PSN Community Spotlight: For the Love of JRPGS

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PSN Community Spotlight: For the Love of JRPGS

It’s holiday break time, people! Woo! Anyway, it’s also time for the PSN Community Spotlight. For the unfamiliar, this is where PlayStation gamers tell their unique stories/experiences/thoughts, as submitted to this section in the PlayStation Community Forums. Those that make it all the way to the PlayStation Blog will receive a $50 PlayStation Store voucher via private message on the forums.

PlayStation Community Spotlight:

Last week we asked for your PlayStation stories, and gamer oliemoon wrote in to tell us about his love affair with JRPGs.

For the Love of JRPGS

When I was five years old, my brother and I received another gaming console for Christmas, and when I was eleven, our grandparents bought us its successor. I was content with these systems. My brother, on the other hand, began to grumble about wanting a PlayStation. I didn’t really understand him at the time – I was totally satisfied, why wasn’t he? What did the PlayStation have to offer that the other didn’t? “RPGs, Liv,” he’d say, “I want to play RPGs like Final Fantasy. You need a PlayStation for that.” Oh, those boring-looking medieval fantasy games? Pass. I thought my brother was just being silly.

Then, one summer night, I heard some strange music coming from the living room and went to investigate. Where was that somber flute coming from? The rising and crashing violins? I was enthralled with the mysterious, heartbreaking song that was coming from our TV, and I eagerly queried my brother, begging to know what I had just listened to. It was a demo disc from the Official PlayStation Magazine, he explained, and that was a promo for Chrono Cross – I had just heard the opening cinematic. “Do you have the game!? Are you getting it!? When can I play this game!?” I bugged my brother all summer long, anxious to play the game with the music that had captured me so. When it came out, I accompanied my brother to the store to pick up his pre-order and I practically hummed with anticipation all the way home, clutching the bonus clock and soundtrack sampler in my hands (a sampler that, I might add, was eventually worn to bits in my Discman from endlessly listening to “Scars of Time”). I dove into the game right away and to this day, I don’t think my brother has ever actually beaten Chrono Cross but I have — several times over.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I transitioned from someone who played games occasionally in their spare time to someone who considered themselves a gamer, but it happened somewhere in the middle of Chrono Cross and after that game I became a ravenous JRPG beast. I tore through my brother’s PS1 JRPG collection: Threads of Fate. Xenogears. Lunar Silver Star Story Complete and Lunar Eternal Blue Complete. Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VIII. Final Fantasy IX. The Legend of Dragoon. Grandia. Breath of Fire IV. Vandal Hearts. Parasite Eve and more. It was a feast that kept me full for most of high school.

Skip ahead a few years and I’m in my final year of high school, anxious to play Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts. My brother had long since left for college though, and taken his PlayStation 2 with him, so I could no longer depend on him for my gaming fix. My parents were going through an ugly divorce and couldn’t afford to buy us game consoles but, with eagerly anticipated JRPGs like Xenosaga on the horizon, I just had to have access to a PS2 and decided to get a job – something our parents had always discouraged because they wanted us to focus on school. My grades were good though, so I picked up my first part time job by tutoring freshmen and sophomores at my school. My brother came home for Thanksgiving that year and drove me into the city on Black Friday, where I used my first paycheck to buy a PS2, a copy of FFX, DDR and some memory cards – a deal that I had scoured the newspaper ads for while counting up my pennies. I borrowed my brother’s copy of Kingdom Hearts and I was set. I’ve got a lot of fond memories of staying up into the early hours of the morning playing FFX and learning the Al Bhed language over the holidays that year, and many more from the subsequent years of gaming when I took my PS2 with me to college as well. The Greatest Hits collection helped me expand my horizons beyond JRPGs, and I began to give titles like Onimusha: Warlords, Devil May Cry and Virtua Fighter 4 a try. Over time, my PS2 provided me with its own JRPG feast as well.

These days I play games from a variety of genres, but I still consider JRPGs my bread and butter — they’ve always been the system seller for me: the PSP for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the PS3 for Final Fantasy XIII, the PS Vita for Final Fantasy X HD. It’s safe to say that I now live in a PlayStation household. Between our three PS3s (the Metal Gear Solid 4 80 GB, the Final Fantasy XIII-2 320 GB and Assassin’s Creed III 500 GB), four PSPs (one 2000, two 3000s and one PSPgo) and two Vitas (launch black and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation white), there is no brand that gets more love and more playtime from me and my fiancé than PlayStation. The Vita has become my dedicated JRPG console, where I’m currently replaying the old PS1 favorites that nurtured me through my teens and experiencing new PSP and Vita JRPGs like Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time and Ragnarok Odyssey as they come out (though of course, like most JRPG fanatics, these days I only have eyes for Persona 4 Golden).

A few weeks ago, I was scrounging through our gaming bins and came across my old original PS2. I debated putting it in the pile of stuff to sell that I was taking to our local used gaming store — it hadn’t been touched in the four and half years since I’d moved in with my fiancé and switched over to using her PS2 Slim, after all. I looked up at our gaming shelf though, where an old Chrono Cross clock ticks idly by, keeping watch over our PS1 and PS2 collection and decided against it. Just too much personal history tied up with my PlayStation systems.

Thanks for writing in oliemoon! We want to hear more general stories about the PlayStation brand. Click here to submit your story.

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  • Xeno-, Lunar, Growlanser; that’s good taste! The most notable omissions from that list seem to be the Dragon Quest and Suikoden series, but overall a decent representation…

  • Anyone looking for a relevant, modern, technically capable JRPG not aimed at 10yrld girls, should check out Sega’s criminality underrated Yakuza games for PS3. Modern & intelligent storylines, with believable characters, complex plots and satisfyingly brutal brawler-style gameplay.

  • Gonna be a long wait for that Final Fantasy X HD “system seller” for the PS Vita…
    The PS Vita has become my JRPG console as well though. All the great PS1 and PSP games along with Persona 4 Golden make it a great console for this purpose.

  • Congrats ollie :). If get a change try two worlds 2. its very good rpg i dont think a jrpgs though.. I actually enjoy the story.. The battle system is wonderful so is custization list.. the world is huge and hectic fun with a friend online in quest.:) it shoul be about 10 $ on psn and no it not boring if hunting ores lol…But enought of my rambling congrats Ollie

    vp – psn legionairre group

  • I share the exact same experience as you, oliemoon.

    I have always considered myself a JRPG fan even from the pre-PlayStation days. When the PlayStation was released, I didn’t think it was a worthwhile investment. I was still in high school and money was not easy to come by then.

    One day, my friend and I were talking about games in school and I mentioned that I love JRPGs. He asked me why I haven’t bought the PlayStation then? It’s a haven for JRPG he said. I thought about it… counted the little money I have saved up in my bank account… and took the plunge.

    I still remember that first time I heard Wild A.R.M.S. opening theme. Like you, I was hooked instantly. Although I did not play each and every single JRPG on the system, every one that I played gave me fond memories, and now I am replaying them on my Vita and Xperia Play.

  • And then there were the JRPGs of PS2. Shadow Hearts was my favorite.

    Unfortunately, we do not see that much of JRPGs lately on the PS3, even on the Vita. I suppose the golden age for JRPG is over, giving way to easier to design and even easier to develop action titles.

    Deep storyline, moving cinematic, hauntingly beautiful music, characters that you can relate to, adventures at places that you cannot forget… I miss those experiences.

    The first JRPG that I ever started on the PlayStation was Beyond The Beyond. That game was so maddeningly full of enemy encounters, it just turns you away every time you play it. But I stuck with it. I finished one JRPG after another, but I went back to it. I finally finished the game a year later, and I truly felt like I have just completed a year long journey with the characters.

    And that desert in Breath of Fire III? I developed a fever after traversing that desert overnight.

    I miss JRPGs.

  • @7 USCCM
    >I suppose the golden age for JRPG is over

    It is in the sense of them leading the way, now that the bean counters have taken over the industry, everything is homogenizing into online shooters so you are “forced” into buying new maps to keep up with everyone else.

    I believe handhelds are where JRPG’s will dominate, lower cost/lower expectations means the game doesn’t have to sell 5 million units to make money.

    Sony, I have never asked you for anything, please, please do not let the Vita die. Keep giving us JRPG’s on it, and we will keep buying your retardedly overpriced memory for it.

  • congrats to the winner of the contest,as for jrpgs they are my fav genre as well.i think that we dont see many JRPGS on teh the ps3 because the genre has gone stale for a bit.its true though,there arent many upcoming jrpgs to the ps3 and the ones that are coming are neptunia v and nino kuni.for sony handhelds, its even worse because we are going to get just generation chaos 6 for the vita/psp.i understand the lack of software for the vita since its hardware isnt doing too hot at the moment but the ps3 lack of jrpg presence can be attributed to the fact that sony could be ending the ps3 era next year with the upcoming ps4 or whatever its called or that devs and publishers are not willing to take more risk on a dying genre.i tell you what tho,the other handheld is getting floored with jrpgs early next year….so, its up to sony if the vita is going to be the jrpg of choice or the competition ditto for the ps3/ps4

  • @oliemoon Congrats on your win, that was a pretty cool story. I don’t really have a favorite genre and I’m not particularly crazy for JRPG’s (although I did enjoy a few) but I tend to really enjoy action RPG’s and open world action adventure games.

    @ mcbuttz78 I got Two Worlds II as an impulse buy after seeing it on sale ($5 for PS Plus) and watching a review. I’m only 2 and a half hours in but I’m enjoying it so far.

    Happy Holidays Everyone!! Keep on Gaming!

  • “USCCM on December 22nd, 2012 at 12:33 pm said: Unfortunately, we do not see that much of JRPGs lately on the PS3, even on the Vita. I suppose the golden age for JRPG is over, giving way to easier to design and even easier to develop action titles.”

    Dude, are you serious? Go play Xenoblade. By the time you finish, Ni no Kuni will have dropped for the PS3. I’m 32 years of age and can say I’ve played JRPGs since they first crossed the Pacific. There are booms and busts, but like everything else the market will shift. There will be another “Golden Age” of JRPGs in our future…

  • Wait, I’m so old I forgot what year it is and how old I am… 33 not 32, lol.

  • Congrats to the winner! I agree with him in his favourite genre, JRPGs are one of my favourites genres as well. Everything started when I put a copy of “Legend of Legaia” into my PSOne… I was a child I didn’t even know what a “RPG” was, but that game was wonderful, something that I’ve never played before. I remember that the story, although it was simple, was beautiful for me at that time. After that game, many followed, like Final Fantasy VIII, one of my favourite games of all time.

  • Congrats, JRPG is one genre I adore so much, even though nowadays love for JRPGs are not anymore the same as before though, graphics surely increased yet the same excitement when I played my first JRPG, Legend of Legaia never occur to me even from PS2 era yet alone the current generation.

    PS1 is the nirvana for JRPG titles, I missed those days

  • @10 Xenoblade is a Wii title >.>

    I grew up with JRPGs, so I know exactly where the OP is coming from. My first game was Dragon Warrior, second was Final Fantasy. While the days of the engaging story have been replaced by contests of “what has the best graphics”, there are still some recent gems out there. The Atelier and Neptunia series have their own quirks to fall for. I loved Ni no Kuni, took me 80 hours to plat it, and I don’t regret a minute of it, and I plan on starting Tales of Xillia in the next few days as I heard the story was beyond fantastic.

    Unfortunately, In the world of corporate profits, you will need to venture beyond the language barrier to find some of the best JRPGs being made. Pick up Japanese, you won’t regret it if you love the genre as much as I do.

  • Another RPG lover who agrees that the legacy of the playstation brand is related to the quality RPG experiences available on the consoles. The reasons for the PS3 not getting as many RPGs as its predecessors comes down to costs and audience. Developing an HD RPG is a very expensive thing, considering the size of most RPGs and resources that must be allocated to them compared to smaller, more focused gaming experiences, its a risky endeavor to release an HD RPG that does not have a built in audience.

    The audience for most japanese RPGs, is unsurprisingly Japanese gamers, within the past 2 generations Japanese gamers have embraced handhelds as their gaming platforms of choice. Major RPG developers therefore find their audience moving to DS/PSP or 3DS/Vita more than on home consoles. The benefit to developers is the lowered development cost in releasing games on handheld platforms. In Western nations, home consoles are still king, handhelds are a secondary market, usually not well respected among many gamers.

  • As such, there has been a misconception that there are fewer RPGs or RPGs of substance released now than there have been in the past. The truth is, most developers have moved to handheld (in some cases phone) development. There are some companies that release PS3 RPGs, of course GUST and Idea Factory, both companies that were considered 3rd rate RPG developers in previous generations, that have tried to fill the void left by top level RPG developers leaving home consoles as a primary development platform.

    I can only hope that the Vita is able to continue Playstations long association with high quality RPGs. I myself am loving playing Persona 4 Golden, but await a new RPG made specifically to take advantage of the platform..

  • Thanks, Playstation! I’m a “her,” not a “his,” though :-)

    @Drewcey Haha yeahhhh…once a portable FFX was announced though, I knew it was only a matter of time before I bought a Vita, so why wait?

  • Right there with you oliemoon! Been playing jrpgs since I got a Nintendo in 1987. I’m just waiting on Ni No Kuni and hopefully Versus XIII some day. : / I think they should just remarket it as Final Fantasy XV at this point. It would just seem right. :D

  • Thanks to this post, I went ahead and bought Rainbow Moon. It may not be a traditional JRPG, but it’ll have to do till Ni No Kuni drops.

    PlayStation games only please!
    But I do hope you are right and that there will be another ‘Golden Age’ for JRPGs soon. If they would only release Wild A.R.M.S. 6 for the PS3. Both the PSOne and PS2 have Wild A.R.M.S. games but for some reasons the PS3 does not. I know it’s not a hugely popular series, and I am not saying that each installment is good (2 is absolutely horrible) but Wild A.R.M.S. has a special place in my heart. The original was an instant classic, and 3 was the best designed of all. Each of the bosses has a specific way to beat it and that is something I haven’t seen a lot of developers do.

  • @3 – I’m very happy to see that I’m not the only person who considers the Yakuza games JRPG’s.

  • I love the JRPG’s we’ve gotten/getting from Namco, NISA, and to a lesser extent, Sega, this gen, but I can’t help but be saddened that there has only been one first party JRPG this entire gen (White Knight Chronicles). Last gen, we had the Dark Cloud games, Rogue Galaxy, and so many more. If there’s a genre I’m saddened to see Sony of Japan not making for the PS3, it’s JRPG’s.

    There is a market for them, too! Can you imagine the response if they announced Legend of Dragoon 2 for the PS3?

    It’s like when White Knight didn’t set the world on fire, they gave up or something. Look at the sales of FFXIII. People will still buy them, on both sides of the Pacific. You just have to make a quality game that is actually advertised and hyped up.

    Who wouldn’t be excited over a Dark Cloud 3 or a new Wild Arms title?

  • And in truth, I really don’t like portable gaming and it breaks my heart to see the genre get so much support there, but not on consoles.

  • Finally someone who knows great games. Also the reason we don’t get RPGS anymore is fans like the ones calling them JRPGS. There just RPGS. If you wanta change something change the name Of that MASS EFFECT CRAP to THIRD PERSION SHOOTER. It is not an RPG. People on here saying we love RPGS then bash XIII-2 which was by far Game of the year .Instead of the overproduced , overhyped crap games that were fed every year.

  • Wow, what a cool story. I wish my RPG history were that long, but I only got into console/handheld gaming in the DS/PSP generation.

    I’m making up for lost time now though with my PSP and Vita. The PSP has really become a great platform for RPGs in recent years with all the PSN re-releases (Final Fantasy, Chrono Cross), remakes (Star Ocean, Persona 3 Portable), and new games like Phantasy Star Portable / 2, Hexyz Force, Trails In The Sky, Class Of Heroes, etc.

    I’m so looking forward to the Vita continuing this trend with Phantasy Star Online 2, Final Fantasy X and Valhalla Knights 3 :)

  • Final Fantasy XIII series sucks. It ruined the series and it is a travesty.

    Plus no mention of Tales of Graces F and only one mention of the Tales series in this topic is highly alarming.

    I seriously miss turn based JRPGs. Also, why the hell doesn’t Sony care about the subgenre that put the PlayStation brand on the map in the first place with Final Fantasy VII?

    Anyhow, I consider Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario RPG, Xenogears, and Tales of Symphonia the best.

  • Forgot to mention that the crappy XIII series are not RPGs. Those trash fests feel more like action games. They’re so shallow and barebones and I do not even consider them games, especially XIII since there’s zero exploration, no freedom, no options, no gameplay, just a long hallway/corridor nearly the entire game. That isn’t a game, that isn’t an RPG. FFXIII is more like a shallow sloppy action game. FFXIII is crap, and XIII-2 and XIII-3 aren’t any better.

    Sucks that the Final Fantasy series is ruined.

    Hopefully the Tales series will continue to fill the void that Final Fantasy left in the JRPG genre. Also, hope Ninokuni is good, but wish the main characters were cooler and looked more like Crono or Fei or something more along those lines instead of Oliver looking like a 6 year old baby.

  • @26 Neuropunk

    I wholeheartedly disagree. I’ve been playing FF games since their inception. If you look back at previous titles you are literally funneled from one area to the next with an illusion of freedom given to you given the overworld map. There was generally only one place for you to go to at a time. I think FFXIII just streamlined the process a bit and it made the linearity of it all more apparent. There were exploration elements after you got to Gran Pulse, more so than some of the other titles in the series, but it just took way to long to reveal it in the game.

  • Hello everyone!!,

    My first RPG was Legend of Dragoon on PS1, that game got me into the RPG player i´m today. I totally love this kind of games. And i´m waiting for Ni No Kuni! :oÞ

    I think this generation of consoles has give us some good games like Tales of Graces F, Dark Soul, Demon´s Souls, Eternal Sonata, Atelier series, Final Fantasy XIII series, Rainbow Moon, Legasista…

    Of course is not a rain of RPG games like it was on PS1 and PS2 era, i miss those times. But we need to show that, we gamers, want this kind of games.

    Dude from Venezuela.

  • Surprised that, except for Persona 4 Golden, there’s no mention of Atlus’ games. Nocturne, Digital Devil Saga, Persona, Devil Summoner… these are the titles I remember most fondly….

    This generation, I’d have to go with Resonance of Fate, Eternal Sonata, and Tales of Symphonia.

  • Sure would like some jrpgs on ps+! Excellent article btw!

  • I loved FFXIII-2, but then again I loved FFXIII and hated FFXII.

    Although I do agree, as someone who even likes the series, that the Mass Effect games are not RPG’s. They are third person shooters with RPG elements thrown in. The first one, which I most recently got a chance to play, was the closest to an RPG, but it was not very good at it. The second and third ones focused more on third person shooting, and I think the series was better off for it.

    No one does RPG’s like the Japanese and I really wish we would give more respect to the genre in the states.

  • @27: An illusion of freedom in an RPG is better than none at all. Being so apparent and open in its linearity did not make XIII a better game. At least XIII-2 tried to provide one.

  • @32 I never said it was a better game for it. I did enjoy the game thoroughly and thought the story was great though. I just disagreed at 26 saying that the XIII series of games weren’t jrpgs and that they sucked and ruined the FF name. To each their own I guess?

  • Get Persona 4 Golden. This is the best JRPG money can buy today.

    I finally got Platinum Trophy. I can’t remember when was the last time I was obsessed to one game for such a long period of time. I am glad that I can complete it before the game completely destroys my social life.

  • Too bad thwe Vita sucks for them. So few, and even less outside of Japan.

    Sony needs to get Media.Vision to make Wild Arms 6 on Vita, and they should make Legend of Dragoon 2 on Vita as well. Keeps costs lower, people now view handhelds as the place to find JRPGs already, Vita needs more of them.

    But why try to get those who bought PSP for JRPGs to see the Vita will have them too? Better to let us move to 3DS instead.

    Square Enix’s support has been awful for Vita and they made some of thetop tier games on PSP. And looks like nothing Level-5 has done on Vita will come over here.

  • No, do not put Wild Arms 6 and Legend of Dragoon 2 on Vita, unless they’re going to be on both Vita and PS3.

    The PS3 needs more JRPG’s, not the Vita.

  • I want to be able to sit on my couch and play my JRPG’s on my HDTV. I don’t want to have to force a tiny little screen two inches from my eyes for extended periods of time.

  • Legend of Dragoon 2, that would be a dream come true! Nice article, I love JRPGs too :)!

  • Hope you guys release Front Mission 4-5 on the PSN… or at least tell SquarEnix to do so.

  • I feel like JRPGs are a slowly dying breed. Which makes me very sad they don’t get the attention they used to. I’d say the some of the biggest evidence of this is the fact that they went portable for the most part. It’s just easier and cheaper to develop for them, and when you see the fact that JRPG developers have to consider that fact when they make a new game. You know they don’t make as much money as they used to. PSP, and dare I say DS are treasure troves of hidden gems that never got much attention, and I’m constantly surprised every time I see a new JRPG get released on PSP every now and again, instead of developing cutting edge games on PS3 or even the vita .

    @ 36 I’m sure both systems could use some more JRPGs, either way I feel like pushing developers to create games for a console market would be a very good thing, but even getting more JRPGs developed for the Vita would still be a step in the right direction, and I’m glad Atlus decided to set that stage with P4G, showing how much interest there still is in the genre could really help it out in the near future.

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