Zero Punctuation: The World Ends With You

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Okay, the majority of people here ragging on JRPGs have little enough idea what they are talking about. How do I know? Well one big clue is most of them start by saying they have never heard of TWEWY. In particular, people saying JRPGs are all the same have probably played little enough outside of FF, and saying all JPRGs are similar because all FFs are similar is like saying all American games are similar because all GTAs are similar. In truth, there is basically nothing in common between, say, Final Fantasy and Super Paper Mario or Earthbound.

Some random comments:
- Stories are all the same? Even bringing this up will surely make me sound super-uncool, but I would argue the main plot of even "kiddy" JRPGs like the Kingdom Hearts series (mainly KH2 and KH:CoM) are more original and more interesting than the vast majority of American RPG plots, certainly including every BioWare game I've ever played (basically everything before Mass Effect).
- Can't control the personality of your main character? True, but this drawback also allows for much more cohesive and personalized storytelling. Besides, the American answer of choosing between good vs evil has now become as repetitive and as gimmicky as anything in the Japanese market. Especially since it likely causes you to forget about character altogether and just "role-play" one decision at a time so as to optimize equipment.
- A lot of stock characters? To some extent, yes. But mainly, this is a problem with people only playing FFs where all characters are made by one guy, and he has trouble coming up with original ideas each game. And, uh, this isn't exactly unique to JRPGs. Or have you never met the evil wizard from American fantasy games?
- Most JRPGs involve saving the world? Well yeah. See also: RPGs from any culture, and indeed, most video games from anywhere.
- Linear? Yep. This is a personal preference - maybe it bothers you, maybe it doesn't. In general, non-linear equates to two things: the good path or the evil path gimmick, or the you can do things in different orders idea. The first is a gimmick, the second can be done badly as often as it can be done well, and in particular, it can lead to not having a cohesive purpose in the story - i.e., just explore until you win the game. There's also non-linear in the sense of optional content of course, but JRPGs have never shied away from that.
- Too many cutscenes? Well there are a lot usually. JRPGs have movie elements. No denying that. But the cutscenes are almost always well done and are usually skippable (helpful after deaths or on second playthroughs), so this is not a bad thing for a lot of people. If you want to be shooting off heads 95% of the time, yes, you picked the wrong game. But it's not like cutscenes should prevent most people from enjoying themselves except in extreme cases.
- Turn-based combat? Usually. Extra level-grinding required? Often not - all that is required is to (a) not run from fights, (b) not skip through areas quickly, and (c) learn how to use your abilities. If you want 100% completion, well then all bets are off, but meh. There certainly are action JRPGs out there too. See for example, Super Paper Mario, Kingdom Hearts, or Okami among recent games.
- Bad translations? Eh, when's the last time you've really played a JRPG? Translations have been fine since the Final Fantasy 3/6 days.

Not that I think anyone really cares. Shrug.

PS: The review was funny as it always is.

I got the pink clue - where's the helicopter?

Still can't decide if I want this game, it looked interesting and I don't mind a fair bit of grinding but that bit about the maths/shop really set my teeth on edge.

Also, what's with this ghastly 'OMG you sad fanboy' response to anyone who likes anything that's popular? Is sneering so important? When you die, nobody goes 'Well done! You made cheerful people feel like idiots and didn't enjoy yourself at all, here's an award.' Miserable bunch of nipples.

I'm currently kicking myself throught a couple of non-jrpg (non-gay) RPG's, Kotor 1 and Kotor 2.
Being a couple of hours into the second now, I'm beginning to wonder why I started in the first place, because it sure does feel like a chore...
Oh yes, because it's made by the same guys who made the only RPG's I ever enjoyed, Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale.
That, and it's games that "everybody" must have played.
And it's Star Wars.

I won't get tricked into RPGs as easily next time =(

Well done, Yahtzee. I salute your GH abilities, I still haven't beaten GH2 on expert.

Now this is freaky. Having played TWEWY near-relentlessly, I jokingly asked myself only the other week "I wonder what Yahtzee would say if he reviewed this? Ha! Like that will ever happen. We all know he hates JRPGs with the burning fury of a thousand suns."

Then lo and behold...

I enjoyed the game and am currently working to get all the little secrets, tidbits and other unlockables; something I could never be arsed to do that in any other JRPG. I found TWEWY a nice variation on the standard JRPG formula, and the game even has moments where it makes fun of the genre's cliches ("Squall syndrome", I'm looking at you).

I also immensely enjoyed this review because it was highly entertaining, Yahtzee made valid points about the game, and I'm not a drooling Nintendo fanboy with a Game & Watch lodged in their cerebellum.

You know what he should start reviewing? Games made by indie developers. Some of the ones that will be coming with WiiWare look incredibly intuitive. Genious even.

Great review yahtzee and i have to agree aobut the lack of some freedom and why do most if not all jrpg games do that. You know the answer so why do you ahve to go to a npc to be told it -_- .

Keep them coming it's one of the few things that brighten up a wednesday ^^

KBKarma:

Gregorius:
[lots and lots of text]

...

Yes, the AI sucks ass. No, the Fusion is not, necessarily, useless, since it will also heal you a bit, thus resulting in one hell of a last-minute save. Didn't know it did less damage than pins, though. Point is, though, it overcomes an enemy's resistance to either melee or ranged combat, and does the damage directly. It's also not affected by trends, so that's cool too.

Whoa, someone actually read my huge paragraph-shaped rant on the game? I applaud you, KBKarma!

Yeah, I noticed the healing function of Fusion, too, but it only heals you... what, 100 HP? One of those Cure Drinks has the same effect, essentially. If it weren't for the fact that I was unable to achieve a hyper-REM state whilst playing, I'd've actually liked the Fusion system; it had some good things going for it. I found it pretty shameful when my Onikiri pin did 600+ damage to anything before rebooting.
On that note, the fashion system was pretty amazing, although I kind of broke it when Neku was wearing all Jupiter of the Monkey clothes and pins and I ended up raping every kind of Noise after a few battles, wherein by that time, JotM would be the most popular brand in that area-- nay, all of Shibuya. But by that time, I neglected almost every other pin except the few I started with, and it was bloody annoying when I was trying to kill that one Pig Noise in Molco with ONLY Pyrokinesis... why do they make you do that? How do we, as a Player, profit from that?!

Ahem... but enough ranting on that note. Once again, applause for KBKarma! YAY!

Psychedeliasmith:
I got the pink clue - where's the helicopter?

Still can't decide if I want this game, it looked interesting and I don't mind a fair bit of grinding but that bit about the maths/shop really set my teeth on edge.

Also, what's with this ghastly 'OMG you sad fanboy' response to anyone who likes anything that's popular? Is sneering so important? When you die, nobody goes 'Well done! You made cheerful people feel like idiots and didn't enjoy yourself at all, here's an award.' Miserable bunch of nipples.

Grinding isn't required at all, really. You can change the difficulty at any time (it only affects exp gained and drop rates), and on easy and normal you can put up a good fight at any level. I beat the game at 73 because I loved the fighting, but I had two friends do it at 36. Grinding is only necessary for optional bosses and ultimate difficulty.

And while putting up the wall was a bit annoying, it was a perfect opportunity for your partner to be a know-it-all asshat, so it didn't bother me.

EDIT: Oh, and you people are completely missing out if you ignore fusions. Shiki's level 3 isn't anything special, (fun to watch, though), but Beat's does a good amount of damage and Josh's "Jesus Meteor" will destroy all non-bosses in one hit. If you think the healing is low, up your sync rate by eating stuff. A level 3 will heal me for 100% of my health no matter who uses it, and I have something like 8500 HP.

Gregorius:
I neglected almost every other pin except the few I started with, and it was bloody annoying when I was trying to kill that one Pig Noise in Molco with ONLY Pyrokinesis... why do they make you do that? How do we, as a Player, profit from that?!

Wait till you get pin sets before you start talking about neglected pins. Once you get the Darklit Planet set it's all over. Oh and as for the pigs, some of them will have you pulling your hair out. Just wait till they fight back! :D

Alexsutton:
I wouldn't call 'Challenge Anneka' an obscure reference, well maybe for Americans but the world doesn't revolve around the US!

That could be what he meant by "obscure British reference." But, who knows?

Adding my name to the nameless, faceless retarded Yahtzee fan base.

If someone actually made a jrpg with the same ditsy girls and Captain Obvious men but let you have the protagonist be a manipulative, evil bastard for once I'd play it ;)

Nice review as always just keep doing what you do and don't listen to the crowd.

great review, but i think it would be funnier if you review more games that's actually bad, just for our amusement. i suggest haze.

happy birthday yahtzee :D

Thank you for makeing these videos!

I just wish Yahtzee's fanboys would actually pay attention to his insights on the game industry rather than just focusing on the jokes and insults. In plenty of his reviews* he's had some incredibly interesting and insightful things to say on the gaming industry, but most of his fans are only noticing the one-liners that they abuse verbatim.

*(not so much this one, but only because he's already said just about everything he said this week in his Mass Effect and Super Paper Mario reviews)

You know, I was planning to get the game before this review. Actually, I still am.
The overall thought seemed to be "I didn't like this game because I don't like JRPGs." I'm no JRPG junkie, but the genre's okay by me, and I know better than to make decisions based off of one person's opinion.

I have to agree with Yahtzee's review, I used to be a big fan of Japanese RPG's back when I was younger, starting with FF1 until about 10 years ago.

It's true that the majority of JRPG's are very VERY similar to each other, but I guess that's the style. I haven't played TWEWY nor do I intend to, I had never even heard of it before now, lol.

I was disenchanted with JRPG's after everyone started ripping off FF7(Which was great btw, though not as good as tactics) back in the day.
I outright abandoned them when FF9 was released and it was clear that FF7's influence would never fade.

Anyway, good review Yahtzee, I enjoyed it... and... OMFG, Yahtzee is only 25?! damn.

I am usually on the side of Yatzee, trying to wade my bigger penis in the threads of Nintendo fanboyism (which, granted, is a pool of small penises so it's easy)

I play (and still do) TWEWY and I love it. So when Yatzee started being negative, I though "Damn, I'll have to act like a fanboy, he is so stupidly wrong!", but then I realized that I don't actually try to get the brand bonus, that I told my gf just this morning how the amount of text was stupid, that it was the same company that released My Life As A King (which meant to say that I was complaining, because I always do when I play MLAAK), no way of skipping them, and that yes, the characters are androgynous JRPG regulars.

So is Yatzee wrong? Everyone with half a brain (ie : not a fanboy) will agree with him. And so do I. I still enjoy the game though, and I am not a JRPG fan (I didn't even play any FF after the 1st)

Thing is that, like many people who play TWEWY, it seems that Yatzee didn't get the point of the battle system. I get stars at every battles because I have sets of badges that works well (ie : that are similar in their strokes). I regularly change sets, but I find combination that work, and thats how the game was made. Also, I found a shape for the combo chain that suited me. So yes, I can watch the 2 screens, and yes, I can do 4-6 battles at the hardest setting and still get a star. And it's damn fun!

The food system should be adopted by every MMORPG out there, it actually gives an incentive to do battle other than quest/farming. The battle chain is a cool idea and the clothes abilities are better than the standard RPG "+1 hp +5 running" fare.

But a battle system does not make the game... The rest is pretty much your standard JRPG, and I might enjoy it too much because I went to Tokyo 4 months ago (Yes, Shibuya looks like the real thing, and "Shibuya 104" is actually "Shibuya 109" IRL but it's close enough)

I rather liked this game =D Which is weird, because I don't like JRPGs as well

But, Great review as always

I dunno. If TWEWY does away with the turn based combat thing, doesn't that mean that it isn't a JRPG? Doesn't the removal of that factor make it a regular RPG made by a Japanese company?

Great video, the GTA IV reference at the end was particularly funny.

Sorry Yahtzee! but poor review this week, and u've got 2 many fan boys tht just want 2 kiss ur ...ahem! lol BUT i've LOVED all ur other reviews.

Drawing things in order to attack people huh?

Wait a minute this isn't original, in fact it sounds like they did the EXACT same thing in Okami a while back.

Come on zero I realised that after about a couple minutes of thought, surely you could have figured it out as well. Methinks you're starting to slip, (either that or you've never heard of okami in which case buy it because it's a great game (and it doens't qualify as an rpg in my opinion)).

Play Persona 3, all of you.

Sylocat:
I just wish Yahtzee's fanboys would actually pay attention to his insights on the game industry rather than just focusing on the jokes and insults. In plenty of his reviews* he's had some incredibly interesting and insightful things to say on the gaming industry, but most of his fans are only noticing the one-liners that they abuse verbatim.

*(not so much this one, but only because he's already said just about everything he said this week in his Mass Effect and Super Paper Mario reviews)

^^ My thoughts exactly. While looking through the comments, it seemed like only 15% of people posting actually had reasons for disliking JRPG's, while the other 85% disliked them for the sole fact that they were Japanese.

P.S: I'm not really a big fan of RPGs (Western or otherwise) myself. I'll play one every now and then though.

Come on zero I realised that after about a couple minutes of thought, surely you could of figured it out as well

Well, he did mention Okami in the LoZ review, so yeah, he is familar with it.

miller483:

P.S: I'm not really a big fan of RPGs (Western or otherwise) myself. I'll play one every now and then though.

Me neither, I play one mmo (it's not WOW) and if I'm feeling nostalgic: pokemon and that's it.

I never could get into the whole RPG genre anyway (although if you want to talk weird Japanese games I do love the katamari games).

SilentScope001:

Come on zero I realised that after about a couple minutes of thought, surely you could of figured it out as well

Well, he did mention Okami in the LoZ review, so yeah, he is familar with it.

Perhpas I missed it but when did yahtzee review a legend of zelda game?

Spongeman25:
3. Saving the World. This is a problem that stretches beyond the JRPG genre, but honestly it seems to be the worst here. No matter who you are and no matter what you start out doing, you can be effectively guaranteed that at some point in the course of the game you're going to find your own particular variation of the Invisible Time Wizard floating around in the space between dimensions and plotting to destroy the world because his neighbor's dog told him to or some other such foolishness. You will then stop this person. All RPGs manage to get bogged down in this sort of wrote pattern, it seems, but it doesn't really have to, and in JRPGs sometimes the reasoning is just truly, fundamentally stupid. Here's an idea - maybe instead of trying to save the world, my motivation is that I'm sick of having to run up two hundred flights of stairs every night and risk my life in combat with these weird things that look like hands and tables and curiously agile ink blots and live my life as a normal freaking human being. Maybe my motivation for adventuring around the world in my multi-part ship with my immortal friends is because I just want to freaking die already. Why does there always have to be a villain tenting his fingers and lining out his plan to crack the Earth in half so he can host a family reunion with his grandfather?

It's a way to immerse the player, believe it or not. There needs to be some logical reason the player can't just say "screw you guys, I'm going home" to The Plot, and the world being destroyed is the simplest way to do it, because it represents a hazard the player can't run away from. Most players *cough*Yahtzee*cough* get frustrated with the role they're playing if it takes control from the hands of the player for any reason less than "the game (world) ends if you do that."

That said, there are RPG-like games with other goals... The Sims, Harvest Moon, and so on. Most people call them "sims" rather than RPGs, though.

Father Time:
Drawing things in order to attack people huh?

Wait a minute this isn't original, in fact it sounds like they did the EXACT same thing in Okami a while back.

Come on zero I realised that after about a couple minutes of thought, surely you could of figured it out as well. Methinks you're starting to slip, (either that or you've never heard of okami in which case buy it because it's a great game (and it doens't qualify as an rpg in my opinion)).

It's a DS game. Would you rather attack enemies by yelling into the microphone really loud?

Whoa. Condemned 3, on the DS. Somebody stop me before I unleash something terrible.

Spongeman25:
3. Saving the World. This is a problem that stretches beyond the JRPG genre, but honestly it seems to be the worst here. No matter who you are and no matter what you start out doing, you can be effectively guaranteed that at some point in the course of the game you're going to find your own particular variation of the Invisible Time Wizard floating around in the space between dimensions and plotting to destroy the world because his neighbor's dog told him to or some other such foolishness. You will then stop this person. All RPGs manage to get bogged down in this sort of wrote pattern, it seems, but it doesn't really have to, and in JRPGs sometimes the reasoning is just truly, fundamentally stupid. Here's an idea - maybe instead of trying to save the world, my motivation is that I'm sick of having to run up two hundred flights of stairs every night and risk my life in combat with these weird things that look like hands and tables and curiously agile ink blots and live my life as a normal freaking human being. Maybe my motivation for adventuring around the world in my multi-part ship with my immortal friends is because I just want to freaking die already. Why does there always have to be a villain tenting his fingers and lining out his plan to crack the Earth in half so he can host a family reunion with his grandfather?

That's what great about Nocturne: practically the first thing that happens is the Earth and literally every living thing go 'foom'.

Father Time:

SilentScope001:

Come on zero I realised that after about a couple minutes of thought, surely you could of figured it out as well

Well, he did mention Okami in the LoZ review, so yeah, he is familar with it.

Perhpas I missed it but when did yahtzee review a legend of zelda game?

Phantom Hourglass, and he talked about how you need to yell at the thing at one point, and how this may lead to involuntary institutionalisation if done in public.

But yeah, its a DS game, and unless you go through a large menu of buttons for each one, there's no real other way. Plus, it seems an interesting way to make it a break from either button mashing or turn based.

Codgo:
FPS does have its problems and ocassionally stale genres, but its suprising how often it can pull off far better stories and characters than any JRPG. While Timesplitters was a great game i wouldn't call it a shining example of fps excellence.

Better far stories and characters? We're talking about FPS's, right? C'mon, with only a very few exceptions, what you do in an FPS makes no difference to the story, it's just more visceral than an RPG. The vast majority of games are like JRPGs the way Yahtzee described them; Action, then story. In nearly every case, it's controllable, then cutscene. You may have a branching story point here and there...but you can get that with most games containing a story.

Toga112:
I wonder if everyone in japan wonders about with retarded hair and swords big enough to be considered penis extentions?

I don't know, do all Americans wander around in cowboy boots and hats, going 'Y'all', while eating Big Macs and shooting people?

Christ.

Yahtzee (and others) have made the point that JRPGs expect you to do lots of math to divine the ultimate build...except...that's not entirely true. It's typically American-style RPGs that do that. Especially games based on D&D, like Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights. Elder Scrolls is quite bad at this, including the ever-so-popular 'Your stuff breaks' mechanic.

Turn-based RPGs...that's pretty much ALL RPGs except for 'action RPGs'..and even some of THOSE are turn-based. Even games that hype 'real-time battles' often have a hidden turn system.

Xwii360:
i tend to stay FAR far away from anything Jap/anime centered so I guess it's a good thing I shunned this.

Good to see you're keeping an open mind. I presume you're having a lot of fun playing your sports, NASCAR and F1-based racing, FPS, and casino games. Oh, and Microsoft Flight Simulator. The vast majority of every other genre draw heavy influence from "Jap/anime".

I like the ZP reviews, I quite often agree with them, and I always find them funny...unfortunately, some of the comments they spawn...Geez. Don't be such pricks about game types you don't like, guys. I don't like sports games...I find them boring and pointless. But I don't insult people who DO like them.

Oh, and to the person who wrote about separating 'sweaty otakus and their money'? Come see me the next time you spend 60 bucks for the same EA Sports title you bought the year before, differentiated only by the date and an 'updated roster'. Or sit in line for Halo 4, or GTA 7, or the newest gadget hyped by Steve Jobs at MacWorld. Then we'll talk about who is the bigger fanboy/sheep.

Remember, it's only acceptable to like your own country. It's an unspeakable and unthinkable idea to like or prefer anything from any other country.

Especially America.

Since America has been here for all of two hundredish years.

That's like before the fertile crescent and stuff.

And that's HARDCORE

I wonder what he'd think of FF6 or Odin Sphere, as there the best J-RPGs I can think of that boldly avoid almost all of what he considers typical problems. Yes,FF6 does have random encounters and turn based combat and Odin Sphere has a few pretty looking men and overly cute bunny things, but there really fun and they have one two of the best plots I've ever seen in a game, also OS is a Brawler RPG, how often is that seen?

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