Which of these JRPGs should I play?
October 04, 2009

I happen to have a few roommates who are very much into gaming, and as such, I've had access to a lot of games (and, in the case of the PS3, an entire console) I haven't previously had much access to. I'm focusing on playing the shorter games first (or, as I did yesterday, beating Mass Effect in record time), but one of my roommates has a bunch of JRPGs that I'm considering running through to keep me busy for the remainder of the school year. Looking for your suggestions on these:

Lost Odyssey - This is apparently by the same people responsible for Blue Dragon, which worries me, because I hated that game for being overlong, boring, generic, and having a crappy story. This one seems more mature and sophisticated, though. Still, I'm more likely to dismiss this one if it doesn't grab me quickly.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope - The first two titles in this series are among my all-time favorite games, but I never got to play the third one (though I'm hearing that's for the better). I've seen this one being played a bit and it looks like it maintains the perks of the series, and if it's still got the old skill system and item creation then I'm interested. This might be one of the first I play.

Enchanted Arms - All of the "professional" reviews paint this one as generic, but Zig's review makes it sound really good, and frankly the battle system interests me. Anyone else have an opinion on this?

Tales of Vesperia - Honestly, the only other game in this series I've played is Symphonia, which was good but not the life-affirming masterpiece some claimed it was. Still looking into this one provided it's not too long, or doesn't get boring before its time runs out (which was how I felt about Symphonia).

The Last Remnant - Haven't been hearing many good things about this. Unless someone can give me a compelling reason to look into it then I might just pass this one over.

Infinite Undiscovery - I just realized I know absolutely nothing about this game. Although the cover art seems to depict a bunch of people attempting to tie down the moon so I kinda want to play this.

So like I said, I'm not hitting any of these immediately since they'll likely take a huge commitment, but any advice you can offer me would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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jerec jerec - October 04, 2009 (11:33 PM)
Lost Odyssey - Nothing like Blue Dragon. Awesome story. Awesome characters. One of the best RPG's I've played in years.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope - I enjoyed it, but pretty much everyone else seemed to hate it. The characters and story are really objectionable to most people. The battle system is a step up from Til the End of Time.

Enchanted Arms - Generic, uncomfortable... it feels like a PS1 game in a lot of ways, and not one of the polished Final Fantasy type games. More like Koudelka. You either warm to this one or you don't.

Tales of Vesperia - Second best RPG I've played in ages (after LO). LO's turn based, this is action. It is fairly long, but it doesn't seem to drag like Symphonia did (and it gets good a lot quicker than Symphonia did, too). I really enjoyed this one.

The Last Remnant - Haven't played this one. The reviews steered me away.

Infinite Undiscovery - Apparently this game is okay. I haven't played it yet, but I want to. The only reason I haven't is because I've heard the text is TINY, so you need a good TV to play it properly - which I don't have.
overdrive overdrive - October 05, 2009 (12:25 AM)
I only have comments on the two I've been playing.

Lost Odyssey: much better than Blue Dragon. You actually might break a sweat beating enemies in this one, it looks much better, etc. There's a lot to recommend in this game. It has a mature theme that manifests itself in the dream stories and the actual plot, for one thing. It kinda feels like a VII-to-X Final Fantasy game....let that be your guide in determining its worth. Great production, nifty cinema, linear dungeons with random battles. If you don't like plot-centric RPGs, you won't like this one, but if you do, I'd rate it between 7-9 (depending on how you feel about the system, characters, etc.)

Enchanted Arms: not pretty aesthetic-wise compared to other 360 RPGs, but really fun due to the sense of humor the writers had. Considering you can get it for under $20, I'd recommend this one as well as Lost Odyssey. I agree with Jerec's comments in that if you don't warm to it, it will come off as generic. I happen to like it, though. It's basically a 6/10 with enough charm to be 8/10 if you get into the charm.
honestgamer honestgamer - October 05, 2009 (02:56 AM)
The Last Remnant - Really a terrific game, but it's definitely more challenging than your typical JRPG and the plot elements are relatively light giving how long you'd likely spend with this if you got as sucked into everything as I did. The most remarkable thing about it to me is that you really are rewarded for completing side quests. Whole towns and dungeons open up that you might not see if you just stick to the main plot... and they're actually worth seeing! There also are a lot of hidden characters that can join your army and the battle system, though turn-based, feels fresh because you have to consider tactical positions across battlefields. There are some annoying visual hiccups and the game's battle system can drag a bit until you go to the "Options" screen and make a few simple changes, but then it becomes one of the more unique and enjoyable RPGs that I've played in a long time. It's pretty dang cheap to buy now and I can't help but think that most of the people who have reviewed it probably haven't experienced even half of the thing and probably didn't think to optimize the settings. I can see why some people don't like it because it's not extremely accessible and simple, but if you can get past a few rough edges there are times when it's just plain fantastic.

Infinite Undiscovery - This is by the team responsible for Star Ocean and it shows. Your characters grow in much the same way. Much like The Last Remnant, there's a lot to this game if you decide to start doing everything. I found it a perfectly enjoyable JRPG once I got past the rather bizarre opening bits. There's definitely a lot of fun to be had and it's a great game if you can get it for $30 or less, but the $60 it was going for at first was probably excessive. Don't put it at the top of your list or anything, but definitely don't dismiss it. Also, don't play it for the plot, which isn't actually as interesting as you might suppose. Yes, there are chains to the moon and such and all of that factors in, but ultimately it's a fairly generic story aside from a few neat moments throughout.
Genj Genj - October 05, 2009 (04:53 AM)
I gave up on Vesperia after 10 hours. Mostly because I wasn't liking it as much as Tales of Abyss and I had other games I wanted to play more.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - October 05, 2009 (08:31 AM)
I recommend Vesperia. It's the best game in that series, and the gameplay is more refined than Tales of Symphonia.
EmP EmP - October 05, 2009 (09:28 AM)
Lost Odyssey is the best JRPG of its current generation.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope is comfortable middle ground between the awsome SO2 and the awful SO3

Enchanted Arms is a brilliantly cheeky attack on RPGs while still managing to stay a solid game in and of itself. If you don't get the joke, you may not like this one.

The Last Remnant is pretty awful. The big draw was supposed to be the huge battles, but they're dull and, to win most fights, I picked early tactics then played a handheld while they played out.

Infinite Undiscovery was released into a staggering cloud of indifference for a reason
Suskie Suskie - October 05, 2009 (11:11 AM)
I think a couple of you missed the part where I said my roommate owns all of these games, so I don't have to spend money on them. I'll probably wind up trying them all at some point, it's just a matter of whether or not I'll commit myself to them.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. I'll probably hit Lost Odyssey first, followed by Vesperia and Star Ocean. I'll hit the others as I see fit, if I see fit at all.
honestgamer honestgamer - October 05, 2009 (12:34 PM)
The Last Remnant is pretty awful. The big draw was supposed to be the huge battles, but they're dull and, to win most fights, I picked early tactics then played a handheld while they played out.

^ An excellent example of someone who obviously missed the point of The Last Remnant by a few thousand virtual miles. I should have known I could count on EmP to hate a Square-Enix RPG without understanding it!
EmP EmP - October 05, 2009 (01:05 PM)
I understood that I played the game 70% of the way through and disliked it, noteing the main offender in a short summary. I could write a full review if you want me to further exand after I'm done with the huge pile of free labour I'm under, Jase.

I always planned to. Lewis very kindly lent me his review copy of the game for that purpose -- with a sly smirk and a promise of ultimate disapointment.
jerec jerec - October 05, 2009 (01:40 PM)
Because he hates you?
zigfried zigfried - October 05, 2009 (05:29 PM)
Star Ocean 4 is loads of fun, and since the story sucks you don't even have to finish the game to look back on it fondly.

Now there's a review I need to write someday!

- - - October 06, 2009 (06:11 AM)
I enjoyed Vesperia quite a bit. I've not played any of the others, though, so I can't really compare.

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