Hate and love as we all know, often turn out to be interchangeable terms. Some times, the games you feel the most passionate about end up being the games you often criticize the most. I love RPGs. I love the artwork, the story, and most of all, the thousands upon thousands of ways RPGs let you customize. Whether its different articles of clothing, different weapons, or the choices between becoming a hurler of fireballs or a dual wielding bad ass, the mere thought of making this character my own makes my pants tighter.
Damn you Drizzt for my love of Dual-Wielding.
However, there tends to be a problem with a certain genre of role-playing, the Japanese RPG. I suck at them; more specifically I suck at completing these behemoths of digital programing. In the early days of JRPGs, finishing was never a problems. My first exposure, like many others out there, was Final Fantasy. This game was beyond great. Next came Dragon Warrior and Dragon Warrior II. Once I nabbed a SNES, I quickly conquered Final Fantasy II (now known as Final Fantasy IV) and Final Fantasy III. I fell in love. Since the glory days of cartridges, i have purchases and or played Final Fantasy VII - XII, multiple Star Oceans, and about 10 other popular JRPGs. However, i have yet to finish any of them. I stop around the 20 - 30 hour mark and never pick them back up. Once these games changed into disk format, however, they morphed into a monster that overwhelmed me.
How many disks are in this game?
Story and Length
RPGs have always been known to be soul-stealing long. Even the first Final Fantasy involved several hours of game time. Now they involve several discs of game play. Lost Odyssey consists of 4 XBOX 360 discs. It is a matter of time before games require multiple Blu-Rays. And unfortunately, this is the biggest cause of my failure to complete most JRPGs and save their digital world. Expositions now last hours. It takes multiple game sessions just to learn who everybody is and why he or she does what they do. After 6 hours into Tales of Vesparia, they finally introduce Over Limits, a damaging attack that can shape the tone of battle. Also, it takes over 4 hours just to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to be fighting for.
By the time the full game starts, they have a habit of prolonging the game with unnecessary delays. In order to get to Castle A, i need to travel through Towns A, B, C, D. Then I am kidnapped and wind up on an entirely different continent, where i need to commandeer some form of transportation, usually an air ship. All to stop Evil Magician, Evil Prince, Evil General, (pick an evil stereotype) from destroying the game worlds way of life. Finally once I get to climax after 50+ hours of gaming, I finally get the plot twist to keep me interested. However, nothing in the 50+ hours of "middle game" usually has anything to keep me going. I usually lose interest after 15 hours of generic play.
Fuck you Tetra!!!
I understand Pokemon started a phenomenon. Everybody wants to collect them all. However, your card game, cooking, pet collecting, monster hunting is not Pokemon. Why do I need to collect this deck of cards in order to get the Ultimate Excalibur BMG Magic Wand? Many games I play, I end up being a completionist. I blame it mostly on Achievements, however, there is a part of me what needs to be the biggest baddest mother effer in the game. Unfortunately, to do this, i need to devote another 20 hours on top of this 60-hour game.
Leave grinding for World Of Warcraft please.
Yet another reason JRPGs kick my ass. I am level 55, but i need to be level 62 to even attempt to harm this boss. And it takes 30 minutes of fighting a mobs of baddies using the sometimes dull menu fighting system. And they make the math simple to figure out how much time you get to waste. You need 1000 xp to level, and you get 50 xp per fight. You think to yourself thatís only 20 fights, but wait, with the combat system, fights tend to take about 5 minutes to complete. Once you add that up in your head, It becomes so defeating.
I am not trying to bash JRPGs. They are some of the more popular games out there. Square/Enix has made a crapload of money off of them, and they don't look like they will ever slow down. So with this popularity, it can't be the designersí fault can it? If its not them, then its me. I need to suck it up and finish all of these games I always get excited about yet always fail to possess the fortitude to complete. I know I am missing out on some of the greatest stories and heartbreaking plot twists around. Maybe there is some hope for me, but for now, I suck at JRPGs.