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211  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 06, 2009, 03:28:53 PM
It's too bad there aren't more companies interesting in localizing Japanese PC games because Type-Moon in particular puts in some darn good stories in their visual novels.  Is it because of the lack of gameplay that the audience here is too small?  Hmm.

Lack of gameplay is probably a big part of it.  Many American gamers seem to be of the opinion that if they want a good story, they'll go read a book; good story in a game doesn't really add much for them, and they certainly wouldn't get a game just to sit there and read.  So it could just be a deep-rooted cultural tradition that may be heavily resistant to change.

Another big factor is that a lot of visual novels are eroge.  Slap the porn label on anything and instantly 95% of the American population will dismiss it as having no literary value.  Make a substandard, eroge-free anime of it and anime fans will gobble it up, completely oblivious to the source material.  Again, there's a deep-seated cultural tradition at work that's very resistant to change.

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I know some places like Peach Princess localize a ton of eroge.  The amout of eroge out there is insane, and I'm sure for every Crescendo (with a compelling storyline) there's probably 1000 throwaway garbage heaps of degenerate crap.

What Peach Princess localizes is only the tip of the iceberg, and much of it is substandard to what's actually available on the Japanese market.  There are however a few gems like Crescendo and Kana.  Family Project is supposed to be really good as well, which is their next project.  My favorite games, that is the "visual novel RPGs," are not really well represented in the localized market, and the few games that have been localized aren't very good.

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Oh yeah, some independent western developers like Hanako Games and WadJetEye games are making graphic adventures.  Fatal Hearts, by Hanako, was a fun visual novel.

The lead person for Hanako is actually someone who regularly frequents the Peach Princess message boards.  I remember her writing topics about her plans before Hanako actually got off the ground.

212  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 06, 2009, 09:01:05 AM
Unless they're playing a Japanese graphic adventure, aka a visual novel.  Those games are driven almost exclusively by storyline and characters.  Some like Phantom of Inferno are fantastic and some like Jake Hunter are terrible.  A lot of western-style graphic adventures employ more intricate storytelling than RPGs as well.  Games such as The Longest Journey/Dreamfall and Gabriel Knight are highly praised for their stories.

Visual novels have a huge market in Japan (something like 25% of PC game sales), but you don't really see them here in the West.  Type-Moon puts out games with pretty intense storyline, with Fate/Stay Night probably being their most popular.  A lot of anime popular over here for their story (particularly romantic drama or romantic comedy) are based on visual novels (e.g., To Heart, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Fate/Stay Night, Shingetsutan Tsukihime).
213  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 05, 2009, 06:46:12 PM
We have a new feature posting soon on the best RPG of last Generation (see XBOX, PS2, GC, Dreamcast).

What do you think will win?

JP

The list didn't include PC games, and many if not most WRPG's debut on PC.  I thought that was intentional (PC games are difficult to categorize by generation).

Favorite game of all time: Baldur's Gate II.  Not sure what generation that falls under.  The Witcher and Neverwinter Nights 2 were also solid.

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Atlus has to be very careful about how it spends it's money.  If they printed a bunch of Nocturne copies and they -didn't- sell, they'd be up the creek.  It's safer to just not print extra copies of old niche games and focus on something new.  The fact that the last reprint sold well doesn't mean that another reprint will; first off the e-Bay resellers will likely lose interest and try to cut their losses, and with the flood of titles from THAT it's less likely that the few people left who want a copy will actually buy an Atlus-produced reprint.

The niche game market isn't so simple as you seem to think.

I'm pretty sure reprinting is a lot cheaper than localizing a new game.  Video games have a huge overhead cost (development), and a relatively small per item cost (distribution of CDs with a case and maybe a fancy box).  Not to mention the cost of keeping unsold games in inventory has to be pretty cheap compared to more bulky items like say, a stack of lumber.  You'd think maximizing sales (with the high per item profit given the low cost of materials per item) would be a high enough priority that printing a few extra copies that may not sell would be a pretty minor risk.

With the next generation of downloadable games already arriving, hopefully game collecting will no longer be profitable.  IMO, collectors are the enemies of niche video game fans everywhere.  Nothing worse than taking multiple copies of a game out of circulation to sit on a shelf until fans are desperate enough to pay any price.
214  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age: Origins on: March 05, 2009, 08:57:53 AM
The game is supposed to pull from a number of their games stylisticly, but spiritually Bioware has said it's supposed to be the successor to the Baldur's Gate series...which has me very excited.  Limiting the group to 4 members limits the strategy a bit, but everything else they've released info-wise suggests this'll become my new favorite game.

After reading the (relatively) new webpage, I wouldn't be surprised if they have plans in the pipeline for an MMO based in this world.
215  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Fantasy RPGs? on: March 05, 2009, 08:14:42 AM
I find myself attracted to stat-heavy games, and I usually go for the passive skills first when I have a choice.  It's probably the joy of decrypting the system and figuring out which skills are best.  It's somewhat less enjoyable when the effects are hidden or overly complex, i.e., most Final Fantasy games.  I like it best when I can sit down, run numbers through my head, and figure out what's best in a given situation without having to consult an online guide.
216  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 05, 2009, 08:07:20 AM
Shin Megami Tensei games are not blockbusters.  Not only do they have relatively low budgets (due to the large amount of graphic recycling), but they don't sell that well compared to the big boys (although for low budget extremely niche games, they sell fantastically).  Persona 4 (123k) and Persona 3:FES (160k or so if I remember correctly) are the only Shin Megami Tensei games to sell more than 100k in the US and those games both had the advantage of cheaper price tags (P4 was $40 & P3:FES was $30).  In comparison, Dragon Quest 8 sold around 400k, Star Ocean 3 sold about 700k and Final Fantasy & Kingdom Hearts titles regular sell well over a million.

As for the question of best RPG of last generation, there's no way I could chose one.  Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, and Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter were probably the 3 I enjoyed the most (with FFX & the DDS games coming in close behind).

I couldn't easily find overall sales figures, but that is surprising.  Although, if the games sell out so quickly (as suggested with the Nocturne reprint), you'd think they'd print still more if there was a profit to be had.
217  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Fantasy RPGs? on: March 04, 2009, 08:17:32 AM
Hah, I never said the D&D magic system was efficient.  It has complexity and depth, but it has a huge learning curve and it's difficult to use on the fly.  Since you want a game that's limited to a handful of "useful" spells, you're obviously aiming in the opposite direction from me.
218  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 03, 2009, 11:15:20 PM
<shrug> From what I've seen the hype for the Shin Megami Tensei series is second only to the Final Fantasy series.  Whether it's deserved or not is a matter of opinion I suppose.

Honestly it's mostly that P3 came out of nowhere and blew away a lot of people, even those that have come to blow off JRPGs. Before then other series/developers definitely got more attention, and I doubt this is reflected as much in actual sales anyway.

http://www.videogamesblogger.com/2008/05/03/top-5-game-sales-per-system-worldwide-in-week-18-2008.htm

Persona 3 and Nocturne were topping North American PS2 sales for at least one week in 2008.  Granted, that was shortly after Persona 3 FES's release, but Nocturne had been out a while.
219  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 03, 2009, 10:50:15 PM
I played some of Eternal Punishment a few years ago and grew bored with it after a few hours.  I recently managed to push myself through Persona 3...and that's probably it for the series for me.  The difficulty and repetitiveness wore me down in the latter half of Persona 3.  I finish something like 90% of the RPG's I start, so it's rather unusual when I don't finish a game.
220  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 03, 2009, 10:37:53 PM
<shrug> From what I've seen the hype for the Shin Megami Tensei series is second only to the Final Fantasy series.  Whether it's deserved or not is a matter of opinion I suppose.
221  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Fantasy RPGs? on: March 03, 2009, 10:33:30 PM
I agree, games based on P&P systems often have more depth to gameplay mechanics such as magic, which makes them more interesting than the typical "hit level 5 and you learn cure II."  I always liked the spell levels and schools of D&D and Vampire the Masquerade.  The games gave magic a sense of depth and legitimacy lacking in a lot of JRPG magic, which often seems generic and overly simplistic.
222  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Help in Finding RPGs of a Particular Type on: March 03, 2009, 10:20:02 PM
It's been a while, but I remember some skills that increased weapon damage, critical hit rate, passive guard rate (for the player also), and movement speed.  There were some AI-only skills that could screw up the AI, but thankfully you could disable them.
223  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 03, 2009, 10:10:20 PM
I'd probably go with one of the Xenosaga games, Star Ocean III, or Valkyrie Profile 2.  The typical blockbusters (Final Fantasy XXX, Shin Megami Tensei, Fallout 3) actually interested me less than more homely games like Ar Tonelico and Magna Carta.  Sometimes "less is more."
224  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Help in Finding RPGs of a Particular Type on: March 03, 2009, 09:50:09 PM
Star Ocean games feature a fairly complex skill system that may fit your bill.
225  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Fantasy RPGs? on: March 03, 2009, 09:44:45 PM
What I'd really like to see is an approach similar to Fallout. Most sci-fi RPGs outright implant magic or have some rough analog, but Fallout shows that isn't inherently necessary in an RPG. I'd like to see more trying this approach rather than "Well it's an RPG the characters need special powers!".

I don't know, one of the reasons I like JRPGs is because they aren't bound with an iron chain to the concept of "realism" that seems so highly valued in Western culture these days.  I like a gameworld to have depth and be contiguous, but I play RPGs to get away from reality, not be plopped right back in it.  I played Fallout 3 for a few hours and couldn't really get into it...pretty much as with every Bethesda game I've tried.  But that's probably more an aversion to Bethesda's brand of open-ended gameplay than anything else.  I'm more a fantasy than a sci-fi fan though.
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