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Old 01-31-2011, 08:42 AM   #16
Librarian
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Vagrant Story, and its many lessons for uninspired JRPG

To come back to the topic of JRPGs I'd like to point out that some of the later additions to the genre stray from the tired conventions of dungeon/overworld/town and random encounters, namely the Persona series and even though they still feature random encounters, other games from the Megaten universe like Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga feature combat that is more engaging than what most traditional JRPGs have to offer.

Still I agree that the genre has been stagnating for the longest time now, games like DQ IX as charming as they might be still offer very little in terms of innovation and series entries like Final Fantasy XIII while trying to break new grounds still annoy with the other dead horses that are being beaten over and over and over again, which is cutscenes that are far too long combined with a story that is convoluted without being complex or engaging, FMVs that are spectacular but tiring after 12 years of FF FMV overkill and a metrosexual androgyneous young cast of characters.

Story is in fact a main issue that sours most modern RPGs for me, because it is usually a case of been there done that.
FF VII, the blueprint for the JRPG emo heroes ever after, was something new and fresh when it came out, it was something most of the western gamers had never seen before, but it has gotten old.

At the same time western RPGs run danger of becoming equally formulaic, going for the sandbox type gameplay of the Arena Scrolls games or following the yellow brick road Bioware paved.
To be honest, for me all the praise Bioware earns for their stories is just an indicator of how bad most stories in games are.
And the wonky action combat is something I never enjoyed and I hope japanese developers do not make the mistake of trying to copy that.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:59 PM   #17
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Vagrant Story, and its many lessons for uninspired JRPG

Just read this article and I like it (I agree with many of the points kamiboy raises). I can't stand JRPGs, the reasons primarily being the incessant combat (Lost Odyssey had an enemy popping up every 4.5 seconds, it felt like), the interruptions to go to the battle screen, the battle screen with queued attacks, and the party-based combat. Apart from that, they're fine.

So the appeal is lost on me. I don't know if any of that could or should be changed; however kamiboy's 'improvements' make sense to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
At the same time western RPGs run danger of becoming equally formulaic, going for the sandbox type gameplay of the Arena Scrolls games or following the yellow brick road Bioware paved.
To be honest, for me all the praise Bioware earns for their stories is just an indicator of how bad most stories in games are.
And the wonky action combat is something I never enjoyed and I hope japanese developers do not make the mistake of trying to copy that.
Well, I don't think there are a huge amount of open world RPGs being released. Bethesda and a few sub-par European developers are about the height of it. But I accept your point about being formulaic - for me it is in the whole good\evil character choices, which I'm starting to find tiresome. Fallout New Vegas made a good stab at subverting this - at least as part of the main quest, where none of the factions were good\evil (apart from the Legion) and whom you chose based on a balancing of good and bad points. So the story was good there, and well executed. I'm still wondering why the game left me cold though.

As for Bioware, at least they're making an effort. I thought Dragon Age the dullest game ever (down to the combat, I think) and it was sheer drudgery to play through. Even though I liked the story and the interplay of the characters, I just couldn't play it past a certain point because it was so damn boring.

Of course, with the open world games you have the challenges associated with delivering a structured story in a free-roam environment. I thought Fallout 3 and F:NV did reasonably ok in this regard.

Crap, look how long this post is.
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