Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why do I like JRPGs?

So in the course of wandering through one of the dungeons in Xenosaga Episode III, I kind of started wondering why I actually enjoy Japanese style RPGs. By that I mean Final Fantasies and their ilk, or pretty much any game where battles involve some variety of your the heroes on side of the screen with enemies on the other while you proceed to take turns attacking each other. I've played a fair share throughout my years including FF VI, IX, X and XII, Chrono Trigger, Skies of Arcadia (/love), Xenosaga 1-3, and Golden Sun.
I'll be the first to admit that the base game mechanics aren't exactly that compelling. Running around dungeons until something attacks you, and then proceeding to battle it using menu commands isn't exactly that exciting. This sentiment has certainly been told to me by a number of my friends that have watched me play these games at one point or another. The only time the battles really get interesting are when you fight bosses, where some actual strategy is needed in what commands you select. But the weird part of this is that I often get really angry at any boss that provides a significant challenge as I call it "unfair" and some such.
Is it the leveling of the characters and the gaining new flashy attacks? Progression of characters and gathering of loot is certainly something that appeals to me, if my two yearish addiction to World of Warcraft proved anything. The flashy attacks are certainly entertaining, but those are generally just a means to the end of being more effective in the ever so exciting battles. And the equipment you get in most JRPGs is generally mostly superficial stat boosting stuff that doesn't change how your character looks at all, and I think the vast difference gear had on character appearance is one of the best things WoW did to encourage gathering equipment.
I guess the thing that most JRPGs have going for them is there stories. Most tell a somewhat entertaining and interesting story, if not somewhat juvenile at points (I'm looking at you Skies of Arcadia, despite my love). Though if I was really just after a story I could watch a movie or more likely an anime, considering most JRPGs are an anime story plus a game.
So in conclusion, I don't really know why I like these games. Maybe it's that they are a more sedentary experience than most games. So I might just be lazy. Awesome.

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