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Author Topic: The Western JRPG thread.  (Read 9835 times)
Silverwolf X
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2009, 12:17:07 PM »

I've yet to find battles quicker then Valkyrie Profile or heck, Ar tonelico 2's so far...

I'm not really fond of WRPGs if you ask me, being Asian and heavily Japanese influenced. But if I had to agree on any point stated, battles in WRPGs are slow and get mind numbing. I never could find myself enjoying Wizardry or Ultima.

Baldur's Gate had some interest but the characters bore me and Diablo? Well as far as hack and slash goes its fun, but eventually lack of character personalities eventually made me lose interest at times unless playing multiplayer. I don't hate these WRPGs, but I don't particulary enjoy them outside of gameplay.
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DPB
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2009, 01:04:26 PM »

But if I had to agree on any point stated, battles in WRPGs are slow and get mind numbing. I never could find myself enjoying Wizardry or Ultima.

This doesn't really apply to Ultima VII at all, which is usually acknowledged as the best in the series. Battles are very quick are more like filler than the focus of the game, which is dialogue. Most of the time you just hit the c key, wait a few seconds until everything is dead and then move on.
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Lard
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2009, 01:55:27 PM »

I like older WRPGs like Wasteland, Bard's Tale, Phantasie, Battletech and the SSI D&D games.

The thing I find with newer games is that there's so much emphasis on equipment and stats, that you can end up sitting there for half an hour screwing with stuff before you accomplish anything.
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2009, 02:25:13 PM »

I like older WRPGs like Wasteland, Bard's Tale, Phantasie, Battletech and the SSI D&D games.

The thing I find with newer games is that there's so much emphasis on equipment and stats, that you can end up sitting there for half an hour screwing with stuff before you accomplish anything.

Huh? I find that most newer games have completely removed the importance of equipment and stats, atleast on the JRPG front. On the western side of the scale, not much has really changed I find.

Most JRPGs have even done away with most stats and equipment, giving you maybe a new weapon or armor, and the 4 basic stats.
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Silverwolf X
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2009, 02:45:42 PM »

But if I had to agree on any point stated, battles in WRPGs are slow and get mind numbing. I never could find myself enjoying Wizardry or Ultima.

This doesn't really apply to Ultima VII at all, which is usually acknowledged as the best in the series. Battles are very quick are more like filler than the focus of the game, which is dialogue. Most of the time you just hit the c key, wait a few seconds until everything is dead and then move on.

Ultima VII has alot of dialogue, but the battles become redundant. Its pointless if they speed up battles and focus too much on story to the point its like reading a book instead lol. Nothing against it, been years since I touched that game anyway.
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Raziel
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2009, 03:29:48 PM »

I will say that I have seen better JRPG gameplay in some of the better RPGMaker games than I have out of any of the commercial Western made games that I've played.

See, that's interesting. Maybe the developers are trying too hard by making their battles slightly different than just straight turn based. Either that or they should just up the speed of the attacks and such. I've always liked quick battles in a JRPG, like Suikoden for instance.

Yeah, but usually Western RPGs have fewer encounters and have more tactical depth to them, so by the time you've finished off a ferocious fight with a mage in your typical WPRG, you've slain 20 killer rabbits in your typical JRPG.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2009, 04:33:27 PM »

I have yet to see any evidence that Western developers understand what makes for good JRPG gameplay.  Septerra Core & Anachronox both have much to recommend them, but they both suffered greatly from "Copy the outward tappings of JRPG gameplay without understanding the underlying philosophy behind making that kind of gameplay good and enjoyable."  Likewise, the videos I've seen of Black Sigil don't look all that promising in the gameplay department (the battles look really slow), but I'll withhold judgment until I've actually played the game.

I will say that I have seen better JRPG gameplay in some of the better RPGMaker games than I have out of any of the commercial Western made games that I've played.

Despite current evidence, do you think it's at all possible for a Western developer to make a good JRPG? 

For me, what I liked about Anachronox was that the basic gameplay (particularly the battles) was Japanese style, but the story and characters were undoubtedly American.  Sly Boots was more of a Phillip Marlow type detective than the very English Sherlock Holmes.  I also think part of the charm was that the towns played out like American graphic adventures, so it was a nice blend of east and west. 

With Black Sigil, the battles aren't any slower than your average FF with ATB.  Really, the only strikes I have against the game at this point (I've been at it for 10 hours or so) are that the encounter rate is annoyingly high and that the game is buggy.  I haven't encountered the game crashing stuff others have reported, but I have seen a few wonko glitches here and there. 

Some of the better commercial RPGM games are quite good.  Eternal Eden is still one of the most fun RPGs I've played of late.  It would be cool to see some of the good indie RPGM devs experiment with settings, storytelling and character archetypes from or inspired by their countries of origin. A protagonist of a Japanese archetype would likely approach RPG situation X differently than a protagonist of a Brazilian, French, or American archetype because of different cultural norms. 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 04:35:17 PM by Dincrest » Logged

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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2009, 05:33:02 PM »

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And how many have been released in 20 years?

Several hundred? Abandonia lists 92 PC RPGs in its archives, which I know is pretty incomplete, and most of those are commercial, with a few freeware ones in for good measure. That's also not counting Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST and Mac exclusives. And they're also completely ignoring anything released after like 1998ish, and don't really list any shareware games. So personally I'd estimate that there are around maybe 300-500 extant WRPGs.

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MagiNation and Septerra Core could both have been much better if they weren't so slow,

MagiNation is slow in like, "Holy crap why is this thing running at 7 FPS?" sense, though. If the battle menues had decent response times and it didn't take forever to load up animations, it would've been much quicker and playabler.

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I never could find myself enjoying Wizardry or Ultima.

Battles in Ultima 4 and 5 were pretty quick, slightly slower in 6 but you didn't get into battles in 6 very often, 7 was real time and battles were automated and didn't last long and you hardly went into battles anyway, and Ultima 8 was an action RPG. Did you even play the games?

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focus too much on story to the point its like reading a book instead lol.

Ultima 7's focus was more on creating a big interactive world with lots of sidequests and interactive bits like baking bread and having NPC schedules and other little details like that.

Also Ultima 7 has a lot of puzzle solving and adventure game elements and a lot of it's just about exploring and getting information.

Also, personally, I have to admit that the only RPGMaker game I've ever liked was Yume Nikki, which I really like *a whole lot*. Ahriman's Prophecy just felt really unpolished to me, and while I readily admit to not giving Eternal Eden a fair shake there wasn't anything in that game that was drawing me in.

And, admittedly, the only other RPGMaker games I've played beyond those were shit like Phylomortis. Phylomortis does not need to exist :}
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 05:35:19 PM by MeshGearFox » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2009, 07:49:59 PM »

i've always wondered why western developers rarely if ever attempt j-style rpg's. i mean that one lord of the rings rpg was pretty good. who cares if they ripped off FFX's battle system.
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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2009, 08:43:01 PM »

Ugh, I hated that LotR game. It felt similar to a JRPG, but Uncanny-Valley style similar.

I liked Shadow Madness though. It's possible I'm the only person who liked Shadow Madness, but I did. Not the greatest game, but I like stories involving plagues. The battle system was ridiculously easy to exploit though. I had trouble with a grand total of one boss fight (the first one) before making Windleaf/ Xero blast the rest into oblivion.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2009, 10:21:44 PM »

The hell LotR game are all y'all on about? I remember a few for the SNES and they were both pretty atrocitious as all get-on.

I think there's something with human nature that, if someone is provided with a puzzle, there's SOMETHING internal that compels them to solve it. WRPGs in particular tap into this.

This is particularly why Ultima 7 works. U7 HAS fetch quests, in different senses -- most literally you have some NPCs that pay you inflated prices for certain items like eggs -- but you also have more traditional get item X to advance plot/sidequests ones.

Except there's more to it than that.

In U7 talking to NPCs doesn't really trigger plot points -- not like in more recent CRPGs. U4's an even better example of this, as U7 does sort of use quest states to an extent where U4 is entirely based around WHAT you have and WHAT you, as the PLAYER, have learned.

But the dialogues in U7 are puzzles, or pieces of a puzzle. The point isn't to kill enemies. The point is to solve the puzzles. And you don't solve the puzzles because there's some in-game reward.

You do it because they're there.

In other words, the existence of a manhole necessitates a man.
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Kyle E.
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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2009, 10:26:13 PM »

The Third Age?
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2009, 10:36:10 PM »

I have yet to see any evidence that Western developers understand what makes for good JRPG gameplay.  Septerra Core & Anachronox both have much to recommend them, but they both suffered greatly from "Copy the outward tappings of JRPG gameplay without understanding the underlying philosophy behind making that kind of gameplay good and enjoyable."  Likewise, the videos I've seen of Black Sigil don't look all that promising in the gameplay department (the battles look really slow), but I'll withhold judgment until I've actually played the game.

I will say that I have seen better JRPG gameplay in some of the better RPGMaker games than I have out of any of the commercial Western made games that I've played.

Despite current evidence, do you think it's at all possible for a Western developer to make a good JRPG? 

Oh, totally.  Even though I have some misgivings, I'll probably pick up Black Sigil sometime and give it a fair chance since I admit that judging a game based on low res Youtube videos where I can't make out the text probably isn't the best judge of a game's worth.  And Alisha reminded me of Lord of the Rings: Third Age which has probably the best JRPG gameplay of any Western developed game I've seen.  However, even there, it was plenty flawed:

LotR: Third Age gameplay pros - Combat system is good (although admittedly highly derivative of FFX), constant progression (frequent LV-Ups + tons of equipment), useful status effects, wide variety of skills, decent amount of character customization.

LotR: Third Age gameplay cons - Very poor integration of gameplay and story, uneven & poorly balanced difficulties (normal is too easy, hard often ends up being more endurance than skill).
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2009, 10:38:18 PM »

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Very poor integration of gameplay and story, uneven & poorly balanced difficulties (normal is too easy, hard often ends up being more endurance than skill).

Sounds like it nails the essence of JRPGs right on the head.
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magusgs
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« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2009, 11:13:38 PM »

Despite current evidence, do you think it's at all possible for a Western developer to make a good JRPG? 

For me, what I liked about Anachronox was that the basic gameplay (particularly the battles) was Japanese style, but the story and characters were undoubtedly American.  Sly Boots was more of a Phillip Marlow type detective than the very English Sherlock Holmes.  I also think part of the charm was that the towns played out like American graphic adventures, so it was a nice blend of east and west. 

...

A protagonist of a Japanese archetype would likely approach RPG situation X differently than a protagonist of a Brazilian, French, or American archetype because of different cultural norms. 

I think the problem with that last statement in particular is that nasty things tend to happen when you mix Western and Japanese tropes: like Star Ocean IV.  Americans and Japanese also seem to have a rather different sense of humor.  This becomes glaringly obvious in games like Tears to Tiara.  The entire game is a series of gags between the characters, with a serious story that slowly builds in the background.  It's very anime-ish and it's not something Americans tend to appreciate.  Romantic themes are another big dividing point.  A Western company has to make games for its domestic fanbase, just as a Japanese company has to cater to its own.  Despite globalization, there's still a sizeable cultural and market barrier separating the US (and other Western nations) from Japan.  It doesn't make sense to produce a game that probably won't sell well domestically, although a few oddballs pop up now and then.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 07:15:33 AM by magusgs » Logged

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