Yahtzee vs. the JRPG

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Abriael:

It's obvious that you don't know what you're talking about. There are NO corridors in the open ended part of the game. They aren't longer. It is, indeed, open ended. You can explore freely.

Misinformed post is misinformed.

For me it doesn't matter as I wont play a game that only lets me half play it for 20 hours before I get to play the real game. Tutorials should not pass the 15 minute mark.

Can someone talk to Squeenix and get them to bury FF so they can make the follow up to Vagrant Story?

Great read like always. I myself am not a fan of turn based fighting systems and probably never will. Now thats not to say I won't play them. I usually play FF just because visually, its a beautiful game. Make it a hack n' slash and i'll be all over that! Anyhow, i'm looking foward to Mogworld!

I so agree with Yahtzee on this point.

I personally love Final Fantasy VIII, but that's because it was the first RPG I ever played. Chronno Trigger, in the other hand, is a powerful contender for best RPG of all time, whether it's western or japanese.

And I am surprised of all the punishment that FF XIII is receiving from his end. I almost feel pitty for the game...Nah, I don't. Yahtzee has nailed it by the gut and golly me, it's the most awesome thing ever.

T_ConX:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
...and I don't care what any official media says, if Vanille is over 16 I will suffocate myself with a miniskirt

As both a fan of spectacle, and someone who played more then the first five hours, I feel obliged to point out that...

The point is that she most definately does not look over 16, and this is rather creepy, because... you know...

bjj hero:
[
For me it doesn't matter as I wont play a game that only lets me half play it for 20 hours before I get to play the real game. Tutorials should not pass the 15 minute mark.

Tutorials in FFXIII don't go past 1 minute each. The first 10 chapters, albeit linear, are a real game. There's no rule anywhere that says that a game needs to allow free exploration to be a real game, yanno.

Abriael:

Tutorials in FFXIII don't go past 1 minute each. The first 10 chapters, albeit linear, are a real game. There's no rule anywhere that says that a game needs to allow free exploration to be a real game, yanno.

Having not played it, only having read positive reviews of the game, what do people mean when they say you dont get the full battle system until half way through?

Linear can be a good thing if done well. Helps with pacing etc.

Abriael:

You say you're not in control? Really? What is "being in control" like? In games it normally means that the game puts a problem in front of you, and you have to solve such problem through input.
Even during the most linear parts, Final Fantasy XIII puts enemies in front of you, and you have to decide how to kill them. That's the very definition of being "in control".

My main problem with the FF series (and many other JRPGs for that matter) is that even though they have such rich and detailed stories, the narrative is almost always completely divorced from gameplay. As such, I usually have a hard time justifying a full play through of the game when watching cinematics on youtube would get me roughly the same experience. I believe this is what Yahtzee is referring to when he notes that the game "plays itself" because most actions relevant to the plot are indeed completely out of control of the character. Yes, you can do tactical battles and micromanagement and whatnot, but does any of that have any relation to the main story's themes? More often than not I find it's completely contradictory to them.

boholikeu:

My main problem with the FF series (and many other JRPGs for that matter) is that even though they have such rich and detailed stories, the narrative is almost always completely divorced from gameplay. As such, I usually have a hard time justifying a full play through of the game when watching cinematics on youtube would get me roughly the same experience. I believe this is what Yahtzee is referring to when he notes that the game "plays itself" because most actions relevant to the plot are indeed completely out of control of the character. Yes, you can do tactical battles and micromanagement and whatnot, but does any of that have any relation to the main story's themes? More often than not I find it's completely contradictory to them.

Contradictory? No. Not controllable plotwise? Sure, but that's something common of many games (actually, most games). What would be contradictory between the gameplay and the story?

bjj hero:

Having not played it, only having read positive reviews of the game, what do people mean when they say you dont get the full battle system until half way through?
Linear can be a good thing if done well. Helps with pacing etc.

Combat starts simple, and you get new features added along the way. You unlock further paradigms available to each character and so forth.
This isn't different from any progressive game in which your character starts with a limited amount of skills/weapons/whatever and your options become more varied as you progress.

Though, for some, this is unforgivable only for Final Fantasy XIII :P

As far as the whole Vanille thing. There was a gal where I worked who looked like she was fourteen-fifteen. She was actually twenty-three. I might actually hunt down a couple of them there games he mentioned.

Abriael:

Contradictory? No. Not controllable plotwise? Sure, but that's something common of many games (actually, most games). What would be contradictory between the gameplay and the story?

Gameplay can be contradictory to the story if the player's actions don't match what the game story is trying to tell you. For example, it's contradictory for an RPG that's about healing the world to only make the combat situations playable. For a better explanation of this google "ludo-narrative dissonance".

Edit: let me also note that this is completely different from linearity. A game can be totally linear, yet still have the player in control of mechanics relevant to the overall plot.

The debate continues...

Helba1984:

ZippyDSMlee:

Abriael:

Shamanic Rhythm:
Of course Yahtzee does tend to bait fans by saying hyperbolic things like "if you like it then you are provably wrong", hence some of the rage is brought upon himself, but he makes some fairly valid criticisms. Above all, the fact that you have to play the game for twenty hours before it gets good.

First of all, that's not a point he has the basis to make, because he played just 5 hours. That's not a review, That's hearsay.

Also, "you have to play 20 hours before it gets good" is an opinion, not a "valid point", and that's an opinion based on the possibility of the generic "you" to dislike linear gameplay.
Personally, the game got "good" as soon as I saw the first scenes, I don't mind linear gameplay, and I don't think that freedom of exploration is an indispensible trait of a quality game. If it was, my options to find good games would be radically narrowed.
There are plenty critically acclaimed games that are a whole X hours long on-rail adventure. Final Fantasy XIII won't be the first, nor the last, but lots of people seem to feel personally slighted by the fact it's linear. It's funny to see how the same people aren't as offended by other games that are equally straightforward.

Personally, I find that a big part of that disparity in judgement, expecially from the press, comes from the fact that Final Fantasy XIII is a Japanese game, and it's become "hip" to bash Japanese games. No matter the quality.

The fun part is that when we receive a JRPG that truly innovates the genre in many ways (White Knight Chronicles), they will find other excuses to bash it (and I did see reviews criticizing it for being too "confusing" in the explorative part. Damn you, you want linear or free exploration?).

ZippyDSMlee:

100 hours? FF13 is only 40 hours long and most of that is grueling :P

It's 40 hours if you whine about it being linear and then PURPOSEDLY play it linear :D

Chapter 11 can easily be over 60 hours long, depending on how you play it, if you do all the missions, hunt all the monsters, look for all the components to get your ultimate weapons and so forth.
FFXIII is 2 games in one, basically. You can chose to play one, and whine it's linear and shallow, or you can play both, and you'll have an extremely rich and deep game.

Ah filler...... it didnt make FFX any better... and guess what..... its still a heavily linear game it just has a longer corridors than most....

If you ask me, X was one of the best, if not THE best one in the series; and it has nothing to do with linearity, although I love the story - it has to do with the combat system, which IMHO, is tied for greatest battle system of all time right up there with Legend of Dragoon.

So, put those two together, and the "corridors" are tolerable.

XIII had to be their idea of a joke, though; you seen the interviews with the project lead? *headdesk*

The best thing about X was blitz ball and the sphere grind, the combat was pretty much FF standard fair stat based TB combat,they say otherwise but functionally it is as thats how you play it.....

Abriael:

ZippyDSMlee:

Ah filler...... it didnt make FFX any better... and guess what..... its still a heavily linear game it just has a longer corridors than most....

It's obvious that you don't know what you're talking about. There are NO corridors in the open ended part of the game. They aren't longer. It is, indeed, open ended. You can explore freely.

Misinformed post is misinformed.

Thats like saying Quake 4 is not a corridor shooter because of the large vehicle levels.....or Turok is not a corridor shooter because 2 or 4 levels have 2 paths you can take.......through the corridored layouts.....

OK I'm a bit pissed that Mogworld can't be bought from amazon.co.uk, but can be bought from the American Amazon site? Come on Yahtzee!

boholikeu:

Abriael:

Contradictory? No. Not controllable plotwise? Sure, but that's something common of many games (actually, most games). What would be contradictory between the gameplay and the story?

Gameplay can be contradictory to the story if the player's actions don't match what the game story is trying to tell you. For example, it's contradictory for an RPG that's about healing the world to only make the combat situations playable. For a better explanation of this google "ludo-narrative dissonance".

Edit: let me also note that this is completely different from linearity. A game can be totally linear, yet still have the player in control of mechanics relevant to the overall plot.

Do to limited content games are linear but you can build it so you are distracted from the linearity, Fallout 1-2 is more open world than most but keeps you on track via quests and enemy zones that keep you on track. The next line of games that is less open are you traditional Jrpgs of old Lufia,FF,Phansty Star ect,ect you are slowly introduced to the soundings and the world, this is the type of design style lacking in the modern age. The next line of games you get either less environment to travel or explore(Wild arms remake,Legaia 2,most new RPGs that have a over world but smaller towns,ect) in this same style you also get games that give you less control over your group Star ocean on the PSX comes to mind.

Now we move to the final stage of RPG evolution where you get even less explorable content FFX,XenoSaga,FFX2,Bioware games past KOTOR, ect. The design emphasis is on tightly regulated game flow where skills and general character/group progression can be placed under tighter control as so you don't have to spam content at it to get the story from A to B but most of the time this feels much less contrived and more constricted than anything else.

This is overgeneralization of every jrpg since FF7.

Yahtzee played Chrono Trigger? My mind is blown! At least I know now that Yahtzee has at least been exposed to good JRPGs.

Anyone here a fan of the shin megami tensei franchise?

I DEFINETLY need to play Earthbound now o_o;

Mr.Lucifer:
Anyone here a fan of the shin megami tensei franchise?

YES

Am I the only one that groans when I hear people say, "Ooh! Just wait until you play it for blank blank hours THEN it stops sucking!". I'm sorry, when I spend 60+ bucks on a game, I want to be hooked the SECOND I put the gaming disc in. As someone who is a fan of JPRGs and who has been playing them since Final Fantasy 1 (I purchased it when it was new) I have to say the latest FF game sucks. Horrible characters, boring story. DECENT battle system and waaaay too many boring cut scenes. I've never played a game before where I hated EVERY SINGLE ONE of the main characters until this turkey came up. Thank God I was able to return this for a real game.

Industrial-strenght Fan:
If someone (im looking at you Mr.Croshaw) would like to try out some Really good jrpg titles i would wholeheartedly recommend the Shin Megami Tensai: Persona games (especially SMT: Persona 3 FES & Persona 4, both available for the PS2)

and just to remind people: If you dont like Japanese culture/storytelling and/or Anime/manga you should never try to review a JRPG.
that like i i where to review a Kanye West or Akon cd( and i hate Rap and hip hop with a passion).

3 is good, 4 not so much >_>

I have to agree with him actually..All those games listed in that column are great games from the past that I still play over again to this day(and I actually finished Chrono Trigger)..Don't get me wrong, I liked FF7 just because it had a really good storyline(and for some twisted reason i liked 9)..but 8 10 10-2 13 etc. have all lost my interest. I haven't bought a FF game since 10 and I've seen my roommate playing 12..it just doesn't look that interesting anymore. I miss the good ol standing in a line or around a gigantic boss turn based whackem..none of this moving around the arena crap. That wii download for the expansion on FF2(or 4 if u prefer) is actually quite good and challenging..just a bit expensive i guess.

boholikeu:

Gameplay can be contradictory to the story if the player's actions don't match what the game story is trying to tell you. For example, it's contradictory for an RPG that's about healing the world to only make the combat situations playable. For a better explanation of this google "ludo-narrative dissonance".

Good point, too bad that Final Fantasy XIII isn't about "healing the world" at all, not even nearly.

ZippyDSMlee:

Thats like saying Quake 4 is not a corridor shooter because of the large vehicle levels.....or Turok is not a corridor shooter because 2 or 4 levels have 2 paths you can take.......through the corridored layouts.....

The difference is that there isn't a "large vehicle level" or "2 paths you can take". There are completely open world areas, with several tens of quests that you can take in any order. That's most definitely not anyway comparable with corridors.

I'd advise you to actually get your info straight before commenting on a game, since actually playing it seems to be asking too much in yathzee's environment :D

Industrial-strenght Fan:

Abriael:

ZippyDSMlee:

Ah filler...... it didnt make FFX any better... and guess what..... its still a heavily linear game it just has a longer corridors than most....

It's obvious that you don't know what you're talking about. There are NO corridors in the open ended part of the game. They aren't longer. It is, indeed, open ended. You can explore freely.

Misinformed post is misinformed.

i second that!
They did the same with FFX (a game that in my view have gotten WAY misjudged), linear trough a good chunk of it, and then it opened up to this large world that gave a lot of side quests and treasure hunting.

And while im on the subject...Everybody compares this to FF7, while i believe it to be a spiritual sequel to FFx.

I haven't quite figured out why people claim it's like FF7.

It's definitely a cross between FFX (corridors - sphere grid) and FFX-2 (battle system).

Except for ATB (which again is closer to FFX-2) I'm not sure how it's like 7.

I just read/watched "let's plays" for Persona 3 and 4. If playing through games is your thing, hey, there's no accounting for taste, but I had a much better time than I would have by playing it. There's the added bonus of witty commentary, plus I can just skip past all the pointless grinding and get to the actual interesting parts.

Abriael:

boholikeu:

Gameplay can be contradictory to the story if the player's actions don't match what the game story is trying to tell you. For example, it's contradictory for an RPG that's about healing the world to only make the combat situations playable. For a better explanation of this google "ludo-narrative dissonance".

Good point, too bad that Final Fantasy XIII isn't about "healing the world" at all, not even nearly.

ZippyDSMlee:

Thats like saying Quake 4 is not a corridor shooter because of the large vehicle levels.....or Turok is not a corridor shooter because 2 or 4 levels have 2 paths you can take.......through the corridored layouts.....

The difference is that there isn't a "large vehicle level" or "2 paths you can take". There are completely open world areas, with several tens of quests that you can take in any order. That's most definitely not anyway comparable with corridors.

I'd advise you to actually get your info straight before commenting on a game, since actually playing it seems to be asking too much in yathzee's environment :D

The problem is unlike the open world FFs and even modern RPGs with less explorable content this thing is a corridor then a large area to tool around in before moving on to the next corridor. The large area with tons of stuff to do is a illusion that fails to pass the test of a good illusion. At least FF12 was awesome in this respect a shame the rest of that game did reach that level of design.

Call it what you will but this is RPG lite and ME2 is extra virgin lite....... I compare them because in some respects they are simualer.

ZippyDSMlee:
[
The problem is unlike the open world FFs and even modern RPGs with less explorable content this thing is a corridor then a large area to tool around in before moving on to the next corridor. The large area with tons of stuff to do is a illusion that fails to pass the test of a good illusion. At least FF12 was awesome in this respect a shame the rest of that game did reach that level of design.

There's no illusion. You can go where you want, do the missions in any order. There's no corridor in that part of the game, and honestly it seems that you're grasping at straws a-la "it's a corridor because I say so! It's no no matter that it doesn't look, feel and play like a corridor! It's an illusion!".

Doesn't fly.

TacoBob:
Am I the only one that groans when I hear people say, "Ooh! Just wait until you play it for blank blank hours THEN it stops sucking!". I'm sorry, when I spend 60+ bucks on a game, I want to be hooked the SECOND I put the gaming disc in. As someone who is a fan of JPRGs and who has been playing them since Final Fantasy 1 (I purchased it when it was new) I have to say the latest FF game sucks. Horrible characters, boring story. DECENT battle system and waaaay too many boring cut scenes. I've never played a game before where I hated EVERY SINGLE ONE of the main characters until this turkey came up. Thank God I was able to return this for a real game.

Amen to that!

Id like to see someone that has played and mildly enjoyed the Final Fantasy series since FF1, and still say that FFXIII is a masterpiece.

Tetranitrophenol:

Id like to see someone that has played and mildly enjoyed the Final Fantasy series since FF1, and still say that FFXIII is a masterpiece.

I played the Final Fantasy series since FF1 and enjoyed it (besides V and XII that were very, very sub-par story and characters-wise), including XI (for about three years), and I think FFXIII is a masterpiece.

Glad to be of service.

Wow, even Yahtzee liked FF6.

Seems like all RPGs these days keep the training wheels on for the first 10 hours of play. I just want to tell the game "Shut up, I've played tons of RPGs, just let me dive into the combat and leveling system. Start sending the difficult monsters at me!"

On another note, it got to be an out and out joke that every hero started his journey being woken up because he's late for [school, training, breakfast, etc]. That's how EVERY jRPG started back in the day.

Seriously, this is wrong. Yahtzee doesn't like JRPGs. Whatever.

The point is, SOME PEOPLE LIKE THAT SORT OF THING. I could write a ton of articles why Bioshock sucks and doesn't make sense, but what freakin' for? Some people like it, who am I to convince them the game is crap? No, I haven't played FFXIII. The last FF I've played was VIII and I liked it. Devil May Cry 4 is one of the few games I've actually finished from the last 50 I've bought, I can also enjoy Dragon Ball Z or other Japanese stuff.

And frankly, I'll rather play Final Fantasy than any of the artistic, independent/anarchistic look-at-the-intelligent-level-design games Yahtzee keeps propagating.

Yes, the best game ever made is the freeware independent adventure game Out of Order. Yet anything from Japan is higher on my list than anything Western, with the sole exception of Beyond Good and Evil (that's the exception confirming the rule). At least some shit is happening in JRPGs, unlike in WRPGs (I just can't make myself play Mass Effect).

Apreciation for Paper Mario 2, one of my all time favorate games, from the most critical critic ever makes me very happy. There is not enough love for this game.

Aaahh, the sheer silence when all the fanbois of FF13 read this article, only to explode in a gigantic ball of rage. I love it.

So far, yahtzee and me hold the same viewpoints on many games he reviewed. I dont't take him TOO seriously, but he's the only reviewer I pay attention to. More than Gamespot's or IGN's for instance. Great read, keep the memories up!

Well I suppose I should add a criteria to my buy-game-when-list: Ignore Yahtze when it comes to JRPGs. While I have not played FF13 (due to lack of... well... PS3 or xbox360) I am a big fan of FF7 through to 10 (and ignoring FFX-2). I love the convoluted stories and characters with mysterious pasts and so forth so they are great for me.

That being said Yahtzes reviews has lead me to play some very good games - even when he didn't like them. Most notable is Psychonauts but the list also includes Dead Space and Batman Arkham Asylum. The key is thinking to yourself: Can I live with these flaws that he is highlighting or do I even enjoy the kind of gameplay he detest? If the answer is yes then you just gained some good info from a yahtze on top of 5 minutes of entertainment.

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