Suikoden's 3rd in my book, baby.
Apparently, these RPG's popularity in Japan is third behind Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Who has played these games and what do you guys think? Are they worth going back and playing them?
Last edited by Dirt; 06-22-2006 at 02:17 PM.
Suikoden's 3rd in my book, baby.
The Suikoden series is uneven. III and V are exceptional. IV is absolute crap. I and II are middling, and II costs at least $100 on Ebay anyway.
The Tales series is also uneven, but has more ready appeal than Suikoden. Tales of Symphonia is excellent. Tales of Phantasia is great for its time (SNES, Japan-only, or translated ROM), but the GBA port released this year seems to be lacking the magic. Tales of Legendia is worthless, thanks to its completely cliched story, cakewalk battles (and you're hearing this from someone who always plays games on "Easy"), and two main characters who are total ripoffs of characters from Tales of Symphonia. "Tales of Destiny II"/Tales of Eternia is solid, but is available only as an import-only PSP game or as an overpriced PS1 title you'll have to go to Ebay for. Tales of Destiny I, another PS1 game, I have not played, but is generally agreed to be pretty shite. Tales of the Abyss, which comes to the PS2 this fall, is supposed to be excellent, so I'll be picking that up.
I'm a fan of the Tales games, thought they are not without their flaws, they still are good fun.
Tales of Symphonia made Skies of Arcadia unplayable for me though. The ease and quickness of the battles in Tales, as well as avoidable monster encounters, made the never ending random battles with cut scenes for every attack in Skies a long slog. I loved what story I had accomplished with Skies, but I tired so quickly of the encounter rate, and the length of the battles. I know the decreased the rate from the Dreamcast version as well, so I shudder to think of how playing it on the DC would have been...
I quit Skies of Arcadia on the DC because every 3rd step was a battle.
Last edited by Dirt; 06-22-2006 at 02:51 PM.
I really, really wanted to like Skies of Arcadia. But, yeah...battles every five seconds while I'm exploring just wore me down. Especially since I could win every battle by just hitting one button over and over.
Battles really are annoying. I'm playing Suikoden 5, and while I like the story and I like the combat in theory, the hordes of piddly monsters that die in one hit are just grating. At least it has an auto combat option that makes them go by quickly. What REALLY bugs me is the unskippable animation that plays every time you go into battle. The screen freezes for a second, then everything gets blurry and sort of wipes into the battle. It lasts less than five seconds, but it adds up, you know?
I was thinking about that just the other day while playing FF4 Advance. You go into battle immediately and get out of battle just as quickly. I finally realized that this is part of the reason I don't play current generation RPG's as much because of the extra minute you have to spend watching the cut scenes before and after battle.
Yep, those transitions to and from battle are ridiculous. Even DQ8 uses it, which often keeps me from playing a game I otherwise love. At least in DQ8 you can use holy water to keep low level monsters from attacking you. Also, you can intimidate rather than fight, but that still takes too long.
As for Tales, I have only enjoyed Symphonia, which is a fantastic game.
Engine wise, do rpgs need that little cut scene? Or is that there just for effect? I'm not sure what is more annoying , the long cut scenes (5+ seconds) or the sudden explosive like cutscenes. (like in DDS) Which at least once per game makes me jump because I didn't expect it.
JRPGs are tools of the Antichrist
Yeah, it wore me down as well. It just wasn't that fun.Originally Posted by Damien Neil
But DQVIII was great.
Earthbound had the best system for piddling encounters.
You could see the enemies on the map, they would attack you if there was a challenge. If they were not a challenge, they would run from you and if you engaged them you would automatically win the battle, get the exp, money and items, without having to leave the map screen to go into battle.
You could also smell your enemies.
Courage for the PC and Fisticuffs for Yangus have a similar enemy avoiding power around 30ish points. I actually never used holy water and went with those skills by themselves, and it worked alright.Originally Posted by Robert Sharp
But, yeah. RPG's in general need options to make everything skippable, faster, or just plain streamlined. Automated is the least preferred for me, but I'll take what I can get. Hopefully FF12's AI system takes out a lot of the gruntwork, but I bet they'll still manage to add in something annoying (I have yet to forgive the shattered glass intro from FFX).
After that ringing endoresment, I would note that the Euro. import (apparently there's no US release planned) is available at Fry's for $50.Originally Posted by Moggraider
Tales of Legendia was definitely released in the US. Tales of Eternia for the PSP was the one released only in Europe/Japan.Originally Posted by RickH
Plus you got first strike if you got them from behind, and vice versa. Too bad the actual fights are terrible. I agree that it has the best encounter system to this day. I think it even did it first, so wtf? Mother 3 does it a bit different (and not quite as good) - you can stun weak enemies by charging them, then just walk past them as they lie twitching on the ground. The fights are much quicker and more enjoyable, though.Originally Posted by Flowers
Woops. Does that one suck?Originally Posted by Andrew Mallon
I've played pretty much all of these, or at least those released up through Symphonia, including the import only releases. Of them, it is my opinion that Destiny 2/Eternia is the only worthwhile gem in the bunch.
Phantasia was remarkable in the 90's and a glowing first effort, but a decade later and it's age really shows. The PSX remake enhanced the combat and lowered the encounter rate, but never released domestically.
Destiny 1 has a humorous cast of characters and some witty exchanges(sentient swords!), but is mired in encounter hell with some pretty blasť dungeon layouts. It's being rebuilt for the PS2 with dramatic flair however.
Eternia/Destiny 2 US is just a fantastic package all around.
Destiny 2 in JPN was a PS2 exclusive with a dumb plot, but an intriguing twist on the combat engine. The dungeon layouts were mostly awful and the 3D overworld was aesthetically insulting however.
Symphonia brought the linear fights into quasi-3D space, but I couldn't get past the horrific characters and plotline. Having viewable mob encounters was a nice touch though.
A few other games hit Japan and US since including Legendia, Rebirth, and Abyss. I've not played any of them.
Originally Posted by RickH
You quoted the wrong sentence of mine earlier. The one at Fry's is the one where I said '"Tales of Destiny II'/Tales of Eternia is solid, but is available only as an import-only PSP game or as an overpriced PS1 title you'll have to go to Ebay for." I guess it's the best JRPG on the PSP so far, but that doesn't say much. Good game, though.
The Tales series is predominantly known for two things: its battle system and its characters. Therefore, if you don't have at least some proficiency in action gaming and you don't like anime, you may be doomed to "meh" with the series.
It's battle system uses a lot of variants on one style called the Linear Motion Battle system. Back in 1995, when Tales of Phantasia came out, this thing was the height of innovation -- there was nothing like it. It's the console RPG's version of Baldur's Gate, that is, realtime battles with a pausable menu system that works. These days, a lot of other RPGs use similar battle systems built around Tales' innovation. But being the original has allowed the series a lot of time to refine it and the newest, Abyss, has one of the deepest out there. It is pretty accurate to say it combines the best of menu-based combat with dashes of Street Fighter action.
The second thing is the characters. Since the very first game, the series has been voiced by many of Japan's most famous and renowned voice actors, and since the PSX days, it's had way, way, way more voiceacting than any other RPG series. (Abyss, for instance, has more voice-acted lines than FFX, X-2 and XII put together.) This is carried across throughout the game in a very anime-like way. The most famous part being hundreds of optional skits you select on the field or world maps. Tales games and their character play out like some fantasy version of a US network sitcom -- you have characters specially created for their capacity to deliver the right lines at the right times and hit the right comedic notes. So there isn't one game where the story is outstanding, really, but the dialogue often is. Tales of Destiny II is one of the funniest games I've ever played, and the whole Tales of Destiny plotline has the best usage of a dumb hero surrounded by people smarter than him that I've ever seen a game. Unfortunately, this aspect of the games usually gets borked, as Namco pulls out voiceacting or ditches scenes or gives them weak voice actors in their translations.
There's a lot of other stuff that sets Tales apart, but they are little things that you would notice only when you started playing the games: each game has a cooking system that's worked intricately into beefing up your characters; there's an item called a sorcerer's ring that usually interacts with the world differently in each game for puzzle solving or what have you; similarly, there's an item called a rune bottle, which usually makes certain weapons, armor and items into stronger versions of themselves, but also is used for crafting in other games; there's a STRONG attention to detail, options, polish and tiny niceties; the games always have nice aesthetics.
Abyss is releasing soon in the US, was released here last December and is pretty much the best in the series. It's still cliched, like every Tales game, but the humor is more sublime, and the situations are less obvious and better told and thought out than other Tales games. It's an extremely complicated and complex game, but it has some of the best pacing I've ever seen of introducing this to the player. Instead of cutting off all the features and making combat boring, they introduce just the right amount of things and give you challenging situations from the get go, then they ratchet it up once peace at a time. It's also got kitchen sink syndrome, the game is extremely huge and there's lots of stuff to do. Even on easy, Abyss is very challenging and will not let you get away with the standard RPG maneuvers, don't even think you can try "heal--->attack" like strategies, or you'll be seeing the Game Over screen over and over again.
If not Abyss, then Symphonia, though its easily the most cliched game in the series. Then Eternia. And then maybe Phantasia, though in that case, it's really best to play a variant of the PSX version. There aren't any Tales games which are categorically BAD, not in, say the Azurik or Drakkhen or Shadow Madness or Beyond the Beyond way, they're all competent, polished and enjoyable, but a couple of the games have enough problems to be pretty ho-hum at times.
Last edited by Kitsune; 06-22-2006 at 11:04 PM.
*pisses his pants*Originally Posted by Kitsune
I hope they don't use Cam Clarke _again_, though.
You mean the real ToD II, not ToE, right? [Note to others: Tales of Eternia was released in the US on the PS1 as Tales of Destiny II, but in Japan Tales of Destiny II is another game in the Tales series.]Tales of Destiny II is one of the funniest games I've ever played, and the whole Tales of Destiny plotline has the best usage of a dumb hero surrounded by people smarter than him that I've ever seen a game.
My twin refusals to buy games with crappily dubbed voice acting or to buy a Japanese PS2 just to play imports is seriously limiting my ability to play console RPGs.
Ah, well. My free time is the better for it. :>
Anyone know when the PSP version of Tales of Phantasia is coming out?
September 7th is the Japanese release, so who knows if/when the US release happens.