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JRPG Recommendations

Discussion in 'Other Video Game Discussion' started by shoz999, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. shoz999

    shoz999 Do you wanna try a good Tapu Cocoa? My treat.

    Recommend JRPGs. Some general ideas to get you guys brain-storming what a JRPG fan might be looking for.
    • Underrated titles that you believe deserves more attention (this one is most appreciated)
    • Amazing stories
    • Amazing characters
    • Amazing world-building
    • Amazing Music
    • Classic Turn-based Combat
    • Innovating Turn-Based Combat
    • 90's feel (This one is a bit hard to describe, think Dragon Quest 11 which is fairly conservative in it's gameplay mechanics)
    • Modern JRPG (Final Fantasy 15 for example looks incredibly different than it was years ago)

    So I'll kick off with a really underrated JRPG but most of you die-hard Nintendo and Final Fantasy fans who pay attention to the gaming news on a consistent basis probably heard of this game.

    [​IMG]

    The game is called The Last Story and for those not familiar with this title, this was a Wii-Exclusive JRPG directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series himself.

    Similar to how the Final Fantasy title was named that way because it may or may not be Sakaguchi's final fantasy, the Last Story calls back to this title in that this may or may not be Sakaguchi's last story. The story isn't original but if your looking for that lost medieval Final Fantasy charm in the olden days of Final Fantasy, tons of interesting characters with personalities and quirks, animations and a combat system inspired by the Uncharted series, and nevertheless a pretty well-told fantasy JRPG story with beautiful music, the most beautiful graphics you can find in a Wii game, you will get it here.

    However one thing I have to say is this is not a turn-based JRPG. It's an tactical action role-playing game with cover mechanics, stealth and action that vaguely resembles more of games like XCOM and Fire Emblem than say Kingdom Hearts. That being said, it's a very fun game, and although it has a focus on tactics it is casual-friendly and the bosses are some of the most epic bosses you'll find in a Nintendo game. Not to mention, this is honestly one of the JRPG series that I really REALLY want to see a sequel for. It is just that good and it will leave you wanting for more from the creator of Final Fantasy himself.
     
  2. TheCharredDragon

    TheCharredDragon I mean it when I say I'm an RPG nut

    YES! I INSTA LOVE THIS THREAD! -ahem- In all seriousness, I am a big RPG nut and with JRPGs in particular since they're more commonly story-based in focus and turn-based in combat. But here's the thing, I know quite a lot of people who love RPGs would know these games (like myself knowing The Last Story even though I haven't played it) but, as far as I can tell, most people don't play JRPGs or know it unless it's really big like Final Fantasy. So first, I'm going to list a few JRPG series and games that might be popular or known but not as much Final Fantasy.

    Warning! Spoiled because of blocks of texts!

    . . .

    A series of RPGs made by Atlus, also called simply as MegaTen, and sometimes Shin Megami Tensei or SMT, though I'm not entirely sure at the moment the different between MegaTen and SMT but I digress. It has all the staples of RPGs--elemental weaknesses, statuses, buffs, debuffs, etc.--but unlike most RPGs, buffs and debuffs are important and elemental weaknesses usually include physical attacks and maybe even status effects as well depending on the game. And the biggest reason is because Atlus games are notorious for being hard much like Dark Souls and you will need everything at your disposal.

    One of its mainstays is that it has demon negotiation where you, well, basically have to negotiate with a demon so you can get them to join you or give you something, and demon fusion where, unlike Pokémon, you will have to fuse stronger demons if you want to go forward by, well, fusing two demons together which is likely to learn stuff from the demon parts the demon usually doesn't learn. Another thing that's typical is you choosing between Law, Chaos or Neutral, but none are necessarily "evil" or "good" because the point is for you to choose what you think would be good in your own personal moral code (though most people from what I've seen generally agree that Law is awful in its execution of its ideals: total control of everything, no deviation whatsoever and God and/or the angels being gigantic jerks most of the time). And as such, this greatly affects the story, which is typically post-apocalyptic or the apocalypse is about to happen.

    Though, warning, there are some fans who really don't like its more popular spin-off, Persona, because it's been overshadowing SMT as of late. It also has other "spin-offs" like Devil Survivor which is basically Fire Emblem x SMT in gameplay (which you should also totally play if you love FE and/or Persona), maybe even more than Tokyo Mirage Sessions, or TMS (yes it's SMT in reverse), Encore since that game is more akin to SMT (or Persona) gameplay from what I've seen. And SMT III: Nocturne is considered the best by most, though I'm not entirely sure why yet.

    The aforementioned more popular spin-off of SMT to the point that it dropped the SMT prefix starting around P4 Golden. It got even bigger with P5 with lots of new people getting into the series as well as getting a representitive in Smash in the form of Joker. It has all the staples and needed strategies of SMT, but unlike in the main games, demons are from the mind and called Persona, it has lots of Jungian and Tarot symbolism, and it's set in modern day Japan involving high schoolers, most of the time.

    Gameplay is more streamlined and it's comparitively easier than mainline SMT but it's still plenty hard if you don't know what you're doing, especially with buffs and debuffs. It sets itself apart from mainline SMT with these things called "Social Links" (or Confidants in P5) where you strengthen your bond with somone and the stronger it gets, the stronger your Persona and if you max a Social Link, you get a really strong Persona often called an Ultimate Persona.

    I personally think this series is a good introduction to SMT in general (particularly P3 - P5 because P1 and 2 are more like mainline SMT than those 3) but some would argue otherwise. This series has my number one music tracks and I listen to them pretty much almost everyday. To prove the point on how good it is, here's an analysis of Persona 5's music, and an analysis of one of its composers, Shoji Meguro. In short: genius.

    Technically started with the Dragon Slayer duology and the Gagharv trilogy, but it mostly become notable starting with Trails of the Sky FC, which is when the Trails series started to use one world for all the current games, just set on different nations, with an Empire right beside a Republic. This series is made by Nihon Falcom and like Persona, it's actually a more popular spin-off. Anyways, gameplay wise, it's your typical RPG but it gas a few more modern mechanics like healing whenever you level up and you can see the monsters in the overworld. When you actually get into a fight, simply put, it's like playing FE on a small grid and different mechanics.

    Speaking of that, because magic is done through magi-tech in this world, and everything being like early 1900s in tech level but more streamlined and if zeppelins were still a thing, you gain magic by having "gems" and arranging it in your magic casting device called an "Orbment" and different combinations of different types and how much of each type will give you different magic, so technically everyone can learn everything. But of course, not everyone is good at magic so keep that in mind. Also, it's kind of more complicated than that and that's just a simplification.

    But the main focus is the story and music. Unfortunately, I haven't made it far in any of Trails games I'm into so I can't say much on it other than it's fascinating and that it's mostly self contained...except for Trails of Cold Steel III and IV because, apparently, it's basically the Infinity War of the series from what I've heard.

    The music is great like Persona. One fan I know of says there's only two types of music from Trails, "good" and "really good", so that's a plus for me.

    Tales of: Yes it has a similar title scheme to the above but it's very different. For one, it's an action RPG. For two, each game is set in a different world. Unfortunately, the only one I've played is Tales of Innocence but what I have played of this and heard of other games, it's definitely worth it to check the series out.

    Etrian Odyssesy: First person mystery dungeon by Atlus. Not much to say on this too for similar reasons but one thing to know: status effects are typically broken in this series, noticeably poison. And there's technically a barebones story for most of the games, but that's not the point. The point is to have an adventure and explore the dungeon(s) you need to see and have your own stories from it. As far as I can tell anyway.

    Radiant Historia: I just love this game. I really should go back to 100 percenting it but anyway... It might not be Chrono Trigger, but the battle system is fascinating enough in itself, the story is pretty unique (and good but I won't tell why except that I didn't expect a certain thing in the best ending involving the antagonist) in my opinion and the time travel is pretty interesting since you have to jump between two (or three in the remake, Perfect Chronology) timelines to get further in both and sometimes some insignificant thing or quest might help you move forward or unlock the best ending.

    Oh, and the music is by Yoko Shimomura. You know, the composer of Kingdom Hearts, so the music is definitely good. The regular battle music is great to listen to and each background music are, well, nice background for each area and town.

    Of course since I love Persona, it should be no surprise I love this game too. But I actually played his first before Persona so it's actually the other way around but anyway... First off, it was on the DS and remade into the Switch and...if you know the gameplay of TWEWY, it didn't go so well. But the DS version is the only one I played and that's what I'll talk about.

    First off, I love the aesthetic and setting. It looks so much like a comic book to the point the the speech bubbles are comic book speech bubbles. The fact it's set in Shibuya makes it interesting since fantasy based games are rarely set in more modern settings, let alone a real one. Shibuya drawn as a comic book makes it look really unique and the characters are also in the same style so all together, it makes a great visual.

    Gameplay is, well, unique, and I feel like this is the only touch screen based game I've ever played where I had fun with it. The motions are simple, for the most part, and though the split screen might seem difficult...well, how I did it was focus on the bottom screen, and just vaguely press D-pad for the upper screen since the touch screen was where most of the action is. So it wasn't too bad. Like I said, it was fun and the boss battles were difficult but fair as a result.

    Also, though some might not like it, fashion (this game's armor) affects how powerful your attacks are, which are done by using pins. Each pin has a brand, like each clothing has one too. And each part of Shibuya has different preferences so pins get stronger or weaker depending on the fashion trends. But if you keep wearing the same brands, you'll set the "trend" and thus give yourself a boost. And enemies can only be encountered if you select on them (it makes sense in the game), besides most bosses. There's more gameplay, but those are the main things I wanted to point out.

    Also, the soundtrack is amazing. But it's mostly pop, rock, hip-hop, rap and stuff like that, but still with plenty of tracks appropriate for the mood, but, well, if you don't like mainstream stuff (or Persona's music) you might not like the music.

    Yeah, okay, it's not a "JRPG" but come on! It's like Pokémon and at least wikipedia counts it as a JRPG so I'm counting this. And yes, in concept it's basically a rip-off of Pokémon...but that's really why I wanted it in the first place because I also like prehistoric animals and it was so nice to see a game that doesn't have the dinosaurs (or in this case "vivosaurs") out to kill you. Before I go further though...Fossil Fighters 1 is fine but DO NOT bother with Frontier, as much as I like Nibbles from that game. Just don't. It may be a good game to some degree, but if you like Fossil Fighters 1 or Champions, you won't like it.

    Anyways...what sets it apart from Pokémon, other than the creatures, is the gameplay. This game has, by far, my favorite battle system. Only Octopath Traveler tops it.

    Battles are done with a team of 5 vivosaurs and then selecting 3 to battle the opponent's 3. On both sides are circles made up of six hexagons, three of them make up the Attack Zone (AZ), and there's another Support Zone (AZ), and that's important because each vivosaur has a range and their best range is shown by a star over the opponent. As such, close range prefers the front most AZ since their range is one hexagon while something like mid range has two hexagons. And to further spice things up, you can move your vivosaurs around the field as much as you want, even temporarily move them forward and then back, and there are also moves that force the opponent to move because another factor are Support Effects because every vivosaur, whenever put in SZ, can either debuff the opponent or buff your teammates, which can get fun if you can debuff, say, the accuracy of an opponent by 99% (maxed out Dilo can do this for those wondering). But sometimes your vivosaurs buff your opponent or debuff your teammates. This is all done with Fossil points, which regenerates each turn, and each actions costs a certain amount of it so if you save it up, you can wipe out a party.

    Tl;dr, battle system is awesome and unique.

    As for getting vivosaurs, you do it by, well, digging for fossils and cleaning them. Each vivosaur has four parts (head, arm, body, legs) and the better cleaned it is, the higher its base level it will be when it revives as each part give 100 exp when cleaned at, well, 100% without damage. But there are several varieties of fossils in Champions, from giant ones with all the parts to single ones because it's an invertebrate. And then there are gold and silver fossils later that can upgrade and (in the case of some vivosaurs when using golden fossils) "evolve", though their evolutions are hit and miss for me.

    The story and plot aren't exactly mine blowing (and some of its twists might be obvious to some) but like Pokémon, it's still a pretty fun one. And though I like the music and it's nice, it's not exactly something to write home about, especially compared to things like Persona. And neither are the graphics. But really, you should play this if you love Pokémon and prehistoric animals, because that's what this is.

    . . .

    Yes, I know that was long. But these are RPGs. What did you expect? And I love these so there.

    Anyways...those are my thoughts. There are probably others but those are the ones I can think of descriptions for...for now. But here are some honorable mentions I know of that I wanna try at some point:
    • Lost Dimension (SRPG by Atlus that's a standalone IP witb RNG traitors--yes, RNG traitors)
    • Xeno series (yes, there were other games before Xenoblade, specifically Xenosaga which I actually knew of before Xenoblade, but I personally wanna try Xenoblade first)
    • Harvest Moon series
    • Phantasy Star series
    • Breath of Fire series
    • Ni no Kuni series
    • Summon Night series
    • Xanadu series (specifically Tokyo Xanadu)
    • Bravely series (mentioned 'cause Octopath Traveler)
    • Monster Hunter series
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
    InfiniteBakuphoon and shoz999 like this.
  3. WalesNote

    WalesNote Well-Known Member

    Digimon Series:

    Digimon World. What I would call a hardcore (maybe too hardcore?) monster raising game. Get your digimon, feed them, put them to bed, take them to the bathroom, train them, and digivolve them (hopefully to something good). Explore File Island and bring back the digimon who have left, make the city lively once more, and show the bad guys who's right. It can be a hard game, especially in the beginning, so I suggest looking up a guide before getting started. It's got some bad game design here and there, and in some versions there are game-breaking bugs and stuff (like the jukebox - don't try it), but it can give a solid and unique experience.

    Digimon World 3. A more traditional turn-based jrpg. Enter the popular online game 'Digimon', choose your starting partners, explore the world, fight, train, digivolve, battle! It might be a bit on the slower side compared to the first (and of course all the other huge differences), but it offers a fairly good digimon experience, if i bit on the grindy side of things. This time, however, the bad guys have much bigger plans, and then some. The monster raising in this one is much less than in the first World game as it's a simple turn-based rpg, but it's much easier to get into in that sense.

    Digimon World Cyber Sleuth. A modern digimon game compete with character designs hailing from Shin Megami Tensei (I think, or maybe Persona or something). A traditional turn-based jrpg where you use scan data to create your own partner, raise them in the digi-farm, and digivolve them to all sorts of great and terrible beasts. It's got a decent story, and decently good character design, great graphics (especially for being originally a PS Vita game), and over 200 of your favourite digital monsters to become partners with. It's also somewhat newly released on Switch. There's also a sequel that's even better.
     
    TheCharredDragon and shoz999 like this.

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