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Posted by EuanDewar

@mento: Oh wow man, thanks for the in-depth reply. Wasn't expecting that but damn you went the extra mile.

My plan, based on what you wrote, was to go with Chrono Trigger. However booting up my PSN account earlier I saw that apparently I bought FF6 on there and completely forgot about it. So I guess I'll play that.

Again, thanks for the lengthy explanation.

Posted by Mento

@euandewar: Depends what you're in the market for.

EarthBound has a reputation for being off-beat and unusual, but at its core is a very competent RPG packed with what a modern audience would call "anti-bullshit measures". Weak enemies don't attack you (in fact, they run away, and if you catch them you instantly earn any XP they're worth rather than have to waste time going through the motions), you can see enemies on the overworld, etc. But going back to that weirdness, it's one of those games I'd happily recommend to anyone just because of its presentation and style. It's sort of like Deadly Premonition in that regard, except the gameplay's great too. EarthBound is also easy to grab if you have a Wii U, or are looking for more reasons to get one besides Bayonetta 2 and all this other recent cool stuff.

Chrono Trigger is perhaps the one option there that'll give you the most bang for your buck, in that it won't take long (we're talking ~20 hours rather than ~50, and that includes every side-quest the late game has to offer) and it's more or less excellent from start to finish. It has a great combat system too, that would go on to inspire games like Grandia with how the placement of characters on the screen is an important tactical consideration. I feel like you could find out everything you wanted to know about the game from the Endurance Run, but if you've put it off to go into CT fresh it's probably the best option of the three if you're concerned about getting through one of them sometime this month.

Final Fantasy VI is a super impressive game and probably the best RPG for the system in terms of sheer scale and depth, and I wouldn't disagree with the notion that it's the best Final Fantasy game ever made either. Of course, that comes with the caveat that the game is long as hell. It's essentially two games, since the second half is so very different from the first. I'd say any Final Fantasy fan ought to play it eventually, though I can appreciate how its size is kinda intimidating all the same.

I'll sum it up thusly:

  • In terms of size, from shortest to longest: Chrono > EarthBound > FF6.
  • In terms of quality/craft/depth: FF6 > Chrono > EarthBound. (But hey, opinion.)
  • In terms of how "JRPG-y" it all is, from least to most (I know people tend to be put off by generic JRPG tropes in their games): EarthBound > Chrono > FF6.
  • In terms of how accessible it is to a modern audience: EarthBound = Chrono > FF6.

The real answer is that there is no wrong answer. Any of those three are excellent games and worth your time. Just jump into whichever's the most convenient to get ahold of, or whichever one looks most appealing to you.

Or you could just play Secret of Mana. That one's my favorite.

Posted by EuanDewar

Hey you there, you seem like you know about these JRPGS.

I've never played of the big three SNES JRPGs, those being Earthbound, Chrono Trigger and FF6. Given that JRPGs are lengthy buggers and thus picking one to play next is actually more important than in other genres, which one would you suggest I play first? I know this is a ball-breaker of a question but honestly all three of these games are so amorphous in status to me from the outside looking in that I'm left sort of paralyzed and unable to make a choice on my own.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Fantastic list. I'm stealing the idea at some point, but the thought of going back through and trying to remember all the CRPGs I played through in the 90's is a daunting one. What the hell ever happened to my copy of Darklands, anyhow? Why am I asking you? Where's Waldo?

Posted by Slag

@Mento: that sir is a grave injustice. I was unaware of that obviously. What sort of sick thinking leads Konami to localize the sailing snorefest that was Suikoden 4 but not light & fun Suikoden 3?

fwiw if you do ever move to the States there is perhaps no better place than the Bay Area where Giant Bomb is located. I've often heard it called the most European place in America (in terms of city design/walkability etc).

Posted by Mento

@PixelPrinny: Never released in Europe.

@Slag: Never released in Europe.

I don't like living in Europe much. I wonder if Giant Bomb wants to hire a JRPG guy...?

Posted by Slag

Suikoden III seems to be not on this list.

Posted by PixelPrinny

Great list. I laughed out loud a number of times.

But! No Xenogears?! Whatthehelliswrongwithyou?!

Posted by Mento

@TopSteer: TotFL is one of those interesting deliberate throwbacks that also attempted to simultaneously update the formula for the era it was made in, the kind of model that's currently all the rage if all these recent Kickstarter projects and slightly-less-recent Etrian Odyssey types are any indication. It also feels like a lost FromSoftware game, given how close it is to their King's Field games.

Honestly, I thought it was pretty good too. I have very little experience with the original Wizardrys but have played enough games that were directly influenced by them (like Final Fantasy, for one, but also western stuff like Dungeon Master and Might and Magic) to recognize where TotFL was coming from. The way it updated the combat with all that fun formation/tactics business as well as how dynamic they made some of the dungeon puzzles were a neat fit with the usual old-school harsh rules of "every chest is trapped" or "these two won't work together because of ideological differences" or "sometimes when you resurrect a guy, he just disintegrates instead". It was budget-y as heck, especially regarding much of the presentation, but it had some deft touches from people who were clearly familiar with (and fond of) the source material.

Posted by TopSteer

Man, I guess this list proves that JRPGs are my favorite genre since I've played most of the games on this list.

I'm curious to hear more about your thoughts on Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land as I don't think I've ever talked to anyone about this game. I've played a decent amount of Wizardry games but this one is probably my favorite, I really loved the atmosphere.

I really liked the Wizardry that was released on PSN last year as well.

Posted by takashichea

Great list. I remember spending so much time on RPG games. 60 hours for Skies of Arcadia, 50 hours for Evolution Worlds (blasted Appraisal items collection which I couldn't complete it), about 30 hours for Fire Emblem, and over 200 hours for Pokemon Emerald/Leaf Green/Platinum.

Skies of Arcadia and Evolution Worlds are my first two RPG games. Then, I got a Playstation 2 for my little sister last January. It was a late Christmas gift with two Kingdom Heart Games, 1 and 2.

I'm new to the Playstation 2 and looking for games similar to ones that I have bought and enjoyed. These RPG games sound interesting to try. I'm trying to get Legend of Mana, but they're are expensive and lots of competition to get them.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

This is one impressive list! I have a bad habit of taking too long a break from an RPG and then restarting it and still never finishing it. Out of playing 10+ Final Fantasy games, I only actually beat Final Fantasy X. I really need dedicate a whole year to this genre or something!

Posted by AngelN7

Thats a great List,  theres something about JRPGs and watching that playtime number getting fat , its like you´re winning but you´re lossing actually

Posted by Mento
@Video_Game_King: I'm not sure if Live-A-Live counts as a SRPG, but then it does have a grid you move around on. So does Enchanted Arms and Wild ARMS 4. And come to think of it, Arc the Lad definitely is a SRPG series. Screw it, I'm adding them.
Posted by Video_Game_King

A.) You mean Live a Live isn't a strategy RPG?
B.) Why not make a separate list, then?
Posted by Mento
@Video_Game_King:  I'm sure you have me beat, though. There's plenty of conspicuous absentees on here (like that big Suikoden 3-shaped hole, for one).

I was considering whether or not I should add SRPGs, but 100 is such a nice round number..
Posted by Video_Game_King

This list just reminds me of all the games I have yet to beat, like Vagrant Story and Valkyrie Profile and stuff.