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I'm going to throw in yet another vote for The World Ends With You. First off, it's Urban Fantasy which is a nice change from the typical medieval-esque JRPG setting. Secondly, it's doesn't suffer from a major problem a lot of JRPG's tend to have, namely a poor difficulty curve.. For example, most JRPG's if you fight too much you'll level yourself to the point where the game is no longer difficult, but you wanna fight if the combat system is fun right? In TWEWY this is hard to do since the difficulty is totally configurable. Things getting too easy? Turn up the difficulty. Plus, I grinded myself up a lot to handle the super secret ultimate boss, and he still kicked my ass until I picked the right partner and improved my reaction times to his bullshit. So, it requires some action gaming skills. But if the game gets too hard for you, you can just turn the difficulty down at any time. I wish more JRPG's did this. Third, awesome techno/rock/hip-hop soundtrack.

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Get Rune Factory. Any of them. Frontier on Wii is the current best one, but the 2 DS offerings are nice, and the 3rd one drops next week.

You might want to avoid Rune Factory. I've finished both of them and will pick up the third one, but it's an action RPG (meaning you control the character, make them swing their sword and cast spells, etc.) and you'll spend the majority of your time either farming monsters for drops that you can craft or doing actual farming - Rune Factory is a Harvest Moon game with RPG trappings.

Personally, I loved the first one, and the second one had some improvements but horrible pacing - you spend the first part of your game doing mainly nothing but farming and getting the villagers to like you (you can kill monsters, but that's pretty limited and other than doing kill quests for the villagers, it's not that useful) until you get married, have a kid, and take off in the middle of the night. The game continues as your kid, and you gain all the skills your father had, but only now, after a considerable number of hours, can you start cooking, forging armor and shields, and making accessories. It wasn't a bad game, but it felt like compared to the first game, which I finished twice and the second time had beat the end boss within the first three days of winter of the first in-game year, they tried to make Rune Factory 2 'harder' by making it longer. Mind you, it's not like you can start forging or cooking stuff in your first in-game day in the original Rune Factory, but getting the forge is only limited by you getting a house expansion (easily doable by the end of your first spring if you know what you're doing); the kitchen takes a bit longer since you have to buy the recipe books over time and the kitchen upgrades are only available on one day per month. Still, the pacing was much better.

Anyway, you may or may not like them; I certainly did. If you're looking for a challenge or you hate Harvest Moon games, definitely avoid these. I've never played the Wii game, just the two DS games.

Also, the Etrian Odyssey series is great if you like incredibly hard classic RPGs. They even make you draw your own map, which is really cool. You've got a lot of choice about the classes you take and how you build them, and the game is quite involved. It's entirely possible to die on the first floor of the dungeon if you're not careful, but once you get used to it, it's a good challenge but not unmanageable. The game plays fairly similarly to Final Fantasy III, but you don't have class change, of course. On the other hand, you can have up to 30 people in your guild, though you only take five into the dungeon with you at any point, so the variety's pretty good, and it's pretty easy to powerlevel a new class you want to try by taking some experienced characters out with a beginner and fighting enemies a number of floors into the dungeon. Another thing I thought was really neat is that other than some starter weapons, armor, and items, everything that shows up in shops is dependent on you getting stuff out of the dungeon. As in, if you get, say, 10 of a particular drop from a monster and 5 of a particular item that you can harvest or mine from the dungeons, and sell all those to the shop, they'll be able to make a new weapon that they couldn't before. Overall, this is a game that is hard but also forces you to be smart about what you do and when and how you structure your party and what abilities they have. I liked the first one best; the classes seemed a bit more balanced than the second one. I've just recently gotten the third and haven't had much time with it yet, but it seems like it could be the best of the three.

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"I own and love Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Quest IX, Final Fantasy III (DS), Fable II, and probably a few others I'm forgetting, but they should give you an idea.

I tried Fallout 3 and Chrono Trigger and they didn't hold my attention very well."

Mmmmkay... no to Chrono Trigger but yes to FF3? Shaaaame. If that's the case, Etrian Odyssey III is out on the DS, and it's light on story and heavy on job-based gameplay (reviewers compared it to FFs 3 and 5, compared to the previous Etrians, because of subclassing that appears later).

Dragon Quest IX, another job-system styled classic JRPG? I recommend Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, which is a turn-based JRPG with a revamped "crown" system, a simplistic, old-school story, and a decent difficulty curve. I've probably died ten or fifteen times in it already, whereas I died all of once or twice in DQ9.

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Please don't get Golden Sun if you didn't like Chrono Trigger. It turns up the JRPG cliches by a factor 10 and is needlessly verbose.

Since you haven't played Dark Dawn, I don't think that the OP should listen to you hear. Let him find out for himself whether or not he likes it. And plus, it's a completely different battle system and storyline than Chrono Trigger soo... yeah.

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Since you haven't played Dark Dawn, I don't think that the OP should listen to you hear. Let him find out for himself whether or not he likes it. And plus, it's a completely different battle system and storyline than Chrono Trigger soo... yeah.

Uhhhhhhhh, what?

Why the personal attack? Fanboyism?

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Alright, after looking through a ton of reviews and all the posts, I'm pretty much sold on Dragon Age, Bowser's Inside Story, Tales of Vesperia, and Elder Scrolls IV.

Some that I'm still considering are Disgaea, Etrian Odyssey III, Rune Factory, and 4 Heroes of Light (maybe Golden Sun).

Can anyone recommend/bash Star Ocean? I've heard many differing opinions...

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Don't get Star Ocean 3 or 4 (Till the End of Time/Last Hope), but if you have a PSP the first 2 Star Ocean rereleases are pretty awesome. Star Ocean 2 is better than the first one (and the 3rd and 4th) with an amazing cast and a great battle system that is really well put together. The story in Star Ocean 2 is pretty good too, and the whole Private Action system can be a lot of fun (you can enter towns separately from your party members and go talk to them or do little quests, it makes the world develop really well). Star Ocean 3 is terrible and does a great job of butchering the gameplay Star Ocean and the Tales series.

If you're considering Disgaea you might look into Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (also a remake/rerelease of a Playstation 1 game). It's also on PSP, but I still think it's one of the best strategy RPGs ever, especially now that the plot makes more sense. For that matter, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is a decent lighter strategy RPG. Most SRPGs have pretty similar battle systems, but some of them make it more or less complicated - you will move around on a grid based on the speed of your team and attack enemies, cast spells, dig, etc... FFT is somewhere around the middle of the road in complexity, and Disgaea is only like a step above it. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was a little bit simpler and Front Mission is more complicated and more likely to kill the player if you don't grind. If you want the DS title, I would pick between Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics A2.

You might look into Valkyrie Profile, it's a pretty solid group of games. The combat is kind of strategy based, but also depends on combos. I've only played the first one but I loved it.

Not Related To Newer Games:

If you ever find yourself looking at a bargain bin (and have a PS2 or GC) the RPG options are pretty sweet. Tales of Symphonia will probably give you everything you would like about Vesperia, same for Tales of the Abyss. Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 are pretty good, though they're looking pretty dated these days. Final Fantasy X has a great story, but the gameplay putters out after awhile and there's maybe 2-5 difficult bosses you'll fight throughout the story unless you rush through it or are playing under ridiculous rules. FFX-2 has a really stupid story with a bunch of scantily clad women, but a pretty decent job system and an ATB battle system.

tl;dr

Star Ocean is good on the PSP. Disgaea vs. Final Fantasy Tactics: A2. Strategy RPGs will steal your soul like MMORPGs or Pokemon when you're into them.

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I'll give you a nudge towards Bowser's Inside Story. The battle system is a lot of fun (much better than normal turn-based games), it has one of the best main characters ever, you never have to level-grind (except for the optional battles), and the writing is quite humorous.

Seriously, any RPG fan should play a Mario RPG at one point, and Bowser's Inside Story is a pretty good one.

Oh! Another Wii RPG that wasn't too bad was Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Seeing as you can easily pick up the first for the cube cheap these days you might like those. The story was a bit different than the usual.. Not as entertaining as ToP or so I feel anyway. But it was a pretty good game nonetheless.

The original ToS is easy to find? Seriously? I heard it was out of print.

Speaking of which, I was only suggesting RPGs for the consoles you mentioned, but if GC games can be your thing, Tales of Symphonia and Skies of Arcadia are two of the best RPGs I've ever played.

If Vesperia is similar to Symphonia, you probably won't regret it. Battles are always fun in that series.

Please don't get Golden Sun if you didn't like Chrono Trigger. It turns up the JRPG cliches by a factor 10 and is needlessly verbose.

Uhhh... What? Those two game have nothing to do with each other. Other than the fact that battles are fast-paced and turn-based, that is.

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Actually it's more like saying camembert is camembert in this metaphor, since RPGs as a whole would be the cheese.

I'm no cheese expert, but I highly doubt that Camembert encompasses more than half of the existing types of cheese.

Next thing, you'll be saying that the Tales series is like Final Fantasy...

P.S.: For the original OP, if you're new to Strategy RPGs, Disgaea is not good for you. It's not because of the grindfest (which can actually be unusually fun), but because of the steep learning curve. I love SRPGs, and even I thought Disgaea was confusing at first.

If FF Tactics A2 plays like the GBA one, then that's a much better choice.

Actually, the first Fire Emblem for the GBA is the most intuitive SRPG I've played, and my favourite GBA game. I don't think you're willing to buy GBA games, but the suggestion stays.

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The Dark Spire is a pretty hardcore old-school RPG (think Wizardry). it can be crazy hard, but if you like old-school RPG's it's pretty good, and you can probably find it with the soundtrack for like $7-$8. Super robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier is one of my favorite DS RPG's. It had a lot of humor, it had a great battle system with completely customizable combos (you build your personal combo from a list of available attacks), timing elements in battle, character chain attacking, and it was semi-difficult (bosses had a lot of health).

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I'd like to echo whoever said Lost Odyssey was an awesome game. I thoroughly enjoyed that, as well as Eternal Sonata, I hear the ps3 version is better, though. Speaking of, I'm going to assume that the ps3 version of Tales of Vesperia is never coming out here? Was there at least a European version? I was waiting for the (what i thought was the inevitable) ps3 port.

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I'm going to assume that the ps3 version of Tales of Vesperia is never coming out here? Was there at least a European version? I was waiting for the (what i thought was the inevitable) ps3 port.

Haven't heard whether an English port would be released or not but the Japanese PS3 version been out since Sept of 09...

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I don't think RPGs are for you then. Blasphemy :(

Lmao. I was gonna say, "whoa, what?"

Seriously, what didn't you like about Chrono Trigger? I mean come on, that game's got about as many options as DQIX.

Ok, so not *that* much, but still, multiple endings? Come on!

Also, if you're looking into Disgaea, there's another game that company made in the same style, called Phantom Brave. I love it. I haven't been able to get a hold of Disgaea, but it references that series.

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I really can't say why Chrono Trigger fell short for me. I DO REALIZE how similar it is to other titles I have professed a liking for, but for some reason, I just got bored with it...I loved the music though.

You're the second person to mention Phantom Brave, so I might have to check that out as well. As of now, I have Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, Tales of Vesperia, and Bowser's Inside Story all on my list.

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A warning about Phantom Brave: If you're planning to just play for the main storyline, then be aware that one of the very last maps is a total difficulty wall.

You are basically given little means to kill several strong enemies. I got so stuck and frustrated I never got past that part.

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