Author Topic: Things you can't bear in a JRPG

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PandoraWizard

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Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« on: February 06, 2018, 01:50:53 PM »
The title speak for itself. What are the systems, features, design decisions you can't bear in a JRPG. Or do you have examples of great design decisions that should become game standards?

I have started this post after reading Dincrest's comment in another thread, here's the snippet:

Quote from: Dincrest
My biggest problem with modern JRPGs is that the menu interfaces look stylish but are not ergonomically functional.  Menu navigation is more convoluted than need be and fonts are always minuscule.  Why is there never an option to increase the font sizes in menus and dialogue boxes?  Give me clean, simple menu layouts and large legible fonts. 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 02:00:14 PM by PandoraWizard »

Mickeymac92

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 03:43:59 PM »
I've only encountered this twice, but difficulty spikes following Points of No Return. Forcing the players to deal with significantly more difficult mobs without allowing them to grind against easier ones in case they were unprepared is just bad game design, and really goes against what an RPG is about, at least in my opinion.

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Goblin Shark

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 04:32:32 PM »
I was about to again say "miniscule fonts in modern JRPGs with no way to make them bigger" but that was what inspired this thread. 

Another biggie for me is the classic obnoxiously high encounter rate, be it random or visible. 
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Klutz64

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 11:34:51 PM »
I feel like this thread always seems to pop up once in a while, but it's a fun topic, so lessee here...

- Completely agree with poorly optimized UI's, but I feel like that's an issue in all modern HD games rather than just JRPGs.

- DEFINITELY agree about difficulty spikes. Could barely even damage the final boss of the GBA version of Lunar and the final dungeon didn't really give me much exp to work with for grinding, either. Never bothered finishing it.

- I don't mind random battles IF they're integrated into the design of the rest of the game. Can't stand games with puzzle dungeons that tend to involve a lot of getting lost and backtracking paired with random battles.

-Too many/too little tutorials - Golden rule: Tell me everything I need to know to enjoy the game. EXACTLY ONCE. Though having an area to review for refreshers is also helpful.

-Useless mechanics - Can't think of any specific examples at the moment, but I know I constantly see this in JRPGs where some battle mechanic or whatever is introduced to spice up (see also: over-complicate) the experience, but is quickly realized to make little or no difference.

MonCapitan2002

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 02:16:10 AM »
I think tutorials can be a real pain in the ass.  A better option would be to provide physical instruction manuals with the physical copies of the games as a handy reference and digital instruction manuals for both digital and physical copies.

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Arvis

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 09:19:51 AM »
Difficulty spikes are probably the cardinal sin of JRPGs.  "Having fun?  We'll fix that!"  Good way to get me to never finish your game or recommend it to anyone.

On a more personal beef, RPGs that completely remove player choice and freedom from me, a la classic FFIV.  I want options to play with, dang it!
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Goblin Shark

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 05:48:27 PM »
I generally don't have issues with games being linear, but the whole "forced choice" thing bugged me in Suikoden where I was given a choice and the game kept pestering me to choose the other choice that it wanted me to make.  For those who don't know, it's when
Spoiler: show
the game forces you to say yes to Gremio coming with you on that fated mission.


On the other hand, too much freedom to do whatever I want isn't great either, because then everything's too vague for me and I like structure.  Lute's quest in SaGa Frontier comes to mind.  You could theoretically encounter Lute's final boss in 15 minutes or so through aimless wandering. 

As for tutorials, I like how Grandia 2 did them.  At inns, there was a tutorial guy clearly marked and if you wanted to talk to him about tutorials, you could.  And if you didn't want tutorials, simply ignore him.  This way tutorials were always easily accessible to those who wanted them yet not intrusive and even optional for those who didn't want them. 

And as far as difficulty balance and grinding goes, my standard is that if I make it through the entire dungeon without running from a single encounter, I should be prepared enough to take on the boss. 

One issue that was highly prevalent during the Playstation era and still rears its ugly head lies in games where you can never get the camera quite where you want it to be.  One of my biggest complaints in Summon Night 6 last year was that I could not pan the camera 360 degrees to get full views of the battlefields. 
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Der Jermeister

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 06:17:41 PM »
Unnatural battle dialogue. Even popular RPGs have it. Like, who the hell shouts "No good!" when defending an attack? (Vexen in the Kingdom Hearts games)

One of the biggest offenders in my mind is Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete where they shout things like "Ferocious wind!" and "Mega magic flame!" That's actually *worse* than shouting the names of attacks.

The shouting of attack names in Tales of Symphonia was at least bearable since characters tended to preface it with something like "Are you okay?" and "Don't overdo it."

One of few games that did battle dialogue right in my mind was Final Fantasy X, which was very subdued in that regard, and they said things before defeating foes like "See ya!", "It's over." or "Farewell!" before offing foes.

Agent D.

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 08:59:19 AM »
Non-skippable minicutscenes like when you use a summon in ffvii for the 85,000th time and you have to watch the whole thing. If they give you an option to do stuff during it like in VIII where you could boost or some other form of active input it's forgivable, but in this day and age, having to sit through an ability level up or item creation success is STUPID AS FUCK.

One of the few things in xenoblade 2 that drove me nuts actually....thankfully the music was calming.

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NickRansbottom

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 10:18:52 AM »
Amnesiac heroes and fanservice.
Non-skippable minicutscenes like when you use a summon in ffvii for the 85,000th time and you have to watch the whole thing.
Also, this.

Arvis

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 10:21:08 AM »
Amnesiac heroes and fanservice.

LOL, so Ys and Ar Tonelico/HDN are right out then.
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Goblin Shark

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2018, 01:41:22 PM »
Another one for me, personally, is pop culture references in fantasy RPGs.  Working Designs used to be a huge culprit here.  Pop culture references kill any immersion I have in the game's fantasy world and become very dated very quickly, eliminating the timelessness that fantasy is known for.  The only time pop culture references work in a fantasy video game is if it's set in a more modern/contemporary time or are period pieces like Saturday Morning RPG.  That game was a love letter to the 1980s and works because of all the 80s references. 

Oh, and I always have to gripe about sequences, be they puzzle or platforming or whatever, that require the most minutely pinpoint accuracy to get right.  Xenogears' Tower of Babel was one sequence that made me indignantly throw things in nerd-rage because it was such a poorly done slice of video gaming.  It was also a sequence that I couldn't cheat my way out of, either through grinding or using a cheat device (like a GameShark) or what-have-you. 

I'm also not a fan of the following: 

-when there is only "one true way" to get a task done.  Xenosaga 2 was notorious for that with Break Zones.  There was only one perfect sequence to kill or even damage a foe, and hunting for that sequence was a crapshoot. 

-vague plot direction.  That killed any enjoyment I was having in Elemental Gimmick Gear because if I have no idea where to go or what to do, it's pointless. 

-And then you have those rare cases that feature both "crappy direction on how to advance" and "one true way" like the infamous "cat moustache" puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3.  It was, in itself, a clever puzzle but it was 100% arbitrary and completely out of context, especially since the dude you were trying to disguise yourself at had no moustache.  (ASIDE: Dangit, why does this forum keep redlining me moustache?  That is a valid spelling!  Webster's dictionary says so!)

EDIT: And when it comes to tutorials, while most of us cringe at all the hand-holding tutorials that keep interrupting our play experience, I think Unlimited SaGa is one game that would have benefited from some hand-holding in-game tutorials.  I'm a hands-on learner so I get more out of in-game interactive tutorials than just reading a manual.  Like when I'm playing a new boardgame or card game, having a more expert player guiding my n00b ass through the rules of the game teaches me how to play more effectively than just reading the rules. 
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 02:05:06 PM by Dincrest »
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Rook

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 05:24:39 PM »
I don't hate random battles and will play the living hell out of FF10 anyday but I despise them if they are combined with any of these features.
-random battles in exploration driven games (Skies Dreamcast)
-obscene random battle loading times (Skies DC - some PS1 RPGs)
-battle systems that I hate (thousand arms)

This isn't really relegated to JRPGs (hai! X-Com) but cheap permadeaths in SRPGs. I hate it when your characters get one shotted becuase you moved a square too long. Permadeath is fine. It keeps you from charging in but give me at least a turn to get that player off. I loved VCs permadeath system and also Banner Saga had a excellent system where your character is sidelined for a few battles.

Goblin Shark

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 06:18:45 PM »
I obviously loved Thousand Arms, but man that battle system was a clunky mess.  It was FF's ATB and Grandia's IP systems gone horribly wrong.  I figured out a loophole/exploit to make battles faster and the back row more useful, but it took away all the cartoony personality that made the battles watchable. 

Another gripe- games on portable systems that don't allow anywhere/anytime saving or at least a quicksave feature.  When you're gaming on the go, the flexibility to save at a moment's notice is important.  Maybe you reached your stop on the train or bus ride.  Maybe your battery is running low.  Maybe you've just been called in from the waiting room.  Losing your progress is a bane of any RPG player's existence. 

Speaking of saving, I notice that a lot of modern games now only have one save slot.  Personally, I like to keep several saves. 

EDIT: I notice that some of my gripes are ones I've been harping about since circa 2000.  You would think that in the almost 20 years since then, some of these would have been 100% resolved.  But no, there are still games on portable/handheld systems these days that don't have anywhere/anytime saving or at least a quicksave.  Otherwise, yeah, my main gripes for the HD era of gaming are text fonts in menus and dialogue boxes that are too small and no way to make them bigger and menu interfaces that, while stylish, aren't ergonomically functional. 

I just remembered another one that one of our deaf/hearing impaired members told us about: Games that don't have subtitles during voiced cinematic cutscenes.  How is a gamer with a hearing impairment supposed to enjoy those scenes if s/he can't understand what the characters are saying?  We have a deaf student in our program this year, and he and I bonded because we both play video games.  (I've been wearing a Tekken lanyard with my work ID, he noticed that, and we started communicating about games.)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 06:34:42 PM by Dincrest »
You can brag about your 5000+ friends on social media all you want, but riddle me this: how many of them would help you move?

Arvis

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Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2018, 10:29:02 AM »
Trying to picture a deaf person attempting to lip-read a video game character made me laugh, then made me annoyed.  Subtitles/CC should be in everything.
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons