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Internet Tough Guy Fight: J-RPGs Vs. Western RPGs

People fight about their RPGs of taste, I laugh.

A few days ago IGN posted a top ten list of complaints of things that need to change in Japanese role-playing games, from more save points (please) to improving story, they leaved no stone unturned. Well, 2ch had found the top ten list, and they weren’t happy--to say the least. These fans had some choice opinions of their own about western RPGs, so check out some of the comments translated by AltJapan below.

"What!? Fallout is the SAME THING! You fight the same enemies, collect the same items... There's no sense of exploring unknown territory or anything. No matter how much freedom the player has, that's all there is." 

"Oblivion and Fallout fanatics are exponentially more annoying than any Final Fantasy fanatic." 

"Hey foreigners: we find your first-person shooters boring as shit. What do you say to that?" 

"When I see all the 'sniping' and corpse-desecrating 'teabagging' going on in US games, the thought of what what foreigners do when they get mad [in real life] freaks me out." 

"I'm sorry, but the battle systems in foreign games are totally boring." 

"Yeah, like Oblivion's. But I guess it isn't the main focus of that game." 

"Japanese RPGs are created for the express purpose of letting one experience the blooming of their full powers from a total zero starting point. They're necessary for keeping public order in Japan." 

"Okay, so give us some foreign RPGs that are more interesting than Japanese ones. I just don't find foreign RPGs interesting at all." 

"Oblivion's okay, but foreign games lack subtlety. They lack detail, and the character design and stories are bad." 

"Americans can't understand complexity so a lot of the best stuff doesn't get translated. Like Megami Tensei!" 

"That bit about "The Road Less Travelled?" #7? That's a common complaint... of inexperienced gamers. Like, I felt that way when I was in grade school." 

"So sorry, but I LIKE Japanese-style RPGs." 

"The real problem with Japanese RPGs is that the storylines aren't written by pros, only gamers." 

"Oblivion didn't fare that well here, and Japanese don't really get into real-time strategy games." 

"I call 'cultural differences'!" 

"Show me an American-made RPG that satisfactorily addresses all of these complaints." 

"Do foreign companies even make RPGs anymore? The only games that come to mind are first-person shooter action games. If we followed this 'advice' to the letter they'd have us making Grand Theft Auto clones."


I think this man said it best, "I call 'cultural differences'!". Both types of games have their faults, and I believe IGNs article has good points that apply to both western and eastern RPGs. I for one like that there are two distinct types, one football game is just like any other, but with RPGs you can get two kinds, how amazing is that?

[Via Alt Japan]
JJOR64on Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:31 p.m.
Wow, 2Ch. just ripped Western RPGs a new asshole.
Noodleson Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:35 p.m.
Ugh. I hate when western game journalists shit on certain aspects of JRPGs that are exactly the same in western RPGs if not worse (I'm looking at you, Fallout/Oblivion/Dragon Age battle systems!)
 
But then again, it is an IGN article, so I shouldn't expect any better.
JJOR64on Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:37 p.m.
@Noodles said:
"But then again, it is an IGN article, so I shouldn't expect any better. "
Agreed.  IGN has been complete garbage lately.
Roveron Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:37 p.m.
Persona and the whole Megami Tensei Series > Any Western RPG Game in Recent memory
 
;_; the Persona 3 ending made me cry like a little girl
Count_Zeroon Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:51 p.m.
I like the last comment quoted (the

"I call 'cultural differences'!". Both types of games have their faults, and I believe IGNs article has good points that apply to both western and eastern RPGs. I for one like that there are two distinct types, one football game is just like any other, but with RPGs you can get two kinds, how amazing is that?"

one.
 
But, then again, I'm probably one of the most anti-fanboi people I know. I, at times, can't even stand people who are zealots about sports teams, much less types of Role Playing Games. Life's just too short to nitpick and complain about how other people like to have fun. That said, the article in question, while it wasn't great, it did have it's merits.
 
I really don't see a point to save points (and one of the things I'm liking about The Last Remnant is the lack of Save Points). Point number 8 is valid too - one of the things I like about Square RPGs (in general) as well as Bioware RPGs is how well the story is presented. On the other hand, my copy of Cross Edge only tells the story through, essentially cardboard cutouts and sprites. Were it not for the speed of combat, the game could work just as well as the Sega CD as on the PS3 without any gameplay modifications.
 
Also, more JRPGs really should reward exploration (#7 on the list). Cross Edge didn't give me much reason to explore. Final Fantasy XII did (and hopefully XIII will as well).
 
As far as #6 goes, that one had no point, as did #5 - that one was more related to localization rather than to the Japanese versions (and hopefully 2ch users would notice it. On the other hand, it's the internet). For that matter, so is #4 - Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Fallout 3 were single player only. Further, they didn't give Demon's Souls the credit it was due there for not only including multi-player, but also taking a new approach on drop-in/drop-out multi-player. I do agree with the complaints about #1 though.
 
That said, the users on 2ch who haven't played through Mass Effect or Dragon Age, should take an open mind and give Western RPGs a fair shake - and maybe pick up Mass Effect for the PC or on the X-Box 360 (unless the X-Box 360 is more expensive than the PS3 in Japan).
Addfwynon Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:04 p.m.
I mostly agree with the last comment, and it may just be my personal taste but I actually agree with some of IGN's critiques...but as applied to western RPGs.  I couldn't get into any BIoware RPG for instance, because they all seemed exactly the same to me.  The character design seems very bland and lackluster compared to JRPGs, and it seems mostly about how many choices you can give the player.   
 
That's fine, if that's what you want, but to me the best RPG experience is about the narrative.  Choices, battle systems, customization, those are all nice pluses, but the narrative is truly where the game should shine (PS I find JRPGs innovate in battle systems 100x more than any WRPG).  In that department, I think the linear aspect of JRPGs is WHY they are so good.  Look at the Persona 4 narrative, it couldn't be done if it were too open-ended.  Now look at a super open-ended game like Dragon Age.  It's story is no more innovative than a 20 year-old high fantasy novel.  It's basically Tolkien (I love tolkien, but not exactly innovative in today's markets). 
 
So to me, WRPGs are about the customization, the choices, having so many different options.  JRPGS are about the narratives, the character development, like reading a really really good book.  I just find WRPGs, personally, very dull and uninspired but I can appreciate what qualities a person may like in them.  To say that JRPGs need to take a note from WRPGs is missing the point of the genre entirely, it'd be like saying Fallout needs to be more like Final Fantasy.  Two different genres.
ThePsychoGameron Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:10 p.m.
Really in this generation, we haven't seen many good JRPGs outside of handhelds, there was persona 4, Tales of Vespaeria, Mana Khemia 2, and Star Ocean, i believe that's it.
dagason Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:21 p.m.
I grew up with JRPG's, but I'm sad to say they don't come even close to games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Not even Persona 3/4 which are the best JRPG's in recent memory is as good. I still love Persona 3/4 and they are certainly better than Oblivion, but no one can compete with BioWare. 
 
The problem is that JRPG's are made for teenagers. Between the age of 12-16 (1998-2002) I loved JRPG's, but since then the only interesting JRPG games have been the Persona games. Call me old and boring, but I just don't relate to the teenagers in JRPG's anymore (except those in the Persona games because they are so well made with real problems and deal with some fairly mature themes like sexual preference and such) 
 
And yes WRPG's have actual choices and not Dragon Quest choices where you get an option to say yes or no, but if you say no the question only repeat until you say yes so really there is no choice.
wwfunderakeron Jan. 19, 2010 at 3:53 a.m.
I love JRPG's more than western developed ones, grew up playing them.
cfatalison Jan. 19, 2010 at 4:07 a.m.
i like jrpg more than WRPG
 
they are both the same though, GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND, oh mass effect aren't that good especially on the game play, but really good on the story
in mass effect it all ends up with "use the best ( insert weapon here) available"  skill ? what skill?
as for oblivion, it's more like a free roam rpg, with no backstory at all, and the skill and level upping feels annoying and in the end it ammounts to 
SNEAK RANGED ATTACK FOR MASSIVE DAMAGE or cast huge fireball of death, and if you are a tank, well you fail
 
as for fallout, CRIT EYES CRIT EYES lookie i solve 80% of the game battle
HeeroYuyon Jan. 19, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.
I like that last complaint the most. It's probably the most true of them all.
cfatalison Jan. 19, 2010 at 4:22 a.m.
you mean with all the open endedness and free roaming?
Nerxon Jan. 19, 2010 at 5:41 a.m.
Because Disgaea is hella fun and innovative in their turn based system
eldiaxon Jan. 19, 2010 at 5:42 a.m.
Recently, there haven't been any good WRPGs except for Mass Effect and The Witcher (this is my opinion) and maybe Dragon Age, but I haven't finished that yet. A lot of my favorite WRPGs are quite old (Fallout 1, Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Planescape Torment, KOTOR), so I would be on the JRPG side for this one. I found myself playing a lot of JRPGs in the 2009, but no WRPGs.
giaon Jan. 19, 2010 at 8:28 a.m.
@Count_Zero: XII gave me a reason to explore...to find something vaguely interesting to do. I never found it ;)
 

@eldiax:

No good WRPGs? You mention Fallout 1 and 2-- what about 3? I've been playing it recently, and it blows me away o_o
 
@everyone:
 I definitely think JRPGs are, by and large, not very innovative these days-- by that I'm referring to the vast quantity of completely generic boring crap that comes out in Japan, a remarkable percentage of which still winds up getting released here.

 And I will definitely, DEFINITELY give them that games with more legitimate "roleplay" content-- where what you do and say actually has an effect on what happens --is a direction I would love, love, LOVE to see JRPGs shift a bit. (Let's face it: the recent Final Fantasy games, perhaps setting aside XI which I never played, are more about playing a movie than "role-playing," which doesn't make them bad games, just...not really RPGs-- even visual novels give you more options.)
 
Tangent: I remember in high school after playing IX (which I liked) that I told everyone we should start a new category called an MPG: movie-playing game. Games that are heavy on story and cinematics and whatnot, but in which your impact on the plot is nonexistent or minimal. Never really caught on, obviously ;) Maybe SPG would be more accurate though: story-playing game. There are plenty of RPGs I'd categorize this way, including Earthbound (one of my favorites).
 
That said, I don't thing JRPGs as an entire genre are shit, and I'm not too worried about their so-called need to be "saved." There's still a lot of interesting stuff going on, especially once you get outside of the Dragon Quest (sorry, kids-- when I was playing DQ8 I was amazed at how completely and utterly standard the battle system was) and into some funkier stuff. ( Little King Story comes to mind-- really cute, really fun, lots of interesting stuff to do.)
cfatalison Jan. 19, 2010 at 8:40 a.m.
@gia: the fact that america western game seems to have one big general concept when making a game, i say they also result in generic crap, e.g "open ended rpg" where you can do exploring for things at free rate, and having really open ended storyline, where they only got two important points opening and ending, also for WRPG that have a good story, somehow the game play will sucks/unbalanced, the example is the uber-perk of fallout-3 which give people with gimped build to cheat their way into a decent stature, another is the oblivion end game build, your armor don't really matter, you just have to attach 100% camo on it, and get a bow, instant win, these are large game ballance issue where all the people look the same in the end game.
 
in some JRPG the choice does matter, i once get a bad ending because i choose no at the villain request(seriously who thought of this?) although it is rather the incorporation into other aspect than plot, e.g which girl you get, which equipment, which power, etc etc
crusader8463on Jan. 19, 2010 at 9:25 a.m.
Two of my all time favorite games could be put in the JRPG genre. Vanguard Bandits, and Front Mission 3 for the original playstation had me in pure love with every aspect of themselves for more hours then any other game i have ever played. Perhaps it was simply because it was my first time playing a turn based strategy game -- which is now one of my favorite genres despite there never being any good ones being made for the genre anymore-- or because they were the first games that had an actually story with evolving characters, and plot points. If it wasn't for those two games having such an important impact on my life when i was a kid, i don't think i ever would have started watching anime, nor would my love for Japanese culture ever have been seeded to blossom into what it is today.
 
Despite that the last JRPG i tried to play was Tales of Vesperia, and my god was it bad. I played it for about 8-10 hours and i still had zero interest in any of the characters they had introduced, and the combat was so repetitive, button mashingly annoying, that by the time i came across some stupid puzzle that involved air vents, and jumping to different levels of old ruins, i just said "Ok fuck this I'm done." then i got up and turned off the 360. If i had even the slightest investment in the characters story, or personality, than i may have kept playing it, but every character in the game just felt like generic anime cliche #1-10. 
 
As for western RPGS the only ones i like are Bioware games, and even with them i have started to notice more and more aspects of their games becoming cliches of themselves. I don't think it is as easy as saying west/east is better then east/west as it just the industry as a whole is becoming stagnant as the rising costs to develop games are outweigh what used to make games, which was a good idea and a passion to makes games. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a repeat of what happened in the late 80's before the original Nintendo came out, and saved the industry from going under. If you look at what caused the industry to almost go under back then-- a glut of generic me-too games being shoveled out to the market by everyone and their dog watering down the marketplace -- and what is starting to happen now, they are almost identical. I just hope the industry smartens up and looks to its past before we are doomed to see a repeat of it. Only this time there might not be the equivalent of the little gray box to save it this time.
eldiaxon Jan. 19, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.
@gia said:

@eldiax:

No good WRPGs? You mention Fallout 1 and 2-- what about 3? I've been playing it recently, and it blows me away o_o
   
  
There are many very big differences between Fallout 3 and it's predecessors. While Fallout 3 is a good game, it didn't pull me in the way the first two games did.
sora_thekey moderator on Jan. 19, 2010 at 10:05 a.m.
j-RPG: Yes there is a need of more save points but I guess they don't put more because players could easily just save the game and continue later... I'm guessing save points aren't everywhere to get you to keep playing until the next save point... Story-wise... jRPG has never been a dissapointment  because even when there are poinst in games where all you do is press "A" or "X" to hit, it still important for the story. 
 
w-RPG: I find that the best wRPG is the one where you kill.... So battle games are the only good games where story is not as important and only allows players to shoot people.... So I (presonally) would take jRPG over wRPG any day! 
 
@JJOR64: and yes ign.com has been garbage lately!
Chengyon Jan. 19, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.
JRPGs have always sucked tbh, they interested me about 10 years ago when i was like 8, but since then they havent really changed or anything, the games are pretty cheaply made, the combat / story / mechanics sucks the only things good about them probably is the graphics.
 
and the stuff about teabagging n stuff, yeah because little immature 10 year old kids really show what people do when they are angry, im sorry but ive never once when i was pissed walked down the street, pushed an old woman over and teabagged her lmao. These guys gotta stop being retarded.
 
Though saying Western games are also going down hill now. Eastern games imo are at a close to dying level, where as western games are sinking to that level. Companies are just getting more and more corrupt by money, instead of considering their fans and the quality of the game, companies now want to bring in more people and more money, aiming games at casual gamers ect.
 
A perfect example of this would be Inifinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2, They pretty much just said screw all the fans of cod 4 and remade a new game aimed at people who suck so they can get good easily instead of playing and practising.  They also add loadsa things they think are cool without thinking it out properly and thinking about the consuequnces such as huge kill streaks and nukes (Encourages camping and boosting). They also dont even respond to feedback anymore and instead of fixing a broken game they care too much about money instead and reply with we are too busy working on dlc.
 
Yeah this is a brief rant as i cba to go into it completly lol, but im sure at lease a few people will understand what i mean.
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