threads of Fate to Xenogears. I wanted RPGs and most of 'em were Japanese.

And despite branching out big time in the PS2 generation, I still needed my JRPG fix. I still loved the FFs, Dragon Quest VIII, and the Shadow Hearts titles. Nowadays, however, I can't remember the last time I was excited about the release of a JRPG, nor can I remember the last one I actually finished. I suppose you can count Final Fantasy XIII-2 but in looking at the nightmare that appears to be Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, this year's FF may be the last one I ever complete. And beyond that, here's a painful fact that I've had to accept- JRPGs just aren't very good anymore. The developers are lagging so far behind the rest of the world and it's painfully obvious. It's just really difficult to acknowledge.

If Square Enix hadn't lost its collective mind, I could've counted on Final Fantasy to keep my love alive. But obviously, that just isn't going to happen (and I've given up hope that it might). This all being said, however, the only classics I really want to go back and play are JRPGs. Why? Not just because of nostalgia, but because they offer a style of gameplay that really is dead, fancy technology or no. As for future JRPGs, I fear that I've dropped out of the fan group...perhaps forever.

Tags: jrpgs, japanese rpgs, wrpgs, role playing games, japanese role playing games

11/11/2012 10:01:25 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (62 posts)

Highlander
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 10:37:54 PM
Reply

I'm confused Ben, are you saying you've dropped out of the 'fan group' because the JRPGs of today and the future are not offering anything like what they once did, or because other games are taking your time? Is it a case of there are no more 'true' JRPGs released in the west (note what I said there, they are still made, they just may never leave Japan)? What are you lamenting, the death of a style of game or the death of a fan-group?

It seems to me that as long as you want to go back to the games of yesteryear for something, and as long as you recognize games such as Totori as being in the right place for a JRPG fan, you can hardly say your love of the genre is dying. You do not seem to be losing your love of the genre, it seems more that the genre itself is becoming scarce on these shores.

Personally I know who and what to blame for that, and it's not exclusive to SE. However, that does not alter my love of the genre (or sub-genre if we must call it that).

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Knightzane
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:19:19 PM

I still play wkc2 but the community is so...mean? That i usually solo quests when friends aren't playing. If you know any towns i could visit that don't mind helping out gr18 people i'd be greatful. Quests that give enough guild points for my guild rank are so difficult to do solo. Plus my knights gear is pretty much default so he doesn't help much either..


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Highlander
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:38:50 PM

Lookup the NekomimisFTW! guild.

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kraygen
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 12:41:03 AM

I think he's saying that JRPG's as we know and love them are dead because no one makes games like that anymore, so basically the genre is no more.

We still can go back and play the classics, but the gaming world of today is all action based and the tactics and strategy of old have been left behind.

Sadly I agree, only game I've played this gen even close to those is wkc and I love it, but I don't think there will ever be anything like we used to see.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:00:05 AM

I'm lamenting the death of a once-proud love. I recognize that games like Totori and WKC are good for some fans, but I know they're not really for me (and I'm not entirely sure why). Therefore, JRPGs as we know them now hold very little interest for me.

That being said, I will always adore the JRPGs of yesteryear. Back when they were bastions of quality.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:12:52 AM

'sigh' I just realized that what I wrote probably doesn't explain my feelings much better.

The truth is, it's so very hard for me to completely understand. I'll want to play FFVII at the drop of a hat but I can't play WKC. I'll start a new game of Legaia but I won't make it through Totori. And while I definitely believe that many JRPGs have received unfair treatment from critics this generation, I also think it's undeniable that the general quality has fallen way off. And that really hurts me.

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Ludakriss
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 10:13:35 AM

Ben, I can absolutely relate to this feeling.

Absurd that this is the only reason why I anticipate and can relate, to Versus better than 13 and that i absolutely loved FF12 but was less than lazy to play White Knight Chronicles.

Tough for QUALITY RPG fans. Tough.

Last edited by Ludakriss on 11/12/2012 10:13:50 AM

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Highlander
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:25:47 AM

Hmm... I don't know whether you're lamenting your own loss of love for a genre or the genre's decline.

As far as the genre's decline is concerned, I'm not sure that the evidence truly supports this notion that all JRPGs today are poor in comparison with JRPGs of yesteryear. I suspect that the change is a combination of a change in your own gaming tastes and a change in the genre. I can see that people's tastes change over time, different genre become the norm, people get used to certain things in a game.

The thing is when it comes to games that you have already played one or more times and loved, you can always go back for more. It's not just nostalgia that lets you do this, it's your own personal fondness for the game. However, new games in this current generation benefit from neither of these factors.

The interesting thing to me is that the PSP and Vita offer the ability to step back in time and re-play some of the classics of the PS1 and (where they were ported to PSP) even the PS2 generations. The PSP and Vita offer games at a resolution comparable to the original system with all the controls as they were. It's essentially the same experience with a good dose of convenience.

Having played a lot of JRPGs on PS1, PS2 and PSP/Vita, as well as the PS3, I am charging everyone here with the offense of senseless nostalgia.

Whether it's the one dimensional bad guys in games like FFVII the incomprehensible logic behind the main story of FFVIII (and for that matter FFVII), or the downright basic world map navigation in Star Ocean Second Story/Second evolution, these older, and truly classic games were not without their faults. The story in FFVII and FFVIII unfolds slowly and in both cases there are abrupt jumps and changes to the setting and premise. FFVIII is little more than a variation of save the princess, and Star Ocean Second... is the usual save the world/galaxy/universe story. Comparing Star Ocean Second... against Star Ocean 4 from this generation, Star Ocean 4 from this generation is actually - in my opinion - a better game. Graphically it's obviously superior, but the game itself is simply a better game. The story is more cohesive, and flows as well or better than that in the older game.

Mana Khemia Student Alliance (PSP) is an enhanced version of Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al-Revis from the PS2. It's actually enhanced over the original, yet it's also inferior to the games that succeed the Atelier and Mana Khemia series on PS3 - the Arland series of Atelier games. The game play in both is similar, alchemy is the core, you still send various people off to collect materials, and must adventure yourself to collect the rarer items. There are assignments, and so forth. The games are near identical in the underlying mechanics. But the PS3 Atelier games have a degree of polish that the older games lack.

White Knight Chronicles in the current generation is the only mainstream JRPG title to go for the ful next generation appearance and anything even close to the turn based mechanic.

Valkyria Chronicles is a unique blend of Strategy RPG and JRPG, and is very turn based. VC is a real gem in the JRPG genre and should not be forgotten - or missed. The PSP sequel is OK, but not as good as the PS3 original.

WKC2 brought the WKC story to a conclusion as well as refined game play. The story is a combination of save the princess and save the world - which is pretty typical for a JRPG. You have mechs, and a world map, skills, magic, turn based combat, item synthesis and even online co-op. The characters are typical JRPG archetypes, and you can even put your own character in the party. Opinions on WKC are very polarized, but to be perfectly frank, I think a lot of the negative opinions are worthless because they are formed by people who've never played the game and really have no frame of reference to comment from.

I could wax lyrical about Xenosaga being a true classic - which it is, but inevitably some Xenogears person would come along and tell me how inferior Xenosaga is compared to Xenogears. I've played both, and I respectfully disagree. I found Xenogears to be slow. I consider Xenosaga to be by far the better game. But that's probably because I played it first. See there is that nostalgia and love of the original game coming back in again. People that love Xenogears over Xenosaga invariably played Xenogears first. For some reason they can't allow the PS2 games to have their day, they can't give them any credit, and so they are somehow inferior.

That's exactly what people have done to JRPGs in the present generation. Taken on their own without reference to previous generations the games themselves are good. Compared to other games and genre of the present generation, they are not stand outs like the JRPGs of old were. In the PS1/PS2 days, the graphics and physics available limited what could be done in fighters, shooters, racers, action/adventure and so on. This current generation however opened the flood gates. So while a well crafted JRPG in PS1/PS2 days compared favorably against other games, in the current generation, other genre have their chance to shine.

Then too, many of the elements that were once the exclusive domain of RPGs and JRPGs have been co-opted by other genre and the lines marking RPGs and JRPGs apart from the other genre have been blurred out of sight.

The end result is a diluted genre that no longer stands out from the pack that is being compared against the 'classics' of old by gamers that played them. The new games can never compete with the rose tinted glasses viewing the memories and games of the past, especially when they can be compared directly to games of that past. Valkyria Chronicles is the exception that proves the rule in this regard because it receives acclaim even today. Valkyria Chronicles however doesn't compare against any games of the past, it brought something new to the genre, and therefore avoids the fate of other games. WKC2 is set in a world that uses so many of the JRPG and RPG archetypes that it's held up against countless games of previous (and current) generations from both JRPG and RPG genre, it is particularly vulnerable to the issue.

The point of all this being that your love of the JRPG is not dying, it's just mired in a comparison of a golden era that can never be repeated against a reality that is diluted by other genre and fighting the ghosts of the past in your own mind.

If it's classic game play you want, there are games that have it in spades. If it's those classic stories, there are games with similar stories (and let's be truly honest about story quality here, instead of allowing the glow of the past to color our view).

But no worries, I understand the problem. It's not gonna change. People will continue to deride JRPGs of the current generation, and in doing so they will kill the genre completely outside Japan and the real of the portable.

Last edited by Highlander on 11/12/2012 11:29:45 AM

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ZenChichiri
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:55:30 AM

Highlander, I really love your passion for JRPGs ;)

I still retain my passion for good JRPGs too, but on consoles they are dwindling and are a shadow of their former selves. On the PS3, there hasn't been a story as good as Xenosaga or Digital Devil Saga(Valkyria being close) nor has there even really been a protagonist to really interest me. I think the gameplay is still all together with console JRPGs, but unfortunately it's everything else that's lacking. I just feel the overall creativity is down.

Keep in mind I'm still an avid JRPG player, and play many quality titles on handhelds. I'm playing Devil Survivor Overclocked for the 3DS (f'in awesome!) and this year also finished Trails in the Sky for PSP (also f'in awesome!) but as for consoles I'm a little disappointed.

I really wish I knew Japanese so I could play all those JRPGs coming out for the Vita! Every time I go on to play-asia I check out the new Vita games and I want to play so many of the JP only games. Sad days ;(

Last edited by ZenChichiri on 11/12/2012 11:55:48 AM

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Highlander
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:02:00 PM

I know the feeling ZenChiChiri, Don't you wish that there was more of a push for text localizations of those games so we could at least buy them on PSN?

As I have said before, learning Japanese seems to be increasingly the only option.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:22:25 PM

In all honesty, Highlander, it might just be the death of true turn-based. I mean, I don't even see Tales of Graces f or WKC as pure turn-based, and that's what I always liked. You just don't see it the way it was in the old JRPGs.

I suppose one could argue that depth and another level of aesthetic appeal has been added to battle, but A. I'm not 100% positive that this is true, and B. I have always preferred TRUE turn-based. I think maybe this is the crux of the issue for me.

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Underdog15
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:45:11 PM

To be fair, the tales of games were never turn based. They used to be 2D side-scrolling real time battles. Now they've evolved into a 3D map.

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Highlander
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 2:45:54 PM

Ben, I can certainly sympathize with you about turn based games, and although WKC2 is partially turn based, it is certainly real time as well - as you yourself have pointed out in your review.

The only true, pure, turn based games I have seen this generation are Valkyria Chronicles, Cross Edge, The Atelier games, and the Neptunia games. That is a shame. But I'll take what I can get in that regard, WKC2 offers the mood of a JRPG with a combat system that is sufficiently close to turn based for me. But that's not true for everyone I will readily admit.

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Shams
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 1:59:35 AM

VC is one of the most magical experiences of this gen for me, and I can hardly be called a fan of the subgenre (or in VC's case, the sub-subgenre). But there's no denying the scarcity on this side of the ocean. JRPG's, with mechanics creatively making the best out of the limitations of the technology of their gen, had difficulty evolving while retaining their charm of yore. Moreover, I'd say they were smorgasboard of gametypes more-so than subgenres, that were also overtaken by the specialized genres that were able to evolve (into open world games, action-adventure, srpgs, wrpgs). Anyhow, we'll always have the classics, and homages to the past. Heck, even Mario 2d platformers have occasionally returned this gen (LBP, Mario, Meatboy, Limbo, etc).

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 9:08:16 AM

Also, I found Xenogears to be vastly superior to Xenosaga. I couldn't even finish the first Xenosaga. I found that game to be the slowest jrpg I played on the PS2.

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 11:23:48 AM

So, which did you play first Underdog? Xenogears or Xenosaga?

Not sure how you could find Xenosaga Ep1 slow, I mean, Episode 2 perhaps, but Episode 1? Ah well, each to their own. Though Xenogears is still over rated IMHO... :P

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Underdog15
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 @ 8:30:59 AM

Xenogears I played first. So graphics weren't an issue, either. (They are pretty poor now! lol) It was the second jRPG I played on the PS1, and it was my favorite. The first I played was FFVII. I don't even think any FF is as good as Xenogears. Xenogears is large, but it isn't slow. There are regular exciting moments in story... at like... every corner. I don't think you've actually played it for any time. :p

And it was the first one I played. I can't remember too clearly anymore at what point I stopped, but I had to descend an elevator platform to fight the bad dude that has a connection with the kid that looks like a kid but isn't a kid. (I don't remember character names anymore. It was at least before the PS3 came out that I played it last) I stopped there.

I did play the second one very briefly. Very early on I stopped. Not long after the admittedly cool CG cutscene where they're being chased by someone and that kid who isn't a kid is firing off his guns behind him while they try to escape. I actually got more excited about the game at that point than I did during the entire first one. I didn't like the battle system too much, because it was like a simpler version of Xenogears. Xenogears combos go up to 7 points whereas Xenosaga felt much more basic. My other complaint is how slow the characters run on the map outside of battle... it's like they have iron weights on their ankles. *trod trod trod trod*

Last edited by Underdog15 on 11/14/2012 8:40:36 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 11:50:24 AM

I played Xenogears before it was a full year old. So the PS2 wasn't even close to being out yet. So clearly, just the fact that you could rotate the camera was huge. lol

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flamefury42
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 10:42:08 PM
Reply

The world of JRPGs are dying and I agree with you. However, never let the nostalgia die on you. I always keep my old games right near me that way if I ever crave of playing it again, I know it's right there. As for new JRPGs, none of them has even caught my eye as being an addictive game.

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Highlander
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 10:50:41 PM

The Atelier series are very good, though not everyone's cup of tea. Then again I still play WKC2, and that's a sadly neglected gem of a game.

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Warrior Poet
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:00:23 PM
Reply

No good JRPGS? What about all the ones...that you haven't reviewed? There are some really good ones, new-school and old-school but it seems you haven't played them. Try out Knights In The Nightmare, Ys Seven, Radiant Historia, or The Four Heroes Of Light.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:03:11 AM

I haven't played them because I haven't been all that interested in them. ...and I could've sworn that was the point of the article.

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Beamboom
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 4:51:34 AM

... but maybe you've lost interest because you've missed the good ones, Ben? I mean, purely theoretically speaking it could be the case. :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 10:30:32 AM

Oh no, trust me, I try to stay on top of the genre. I am quite aware of those games, have seen gameplay for all, and have even tried a few of them. When I say I'm not interested, it's not based on head-in-the-sand ignorance. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/12/2012 10:30:49 AM

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dmiitrie
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:05:06 PM
Reply

I completely agree with you Ben. There was a time when I'd get anything by Square was an automatic buy. And I'd certainly help myself to lesser known titles like Legend of Dragoon, Lufia, and even some that weren't really that good, like 7th Saga. But that really started to lessen during the PS2 era (a lot had to do with my increasing amount of time on pc though), and it finished itself in the current gen.

I'd like to say that FFXIII killed it, but that's not entirely true. I really wanted to like WKC, but couldn't really get into it. And even though there are some others I'd like to try (Last Remnant, Atelier series, etc), I just can't find the time with so many other games out there.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:15:19 PM
Reply

All I know is it didn't have to be this way.

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kraygen
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 12:43:49 AM

Didn't have to be, but MS and Call of doody brought about a new mass market of gaming that led every game company to believe that easy to learn, bright, flashy, non-stop action is all that people care about.

Of course they're wrong, gaming has just gone more mainstream and there are a lot more people playing, but everyone wants to sell 25 million copies of their game because someone did it and now every game should obviously. (sigh)

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Highlander
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:48:26 AM

Microsoft, Square Enix, Namco, and Sony/SCEA together share the blame and I will explain why.

JRPGs of the Past shone because they had highly polished cut scenes, complexity and depth, things that other games of the era lacked. As technology improved into this current generation, it's become possible for other genre to use that technology to implement complex visual and physical effects as well as add game depth. This means that JRPGs that once stood out, no longer do.

However, that is but a factor (discussed in depth in an earlier post) in the accelerated demise of a once great genre. The other factor is developer/publisher support on non-portable platforms. In Japan, the JRPG is alive and well and living on the portable platforms. Not so much on home consoles, although the home console JRPGs are far healthier there than here. Why is that do you suppose? well, let's see. Microsoft approached the large Japanes JRPG makers such as Namco and Square Enix and paid for platform exclusivity for their 'next genereation' JRPGs. This was an attempt to both by market share in Japan by buying into an inherently Japanese game genre, but also freeze Sony out of the JRPG market. Namco and SE (and others) took the thirty pieces of Silver and produced games exclusively for 360. Games that are inherently Japanese on an American game console. On the surface it was a good plan, and in theory it could have purchased the Japanese market out form under Sony. But Sony were fortunate that brand loyalty in Japan is strong. Eventually the contracts ended and games started to appear for PS3, and the pendulum swung back to Sony in Japan at least.

However outside Japan, the actions of Microsoft created a multi-year drought of JRPG content. Sony even had to purchase White Knight Chronicles which was not originally a PS3 game, nor a PS3 exclusive. White Knight was to be their AAA JRPG - since no one else was releasing them on PS3. Sony failed to see that MS would attempt to buy the Japanese market in this manner, and failed to see the impact that would have beyond Japan. It affected other genre as well, but the JRPG was particularly at risk.

SCEA did not help matters, and continues not to help matters, by failing to support even their own JRPG (WKC2). SCEA has failed to promote the game, and does not involve itself in attempting to attract localization efforts for other games to PS3, PSP or Vita. That failure to act by SCEA, the failure to foresee and act by Sony in general to counter Microsoft's power play have resulted in the rapid decline in JRPGs outside Japan.

Microsoft's intention was to buy the Japanese market from Sony, and freeze Sony - and therefore PlayStation gamers - out from the Japanese publishers. That didn't work though, but it did slam the brakes on Japanese games on PS3, especially on Japanese games on PS3 outside Japan. The long term effects of that are still playing out. Microsoft struck a mortal wound on the JRPG, whether they meant to or not, Microsoft has destroyed a part of the fabric of our gaming world in their greed to buy market share from a competitor instead of competing with their products.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:48:29 AM

I agree Kray, people say we're just blaming CoD for no good reason but think about it, when our favorite gameplay style gets hated on for not being easily accessible action where else can you lay the blame? -That is, in addition to Highlander's well thought out history lesson there.



Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 11/12/2012 11:52:08 AM

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kraygen
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:12:32 PM

I don't disagree one bit, merely pointing out that I truly believe we would have more creativity in the gaming world today if it wasn't for the new mass market appeal.

I don't have a problem with companies wanting to make money, but they seem to think that every game has to sell like Cod in order to be a success and that's just sad. If selling a million copies brings profits why is it a failure just because another game sold 10 million copies.

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Knightzane
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:21:45 PM
Reply

JRPG's dying, i disagree. Dark souls is still hugely popular on consoles and atelier is popular in japan and a little bit in the US. My gf loves atelier totori and rorona, even though she got the 'bad ending' in totori. Disgeae has a large following and i love disgaea 4. Still play it all the time. Just because they don't sell 6 million copies doesn't make them any less good.

I think what you mean is FF was the most well known JRPG and since they... Their sub-par now, aside form your odd attraction to FF13-2 which was worse than 13 in my opinion, but in reality there's just more variety now and so the games like disgaea aren't heard about as much as the CoD that comes out every year. Although ni no kuni is having tons of press and hype for it so i wish it the best. I can't stand the happy, kiddie style it is but i know my girl will so i pre-ordered the special edition.

Aside from all of that, JRPG's will never disappear because the one's who loved them won't ever forget them. Hell, when i have kids i plan on introducing them to kingdom hearts or even final fantasy 9, as their first video game. I much prefer them playing things that allow them to read, or think about what their doing rather than shooting mindlessly. One of my favorite things about older FF's is the text. Its like reading a big book. I Xenogears is not a quality choice because its difficult to understand to some people. Ever had to explain the story arc of xenogears to someone? Not fun

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:01:59 AM

You're not understanding me if you even mention Dark Souls. I don't care if it was made by a Japanese company; I'd never lump that in with the games I loved.

And the JRPGs are "less good." They're mediocre at best most times. That's just a fact; Disgaea is fine and dandy but that's strategy/RPG. What you say about "reading a big book" is precisely what I mean; the days of those games are over and will not return. FF was hardly the only RPG that was heavy on dialogue; they ALL were in those days.

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Underdog15
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:22:54 AM

I think explaining the story of Xenogears to someone is a lot of fun.


.... maybe not for them, but definitely for me. XD

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ZenChichiri
Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ 11:32:40 PM
Reply

There are still some quality JRPGs out there, but I feel in some of them the magic has been lost. There are some special cases, though, like Trails in the Sky for PSP, Radiant Historia for DS, and Devil Survivor for 3DS, but in terms of console JRPGs, I agree, the quality is slowly dwindling. Every now and then one comes along that I enjoy, and when it does come along, since it's usually been a long time since I've played a JRPG, I REALLY enjoy it.

Last edited by ZenChichiri on 11/11/2012 11:33:11 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 12:24:32 AM

Handhelds don't count.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:02:28 AM

Yeah, sorry, they don't. It's just a completely different thing.

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ZenChichiri
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:42:49 AM

You're missing out then, because unfortunately that's where all the good JRPGs are these days. The games I mentioned aren't just good for a handheld game, they hold up to the games that you hold dear to you from the past. Trust me, I've also been playing JRPGs for a long time, and these are gems.

As much as I would also love to see console quality JRPGs that blow me away, these games should not be disregarded in any way by simply being handheld titles. There's a reason that so many people play them, and I've even seen people that have never played JRPGs suddenly playing games like Devil Survivor because it's just so damn good.

I mean, I do understand what you're saying, and some people find it hard to get into handhelds, but that tunnel vision is getting in the way of you experiencing some great games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:55:05 AM

For veterans, just playing on a handheld takes away a lot from the experience, never mind the fact that the genre is clearly in trouble once it gets pushed to that category of gaming.

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ZenChichiri
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 12:04:25 PM

I can't disagree with the fact that the genre is in trouble, but all I really want to say is that there is quality out there, but not in the places we've looked before. While console JRPGs have been dwindling, handheld JRPGs have been thriving. There have been some really creative titles that have come out that have slipped by many a veteran JRPG fan.

Anyways, here's to hoping Versus (although probably still a long ass ways away) revives consumer confidence in console JRPGs! That would solve everything wouldn't it? But uhhh we know that probably won't happen.

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Warrior Poet
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 4:12:25 PM

If you want PS1 or PS2 style gameplay, you should look to a PS1 or PS2-like system. The PSP and DS have plenty of good RPGs. There are new experimental ones like the Sting games, but there are also very traditional ones, of the same quality or higher, but you don't want them? They don't count because they're on a different platform.

I haven't been playing since the beginning, I got into this genre only a few years ago. I play new games and old games, and I find quality in both. I'll go back to Knights In The Nightmare before I'll go back too FFVIII. It's a better game, it really is.

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dmiitrie
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 4:18:31 PM

@Zen: I understand the point you're making and I respect your position, but you're mistaken on a couple of things. I'm not missing out and I am playing great games, they're just not JRPGs. To me, portable consoles are about as useful as a pocket on a t-shirt. And when JRPG developers and publishers refuse to put their games on a home console, they're the ones missing out because Id buy their games if only I could do so on ps3.

Highlander said in an earlier post that he'd "take what [he] can get." While I'll never begrudge anyone enjoying the games that they enjoy, but I won't do what he does. I won't get a whole new console that I don't want. Neither will I learn Japanese nor will I scour the web for fan dubbed roms like I did in college. I'm too old, have too little time, and there are too many other great games for me to settle for what I consider an inferior experience.

Once again, I don't begrudge you your enjoyment of portables. But when you say that I need to get one to enjoy JRPGs, we'll have to be at an impasse. My love is less than yours and I'll just play something else.

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 12:19:53 AM
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Im not big of an RPG guy. The only RPGs I played that I can think of are Mass Effect, Fallout and Skyrim.

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MrAnonymity
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 2:18:59 AM
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Hm... I definitely understand where you're coming from and I honestly relate. I've been holding out on Ni No Kuni... but that isn't where my heart of hearts is. I wake up literally every day hoping to see SOMEWHERE that there have been official plans to a Suikoden follow-up... or Star Ocean: Blue Sphere getting a PSP overhaul... or Tales of Destiny 1 and 2 PLUS Tales of Eternia hitting the PSN Store... Point being, I've little interest in trying to fall in love with something new. Hell, other than TES and almost everything from NIS... I just can't do it. I've played Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, Tales of Graces F, Nier, Resonance of Fate, and Eternal Sonata. Nothing. Entertaining for a while, but not... what I need. What I crave.

Sadly, there's absolutely NO guarantee what I want would end up being worthwhile anyway, but I'd still love even just a shot to be given - an all-effort-given shot, mind you. I really do understand this overwhelming desire to innovate and be original... but is it really that much a slap in the face to go back to your roots here and there? S-E has had some staggering success over the years so to claim going back to FFVII would be "admitting creative bankruptcy" is a cop-out. UGH! Not getting into that...

I recently sold my PS3 *le gasp!*. Honestly? Not a terrible decision, in my personal opinion. RPGs are my mainstay. Sure, Skyrim had a lot to offer - obviously - but again... it wasn't the total package for me. So... here I sit, old-school PS1 (the original with the port in the back for the plug-in style Gameshark) and a small but fierce collection of PS1 classics (Suikoden II, FFV-IX, Star Ocean: The Second Story), perfectly content until something really and truly wows me.

BTW...

I am still holding out hope for Ni No Kuni. Level 5 had my complete attention on the PS2, particularly with Dark Cloud 2 and Rogue Galaxy.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 4:15:09 AM
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Valkyria Chronicles is still far and away my favourite RPG, if you choose to call it that, and I think that it can be lumped into the JRPG category. That said, I can't say that I've loved the JRPG subgenre as I only got into gaming this gen and so missed most of those gems. I like the idea of Atelier and Neptunia and the like, but I can't really see myself buying them. I get some kicks out of WRPGs, but I find my interest waning after a while. I need goals in my games...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 10:29:26 AM

That's part of the problem. VC is really a SRPG, as is the other good JRPGs of the generation, like Disgaea.

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Warrior Poet
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 4:14:50 PM

Lots of good SRPGs is a good problem to have.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 4:56:49 AM
Reply

Sadly your right, The old Final Fantasy's used to be notorious for pushing the system to it's limits, not may other games on the PS1 extended to 3-4 disc. This was normal for Final Fantasy. Back the Final Fantasy was juts bigger than everything else in every way from scale to story.

While looking at Final Fantasy XIII-2, While I enjoyed it, it's not a game that pushed the system to it's limits. Infact I would say the graphics were worse than XIII-1 (It seems like the PS3 version was reduced in quality to the same as the 360 version.)

While I like Final Fantasy XIII-1 and regard it as one of the best games I have played this gen, it has many flaws, something which the old FF's just didn't have - unless you were really nitpicking. But of course it is the structure of the games which has changed. This is not due to the absence of a world map. Final Fantasy X did not have a world map, but it certainly felt like a Final Fantasy game. The sense of a quest was very strong and it just excelled in all other factors.

There is no denying FFXIII's story is a mess. They hid a lot of detail in data logs making the story incoherent if you didn't read them - content that should have been explained in the game, there were enough cutscenes already. XIII-2's convoluted story has lead it to an insane direction, which quite frankly I don't know what is even going on any more, I'll have to reply them both before this new title - whatever it may - arrives.

But as I was saying before, it seems Final Fantasy has lost it's sense of adventure. Which is what I really enjoyed about JRPG's and in my opinion no other visual medium and replicate such adventures/quests better. I liked having to travel all over the world and getting various story updates as I progressed. Another big factor is mini-games. It seems FF has traded mini-games for monster hunts. Which I really dislike. One of my biggest complaints about Elder Scrolls is that thee is no distinction between story missions or side-quests, as they play out the same way. Take Final Fantasy IX's Chocobo System, that is the perfect example of a mini-game/side quest - One which does not rely on the already established battle system, it is meant to play like a separate game.

Interesting thing about the absence of towns in XIII-1. In XIII-2, I just didnt care for them, while even in my current play-through of Final Fantasy VI, I still visit them from top to bottom. Why is that? XIII-2's town folk had interesting things to say, but I just wasn't bothered.

I think really we are all just waiting to get this Lightning Returns game out of the way and conclude XIII now, While I enjoyed them, I think we need to see what S-E has in store for future FF's to really get a sense if this series is doomed. Final Fantasy XV may be S-E's curtain call, you never know.

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Underdog15
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:25:41 AM

You're definitely right about FFXIII being of better graphical quality than the second. I thought the same thing and popped in the original just to compare. The difference was obvious and immediately eye catching. The first was just crisper, colours were more vibrant, and animations almost seem like there are more frames per second. (I don't think they are, so maybe it's a resolution issue.)

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Beamboom
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 8:55:16 AM
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It's actually a weird kind of relief for me to read articles like this, cause it confirms that it's not me there's anything wrong with. There was a time I thought it must have been.

The PS3 was my introduction to the console world, and back when I started to hang out on this site everyone were talking about JRPGs and Japanese developers *constantly*. On and on about how they were the cream of the crop, the kings of the hill, the true masters of quality gaming, the inventors of epicness, the holy grail of game development. That western RPGs were *nothing* compared to the Japanese kind.
Needless to say, as a gamer I was *dying* to get to know this fantastic, until now hidden world of gaming.

But the more and more I got to know JRPGs (on the PS3 and PSP) the more I asked myself... Uhm... Is this all? WKC, FF13, Monster Hunter Freedom, Phantasy Star... All pretty mediocre experiences to me. Not much to write home about.

But when I tried to suggest that this wasn't as great at it was hyped to be I was practically ripped apart by the wild flock of jrpg fans, with all sorts of absurd accusations thrown at me, everything from being an imperialist swine to a narrow-minded western twitch-gamer who just don't *understand*.

So yeah, for me it's good to know that I wasn't totally, completely insane.
Hopefully a new dawn for JRPGs arrives with the next gen consoles! One can always hope, right?
:)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/12/2012 8:58:38 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 10:28:05 AM

Yes, but that second paragraph is still mostly correct (if obviously a tad exaggerated), if we're talking about the PS2 and PS1 era, especially. You really DID miss out. Not sure if you'd be able to appreciate them now, being as old as they are, but as you can gather from this article, there is a sizable difference in overall quality between then and now.

It's not that those passionate JRPG fans were wrong to say what they said when you talked to them. It's just that such passion doesn't quite fit this generation, unfortunately.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/12/2012 10:28:42 AM

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Beamboom
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 11:39:40 AM

Yeah obviously I did miss out, of that there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind. All that passion must stem from *somewhere*. :D


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/12/2012 11:39:47 AM

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Temjin001
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:46:44 PM

Beamboom. I'll fill you in on the 32-64 bit era.

Sony was a new hot cock on the market and were something of a wildcard variable to the ongoing Sega and Nintendo battle. I don't think anyone in 1995 expected Sony to dominate as they had, especially in consideration of other wannabe contenders like Panasonic and NEC making a globally lackluster effort. The first fairly popular game on PSX was Resident Evil. It was survival horror entertainment no console owner would have experienced quite as it was until then.
Final Fantasy at that time was STILL considered Nintendo's domain and FF loyalists were not convinced Sony's Playstation would ever be a home to FF. Even late into the development cycle of FFVII, Squaresoft was still being very cryptic about progress on the N64 side of development. Eventually, Squaresoft had no choice but to say that FFVII could never happen on a N64 cartridge and even with the supposed Datadisk add-on that never saw release stateside would still require a dozen or more DD disks to even fit FFVII. It was pretty much confirmed. FFVII was NEVER coming to N64.

That was where the tide of battle started shifting massively. Nintendo, while they had incredible offerings with Mario 64, Zelda, and Golden Eye, they were suffering massively due to unbelievable game prices and a general lack of third party support. Major franchises for NES and SNES were more and more beginning to appear on PSX and Saturn. At this point Sony was massively undercutting the competition with NEW games launching at $40 and a Greatest Hits lineup of quality software rolling out with games like Twisted Metal 2, Jet Moto and Tekken 2. By this time RE2 was well under way and FFVIII was already making headlines. The media was really excited for titles like Gran Turismo, MGS, and Tony Hawk.
Basically, in the course of one generation the tables turned and FFVII was right there at the pivot point. It was nuts.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 11/12/2012 1:49:18 PM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 4:42:22 PM

Incredibly cool of you to do that rundown for me, Temjin. Thanks alot. Well written too!

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LazyVigilante
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:20:04 PM
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Ahh.....I can imagine what you're feeling Ben. I've been a member here for quite a while now and though I hardly post,I go through almost all the articles as I often pick up interestin bits of info.This isn't the first time you expressed your dissatisfaction and frustration with the present generation in regards to (J)RPGs and Square Enix.In fact every other week I see you referring to either of those subjects in some or the other article.I know when you love a game so much,that happens. Though I personally never played any of the FFs or any of the Giants that'd fallen in recent times,I did go through an upsetting time when I found out that SNK's no more as KOF is my all time favourite game,the love for which can never be replaced with any other game.In fact I sometimes don't know if I'lm even a 'gamer' as the only games I enjoy seem to be made exclusively by SNK.It was kinda rough when I assumed there'd be no more KOF titles but then like Heavensend,SNKP arose. I don't know if it's the same or not and I don't care about the folks who say it isn't....All I thought was..KOF isn't dead. It was enough for me.

I sincerely hope that JRPGs in general and S.Enix games in particular,especially FFs return to their former roots that you seem to love so much and that SE returns to their former glory that people so fondly reminisce.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:23:21 PM

Thanks for understanding but I really have to take issue with the "every other week" part. I think I've maybe done three articles in the past six MONTHS about this topic.

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LazyVigilante
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:49:04 PM

Hehehe...Didn't mean that in the literal sense. More of a passing statement meant to punctuate the fact that I recognize your enthusiasm concerining the FF/SE titles. It wasn't meant to be a complaint in any way...sorry if it sounded so. This is after all the only site where I get the reviews before I decide to get a game and where I read all the articles for the sheer joy of reading.

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LazyVigilante
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 1:30:40 PM
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Hehehe...Didn't mean that in the literal sense. More of a passing statement meant to punctuate the fact that I recognize your enthusiasm concerining the FF/SE titles. It wasn't meant to be a complaint in any way...sorry if it sounded so. This is after all the only site where I get the reviews before I decide to get a game and where I read all the articles for the sheer joy of reading.

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telly
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 2:10:53 PM
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My love for JRPGs died out quite a while ago --an unfathomable change of heart 15 years ago. As others have noted, some of things that were the exclusive province of JRPGs -- great, deep storytelling, interesting characters, polished cut scenes/presentation, etc. -- are not exclusive to that genre anymore. I also think a lot of Japanese developers got away from what made them so awesome in the first place -- turn-based combat; really interesting narratives with characters written to SERVE those stories, and not the other way around;a sense of adventure (really just faulting FF here -- XIII was so droll I literally fell asleep trying to play it.)

I'm sure my tastes have changed a bit over the years, but I also think it's more than nostalgia that makes me excited at the thought of playing FF VII pretty much anytime: It was just so much BETTER than any JRPG coming out today.

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olicapone
Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 6:22:03 PM
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Highlander put it quite eloquently. The truth is that I think since so many games nowadays are made up of so many different formulas that work they just blend it all together. People nowadays lack the patience to tackle a true JRPG and hence we have pseudo variations of RPG and action and shooter and everything in between. I don't necessarily view it as deplorable, but rather the industry marketing towards what makes money from the masses. The select niches that are what a smaller demographic would enjoy just don't get made to scale as other games. The beauty of games is that you can always return and replay said adventures that are pure JRPG.

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Ultima
Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 12:19:31 AM
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This is a bit late, so I don't even know if anyone will read this. But while I understand where Ben is coming from, I think the main issue is the fact that a lot of what constitutes JRPGs, gameplay-wise, have too may archaic attributes in this modern age. With one major exception that I'll get to later, the last JRPG I played that I felt moved things forward is a good way was FFXII (more on this later), but FFXII (the non-International version that is) is plagued with tons of flaws that drag down the whole thing. The gambit system was brilliant though. But instead of refining that brilliance, they essentially dumbed it down for XIII. Sad.

It becomes especially obvious that he majority of JRPGs haven't really progressed much in years after playing what, in my opinion, is the finest JRPG on this generation (which sadly isn't saying much) and a game that is the best of its type I've played in YEARS: Xenoblade. Which I'm sad to have not seen mentioned in this thread at all. I understand that this is Sony site, but the sad fact is that Xenoblade > * JRPGs on the PS3, the PSP, and I'd even say the PS2. I have to go back to the DreamCast (well, Skies of Arcadia anyway) and the PSX to have real contenders for Xenoblade. And that's terrible.

Not that Xenoblade is flawless, but what is does it does SO well - being unquestionably a JRPG yet ditching (nearly) all the garbage aspects of the genre (for those who haven't played it, it's very similar to Final Fantasy XII overall, but done waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better despite the lack of real party control, which is one of the few areas that Xenoblade could improve in) and incorporating a lot of what makes Western RPGS cool now: Skill trees, not being a grindfest, super easy exploration that rewards you for exploring, MASSIVE world, hundreds of quests, and SAVE ANYWHERE, it is a game that Square and anyone else who makes JRPGs should be ripping off, ASAP. Maybe then people like me and Ben can get excited about JRPGs again.

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Underdog15
Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 11:57:08 AM

Thanks for posting. I read and enjoyed. I have every intention of playing Xenoblade someday. No Wii, though, and I can't justify buying another console at this time. :(

I agree about FFXII. Very good game that took positive steps in the right direction. I know Ben loves the game too. FFXIII was a giant step back from the progress they might have made.

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MKM
Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 1:23:26 PM
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I'm still of the opinion that FFXIII should have been its own IP instead of cramming it into mainline FF - it's just not an RPG. FF, DQ, Suikoden, and their ilk are what I think of when I think of JRPGs. I'm sad there aren't any console games recently that combine the elements that I love playing most. I love playing fantasy RPGs with a good story. Maybe that's why I've been going back to DA:O on my PC so much while WKC2 has been gathering dust. :(

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