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Old 02-24-2013, 12:25 AM   #1
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I miss story-driven RPGs.

I grew up on Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, etc. I miss those games. I could remember buying up every RPG and JRPG that hit the local GameSpot (before we had GameStop), and finding myself lost in the worlds, characters, and story. These days, either I'm just too picky, I've just seen it all, or there is a serious lack of creativity put into these titles. I couldn't really get into Final Fantasy 13, marking the first FF game I ever put down without finishing. I also tried Xenoblade Chronicles recently, and only made it about an hour in before I had to turn it off. That game is just BAD.

I think the last game that actually got me hooked was Skyward Sword, and that was awhile back. Anyone else care to share their thoughts? Or share some suggestions on games with powerful stories that I may have missed?
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:36 AM   #2
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Ni No Kuni?
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:11 AM   #3
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I'm studying video game narratives right now. I'd love to get a nice list of video games that include narratives (from light narratives to super intensive narratives). I'll check back in a few days to see if anyone brings up anymore!
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:16 AM   #4
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I'm still kicking myself for never finishing up Vagrant Story.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:28 AM   #5
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There's Radiant Historia and The World Ends with You for the DS. Any of the Shin Megami Tensei entries. The first three Suikoden games. The first Kingdom Hearts game deserves its popularity. First two entries in Star Ocean series got redone for PSP, those are pretty classic. Lost Odyssey for the XBox, if you want something darker.

Crasters, off the top of my head I'd recommend Radiant Historia, The World Ends with You, Ghost Trick, Suikoden 1-3 (especially 2) and Lost Odyssey. Each of those has an unusual and well-told story that meshes with their gameplay.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:36 AM   #6
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Torgo, is that a title? I've never heard of it.

Red, I never got around to playing Vagrant Story.

Satsya, I've played Radiant Historia, it was pretty good. I liked The World Ends with You, the battle system was refreshing, and it was a decent story. I played Suikoden 1, 2, and 4. Loved Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, but lost interest really fast when all the side games started to flood the market. I never got into Star Ocean, I played one of them, but I honestly couldn't tell you which one.

I will have to investigate the others. Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:40 AM   #7
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Satsya fired off some good ones.

Infinite Space. It's been years, but that story still hits me hard. It's one of the few video games that had me on the edge of my seat with the story.

Ah... yeah, that's all I've got. Let's just say it left an impression on me.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:42 AM   #8
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Thanks Will, I'll look into that one too.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:46 AM   #9
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Torgo, is that a title? I've never heard of it.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It's a new jrpg for the PS3. It's animation was done by Studio Ghibli (Miyuzaki's studio). I've heard good things about it.

Also, yeah, I agree. Those types of games have become a much smaller niche and I miss them.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:47 AM   #10
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Persona 3 and Persona 4* for sure, along with anything Satsya mentioned. The World Ends With You is so good.

"Ni No Kuni" is a PS3-only game designed to look a lot like the Studio Ghibli movies. Not sure what the story is like, but it looks gorgeous.

(*For Persona 3 I recommend PS2 Persona 3: FES or the pretty good PSP port, and Persona 4 has a PS2 version or a PSP Vita port.)
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:06 AM   #11
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FF13 was a terrible addition to the line, primarily constructed with pretty graphics and voice actors with accents and a lesbian sisterly relationship. They've given it two sequels because each progressively has its issues and they continue to beat it like a dead horse until everyone loves it.

Vagrant Story, Xenosaga (1/3, 2 is questionable), The Last Story, Lost Odyssey are all lovely, in my opinion.

Square definitely feels like they traded in their quality in for quantity (story with depth and difficult bosses that required strategy and not grinding in exchange for the amount of cutscenes, characters and high HP bosses). After they merged with Enix, every game was gold, and if you do the research, you'll see that their post-Enix era games aren't as good (quality and sale wise) as pre-Enix era. FFX was their last, first to the PS2 and was ready to lead the way into the second generation for them. Unfortunately, they couldn't follow up well on it.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:38 AM   #12
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Speaking of Square Enix, Radiata Stories was a pretty good PS2 game. I also liked FF12, except for the protagonist.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:51 AM   #13
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FF13 was a terrible addition to the line, primarily constructed with pretty graphics and voice actors with accents and a lesbian sisterly relationship. They've given it two sequels because each progressively has its issues and they continue to beat it like a dead horse until everyone loves it.

Vagrant Story, Xenosaga (1/3, 2 is questionable), The Last Story, Lost Odyssey are all lovely, in my opinion.

Square definitely feels like they traded in their quality in for quantity (story with depth and difficult bosses that required strategy and not grinding in exchange for the amount of cutscenes, characters and high HP bosses). After they merged with Enix, every game was gold, and if you do the research, you'll see that their post-Enix era games aren't as good (quality and sale wise) as pre-Enix era. FFX was their last, first to the PS2 and was ready to lead the way into the second generation for them. Unfortunately, they couldn't follow up well on it.
I agree, I have loved every FF game (except some of the side-quest ish games, like Chocobo's Dungeon for example), and 13 just didn't make any sense. I felt nothing for any of the characters, except the afro-guy. Lightning just seemed like a self-righteous bitch, Snow felt like a recycled wanna-be hero. The older, scantily-dressed woman looked like she had never heard of a shower, while her younger counterpart must have been the WORST voice actress I've ever heard in a videogame, and I've sat through Barry Burton calling Ms. Valentine a "Jill Sandwhich" multiple times, so that's saying something.

As for Hope.... enough said.

Add some really confusing battle systems, mixed with bosses that are unbeatable unless you crack the code to that ONE specific strategy..... a shitty, drawn-out story, unimpressive sequences, and you have a three-part series that robs me of all hope for future Final Fantasy games.

I will say the graphics looked great though.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:52 AM   #14
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Mass Effect! It's good!

Though you can definitely smell EA's stink on the second one (never played the third). On the other hand, at least in ME2 the autosave worked, so you didn't lose your entire session every time you died. Combat felt way better too.

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Fatal Frame is worse.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:09 AM   #15
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Vagrant Story is at the top of my list, along with FF7 (I didn't finish 8, didn't like the art of 9). I really liked the story in Okami. I liked the story in Disgaea, though I haven't gotten around to playing the sequels yet. Zelda: Twilight Princess was quite interesting, although maybe less complete of a story. My roommate says ChronoTrigger. There are several MMOs where some of the quest chains are great stories.

For Crasters, here are some non-RPGs with great stories. Tender Loving Care (interactive story adventure game), Sanitarium (linear adventure game), Starcraft 1 (RTS), Harvest Moon: Save The Homeland (Interactive story sim with 6 different victory conditions). There are probably a lot of dating sims with great stories, but I don't play the ones with no 'gettable' male characters so I'm not familiar with those.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:22 AM   #16
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I agree, I have loved every FF game (except some of the side-quest ish games, like Chocobo's Dungeon for example), and 13 just didn't make any sense. I felt nothing for any of the characters, except the afro-guy. Lightning just seemed like a self-righteous bitch, Snow felt like a recycled wanna-be hero. The older, scantily-dressed woman looked like she had never heard of a shower, while her younger counterpart must have been the WORST voice actress I've ever heard in a videogame, and I've sat through Barry Burton calling Ms. Valentine a "Jill Sandwhich" multiple times, so that's saying something.

As for Hope.... enough said.

Add some really confusing battle systems, mixed with bosses that are unbeatable unless you crack the code to that ONE specific strategy..... a shitty, drawn-out story, unimpressive sequences, and you have a three-part series that robs me of all hope for future Final Fantasy games.

I will say the graphics looked great though.
Of course the graphics were great, it was their first third Gen game so they had to make a splash. Unfortunately, it was a very lack luster splash.

I'm holding out hopes for a VII remake. They could do a LOT of things wrong, but I wouldn't care. I love that game so much that I would appreciate the effort to revisit it. I feel blessed as it is to have an entire compilation for it, but it needs that remake. Unfortunately, SE refuses to until they sell a game as well as VII has.

Lately, they haven't even really turned out as many RPGs as they used to. Two FF titles, an MMO and an announced sequel in... ten years? They put out the majority of the franchise in that time before. What happened?

And where the crap is Versus?!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:02 AM   #17
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FF13 was a terrible addition to the line, primarily constructed with pretty graphics and voice actors with accents and a lesbian sisterly relationship. They've given it two sequels because each progressively has its issues and they continue to beat it like a dead horse until everyone loves it.
Ah, the pain of a developer making games for people who aren't you.


Along with the Mass Effect series, I'd also recommend BioWare's Dragon Age series. The games have excellent stories with a wide cast of interesting characters and mountains of fascinating lore.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:26 AM   #18
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I wouldn't call Xenoblade bad--you have to play it for more than one hour. And I've played bad. Tales of Symphonia II bad. I really enjoyed Xenoblade, like a lot. I have 277 hours logged in to that game.

Have you tried The Last Story? I don't know if you would like Magna Carta II. Have you played any of the Tales games, like Tales of Graces f or Tales of Vesperia? What about Eternal Sonata?

I have a lot of older games, not many recent gen. There's also Persona games if you haven't played those.

ETA: Another one is Ragnarok Odyssey (Vita) and Trials in the Sky (PSP) and Lunar Silver Star Harmony, if you have any of those systems. If you have Steam, there's the Ys games.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:41 AM   #19
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Hey, that's just me, but it's a fairly commonly shared opinion. xD There was a lot of delay and hype built up regarding 13 and it just didn't live up to expectations set (imo) over the 6 years. And then 13-2 was really rushed in a year in an attempt to remedy every issue posed against 13's downfall.

Dragon Age is good, but the second wasn't as good. You couldn't go anywhere! (Maybe I have an issue with sequels)

ETA: OH YES. Magna Carta 2 and Eternal Sonata. A little on the girly side, but adorable. Magna Carta needed some regular cut scenes, I was a little annoyed that we seemed to go graphically backwards with the side show act. But the battle system was neat, and the story was there (a bit wonky, but there).
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:01 AM   #20
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I enjoyed it. I still need to finish it, but I just finished Okami and working on FF8 and Tales of Graces f. Plus I want to play Magna Carta: Tears of Blood first.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:57 AM   #21
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I got The Last Story for Christmas. Have only played it a few hours. Cute, but something about it doesn't make me love it yet. I miss the old FF games. Up through X they were great. XIII was beautiful but not as engaging as I'd hoped. I pretty much hated XII and quit playing it.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:58 AM   #22
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See, and I hadn't even heard of ToB until I found MG2. Then I started to look it up and it has fabulous reviews, but it's hard to find.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:16 AM   #23
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See, and I hadn't even heard of ToB until I found MG2. Then I started to look it up and it has fabulous reviews, but it's hard to find.
Oh, it is hard to find. And pricey. My boyfriend got it for like $63 new.

Xenoblade has gotten hard to find, too. New runs for $150, used $120 on Amazon. Another great game is Skies of Arcadia: Legends for the GameCube and that's just as pricey and hard to find, too. Same with Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age. Great games, but you're looking to spend a pretty penny for.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:21 PM   #24
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Wait, this is a very underrated game that hasn't been brought up yet. Shadow Hearts. It's a horror, alternate history rpg for the PS2. A very well written game, in my opinion, and my favorite rpg for the PS2.

It stars a young harmonixer (fancy way of saying that he can turn into a monster, and devours souls of monster's he's beaten to power up his alternate forms) named Yuri Hyuga in the early part of the twentieth century as a voice in his head is telling him to save a priestess, Alice. Aside from Yuri and Alice, you get a cast of party members that are weird and quirky.

It's battle system was inspired by Legend of Dragoon, in that you do have to time a button press event correctly to get the full effect of a command. And perhaps one of my favorite things about the game, it gives a backstory for every monster in the bestiary. To take a couple examples:

Name: Venomous Spider
Element: Earth
Description: Without a sound, the giant spider, its entire body covered with long, soft hair, approaches its enemy on legs thicker than a person’s body. It injects a powerful, corrosive poison into the anus of its prey, and devours the meat once it has softened.

Name: Hellcat
Element: Light
Description: Vengeance of kittens killed by humans. Its body is full of maggots. It fakes the cries of babies and devours the mothers that come to check on them.

Here's the opening cutscene if you want to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lpDf4fZuDs

It also spawned two sequels, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, and Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Both for the PS2.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:48 AM   #25
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To be fair, maybe I do need to give Xenoblade more than an hour, but nothing about that game hooked me. I also agree that Dragon Age 1 was awesome, where DA 2 lacked. I never finished it.

To whoever said they haven't played Chrono Trigger, you need to quit your life and play it, NOW!

I'm a little sad nobody has mentioned Earthbound. That game is easily in my top 5. Loved every single second of that game. Wish we could get the 1st and 3rd games over here in the US. I bought a bootleg, loosely translated copy of EB for the orogonal Nintendo from a guy who sells bootleg games online. It wasn't what I had hoped it would be.
Oh, and again, thanks for all the suggestions. While I have played a many of the titles being mentioned here, you guys have given me quite a few to look into, so thanks.
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