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What's up with JRPG's?

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I'm not a huge fan of JRPG's (I have only played Xenoblade - which I loooved!), but since I got my 3DS I thought it was about damn time to try some out! So I got the demos for Fire Emblem, Etrian Odyssey IV and Bravely Default and tried them out. And all it was was expositions! A hell of a lot of texts I had to read. I couldn't take it, so the only game of those I actually played was Fire Emblem (which was ok, I guess).

What's up with JRPG's? Are they all like this?



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eeh... yes, that's the point.



A lot of the 3DS JRPG games are like that yes. Console JRPG games can handle more thus having more voice overs.



You don't like text? I don't think JRPGs are exclusively wordy. Mass Effect and Fallout are both games that start out with minutes of text before anything interesting.



If you mean are they heavily story driven?  Yes.  If you mean you can't take all the reading, then play console JRPGs that have voices.



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Mostly, yes.

I play JRPG's for their mechanics (I love exploring world maps and open areas; I love turn based battles; I'm growing to love action-based battles) but there is often a lot of natter in a JRPG.

But you know, you get used to it. And you only really need to "put up" with the bad bits, which only come every so often. Sometimes I grow to quite like the conversations, actually. Atelier is a series with loads of dialogue in but I actually quite like that because they used it to really explore some of the characters.



Yes, JRPGs have the habit of throwing a lot of text at you, because most of them want to tell a deep story.

The Fire Emblem demo is almost straight ripped out of the full game, so you get a good feel for how long the text passages will be. The two maps you can play are small and only have a few enemies, but that ramps up over time, so the text/gameplay ratio swings in favor of gameplay.

The Etrian Odyssey series has what feels like a lengthy start, but it's actually not a text heavy game. It's just that early on it establishes a setting while the rest of the explanations are kept briefly. Choosing your party can also take quite a bit of time, so it can easily take 30 minutes until you finally set out on your journey after starting the game.

The Bravely Default demo is heavily modified just to give you a general taste of the game. After a short introduction you are free to take on quests and wander around at your leisure.

The common theme is that demos for JRPGs aren't particularly user-friendly. Most JRPGs feature tactical battle systems, so there will inevitably be a lot of explanations. They just aren't something you fire up and play for ten minutes to get a feel for the game.



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Most JRPGs focus heavily on characters and story. I mean, yeah.



Just pretend you're reading a novel.



Well, I'd say the... "hardcoreness" of JRPGs might kinda differ from game to game and what I mean to get at is how approachable they are for gamers of different tastes... like, don't take my opinions for fact or anything and I'm not knowledgeable on every JRPG out there, but I'd say Etrian Odyssey is very stylized and Bravely Default looked good but I'm thinking it might also not be the best game to play if you're only just getting into JRPG's.

Fire Emblem is hardly considered a JRPG by people, even though it technically is, if that makes sense, so I think that'd be a good game to go with for now. Fire Emblem is a tactics/turn-based RPG and though it's not fully voiced (way too many characters and dialog lines), it's got enough of a voice-over to give characters some life and the story really isn't extremely deep/that long and there's plenty of gameplay to be had (as opposed to some games where it's TRULY story-driven and there can be 10 minute cutscenes).

The thing with Xenoblade is that it has awesome music (opinion, but a largely uncontested one) and solid gameplay (not sure how others feel about this but I thought it was good, but not too impressive) so it's not too hard to go through IMO, and in general it's one of the better Wii games out there. If you want a JRPG with good gameplay and music, you can try the Ys series (available on Steam, PSN, and with the latest entry on the PS Vita) or the Tales of series (the music is a hit/miss with a lot of people but most people I've met enjoy the real-time battle system).

In short, I think the more JRPGs you plya the more you'll be able to tolerate certain elements that might get tiring or bland or whatever, and you'll be able to enjoy more variations on them--since even among JRPGs, not all of them are the same. If I were you I definitely wouldn't jump into a series like Shin Megami Tensei or one of the obscure JRPG series out there quite yet.

Just give some a chance and see what you like, demos are great as are trailers, I don't really think reviews are great but if you take them with a grain of salt they can't hurt too bad.

Lastly, I'm going to say that if you really haven't played JRPGs before, there are a few games I'd like to put as "must-plays"; they're just personal recommendations and you can totally ignore them, but as a fan of them it's just something I like to do.

The World Ends With You - one of my favorite games ever, it's got everything you could ask for in a game. It's for the DS, but the game's got a revolutionary battle system, unparalleled death, awesome music (and an awesome take on video game music; you'll see why if you play it), and a touching and compelling story that I personally related to quite a bit.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - out for PSP/PSN, Steam release coming soon, it's kind of slow to start and it's very text-heavy so if you do tackle this, tackle it later, but the story and music are amazing and the gameplay is good enough to keep you invested, I think. I was a bit hesitant but I played it and got addicted which is something that doesn't happen to me much anymore, being that I'm now an adult and I don't get infatuated with games nearly as easily.

Tales of Symphonia is also getting an HD release for PS3 this February; if you haven't played it, it's a pretty good game. Might not be the best/a lot of fans who got into the series because of this game think it IS the best (I'm somewhere in between, it WAS my first game, but...) but regardless, it's a solid game and a nice place to start (maybe it's just me but I feel like the game opened up people to JRPGs more), though playing Vesperia or Xillia first is also great since they're newer, fresher games that will probably feel a little more modern and refined.

That's all, sorry for writing so much for you to read XD