The Beauty of Turn-Based Combat: What Happened To The JRPG?
We have all become spazzes over the last decade. Freaks who have three second attention spans, and this has filtered its way into movies, TV, music, and gaming. Everything now functions on the idea that it can hold the average person’s attention for about (and I kid you not) 3.3 seconds. That is why frames in movies now change WAY more frequently than they used to. It is why what used to be three hour game levels are now 20 minute set-pieces. It is why every movie has an explosion every three minutes now, as if trying to be Michael Bay even though he is the Antichrist. It really has resulted in a shitty, watered down society where we are force fed everything super fast and through straws. But as an avid gamer there is no place this ADD pacing has ruined more than the once beautiful JRPG video game. Where once we had to work out our mechanics and techniques like a game of chess, one move at a time, now RPGs are little more than action games now that show you hit points. I will now go on to tell you why that is a kick in the face to real RPGs and real RPG fans. RPGs ARE JRPGS! All other RPGs are pale imitators. Bring back the turn based combat of the JRPG or GTFO.
Yes, I am talking to you, Square.
Yeah, those laser pointers were about as cool as moose foreskin. Not even sure of moose have foreskin.
The best part of playing the first 10 Final Fantasy games was the simple fact that it was very much like high-fantasy chess. You were not rushing in behind an enemy swinging a sword (unless you were playing Final Fantasy Tactics, at which point that is actually a great idea). You were checking out your enemies attacks and working around those with elemental or physical attacks that you realize would do the most damage.
In other words, JRPGs did the BEAUTIFUL thing of letting gamers actually use their (GASP) minds! But where has that gone?
Hack n’ Slash
Ah, Suikoden. This fucking series GOT IT!
The problem was, developers began to realize the patience of your average gamer was changing with the spastic times, and so how does the slow pacing of an RPG catch up with that? Easy, we forgo the one of the best thing about RPGs (which is the turn-based combat, believe it or not) and we replace it with hack n’ slash gameplay!
No, if I wanted Devil May Cry, I can buy that. I don’t want real time, action packed RPGS. That makes no fucking sense. These things were supposed to be like Dungeon and Dragon adventures (play through FF 1 and see how many exact creatures were lifted from the D&D monster compendium, actually. That will show you how right I am.)
But they changed….big time.
Stop Assuming What We Like
Featured above, an action game that you could totally mistake for a current RPG, which proves my fucking point.
Listen RPG makers. You ONLY still exist because we liked what you USED to do. We obviously LOVED turn based combat or Final Fantasy wouldn’t be one of the longest running series in history. Your thinking would be like if Nintendo realized they needed to update one of their best side scrollers and decided to make it into an FPS.
Oh wait, they did that with Metroid. And we ALL KNOW how well Nintendo is doing right now with the hardcore gamer.
*Laughs for 20 minutes.
Don’t be like Nintendo please. We want real games. Not games aimed at six year olds and grannies.
Thinking Man’s Game
Yup, it was once like this.
Where once, the JRPG was truly the thinking man’s game, now most RPGs we get are action games with longer cut scenes and more exposition. We don’t have that amazingly gratifying feeling of dueling back and forth with a creature for rounds, only to terminate it when all seemed impossible. You know what I am talking about? Those two hour battles where you have to keep reviving your team and barely make it. Yes, RPG players were getting off on that shit LOG BEFORE Dark Soul sadists. Just saying. We ate it up before they did. Hell, we helped make it a “thing.”
So why the fuck did you take the “thinking” out of the thinking man’s game? Not cool.
Seriously, New RPGs Can F*ck Off
The above pic looks about as Final Fantasy as my ballsack.
Yes, the new Final Fantasy looks interesting (driving around huge, sparse, empty open areas with my boys in a convertible, yup, looks like a piece of shit in case you cannot sense sarcasm). The problem is, RPG makers want it all. They no longer want to make RPGs. They now want to make GTA, DMC, and anything else that is popping. They throw some RPG elements in, but let’s just admit it. They kinda killed the JRPG.
When the best turn based RPG you have played in years was a South Park game that openly dissed RPGs while you played it, you know something is off. Although that game was great. Speaking of The Stick of Truth…..