RPGCast – Episode 476: “Accidentally Sucked Into Another Dimension”
We return from a weekend off to discuss good games, bad games, old games, and new games that aren’t out yet! Anna Marie hosts as we tackle TGS, the continued flood of holiday releases, and numerous site features.
Sponsor Chris for Extra Life!
Question of the Week
What game makes you realize you love JRPGs (or RPGs in general). In general or reinvigorated your love!
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Shibuya Scramble sounds interesting … but not want-to-play-it interesting. Also, terribly shocked that the game that was obviously going to be bad turns out to actually be bad. Sylvando is great, I agree. He might be a bit too much of a gay stereotype, but he’s so awesome, it’s hard not to forgive it. As far as my picks being an “RPG classic,” well it should probably come as no surprise that RPGs are my favorite genre but with the PSX the discrepancy is even more stark. I don’t think many of the non-RPG PSX games hold up, or were even that great at the time of release. Early 3d gameplay was kind of awful. On the other hand, the PSX has my favorite RPG library of any console (easily at least 3 of my top 5 and at least 5 of my top 10 games), so yeah, I would strongly emphasize RPGs in my picks for a PSX classic.
Anyway, QOTW: I can think of three games to which this question applies for me.
1. FFIV – This is truly the game that first made me realize my love for RPGs and made me see video games in a new light. Right from the cinematic opening at the start a dawn of realization came upon me of what video games could be as a narrative form. I’d played a couple RPGs before, but they were just other games to me. FFIV awakened my love for the genre.
2. FFVII – This game rejuvenated not only my love of JRPGs and RPGs in general, but video games as a whole. I had grown pretty bored of games until this came on the scene and made me feel the same way as when I first witnessed the opening of FFIV, but this time the story and cinematic elements had matured further. With FFVII it no longer seemed to be just show the promise of what games could be in FFIV, but a fulfillment of that promise.
3. Persona 5 – The lackluster PS3 RPG library had led to my disillusionment with the modern RPG. I was almost resigned to the notion that the JRPGs I once knew were gone, never to return. Along comes Persona 5 at the head of a pack of great 2G17 RPGs and reinvigorates my faith that traditional turn-based RPGs still have a place in gaming. I’ll note that DQXI could have been this for me as you mentioned, but since it already happened for me last year with P5, not so much. Although DQXI is more of the traditional, classic, exploration-based JRPG, I guess.
The game that hooked me on RPGs was Bard’s Tale II. My neighbor played it on his computer, and I would play it for hours while house-sitting his cats. I loved mapping, exploring, turn-based combat, and solving puzzles. I mail-ordered a cluebook to finish the game, since this was in the 80’s, before I had easy access to the internet or anything like GameFAQs.
The game that hooked me on JRPGs was Beyond the Beyond for the PSX. Today it is rightfully criticized for its horrendous random encounter rate, among other flaws, but when I played it I was amazed by the beautiful music of its soundtrack and its extensive storytelling – things that were largely absent from the Western computer RPGs I had played at the time.
Tales of Symphonia was the game that made me a JRPG fan. At the time of its release, the game seemed so original to me. I adored the story and characters and really enjoyed the combat and cel-shaded graphics.I absolutely loved the skits and still enjoy it when games do something similar. I became obsessed with ToS for years after it’s release, even becoming active in a few forums and writing fanfiction.
Although Pokemon Red was my first RPG and Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II the game that made me actively seek out RPGs, ToS made me realize what I most love about RPGs, particularly Japanese ones: excellent story and characters and a fun combat system.