Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the Confusing JRPG

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I'm not convinced that turn-based gameplay has been "perfected." If anything there hasn't been enough variation on the 1986 Dragon Quest formula. ("Let's make it an action adventure." isn't improving gameplay, it's scrapping strategy for something more accepted.)

RPGs are strategy games and like board games, which weren't perfected a thousand years ago with Backgammon, they're not going to expand as long as they stick too close to Dragon Quest, Wizardry, Ultima, and D&D. RPGs, quite frankly, haven't quite reached their Monopoly, Guess Who, Ticket to Ride, and Scrabble days yet.

JRPGs have barely expanded on the facets that set them apart from Dragon Quest. Going back a great number of years, many of the games have strategic elements that were glossed over once, then barely expanded on while everyone else copied them.

(1987) Final Fantasy 1 has your characters stuck in their commands. In other words, if an enemy or ally dies, your character will still try to attack or heal them. Thus, strategic foresight was a necessity.

(1987) Megami Tensei had monster catching, fusing, and an Auto system.
(the monster system was then adopted by Pokemon which was adopted by.. everyone?)

(1991) Final Fantasy IV had the Active Time Battle system which (unlike a speed stat) made it possible for enemies to interrupt strategies randomly, leaving room for error. This left room for complex strategy in battle as the system could have easily evolved this as new enemy actions get introduced. Instead, the system eventually evolved into Final Fantasy XIII's... which Square still seems to be trying to "perfect"..

(1992) Lunar: The Silver Star had distance penalties (where character placement was an active issue)

(1992) Shining Force allowed you to recruit a massive number of characters, all with unique abilities and equipment. You could swap them in and out via a central base. It and Fire Emblem's gameplay are the basis of nearly all Japanese "tactics" games.

(1993) Secret of Mana had weapons and magic actively level up as used.

(1994) Earthbound (Mother 2) had odometer health, requiring the player to think ahead a before deciding whether to continue the offensive.

(1994) Final Fantasy VI had desperation attacks and equip-able magic-teaching mediums.

(1995) Chrono Trigger had combo attacks

(1995) Lufia II featured interactive environments and puzzles rather than empty corridors of chests and monsters. Also featured an "Anger Gauge" that allowed you to use the special powers equipment if you took enough damage. The result was magic gauge whose spells were unique to nearly every weapon and armor you could equip.

(1996) Madou Monogatari: Hanamaru Daiyouchienji removes the health bar, enemies send the character flying, and the character's facial expression determines her status.

(1997) Final Fantasy VII allowed you to customize your skills by combining them with modifiers.

(1998) Panzer Dragoon Saga...

(2002) Xenosaga has environmental features that you could activate that effect the enemy before you fight them.

(2003) Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has the "press turn system" where criticals, weaknesses, dodging, blocking, and reflecting have massive penalties. It also features Magatama, which give your character strengths & weaknesses when equipped in exchange for skills when you level up.

(2008) Valkyria Chronicles introduces turn-based strategy to a HIGHLY hostile real-time environment.

(2012) Final Fantasy XIII-2 has... semi-interactive cinematic gameplay

I'm pretty sure turn-based strategy games are just starting to see innovation.
Maybe the generation of developers that remembers the days of Wizardry, D&D, and Dragon Quest are finally retiring.

oldtaku:

but do we really have to micro-manage all their sodding equipment as well, swapping it all out every single time we switch the current lineup around? Not to mention having to decide what sweeties to force-feed them with for the associated buffs.

Sorry, but kids love this s$#@. Not all of them, for sure, but kids have all the time in the world. Holy hell, just look at Pokemon. When you get older, yeah, it's annoying. There are tons of things I put up quite happily as a young gamer than I won't put up with now. Also suspect pre-teens at least will do better at the real time combat.

We're old, son.

Heh, it's true.

I was the queen of grind when I was a kid.

Fight the same bug monster 343 times in order to move to the next level? Sure thing!

Micromanage my inventory, swapping it around every three seconds? God, yes! Everyone look at my awesome new game...

These days, however I'm more likely to do a cost-benefit analysis of the game with regard to bullshit-gone-through vs payoff. A lot of games fail that analysis.

Yahtzee: "But then again, it's entirely possible we are living in backwards world where all the kids are playing Black Ops and Warhammer 40k and only the adult gamers play the nice wholesome power of friendship innocent fairy tale RPGs in a futile effort to cling to their fading youth."

BING! You are correct, sir!! That's exactly what's happening, and I also think that's exactly the reason we grown ups are still playing those JRPGs...

it's a cartoon fantasy in which you play a small boy whose main objective is to continue postponing the moment when he has to grow up and stop being such a little pussy, all of which points to kiddie game for me.

I haven't played the game but ... perhaps this is what is know as a "coming of age" story.

With regards to Turn-based combat. I never understood why they didn't stick with it instead of shoehorning real-time into JRPG's group based combat. It's nigh impossible to control more than one character at a time in real-time combat without things becoming a chaotic mess.

Yahtzee, you filthy, slimy, arrogant, cynical, British piece of rat crap! You: "turn-based combat cannot possibly be improved upon, unless, of course you edge real-time into it."
You are on the spotlight, man! I know you might be sick of it, but that's no excuse to be narrow-minded.
Turn-based combat is not a bound fork to two different forms of failure.
Have a look at Grandia. Maybe then you'll learn there are still things in this world you have yet to discover.

About the kids ruling the government thing: in recent years certain kids go to Slovenia's Parliament and given permission to ask anything from the politicians all the while being broadcast live on TV. In 2014 they gutted the whole thing with questions adults would not dare ask and the politicians were "sweating like James Murdoch at a government hearing" in the metaphoric sense.
Hate the kids or not, give them a good understanding of things and they'll mess around less then old men/women running the country. Or does that coincide only in post-socialistic governments with nutter marionettes ruling the country? Who knows...

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