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#1 Edited by Aegon (5496 posts) -

With a lot of JRPGs and Japanese SRPGs, even when they have great reviews, what I hear about the stories is not very impressive. Intriguing and fun mechanics are great, but it would be nice to have a story that further motivates you to play .

I think I could name a few JRPGs with stories that I enjoyed. I know there are those who hate Kingdom Hearts with an extreme passion, but the story in the first game wasn't bad...really. Radiant Historia is another one that's memorable. I would argue that the story in Valkyria Chronicles was at least decent, but I know a lot of you did not feel the same way . The music accompanying the gorgeous cutscenes definitely helped in that one (spoilers).

And of course there's P3 and P4.

Anything else?

#2 Edited by Hunter5024 (5617 posts) -

Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 9, and Breath of Fire III.

#3 Posted by Animasta (14673 posts) -

Persona 2 is the best persona game as far as story is concerned.

Mother 3 is really really good (though playing Earthbound first would be a good idea)

Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2

Infinite Space is a pretty good one, awesome twists in there

#4 Posted by Brenderous (1099 posts) -

Lost Odyssey was pretty cool. Had some cool side-stories, but you had to read them.

#5 Edited by LikeaSsur (1513 posts) -

Nier. It's not a traditional JRPG, but it still has one of the better stories this generation (Requires at least 2 playthroughs for full effect).

#6 Posted by DeadpanCakes (847 posts) -

I think many would say Xenogears, though I never got through it, personally.

I duuno, I think a lot of jrpgs have worthwhile stories, but things like pacing, poor mechanics, or a terrible character or two just get in the way of that.

#7 Posted by Pabba (339 posts) -

Suikoden II.

::drops the mic::

#8 Posted by Hunter5024 (5617 posts) -

These ones are less adherent to the term JRPG but The World Ends With You, Final Fantasy Tactics (especially The War of The Lions), and Tactics Ogre have good stories too.

#9 Edited by MentalDisruption (1622 posts) -

Chrono Trigger, Persona 3, Persona 4, The World Ends With You, Fire Emblem Awakening (story is average, but characters are great), Baten Katios Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VI.

#10 Posted by Aegon (5496 posts) -

@hunter5024: Oh right, forgot about TWEWY. Damn, I stopped playing that after I reached the final week and never went back.

#11 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

Trails in the Sky which soon also is coming to PC. If you like great JRPG stories you have to buy this.

#12 Edited by SoldierG654342 (1763 posts) -

Shadow Hearts 1 and 2 are pretty good. 3, not so much. Nier is also pretty interesting too.

#13 Posted by Killerfridge (309 posts) -

Lost Odyssey was good, and Final Fantasy 6 of course.

#14 Edited by BBAlpert (1445 posts) -

Shadow Hearts 1 and 2 are pretty good. 3, not so much. Nier is also pretty interesting too.

2 was Covenant, right? And 3 was "To The New World" or something? Or were they 1 and 2, respectively?

#15 Posted by Superkenon (1418 posts) -

@deadpancakes: I feel like it's more "mechanics in general" that throw a wrench or two in the story, regardless of quality. For the medium as a whole, the concessions you take to make games... games, tends to just get in the way of things, or create weird contrivances. JRPG's I think are especially susceptible to this because of their massive, globe-spanning formulas. That said, I tend to enjoy them all anyway, because even when you can't call them high art, they do serve their gameplay well (most of the time).

Anyhoo... not really going anywhere with that. I'm just going to name some recent ones off the top of my head.

Xenoblade, and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Welcome to the thread, you two.

#16 Posted by SunBroZak (1083 posts) -

I liked the first Disgaea's story. The rest kinda lose the plot.

#17 Edited by Illuminosopher (322 posts) -

Grandia,Suikoden III,Dragon Quest VIII,Wild Arms,Final Fantasy Tactics,Breath of Fire III,Skies of Arcadia,Star Ocean II

edit : also you know what Final Fantasy VII, fuck the haters

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#18 Edited by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

#19 Edited by Aleryn (704 posts) -

Xenogears, Final Fantasy (IV, VI, X) Dragon Quest V, Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne, Chrono Trigger, and Tactics Ogre - Let us cling together.

#20 Posted by believer258 (11800 posts) -

@animasta said:

Persona 2 is the best persona game as far as story is concerned.

Mother 3 is really really good (though playing Earthbound first would be a good idea)

Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2

Infinite Space is a pretty good one, awesome twists in there

YOU didn't mention Nier!?

I liked Chrono Trigger's story a whole lot. Persona 3 was pretty good as well.

#21 Posted by DeadpanCakes (847 posts) -

@superkenon: Yeah, I guess when you're experiencing such an expansive story, it's really easy for one aspect to make everything fall apart. Especially when it's something as recurring and unchanging as a battle system or traditional jrpg mechanics. I suppose that's why I appreciate Persona 3 and 4's approach so much in that, every time you pick the game up, by the end of that session you feel like you've accomplished something, even if that something is small like socializing. And by the end of the game, all those little somethings are what assigns such significance to the climax, as opposed to a more traditional and methodical build-up I see in more traditional jrpgs.

But yeah, I'm the type to enjoy jrpgs more than most, I think, 'cause I take them for what they are.

Also, add Ni no Kuni to the list. The story was so whimsical that I couldn't stop, despite not actually liking playing the game.

#22 Posted by YI_Orange (1142 posts) -

@aegon said:

@hunter5024: Oh right, forgot about TWEWY. Damn, I stopped playing that after I reached the final week and never went back.

Dude go back! Beat is my favorite partner.

#23 Posted by Veektarius (4772 posts) -

I think any Final Fantasy qualifies for this. A few others off the top of my head... Suikoden 3, Grandia 2, Xenogears?

#24 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1569 posts) -

Persona 3, 4, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, The World Ends With You, Asura's Wrath.

#25 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

Final Fantasy Tactics is the longstanding king of any and all stories because of Delita (though admittedly without Delita it'd be mediocre), Xenosaga 1-3 are the best voiced ones, Vagrant Story, Tactics Ogre, Rogue Galaxy, Suikoden V, Shadow Hearts Covenant, Insert 50 other JRPGs here. Back when stories sucked in every other genre there were a whole lot JRPGs that didn't.

#26 Posted by AlexGBRO (296 posts) -

Ni No Kuni

#27 Posted by chrissedoff (2082 posts) -

Earthbound and Mother 3 are probably all there is.

#28 Posted by Superkenon (1418 posts) -

@deadpancakes: Hooray for embracing things for what they are!

Yep, my favorite JRPG's are the ones where there's a particular focus on character interactions, even if the narrative itself isn't anything special. You said it, it's all about the small moments that make up the journey, and not necessarily the destination. Of course, Persona takes the cake because they do both categories right.

#29 Edited by Zeik (2368 posts) -

This is probably one of the most subjective things you can discuss when it comes to video games, but a few that I hold in high regard:

  • Suikoden 2
  • Final Fantasy 9
  • Xenoblade
  • Lunar
  • Xenosaga
  • Wild ARMs 2

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#30 Posted by Karkarov (3071 posts) -

@bbalpert: Covenant is Shadow Hearts 2, To the New World is Shadow Hearts 3.

To answer the thread...

Xenogears (Xenosaga to a lesser extent), Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6/7/Tactics, Lost Odyssey, Suikoden 2, Persona (any of them), Mother (again either of them), Shadow Hearts 1/2, Wild Arms 1, Grandia 1/2, Breath of Fire 3 /4 (Dragon Quarter has a very interesting method of story telling too but many don't like the game), Phantasy Star (not 3 though, 2/4 are criminally underrated), Dragon Quest 7/8 (3 is very basic but had some real plot), and probably a ton more I am just running out of mental juice. Really Xenogears is the best though.

#31 Posted by Zeik (2368 posts) -

@deadpancakes: Hooray for embracing things for what they are!

Yep, my favorite JRPG's are the ones where there's a particular focus on character interactions, even if the narrative itself isn't anything special. You said it, it's all about the small moments that make up the journey, and not necessarily the destination. Of course, Persona takes the cake because they do both categories right.

Honestly I think Persona is the epitome of "characters over plot". Even P2, which undeniably has the best plot in the series, still wouldn't be half as good if it was not for the characters. But I agree, good characters can prop up a mediocre story way more than a good story can prop up mediocre characters.

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#32 Posted by Jeust (10552 posts) -

Radiant Historia has a worthwhile time travelling story.

#33 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1763 posts) -

@bbalpert said:

@soldierg654342 said:

Shadow Hearts 1 and 2 are pretty good. 3, not so much. Nier is also pretty interesting too.

2 was Covenant, right? And 3 was "To The New World" or something? Or were they 1 and 2, respectively?

3 was "From the New World," but yeah. The first didn't have a subtitle. A lot of people talk up one but I much prefer 2. Still one of my favorite games.

#34 Posted by Zeik (2368 posts) -

@soldierg654342: I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim Shadow Hearts 1 was better than 2. 2 is pretty unanimously agreed to be the best from my experience.

Although it has been quite a few years since I've heard anyone seriously talk about the series, so the conversation may have changed.

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#35 Edited by SoldierG654342 (1763 posts) -

@zeik said:

@soldierg654342: I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim Shadow Hearts 1 was better than 2. 2 is pretty unanimously agreed to be the best from my experience.

Although it has been quite a few years since I've heard anyone seriously talk about the series, so the conversation may have changed.

Really? Back when I played them it seemed everyone preferred the first. People felt that the second was too goofy and lighthearted (Yuri, specifically) and preferred the more serious, almost horror game the first one was. As far as the game part, I've never really heard anyone game that any of them were better than 2.

Also, adding to the thread, the Valkyrie Profile games have interesting stories. The first, specifically, has a vignette format that you don't often see in games.

#36 Edited by Karkarov (3071 posts) -

@zeik said:

@soldierg654342: I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim Shadow Hearts 1 was better than 2. 2 is pretty unanimously agreed to be the best from my experience.

Although it has been quite a few years since I've heard anyone seriously talk about the series, so the conversation may have changed.

No I think 2 definitely is better but you have to have played 1 to really appreciate it and understand the plot. They are really one story just broken into two games.

#37 Edited by Yummylee (21506 posts) -

I really like Valkryia Chronicles, but fuck that game's story and characters. It still baffles me as to how there's a sect of people out there that apparently really like it, when it's such a cliche-ridden pile of junk, with some pretty awful characters. I swear, if that mechanic calls me 'bro' one more time...

#38 Edited by Zeik (2368 posts) -

@karkarov: That holds true for any game with a multi-part story, but that doesn't mean you can't pick a favorite.

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#39 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@yummylee: I didn't think it was a great story but the characters were charming. It was pretty misogynistic though which is relatively common in JRPGs. That mechanic was awesome by the way, bro.

#40 Posted by RVonE (4633 posts) -

Xenogears, Final Fantasy VI and X and maybe the Xenosaga games. Oh and the vignettes in Lost Odyssey made that excellent game even better.

#41 Edited by XpressTuning (14 posts) -

Dragon Quest V, Phantasy Star IV, Panzer Dragoon Saga and Mother 3 have the best pace and the best writing as far as JRPGs go. Their pacing is brilliant, and there's never a moment where it goes to slow, or to fast. These four are the quintessential games you need to play if you actually want JRPGs with worthwhile stories.

Dragon Quest V still has the best storytelling of any JRPG, ever made, and Phantasy Star IV is incredibly unique with its comic-book like cutscenes and heavy sci-fi atmosphere. They're pretty much the best JRPGs of the 16bit era, and some of the best ever made. Definitely give them a go.

Xenogears has my favorite plot and characters, but the pacing is horrible, and the translation is mediocre at best. I'm not a fan of Final Fantasy, at all, but Final Fantasy VI, at the risk of sounding cliche, really is the best in the entire series.

I can't think of any other truly good stories in JRPGs. Most of them are horrible, or passably mediocre at best.

#42 Posted by ConstantineL (89 posts) -

I kind of liked Grandia 2, and remember the story fondly. I have not played it in years and not sure if it holds up though.

#43 Posted by Karmosin (210 posts) -

Any of the persona games, even the first one, I think have good and imaginative stories.

Smt Nocturne may not be heavy on the dialogue but that story rocked in my book. I would probably say that I also kinda like DDS stort, but I felt it kinda fell apart in DDS2. Great games either way though.

Other than those games and franchises I haven't really fallen for any jrpg. I liked Xenoblade, but that was not really for the story... Loved metalface though :P

#44 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Persona 3, 4, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, The World Ends With You, Asura's Wrath.

You're gonna have to explain this one.

#45 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I feel obligated to throw Final Fantasy 8 into the ring but even I have to admit that the story is stupid.

#46 Posted by SomberOwl (653 posts) -
#47 Edited by natdog (14 posts) -
  • Suikoden 1,2,3, and 5 (especially 2)
  • Final Fantasy 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and Tactics
  • Xenogears and the Xenosaga Trilogy (as a bonus, both pay serious homage to famous Sci-Fi movies, series, and novels)
  • Breath of Fire 1 and 2
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Wild ARMS 1 and 3
  • Skies of Arcadia
  • Valkyrie Profile 1 and 2
  • Star Ocean 1-3
  • Lunar 1 and 2
  • Parasite Eve 1

I also agree the first Kingdom Hearts had a good story--simple and straightforward. Currently, I've been really enjoying Shin Megami Tensei 4's story. Before that, the last great story-driven JRPG I played was Resonance of Fate (another game that I thought had really strong main characters and fantastic voice acting). The story was somewhat confusing until I realized the main characters are actually mid-tier villains, then everything sorta fell into place.

...I miss good JRPG stories.

#48 Posted by gokaired (523 posts) -

I'll try not to repeat what others have mentioned

Golden Sun

Sonic Chronicles expanded on Knuckles on history and it was pretty cool.

Knights in the Nightmare

I suppose Mario & Luigi games have worthwhile stories not challenging or anything just fun and well told

All the Shin Megami Tensei games are worthwhile stories IMO

#49 Posted by LackingSaint (1788 posts) -

OFF.

#50 Edited by Aegon (5496 posts) -