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Author Topic: Why You JRPG-Lovers Suck  (Read 22335 times)

« on: December 23, 2009, 12:19:48 AM »
I realized this same conclusion a long time ago, and sometimes argue with Chupperson Weird about it, but check out this great piece about the problem with JRPGs:

Awesome By Proxy: Addicted to Fake Achievement

Kuromatsu

  • 黒松
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 12:50:46 AM »
That was an interesting article.

Although first sight of the topic confused me, since I thought this was going to be a comparison of JRPG's and WRPG's.

« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2009, 02:16:08 AM »
What if I take challenges because of both oppurtunities to perform and master?
As a game that requires six friends, an HDTV, and skill, I can see why the majority of TMK is going to hate on it hard.

« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2009, 02:32:32 AM »
It's a good point. And yeah, I make it through RPGs by mashing the A button. I had to do endless grinding in EarthBound to get anywhere, which probably speaks to me having a lack of strategy. Mother 3 can be beat a lot quicker if you time your attacks with the music - but I didn't, so it was like EarthBound-grinding all over again.

But it won't stop me from enjoying RPGs and feeling pride for what essentially is "this is your reward for spending X hours on this game". There's also something to be said for the experience. A game can be easy to mildly challenging, yet still way more satisfying than a difficult game if the experience is up to snuff. I consider Okami to be the epitome of this view. Yeah it's more of an action RPG, but it's extremely easy. Bosses excluded, perhaps. Final Fantasy X might have been easy by doing grinding (I don't think it really matters where you go on the Sphere Grid, though not learning the Bio spell until late made a certain boss battle nearly impossible), but everywhere you go there's a beautiful area to walk through or some interesting chatting between the characters. It also felt like the longest game I've ever played in my life (my counter says 60 hours. Okami took 70, but a bunch of that was staring at the scenery).

Beyond Good & Evil, come to think of it, panders to the performance view. It too is a very easy game (and an action game to boot). You don't do anything terribly difficult, but whenever you do some small accomplishment, you've got a sidekick vocalizing lavish praise on you for it (usually Pey'j). In that way I felt BG&E was praising me more than other games, and it felt like I had accomplished greater things than in other games - forgetting that I hadn't actually used any skills to do so.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time seems to strike a happy medium. The only hard parts (aside from battles late in the game) are the acrobatics you do. The Prince has a significant floaty feel to him and will basically save you every single time you miss something by an inch (watch him in slow motion sometime. As long as you're jumping in the right general direction, he'll make it, so the skill that comes in precise movements doesn't apply. Also watch his uneven velocity all throughout a jump. He doesn't start plummeting (falling at a high speed) until you've completely missed a jump). Even though you don't have to be precise in your movements, you still have to be good with your timing to make it through some traps and you need to figure out how to use the environment to reach the next area. You have to use your brain to figure out how to proceed, you need some skill to pull off the timing, but you don't have to worry about jumping at the last possible second or at exactly the right angle. That's as it should be. And then include an Expert Mode to turn off the help if you're so inclined.

An even better example is how, again in Prince of Persia Sands of Time, you only need to hold down block to have the Prince block any sword attacks - even if the attack comes from behind. The Prince will find something in his 700 animations that allows him to twist and turn to save himself. It'd be better if you had to actually face the attack in order to successfully block it, but whatever. One time an enemy knocked me down, but Prince didn't get back up. So the enemy keeps jabbing his sword and there's Prince laying on the ground, still blocking every attack. Here's the thing: the game still allows me to tilt the sword left and right. I thought I had to do that to block any attacks that came off center (although to my knowledge none of them did). I didn't have to since he will block anything, but the illusion was there.

If it makes you feel better though, I finished most of Story Mode on F-Zero GX (difficulty Normal, which is GX-speak for Unfair). The wild thing about Story Mode is that, as incredibly difficult as each mission is, it only takes a LITTLE bit more perfection in your playing to pass the stage. If you can harden yourself to do that, you'll breeze through the mode. I can't vouch if that works on the Hard or Very Hard difficulties though. The Player's Guide said one of the missions on Very Hard requires a perfect run AND luck in order to pass. I'd believe it.

As for why the title says JRPGs, maybe it's that JRPGs just seem a lot better at the experience/depth/wonder/beauty aspect. Yeah, they're more linear than Western RPGs, but that allows developers to take a tighter hold over what the player experiences so it can be just right. I have to admit I don't know of too many Western RPGs though. To me, a Western RPG means "open-ended, feels like a single-player MMORPG". Maybe Legend of Mana fits that.

...there needs to be a topic on games that are easy to complete but where the real draw is going back and mastering it. Games where you'll be underwhelmed if you just beat it, but find the real appeal of the game in the stuff that's optional. I like to think Yoshi's Story is this. I don't care for it if you're just trying to finish it, but it's surprisingly hard (for me anyway) to find the 30 honeydew melons in each stage. Yoshi's Island for SNES doesn't qualify as it was a feat just finishing the game in the first place.

And someone needs to shoot me for making unnecessarily long posts.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 02:40:01 AM by penguinwizard »
You didn't say wot wot.

WarpRattler

  • Paid by the word
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2009, 03:22:39 AM »
No, penguinwizard, keep on making long posts. They're awesome.

I agree with much of the article, but something that caught my eye was his mention of Kingdom Hearts.

While I can agree with that sentiment for Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and especially Kingdom Hearts II, the systems used in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days make grinding not only a far more tedious task than in pretty much any other JRPG, but one that in the long run will have absolutely no effect on much of the game. In addition to presenting a somewhat higher difficulty than previous games in the series (particularly considering the lack of QTE-based attacks, which were all but omnipresent in Kingdom Hearts II), 358/2 Days includes special challenges where your level (among other things) is capped, so grinding levels won't help you at all. Instead, you must rely on how well you know the panel system and your actual skill.

(I almost made a similar argument for The World Ends With You until I remembered that the post-game consists of grinding forever to max out your stats via food. However, TWEWY still requires more actual skill than other JRPGs, as grinding to max out your stats via food during the story is simply not possible without DS time travel, and so you must still rely on your actual skills and ability to pay attention to two screens at once if you want to survive, particularly if you're the kind of player who raises the difficulty and drops to level one.)

In most cases, I enjoy turn-based RPGs, J or otherwise, for everything except the gameplay. Calling them RPGs is in most cases inaccurate; many of them resemble visual novels (some of which in turn often resemble JRPGs) far more than they do actual games. This also applies to many "action" RPGs and practically all turn-based strategy RPGs. However, saying JRPGs suck or that you can't play them for anything other than story because of their no-skill nature is absurd.

Let's look at a few examples to see what kind of things I'm comparing: The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road (or RIZ-ZOAWD), Dokapon Journey, and Custom Battler Bomberman (released in Europe as Bomberman II, but still not available in the US). All of these are DS games, and all are RPGs to some extent. They all differ in major ways, however.

The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road is a creative retelling of L. Frank Baum's wonderful story about a girl whisked away to a fantastic land of magic and talking beasts. Its combat system is incredibly basic and makes no efforts at any point to show at least some depth. Yet the game clearly isn't about combat. It's about the story of Dorothy and her new friends and their quest to aid the Wizard and save the land. Enemies fit into one of four simple themed groups, each weak to a particular character; meanwhile, outside of battle, the game showcases the ability of the DS to display lush, colorful landscapes and fluid 3D animation. (The music's not half bad, either.) RIZ-ZOAWD is more an interactive story than a game, moreso even than other JRPGs, but it doesn't really try to be anything other than that, and it works.

Dokapon Journey could be described as Mario Party-meets-Dragon Quest-as-JRPG-rather-than-Itadaki Street. Players take turns moving around the game board/world, fighting monsters in turn-based combat, picking up items and spells, liberating towns, and hindering each other's progress along the way. Like RIZ-ZOAWD, the game also makes no effort to be skill-based - after all, it's difficult to have much to do with skill when players spin to see how many spaces they can move each turn. Unlike that previous game, Dokapon Journey isn't really about the story - while the game contains a story mode (with a possible lesbian ending!), its other modes are shorter are are more like Mario Party but with turn-based combat instead of minigames. Dokapon Journey focuses on players having fun playing a JRPG in the form of a nonlinear board game, rather than focusing on an in-depth story or impressive graphics.

Finally, Custom Battler Bomberman is a standard stage-based Bomberman game, with its cyberpunk atmosphere being its main hook. The story, as with many Bomberman games, is forgettable; players control the computer program Bomberman and combat virus-based invaders or something. At first this sounds enough like Mega Man Battle Network to turn many players away, Hudson wisely chose to develop a mostly-traditional Bomberman game using this setting, rather than crafting a series of mostly-mediocre-or-worse JRPGs that will not die. Custom Battler Bomberman contains some RPG elements; in addition to raising his stats by picking up panels within levels like in previous games, Bomberman can wear equipment to change his base stats and grant abilities such as bomb kicking and remote detonation. Each piece of equipment has a certain point value, and Bomberman can only equip up to a certain point level. Bomberman gains experience and levels up through normal play, and each level increases only the point cap. With the standard Bomberman gameplay largely unchanged and players usually being able to find a good combination of items without fighting with the point cap, level-grinding is both unnecessary and pointless, and the RPG aspect doesn't play anywhere near as large a role in progression as a player's ability to play Bomberman. (Note also that while a local multiplayer mode allows players to use their customized Bomberman in battle, WFC play is standard Bomberman only.) Custom Battler Bomberman is, like many games today, not what's normally considered an RPG, but rather a normal game with RPG elements. A lot of games seem to be moving in this direction. And as long as they're good like Custom Battler Bomberman and don't get bogged down by the RPG elements like Hellgate: London or something, I'm cool with that.

(As a side note, I certainly love "performance-based" games like JRPGs and visual novels, but I also love "mastery-based" fare like rhythm games, shmups, and platformers, and I play games from the latter group for a different reason than those from the former. I enjoy stuff like Final Fantasy IV and Fate/stay night one way, and I enjoy things like beatmania IIDX, Battle Garegga, and Umihara Kawase Shun SE another. Mind you, this all gets thrown out the window when I play something like Etrian Odyssey or The Dark Spire, but...)

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2009, 08:08:55 AM »
That article seems to be a load of dukar.  I'm not a psychologist, so I'm not going to pretend to know whether or not there are "performance" and "mastery" orientations.  What I do know perfectly well is that I've liked just about every RPG I've played to date.  It's not about being told "Wow, you're smart" for me, it's about enjoying a story and characters.  So what if they emphasize patience rather than "skill"?  Last I checked, skill is not a factor in whether one enjoys something or not. 

Moreover, being good at some of these "mastery" oriented games, in the end, requires mostly muscle memory and memorization, or, if it's a particularly hard game, patience (rather like a RPG).  Anyone can beat, say, Super Mario Bros easily if they know what buttons to press at what intervals; or for a better example, try watching the world record speed run of Super Metroid (or any speed run, for that matter); the guy playing it has it down to a science.  It's become less about the fun of the thing and more about getting the best time or the highest level of completion.  Another example of what I'm talking about, also from Super Metroid : the Etecoons and Drachora that taught you how to Shinespark and Walljump; as many are already aware, the game actually gives you the option of saving them during the final escape sequence.  Do you see any of these "skilled" or "mastery-oriented" players stop to save the animals if they're going for the best time?  Of course not.  Or how about the infamous professional Smash Bros community.  "No items, Final Destination, Fox only" is the mantra of the most extreme players there.  It's true, items add an element of luck to the game, an element no one, scrubs or pr0s, can control.  No amount of skill can make a Pokeball containing Kyogre appear next to your character, nor can it suddenly make it disappear if it spawns next to your opponent's. 

Yet these games are just as enjoyable for someone who blunders all the way through Lower Norfair and survives the Ridley battle with a whole 14 energy to spare as they are for someone who doesn't take a single hit during the whole run.  They're just as fun when you don't use the shield buttons or air dodge or wavedash as they are when you do (some would argue, they're more fun without these things). 

There's a danger of sucking the fun out of games with a mindset that skill or "mastery" is all that matters.  I'm not saying skill is a bad thing, either; nor am I claiming that RPGs are more fun than any other game.  My favorite game series to this day is a trilogy of platformers that is notorious for being extremely hard to 100%.  What I am saying is that to insinuate that people who play RPGs have a psychological problem speaks more about the problems or the person doing the insinuating than it does about the problems of the person playing.  "Why You JRPG-Lovers Suck"?  Really?  I know you're probably trying to catch attention with that title, but you're insulting a lot of people over something so trivial as their liking of a video game genre.  Are you really going to tell me I should feel guilty over enjoying EarthBound because it didn't take "skill" to play (and I'm now going to take the argument I might have been expected to make long before now; devising and executing a good strategy for a RPG, in this case, EarthBound, can take just as much skill as getting under three hours in Super Metroid)? 

Well, now that the philosophy is out of the way, I'm going to cite some examples of RPGs that take more skill than you give them credit for. 
 
The action commands in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door take just as much timing to use and master as the jumping mechanics in the main platformers do, or even more precise timing if you want to make frequent use of Super Guards.  Also, grinding is extremely hard in this game because of the way the level up system works.  Good luck progressing much farther beyond level 30 without hunting Amazy Dayzees nonstop.

I'll also agree with Warp that 358/2 Days is less about grinding and levels and more about how you equip your abilities, and even more about how and when you use them in combat.

Unlike Warp, I'd also like to add Chain of Memories to the list.  Sure, it becomes laughably easy to steamroll waves of Heartless at higher levels, but the mechanics of the card duelling system make it so that bosses are more or less just as difficult (if one takes into account the relative amounts of HP both the boss and player have) to fight at any level (if you could fight the bosses more than once).  Again, it's about how and when you use your abilities in battle.

Also like Warp, I like a good platformer or action game as much as the next guy, but to say that RPGs and other genres are mutually exclusive is just crazy.  Again, and I cannot stress this enough: it's about the experience.  If you enjoy both RPGs and other genres, all for what they are, more power to you.  If not, then stop telling other people that they suck for enjoying them.


...that's the most use I've ever gotten out of the semicolon key.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 10:52:44 AM »
It seems you didn't read the entire article, Turtlekid. I quote:

"And I'm certainly not telling you not to play RPGs - I play them occasionally myself now, confident that now I'm enjoying them for the characters and story and not as a source of fake achievement. What I am saying is that you should pay attention to what's going on in your head when you play these games."

It's not about being told "Wow, you're smart" for me, it's about enjoying a story and characters.

There's no reason you should be offended. Also, the name of the thread should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 10:55:04 AM by El Gato »

WarpRattler

  • Paid by the word
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2009, 10:56:19 AM »
Speaking as a speed-, score-, and no miss-oriented gamer, Turtlekid, you're full of it.

Playing to reach the highest echelon of measurable skill in a game does not by any means "suck the fun out of it"; in fact, I've often found the opposite to be true. To use a variation of your major example, I derive far more enjoyment from Metroid Zero Mission playing through it at breakneck speed than I did stumbling through its version of Zebes the first time I played the game. The same goes for rhythm games; sure, it may have been fun learning them through lower difficulties, but compared to playing a game at its highest level...well, as xoxak once said of score versus non-score shmup play, it's like you're playing tee-ball and I'm playing home run derby.

And Chain of Memories may require the ability to pay attention to what the hell you're doing for a few boss fights, but in the end it's hardly skill-based. No game where you can simply level-grind your way through is.

One more thing regarding the "mastery-oriented" mindset that hasn't been mentioned yet: being able to prove that you are legitimately the best doesn't always mean you can't be better.

I had something at the end here about exactly what El Gato said. Anyway, yeah, Turtlekid is pretty much the embodiment of the mindset that sentiment was aimed at.

WarpRattler

  • Paid by the word
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2009, 11:13:43 AM »
Oh, three more things:

1. Turtlekid's argument about speed players not stopping to save the animals during Super Metroid's end sequence is absolutely retarded. Why the hell would a player who's going for a world-record completion time even think about stopping? Turtlekid is really the last person who should be complaining about something like this, since he clearly can't understand a speedrunner's mindset.

2. I hate what The Tetris Company has done to their game; that is, they've changed it from being "mastery-based" to "performance-based." The only present-day Tetris games that really require skill are the Tetris: The Grand Master games. Nine times out of ten, I just play Puyo Puyo instead.

3. TrackMania and Trials. That is all.

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2009, 12:09:55 PM »
Turtlekid's argument about speed players not stopping to save the animals during Super Metroid's end sequence is absolutely retarded. Why the hell would a player who's going for a world-record completion time even think about stopping? Turtlekid is really the last person who should be complaining about something like this, since he clearly can't understand a speedrunner's mindset.

Again, if you can't spare a few seconds to save some cute little animals who are the only friendly beings that Samus had met that mission, then why play the game?  I've half-jokingly said this before in the chatroom, but in this context I'm dead serious.  This is what I'm talking about when I say speed runs can suck the fun out of games (I did not mean to imply that speed runs are bad or wrong, sorry if I gave that impression).  And I know that players going for the world record aren't going to stop.  But what about those people who aren't trying to set any records, and just want to see Samus in a bikini?  The ones that have more than five minutes to spare on their total play time?  They could easily take the detour, save the animals and still get their fan service.  It's all about the experience.  Maybe I can't understand the speedrunner's mindset, but maybe I don't want to.  If you can really enjoy speedrunning the game, then that's great, and not saving the animals is forgiveable.  I guess I just find it hard to believe that all these "pr0" speedrunners ever even consider whether they're having fun.

It seems you didn't read the entire article, Turtlekid. I quote:

"And I'm certainly not telling you not to play RPGs - I play them occasionally myself now, confident that now I'm enjoying them for the characters and story and not as a source of fake achievement. What I am saying is that you should pay attention to what's going on in your head when you play these games."

There's no reason you should be offended. Also, the name of the thread should probably be taken with a grain of salt.


Sorry about that as well.  I tend to get miffed when anyone even gets close to what TV Tropes refers to as "Stop Having Fun Guys."  I probably overreacted, but I still stand by the original point I was trying to make (that is, just play the games you find fun, whether they take "skill" or not).
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

Glorb

  • Banned
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2009, 01:00:21 PM »
I've never really played enough of a true JRPG because they bore me to death (the exception being Chrono Trigger, which I made it about 70% through). The plots that aren't generic spunky princess and amnesiac hero oriented are even lamer than that, and there's rarely any freedom, story-wise. Or progression-wise.
every

« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2009, 02:55:07 PM »
I would have never known there were animals you could save at the end of Super Metroid unless I read about it in Nintendo Power or GameFAQs. Which I didn't. First time I finished the game, I had no idea there were animals there. I'd just see it as an amusing extra, not something you're obligated to do just because you think it's the right thing to do. If saving the animals added to your percentage (which I think they do), then that's another story.

And I don't think speed-running sucks the fun out of a game. You have the thrill of finding the fastest way through each level, and you can exploit glitches (and in Super Metroid's case, sequence breaking) to get even faster times. But it is a different experience from playing normally, no doubt about that. One reason being you're skipping entire parts of the game.
You didn't say wot wot.

« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 05:08:00 PM »
You know, threads with titles like this frustrate me that I inadvertently ****ed BP off of Fungi Forums instead of LD.

Anyway, while some of that article's conclusions are reasonable, it's ridiculous to assume that traditional RPGs require no skill. If gamers don't play them to be challenged, why don't they all level up to 99 before the first boss? Besides, much as in any genre, the player must react accordingly to unexpected situations, albeit with strategy and planning instead of quick reaction.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

WarpRattler

  • Paid by the word
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2009, 08:13:38 PM »
Weegee, how about you start a new game in Final Fantasy IV and grind to level 99 before you fight the Mist Dragon, and we'll see how far along you've gotten with that around this time next year?

Also, you should be used to this kind of stuff from LD by now. We're talking about a guy who makes statements akin to telling someone not to read the book a movie is based on because it'll spoil the movie.

Turtlekid, a player who happens to be speedrunning to see bikini Samus is not the kind of player we're talking about. If that kind of player skips the animals, it's because they decided to or didn't know they could do it. We're talking about the kind of player who goes for world records. The notion of adding a few seconds to rescue the animals would never cross the mind of one of these players. To these players, the animals don't even exist.

Chupperson Weird

  • Not interested.
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2009, 11:52:34 PM »
I'm not really going to bother reading all of the article or most of this thread.
People should play games because they find them fun. Lizard Dude has an inflated view of having mad skillz because he watched too much Pure Pwnage and forgot that things are about having fun, not showing how much better you are.
RPGs require as much strategy as action games if they're made properly. I like how the guy mentions Zeromus when in the real Final Fantasy IV you can still barely beat him if you're like at level 90.
That was a joke.

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