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Recommend me a JRPG

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so i don't like jrpgs, on the whole. i hate the ridiculous and convoluted storylines, i don't like grinding, and i don't like anime or anime-inspired cliches (15-year-old protagonists with crazy hair, every girl being 12 and cutesy and annoying, loud and overdone gasps at the dumbest things, generally terrible voice acting).

however, one of my top games of all time is FFX, and i remember enjoying FFXII in college as well. so there has to be some redeeming qualities. i should note that i'm not talking about action RPGs here. i've never found a japanese-style action RPG that wasn't a mindless hack-n-slash game, so i'm saving my interest in the ARPG genre for when Hunted: Demon Forge, Dungeon Siege III, and Diablo III come out. so i'm primarily talking about traditional JRPG games, although i love strategy RPGs as well.

i enjoy a complex battle system, well-developed characters that aren't one-dimensional story props, and a story that is complex without being idiodic. the better the voice acting, the more i'll like it, as well. if there's no voice acting (for the handhelds), even better. i also rarely give games more than an hour or two to capture me before i throw them away because i hate them, so there's gotta be something right there to get me in or i'll just return the game.

so...any ideas?

please don't just jump in here and state a thirty-item list of games - tell me WHY i would like it. i've got a 360, PS3, PSP, DS, and a computer.

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If you enjoyed Final Fantasy XII, I think you would like Vagrant Story. The protagonist does fall into the "crazy hair" category, but otherwise the characters are more Shakespeare than anime (there's literally two characters called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). It's set in the same pseudo-medieval universe of Ivalice, so you'll get the same serious tone and generally drab color palette. The story involves a fair amount of religious/political intrigue I think you would appreciate. The battle system is skill-based and mildly addicting, and the equipment-crafting system is integral to your success in combat, as opposed to being an afterthought. The soundtrack can get on the ambient side sometimes, but it's widely regarded as one of Hitoshi Sakimoto's best.

The only downside is that it was released for the original PlayStation, so the graphics might be a little painful. If you play it on your PS3, texture smoothing should help a lot. If you play it on your PSP, it should look about as good as other PSP games.

Edited by Dhsu

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You can try the remake of Chrono Trigger for the DS.

IMO it features all the components you are looking for: Complex battle system, characters that are not always cliché, the storyline is very interesting.

Dunno if I totally missed the spot, just an idea here.

cheers.

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I have a fairly obvious but difficult/legally questionable suggestion. Which I also invite you to remix. :D No voice acting, 3 different storylines depending on the chars you select, fairly believable hair, chars aged 16-19 iirc... some grinding, but I recall the snes FF games being worse in that regard. Beautiful game with lots of different environments, a day-night cycle... basically the prettiest the snes has to offer.

Haven't played jrpgs since FFXII, so I'm really helpful here. :tomatoface:

Edited by Rozovian

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I'd recommend any of the Dragon Quest remakes for the DS. Mainly DQ:V Hand of the Heavenly Bride. It's hard to really describe what makes it a "Must play" in my book. The story was nice, it had some entertaining characters. The battle system isn't really so deep and over the top as they kept it simplistic. But the way the story evolves through the different generations of your childhood to adult was well done and none of the girls were these 12 year old cutesy messes. Sure the brides looked kinda kiddish.. But it was well done enough that they do look to be roughly 18 or so.

For a good story, nice soundtrack, and some extras to do if you're into hunting out items at your leisure for extra items and such it's got plenty to do. I definitely recommend it for all it has to offer as a solid RPG if nothing else. I can't really see anything it has that puts it above others. But it was a game done right in my opinion.

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Chrono Trigger is definitely worth checking out -- there's no absolutely required grinding if you don't care to max the characters you don't use. If it's helpful, Addie made it through CT and can still remember all of the characters. :)

I think that FF9 is the best of the series, and while the plot doesn't come together as neatly as FFX at the end, it has a similarly emotional storyline, and characters you can connect with (mostly Vivi, though a few of the others are excellent also).

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Also if you ever feel more adventurous, I would recommend Grandia II. The battle system is actually very similar to FF X's, with an even higher emphasis on turn order and the added dimension of positioning. Most of the characters are straight out of an anime, but the main character (voiced by Cam Clarke) carried it for me. It's definitely no Pokemon; plenty of adult dialog and situations to go around, and the story has a humanist subtext that you'd probably enjoy. I personally think it's worth tracking down the original DreamCast version, but there are also ports for PC and PS2.

I have a fairly obvious but difficult/legally questionable suggestion. Which I also invite you to remix. :D No voice acting, 3 different storylines depending on the chars you select, fairly believable hair, chars aged 16-19 iirc... some grinding, but I recall the snes FF games being worse in that regard. Beautiful game with lots of different environments, a day-night cycle... basically the prettiest the snes has to offer.

Haven't played jrpgs since FFXII, so I'm really helpful here. :tomatoface:

I think you forgot to mention the actual game. :P Are you talking about Seiken Densetsu 3? I think that counts as an ARPG, although a pretty good one.

Edited by Dhsu

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Due to your criteria, you can already toss out about 80% of all JRPGs out there. :<

If you're looking for stories with a "harder edge", I'd say go with anything Yasumi Matsuno-developed, which includes Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy Tactics. I'm leaving out FFXII-2, FFTA and FFTA2 since those have child-protagonists and can be annoying as hell. Dshu already mentioned Vagrant Story, and the others are fairly intricate war stories with fairly mature protagonists. Can't comment on grinding though. I forget if there's any of that in Tactics Ogre. He also usually has Hitoshi Sakimoto as his music front-man, and his music always goes great with Matsuno's stuff.

If you can stand more than a few cliches here and there, but want a pretty fun battle system and some damned fine graphics and sound(Masashi Hamauzu get), I'd say go with FFXIII. You have the option to grind, although it isn't particularly necessary. Keep in mind though that if you can't stomach the characters at times, then this game might not be for you.

If you enjoyed Final Fantasy X, then chances are you'd enjoy most previous Final Fantasies, as while they have a few cliches here and there, they're surprisingly mostly devoid of any I think. Keep in mind though that there CAN be some grinding in several of them. FFVI is the first I'd recommend.

Like Bardic said, Chrono Trigger is probably one of the better JRPGs you can grab. To this day, it surprises me how strangely unique it is. I can't tell if it's due to the visuals, audio, content or if it's more than the sum of its parts. Just a great game.

Incidentally, writing out this post helped me to see just what was wrong with FFXIII.

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Grandia.

Also the tales series. I guess it's more of an arpg because the battles aren't turned based, but combat is fun and addicting and everything else in the game is pretty traditional.

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Due to your criteria, you can already toss out about 80% of all JRPGs out there.

I think that's what he was going for, actually.

All those systems are too new for me, but if I need to make a suggestions (the DS is the only thing I have, right now) I'm finding Bowser's Inside Story to be surprisingly awesome. You do need to work around the fact that it's Mario, though.

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You can get yourself Fire Emblem for the GBA if your DS has a GBA slot. Good story, likable characters, and a really fun and challenging game.

Probably the best Fire Emblem released in the states, with the only competition being the Gamecube one.

If you like a nice medieval fantasy story, it's got something for you.

I WOULD suggest emulating Phantasy Star IV, but that story might be too anime for you. Still a great-ass game though.

Also, a good RPG would be Lost Odyssey for the 360. It's been kinda called "Final Fantasy without the name" and that's kinda what it is. Plenty of turn-based battles and an interesting story to pull you through. Though not everyone likes it.

If you want to try something a little on the wild side, you can get yourself Knights in the Nightmare for the DS. You've never played a game like it: It's like Final Fantasy Tactics mixed with Touhou. It's really tough to get into, though- I had to restart the game like 2 times before I finally figured out how to go about things (hint: make sure you break every possible terrain object). But it has everything to want in a good RPG: no grinding, no random battles,

, interesting (and often depressing) story, and it's lots, lots, lots of fun. Probably one of the better DS games. It also came out for the PSP, but since the game is pretty much all controlled by the stylus, I have NO clue how that worked out. The only thing is (besides being hard to figure out) is that the story, while interesting and good, gets REALLY convoluted, mainly because of the size of the cast. Though most characters only get one scene to talk in, and that's it for the story, it adds up. Edited by EC2151

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Super Mario RPG is the game that got me into JRPGs. I'd recommend that, if you haven't played it yet.

Anachronox for the PC is a JRPG, even if it's made by an American company. It's somewhat like if there were a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy JRPG. That said, there's a slow start (and yes I know what you said about slow starts) but if you get the newest patches then you can move through it faster and the game really takes off after about two hours. The story's good and the dialogue writing is far funnier and better than what you're going to get in an average JRPG and some of the environments are pretty wonderful.

Edited by ella guro

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Grandia.

Also the tales series. I guess it's more of an arpg because the battles aren't turned based, but combat is fun and addicting and everything else in the game is pretty traditional.

I think he made it pretty clear he was looking for a non-traditional, non-anime-style JRPG. The Tales series is probably the MOST anime-style RPG you'll find.

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FFIX is fo-sho less obnoxious with it's characters and storyline then the other playstation installments of final fantasy. It's got plenty of moments of genuine tradgedy and charm. It might seem a touch kiddy at first but don't let that fool you, it gets pretty dark ass.

It's also not neccessary to grind at all until the very end bosses, when it's very easy to do so (much like FFX).

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I would recommend Golden Sun and it's sequel GS: The Lost Age. There is also a DS sequel, but I haven't played it yet.

Relatively little level grinding, the hair is mostly sane, and the storyline is well written.

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If you can get a copy of Suikoden 2 (I think they're running for 140$ on ebay) then I would highly recommend that one.

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FFIX is fo-sho less obnoxious with it's characters and storyline then the other playstation installments of final fantasy. It's got plenty of moments of genuine tradgedy and charm. It might seem a touch kiddy at first but don't let that fool you, it gets pretty dark ass.

It's also not neccessary to grind at all until the very end bosses, when it's very easy to do so (much like FFX).

Another vote for FF IX here. I've played through all of them up to X, and VI and IX are my favourites in the series. You could always pick up VI for the GBA and play it on your DS too, and IX is available for $10 in the PlayStation Store for your PSP.

You can get through FF IX in its entirety without any real grinding (if you go for the Excalibur II sword, which you get by nearly finishing the game in only 12 hours, the game even *encourages* you not to grind; you'll never make it otherwise), the soundtrack is great, the story's pretty good, and most of your party members have well-developed backstories. It's also a return to the completely-medieval setting that Final Fantasy games didn't really have since FF III (starting with IV, they added progressively more steampunk elements), which really appealed to me.

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Fire Emblem (GBA) - Strategy RPG. Deep, well developed characters (though most of it is in optional conversations), good plot, accessible gameplay, zero grinding involved (seriously, it's literally impossible) and provides a great challenge in the higher difficulties. My favourite GBA game.

Sacred Stones is similar, but with less characters

Chrono Trigger - Basic battle system, but engaging and accessible at all times. Plot and characterization aren't complex, but they are very enjoyable. It's hard to think of someone not liking this game.

Final Fantasy VI - Engaging plot, devoid of anime/jRPG clichés. The gameplay is still very much like a traditional jRPG, though.

Final Fantasy Tactics series - The GBA version had incredibly engaging gameplay, but infuriating plot and unbalanced gameplay (battles were either pathetically easy or ridiculously hard). Maybe the PSP and DS games corrected those flaws, but I'm not sure.

Valkyrire Profile: Covenant of the Plume - The plot is very, very different than your standard jRPG. That's the main reason I'm recommending it, because it's a sRPG with aRPG-styled battles, which means you may not like it. Barely any grinding, though.

Golden Sun (1&2) -The first thing you need to know is that plot and characterization are very basic, nothing special. I mean, the characters, locations and setting are lovable, but that's it. The game focuses mainly on exploration and puzzle-solving. Battles are quick, but they are still turn-based, and they're the least annoying random battles I've ever seen.

The second thing is, you need both games (the first one and Lost Age). The first one ends abruptly in the middle of the plot, and Lost Age continues immediately. I think the developers ran out of space in a single cart or something.

I haven't played Dark Dawn, so I don't know if that one holds up well on its own.

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I've only played part of the first Valkyrie Profile, but wow. It only hits you after the first couple of recruitments, but the the whole theme is somber. You can't help but feel sad each time you play through one of the recruitment stories.

I really need to finish it.

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I've only played part of the first Valkyrie Profile, but wow. It only hits you after the first couple of recruitments, but the the whole theme is somber. You can't help but feel sad each time you play through one of the recruitment stories.

I really need to finish it.

Despite the somber themes there's

. You can however go with the minimum but

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You guys suck for not playing Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Game has pretty much nothing that you hate, combat requires you to take advantage of enemy weaknesses for extra turns while being careful that the enemy doesn't take advantage of yours, no voice acting at all, no cutesy girls in the story, it does have a teenage protagonist, though he turns into a half demon near the beginning of the game...after the world ends. Not your typical story. :-P

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I wasn't aware that FFIX was available on the PSP. In that case, it is very, very recommended. It's not very "animesque", you can play through the entire plot without exploring or grinding, and the game is made with so much love, and you can just feel it while playing.

I've only played part of the first Valkyrie Profile, but wow. It only hits you after the first couple of recruitments, but the the whole theme is somber. You can't help but feel sad each time you play through one of the recruitment stories.

I really need to finish it.

I so want to play the first Valkyrie Profile. Somber is the right word to describe the DS game, too.

EDIT: Seeing that video made me realise how "animesque" the special effects and battle system can be, though. The character designs are tame, but the battle system falls heavily on the exaggerated "anime style".

Edited by Jonnas

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paper mario for n64

reasons you'll like it: it's fucking awesome

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You guys suck for not playing Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.

Hey now I LOVE the SMT franchise; played DDSI & II, Nocturne and its spin offs P:Revelations/P3FES/P4.

Want to go further, try playing

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