This is a genre that started off as Ultima wannabes, Wizardy hybrids, and are now just a bunch of Visual Novel Harem games.
This is why this thread won't focus on any era, and will be about Jrpgs as a whole.
Shin Megami Tensei Nine, that's the game that SMT 3 should've been.
It's basically like a Digimon Cyber Sleuth version of SMT1. The cyberpunk metropolitan setting is intact, and you're mostly fighting against other devil summoners.
Every demon has their own walking animation. Why is that so noteworthy? Every damn demon in SMT, & the DDS series had no walking animations at all. They just skied or slid on the floor, lol.
I wish they had kept the Mezzo Forte artist. I think their work when combined with Kaneko's demon art, made for the best aesthetic.
The music is pretty funky & ravish.
Have you ever noticed how Jrpgs from the 90s & 2000s had much darker, more mature plots than current-era rpgs? The best example is Final Fantasy 7. Look at how personal that game's plot was.
Compare that to how FF7 is now with the Remake. It's no longer a story about discovering your true sense of self, and overcoming personal traumas.Tifa: I wonder what Aeris felt... when she was on that altar...?
Cloud: I'm sure she wanted to give her life for the planet...
Tifa: Really? I wonder? I don't think that's it at all.
I think she didn't think she would die at all, but that she planned on coming back all along.
She always used to talk about the 'Next time'.
She talked about the future more than any of us...
Although she never talked about it to us she must've had a rough life...
I think Aeris looked forward to tomorrow and the future more than anyone...
she must've had many many dreams...
FF7 Remake is now a story about defying destiny and all sorts of Fanfictiony garbage, which rewrites the game to be about a tale of saving the world, when the original FF7 wasn't like that at all.
In the original FF7, we didn't even know if they saved the world or not. It was left ambiguous because saving the world wasn't the point.
What's really annoying is what they did to Sephiroth. Seph in the original FF7 was like a metaphor. Sure he existed, but the only times we've ever met Seph were during the flashback, and the final encounter.
Sephiroth didn't have any actual dialogue at all during the one time that we meet him in the present era.
Seph & Cloud didn't even have an Arch-nemesis rivalry in the original game. Now all of that has been rewritten.
I liked the moral ambiguity of the original where Cloud & Avalanche committed terrorist acts against Shinra, which lead to millions of innocent people (who had nothing to do with Shinra.) dying through collateral damage from Cloud's actions.
Even that got retconned in the Remake. In the Remake, Shinra blew themselves up, to blame it on Avalanche, lol.
Sounds like a fucking retarded real life government conspiracy theory that I see countless of morons make on the internet, but now it's cannon in FF7.
Xenoblade series is like the only modern Jrpg series that retains the spirit of the 90s & 2000s era but with gameplay that's actually challenging and fun to play. (Old school jrpgs were either too grindy or had no game balance & challenge at all.)
Some would says Trails of Cold Steel, but I don't really think so. Those games are boring ass exposition dumps that need an editor. On one hand, it's cool haw every single character in that game, even the shop keepers & the NPCs all have full-fledged stories that span multiple installments.
I just feel it's unneeded, due to the focus of the game being centered around one Shonen hero, Rean.
Who fucking cares how powerful each country's militaries are when it's all made obsolete since the story centralizes around a group of school kids who are actually far more powerful than the worlds' militaries combined.
Cold Steel just has way too much bloat. I do like the worldbuilding and lore, but it just feels like too much when most of the game actually revolves around the school kids and their relationshits with each other.
This is why I've never finished a Cold Steel game. There's just way too much text, and most of it doesn't fucking matter. It's what a Xenoblade game would feel like if you were forced to play all of the sidequests and the main story. There wouldn't be any tonal consistency, which has been Cold Steel's problem since the original.
XB Torna does force you to complete sidequests but it's actually part of the plot
Rpgs used to be my most hated genre, but as the decades fly by. The more & more I realize that Jrpgs actually had some crazy good plots that you still don't see being topped.
FF7, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Persona 2 Eternal Punishment, Innocent Sin, Shadow Hearts 1 & Covenant (Your girlfriend dies in the first game, you die in the 2nd game lol.), Suikoden 2, Dragon Quest 5, Phantasy Star 1 - 4 (PS2 & 3 had really dark endings.), etc.
It was near endless. This isn't even including Japanese only games like Treasure of the Rudras, Live A Live, or Dark Half & Dark Law. (My Retro gaming cade actually came with the english version of the first Dark Law game on the NES. I forget what it was called.)
I've already explained part of FF7. The main conflict of FF7 was actually an Eldricth being that was eating up the planet & mind controlling everyone. It's somewhat similar to Xenogears, except XG's plot is about a Mechanical God that created human civilization, just to eat it as an infinite source of energy.
The similarity between the two are the cults, cultures & religions that formed around both beings.
Xenogears was actually a discarded script of FF7 and it even has a Chrono Trigger cameo. Chrono Trigger itself got really dark with Chono Cross. I really hated Crono Cross, but I'd prob like it now if I replayed it since there were a lot of Jrpg stories that I didn't really understand back then.
Obviously, I used to think of FF6 as the cream of the crop when FF6 is like a fairy tale when compared to FF7's complexity.
Ironic since they are basically the same story. Difference is, the rebel group in FF6 never do anything questionable. (FF7's avalanche killed countless innocent people through their terrorist bombings.)
A few FF6 characters became depressed & suicidal. FF7 has an entire cast filled with people who have personality-disorders.
Parasite Eve 1 was also yet another discarded FF7 potential plot. What's ironic, is that Parasite Eve is the game which actually shows the protagonist & the antagonist constantly interacting with each other.
That wasn't the case in FF7. In FF7, we saw a monster of a man who left dead bodies everywhere he went, even killed gigantic beasts. It's how we followed his trail throughout the entire game, through the trail of dead bodies.
The Sephiroth we trail though, was actually just Jenova. Jenova functioned like how Miang does in Xenogears. it had multiple hosts.
Persona 2 Eternal Punishment deserves a special mention, because the plot that game had is even more relevant now than it was back when it was made. EP revolved around a reality being shaped & conformed by fake rumors that are spread through cell phones.
It's similar to how we see the same thing happening today with social media & cell phones, because it took the West this damn long to finally catch up with Japan's cellphone culture.
P2EP was made back in the early 2000s, way before social media became as corporatized as it is today, so they represented the culture of memes through image boards & BBS, that would then spread the rest of the rumors through cell phones which would go on to shape & change society according to the collective belief of the masses.
This is what results in Clown World in our real life.
The main difference with Persona, is that they were literally changing the world through rumors.
What's happening in real life is that perception is reality. Our actual reality is the same as it always has been, but it doesn't feel like it is due to how so many of us are connected to the internet or phones 24/7, that the fake reality that's propagated on internet & tv, has become our new reality.
The media merely perpetuates the lie to profit off of the paranoia.
What's fucking hilarious to me is that even Persona 2 Innocent Sin had the rebirth of Hitler (He's not actually Hitler.) through the spread of rumors. Which cracks me the fuck up since in our current world, nobody can shut the fuck up about Hitler. You have SJW fags constantly crying about Hitler and you have Alt-right fags constantly crying about Hitler. All of this is just clown world meme culture. it doesn't actually exist once you plug out of the internet or tv.
That's what the Persona 2 games were getting at too, but they wanted you to get off your ass and actually live your life. Both P2 games were criticizing people who complained a lot about their lives but were too lazy to make the changes they needed, instead they relied on spreading rumors to better their life which created a world that spiraled into chaos & insanity.
It's funny, coz that's exactly what I'm seeing in modern Real life society.
I'm just posting this song to show how fucking awesome Jrpg osts usually are.
Another Gud one.
That was composed by Masashi Hamauzu. For some reason taht dude sucks ass now. Although I did like the FF7R remix of the normal battle theme. That's like the only good song though.