May Gaming Update and my JRPG arc

it’s been a while since i haven’t written anything here.. i’ll talk a bit about my gaming journey

so i haven’t posted anything here in like half a year or more so.. there’s lots to catch up. i played a lot of games. i loved the god of war reboot, breath of the wild, and also i played sekiro. i think Sekiro is like my favorite game of all time, in terms of gameplay. i love every other aspect to it too. i think it’s from software’s best game to date. they’ll probably never make a game as good as Sekiro in the future. Elden Ring for sure isn’t it.

anyway so, the big thing about my gaming journey these days is that for some reason i have committed to getting into jrpg’s.. yeah idk why, but i got obsessed w the idea.

My JRPG arc

i’ve always been into Japanese games. probably all my favorite games and franchises are japanese. Metal Gear is the closest game franchise to my heart, it’s really special to me. but! i still never got into those turn based story-heavy jrpg’s they love to make. i have played Pokemon in my youth, and even then i thought that its static, dull, boring, slow, turn-based combat was garbage compared to something like zelda’s Link’s Awakening.

I have always held the belief that the strength of videogames is their capacity of instant interaction with the player and the capacity for immersion. turn-based combat throws all this potential out the window. your way of interacting with the world is through a menu in which u have to select the thing u have to do, then you just have to watch some avatar do it for you? then you have to wait for the enemy to do the same , and repeat. why? why do this, intentionally? it’s awful! not to mention that most early jrpg’s did this, but even much slower than it could be. I feel like i’m aging 3 years in 10 minutes every time i try to play a jrpg at 1x speed.

don’t even get me started on random encounters. they are the worst idea in game design, period. it takes you out of the game. it rudely interrupts your gameplay as you just try to walk around the world, for a meaningless fight that you don’t want to have. it’s just awful, but fortunately even jrpg fans don’t seem to like it either.

do i still hold this belief, after playing and beating some of these legendary “must play” jrpg’s? kinda, actually. but some are better than others. some turn based games address some of these issues, and make the combat more interesting.

so.. what jrpg’s have i played so far?

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020)

    i really enjoyed this game. some of the best graphics i’ve seen. i get lost in Cloud’s eyes constantly, it’s insane. overall it was a really smooth, enjoyable experience. and it got me interested in the FF franchise. Looking forward to the sequel.

  • Legend of Dragoon (1999)

    my first classic jrpg. I struggled. a lot. beating this felt like a huge achievement of will, patience and perseverance. one thing i liked was that the combat had QTE’s that u had to get right to do maximum damage. some dragoon magic spell animations were cool. the graphics were really good for a PS1 game. the story was silly, but ok. i’m just glad i was able to get through it. oh the localization was really really bad.. which is a pattern in jrpg’s.

  • Final Fantasy X (2001)

    i think this game is really really good. super original world, interesting and cool characters. i loved the story. it was painful at times because of the gameplay and how long it is, but it wasn’t that bad. i think it has a really good combat system, considering it’s turn based. also, Auron is so cool <3

  • Final Fantasy VII (1997) (in progress)

    i felt like this was one of the first games i should play, for my jrpg arc. but somehow i found a way to enjoy this really old and buggy game: lots of cheats activated, no random encounters, a 60 fps hack, and 2x play speed. this makes it so much more enjoyable and makes it way easier to enjoy the story. this might be my standard weapon for tackling all future old jrpg’s.

    The strongest point in this game by far is the clever, funny dialogue and the complex storyline. This is many leagues above legend of dragoon in terms of quality in writing and story. I am hooked, honestly. makes me more excited about the remake sequels. i just didn’t want to deal with the gameplay this time, so the cheats mentioned above helped immensely. I’m just here for the story.

i’ll be focusing on playing Final Fantasy mostly, i already bought most of the games. it is because it is the most culturally significant franchise, it seems.

General thoughts about jrpg’s

i think the main strength in jrpg’s is their unique detailed worlds, story, and characters. it is something you don’t find in other game genres. their tone is often light and full of humor, but they are sometimes really dark as well. it’s a shame i really really dislike turn based combat. I really struggle getting through these games. I find them to be just too long and like they drag on forever. but they are also rewarding in a way. Cheats and speed hacks make these issues go away so i can focus on the story which is what i’m mostly interested in, so i might keep doing that in future games.

Final thoughts

anyway yeah, i’ll try to get through some other FF games. Other franchises i might check out are Persona, Chrono Trigger/Cross and shin megami tensei. i have played persona 4 in the past to learn japanese, and i enjoyed it. so persona might be my thing. we’ll see.

my next jrpg might be Persona 5. But i think i’ll take a break for now and check out Death Stranding first.