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#1 Posted by PoisonJam7 (335 posts) -

I haven't played a JRPG in over 10 years, and I haven't completed one since FFX. I'm not a huge fan, or even a casual fan of the genre, but for some reason I have a strange urge to play one now. The only thing I'm really interested in is an excellent story, but a decent battle system would be nice too. I like strategy battle systems like those in Fire Emblem or Disgaea, but I also like real time systems like the Tales of Symphonia. (Forgive my naivety, these are the only references I can draw upon as I haven't played many other JRPG's)

The games you recommend don't have to be too recent, but I also don't want any really old classics being mentioned either. (Chrono Trigger, FFVII, etc, etc.) Actually, no Final Fantasy games at all please. I'd like to branch out my JRPG literacy a bit. Oh, and if the recommended game happens to be on a 3Ds or DS, even better! I don't have a PSP or Vita, so please don't name any games exclusive to those systems either. Also, don't mention these games because I've already played them:

  • Tales of Symphonia
  • Persona 3 or 4
  • Kingdom Hearts anything
  • Final Fantasy anything
  • Chrono anything
  • Advance Wars

Thanks!!!

#2 Edited by Icicle7x3 (1177 posts) -

Excellent is such a strong word...

Golden Sun games

Lufia:Curse of the Sinistrals

...

...

...Mario & Luigi?!?

#3 Posted by PoisonJam7 (335 posts) -

I demand excellence!

#4 Edited by audioBusting (1491 posts) -

I heard good things about Ni no Kuni and Resonance of Fate, although the latter is a bit more on the goofy side. Any of the Seiken Densetsu/Something of Mana games are great too.

edit: also Arc the Lad gets pretty crazy (in an interesting way) from the end of the first one onwards.

#5 Edited by JasonR86 (9652 posts) -

I don't know what system you have but I would suggest Tales of Vesperia, Persona 3 and 4, and Tales of Xillia which is coming out shortly and is hopefully going to be good.

#6 Edited by casper_ (903 posts) -

when you go into a jrpg asking for an excellent story you have to accept that there is probably going to be a certain amount of saccharine cheesiness or incredibly cliched anime tropes. if these kinds of things ruin a story for you (sometimes they do for me) its gonna be pretty damn hard to find an excellent jrpg story.

#7 Posted by Captain_Insano (1534 posts) -

Ni No Kuni is fantastic, and I'm not a big jrpg fan. It's story is fine, but not a really strong suit though.

#8 Edited by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

Radiant Historia is pretty cool.

#9 Posted by Lelcar (598 posts) -

I would personally suggest FFXIII. Not being sarcastic either. I love that game, and it's pretty much all focused on story and battle system, which I feel are both very strong.

#10 Edited by coakroach (2490 posts) -

Tactics Ogre: LUCT.

Strategy RPG that has an awesome story (with player decisions) and some sweet ye olde english writing in the PSP remake.

#11 Edited by StarvingGamer (8128 posts) -

I know you said no FF, but if you haven't played the original Tactics you're missing out. One of the best JRPG stories IMO.

I've heard great things about Nier's story, although I haven't played it myself. Also the Xenosaga series is a bit outdated but I thought the story was awesome in an anime sort of way. Or you could go old-school with Xenogears.

#12 Edited by PoisonJam7 (335 posts) -

As I said, I don't have a PSP or Vita, but I do have a 3DS/DS, PS3, 360, GameCube, Wii and PC.

#13 Posted by tyler1285 (175 posts) -

Nier. But, it's kinda not a jrpg. Super depressing great story.

#14 Edited by RayCarter (156 posts) -

@poisonjam7 To fit the bill of an "excellent story", I would recommend Nier (for the 360, havent tried PS3's). Characters are all unique and they mesh really really well. The story is also not afraid to take some risks, and I think the story moves they made have huge payoffs. That being said the battle system is not very polished; think Dynasty Warriors but a tad bit clunkier, sprinkled with RPG themes like customizable weapons and sidequests. It's not JUST a JRPG as it spreads towards several genres, so also keep that in mind.

On the other hand, if you want a VERY good battle system but a less satisfying story, consider Resonance of Fate (360, PS3). Characters are funny, and have personalities, but the story itself is meh. That being said, I think Resonance of Fate provides a great real-time-esque battle system, and it's appealing (more so if you love gun-fu action).

#15 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1556 posts) -

Wait, you haven't played a JRPG in over ten years and haven't finished one since FFX (2001), but you have somehow played games such as Tales of Symphonia (2004), Persona 3 (2006), and Persona 4 (2008)? Something doesn't add up here.

Anyway, disregarding your own inconsistent personal history with the genre, I would recommend Lost Odyssey. The characters range from genuinely interesting to kind of annoying, but the plot is consistently compelling and the "thousand year of dreams" short stories are some the best pieces of writing in any game ever.

#16 Posted by Seb (358 posts) -

Lost Odyssey. It's the best JRPG I've played this generation.

#17 Edited by mwng (931 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles without a doubt. Or Tales of Vesperia if you liked Symphonia.

I'm not sure if either of them qualify as having an "excellent" story, but I enjoyed the hell out of both of them.

#18 Posted by Daftronaut (30 posts) -

I don't know if you consider these "really old classics", but If you're simply looking for an amazing JRPG story, the obvious answer would be Xenogears. But I guess it's pretty hard to get through nowadays.

Suikoden II is still the best JRPG I have ever played, so there's that. But again, not sure if that's what you're looking for.

Nier also had a pretty great story, but I didn't really like playing it.

Ni No Kuni is fun, but the story is super clichéed. Same goes for most of the Tales games (although I haven't played Vesperia).

#19 Posted by BeachThunder (11800 posts) -

Kutsū o Planescape no

Don't shoot me, I just chucked the name into Google Translate >_>

#20 Posted by Gravier251 (217 posts) -

I'm not sure on the price/availability now but a favourite of mine is Skies of Arcadia. It came out for the Dreamcast but there is a slightly expanded upon version called Skies of Arcadia: Legends for the Gamecube. I don't think i've ever been as engrossed by a JRPG setting as I was with skies of arcadia. The game has a lot of mystery and exploration to it which is best not explained too much as it would ruin the surprises. Might be worth looking into, if the game is still affordable anyway.

#21 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Radiant Historia is pretty cool.

This game right here.

Very underrated, one of the best DS exclusive RPGs.

Also I've been playing through Soul Hackers on the 3DS. I can't fully recommend it yet since I'm not to far in, but the world they've set up is very interesting and I really like how 90's the game is in both tone and design. Some of the art is a little muddy but it's nothing you can't adjust to.

#22 Posted by Yadilie (380 posts) -

@icicle7x3: You better be talking about the SNES game and not the travesty on multiple levels DS game "remake".

#23 Edited by Ghostiet (5242 posts) -

Nier. The combat isn't turn-based and it doesn't play extremely well, but it's more uninspired than actually bad (and the magic system could've been cool). The story, however, is absolutely brilliant.

#24 Posted by Icicle7x3 (1177 posts) -

@yadilie said:

@icicle7x3: You better be talking about the SNES game and not the travesty on multiple levels DS game "remake".

He was asking about DS games, but I would also prefer he play the SNES game.

#25 Posted by Xeiphyer (5601 posts) -

@poisonjam7 To fit the bill of an "excellent story", I would recommend Nier (for the 360, havent tried PS3's). Characters are all unique and they mesh really really well. The story is also not afraid to take some risks, and I think the story moves they made have huge payoffs. That being said the battle system is not very polished; think Dynasty Warriors but a tad bit clunkier, sprinkled with RPG themes like customizable weapons and sidequests. It's not JUST a JRPG as it spreads towards several genres, so also keep that in mind.

On the other hand, if you want a VERY good battle system but a less satisfying story, consider Resonance of Fate (360, PS3). Characters are funny, and have personalities, but the story itself is meh. That being said, I think Resonance of Fate provides a great real-time-esque battle system, and it's appealing (more so if you love gun-fu action).

Definitely agree with both these games. Both very interesting and unique in what they do well, but both with some issues that you'll have to get past. Definitely worth the effort, especially in Nier's case. One of my all time favourite games now. You can get away with just using the spells in that game to crush everything, especially the giant fist thing!

#26 Edited by Tarsier (1057 posts) -

ni no kuni is the only JRPG that ive bothered with recently. i dislike anime, i love miyazaki. i dislike JRPGs, i love ni no kuni.

#27 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@poisonjam7: Xenosaga (3 games, first one has the best story and okay gameplay, second one has a great story and challenging in a weird way gameplay, third one has an above average story and better gameplay; obviously play them in order) has the best storyline period, Vagrant Story's is excellent as is Vandal Hearts 2, Front Mission 3, and Shadow Hearts: Covenant.

Hey if you don't actually want to play Xenosaga I just found these 1 2 3

Shion has an annoying voice but it doesn't really wind up mattering since this game has like 5 of the top 10 best characters in any game period including the best 2 villains; absurdly good supporting cast. Jin is referenced a lot in the first game and actually winds up being way better than you could imagine in the 2nd and 3rd.

#28 Edited by RedCream (704 posts) -

Dragon Quest 8, Tales of the Abyss and Xenoblade Chronicles.

#29 Posted by Jeust (10538 posts) -

Nier and Radiant Historia. Both games have great stories,

#30 Edited by TomLaFleur (4 posts) -

Both Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey (which a couple of others mentioned) are excellent games and two of the 360s best. They're aren't exactly innovative in anyway but the two of them have excellent stories and no JRPG this generation has matched the emotion and depth of the Thousand Year of Dreams stories. Without spoiling the game they are optional short stories you get access too throughout the game and the majority of them are just amazingly written and a lot of people point it out as the highlight of the game.

I know you mentioned you wanted to distance yourself from old school games but the fact is, the JRPG genre was a lot bigger in past generations then it is now so limiting yourself will give you a much smaller library to choose from. Xenogears is one of the best of them. It's story was originally going to be for FF VII but it was deemed to dark and complex and I'd argue the story is superior to VII in a lot of ways.

If you can get your hands on Suikoden 1 and 2 you'll more then likely enjoy them, Skies of Arcadia for the Dreamcast/Gamecube is another classic that might even be getting a re-release some time soon.

#31 Edited by stoodspoon (613 posts) -

Nier or Ni No Kuni

#32 Edited by Cameron (596 posts) -

I'd caution against Ni No Kuni if you are looking for story. I was very disappointed by the story in that game. There just isn't nearly enough of it and it's too spread out by very repetitive combat. I know lots of people loved that game, but I don't think it was because of the amazing story.

#33 Edited by C2C (855 posts) -

A great story, eh? That's a hell of a term. I got a couple of recommendations for that though.

Nier - This one is a downer of a story, which is actually really rare in this genre. The gameplay was pretty meh though in my opinion.

Fire Emblem: Awakening - While the plot isn't anything new, the characters and dialogue in this game are pretty good.

Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World - These are parodies of JRPGs and are great for a laugh. The two games are fairly cheap too.

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam Gaiden - Another parody JRPG. Its free and probably the most hilarious JRPG I have played.

If you have a PS2 (or a PS3 that can play those games) SMT: Nocturne also has a good story. That's about all I can recommend without going into Final Fantasy.

EDIT: My friend also keeps on raving about the story in Tales of the Abyss. I haven't played that game though, so take that with a grain of salt.

#34 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I'm kidding, I'm sure they exist. Somewhere.

#35 Posted by MEATBALL (3160 posts) -

Digital Devil Saga 1&2 could fit the bill.

#36 Edited by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

Lost Odyssey is pretty fucking dope.

#37 Edited by StarFoxA (5144 posts) -

Crimson Shroud on the 3DS eShop has a pretty good story. It's $4.99 right now (down from $7.99), and it's about 7 hours long, so it's a decent little game. Comes from the dev behind Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics, etc. working in tandem with Level-5.

#38 Posted by hollitz (1496 posts) -

Tales of Vesperia -360

Xenosaga 1-3- ps2

#39 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@tylea002 said:

Lost Odyssey is pretty fucking dope.

That is it. Crisis Core: Final fantasy 7 is shockingly good in terms of story.

#40 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5373 posts) -

Tales of Vesperia, Lost odyssey, Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Valkyria Chronicles and Ni No Kuni are all fantastic. It's already been said, but usually you have to accept a few anime cliche's and stereotypes in most Jrpgs.

#41 Edited by xyzygy (9935 posts) -

Nier and Lost Odyssey. Two of the best JRPGs in many years. Xenoblade is pretty damn good too.

Both LO and Nier aren't as trope-y as most other JRPGs. LO has two kind of annoying kids (not super annoying and not dumb to the point of Quuina or whatever in other RPGs) but other than that it's a pretty adult-centric game.

#42 Posted by Seauton (114 posts) -

I'm sure it's been said, but Lost Odyssey was awesome. I'm a pretty big fan of the old Square Soft JRPGs, (FFVI and Chrono Trigger are my favorites) and Lost Odyssey is my favorite current gen jrgp for sure.

#43 Posted by Picsl (201 posts) -

You said you haven't played JRPGs in over 10 years, but Persona 3 is only 6 years old, and Persona 4 is not even 5.

I'm one of those crazy people who actually really liked FFXIII's story...

Ni No Kuni has an awesome, if somewhat cliche story.

#44 Edited by FancySoapsMan (5814 posts) -

Well if you ever get a PSP then you should definitely check out The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.

#45 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Well, you are out of luck then because most of the great JRPGs came out in the PS1 days: Wild Arms, Xenogears, Grandia, Breath of Fire III, etc.

#46 Posted by Somnus (81 posts) -

Dragon Quest 8

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Both have really good stories.

#47 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

@seb said:

Lost Odyssey. It's the best JRPG I've played this generation.

It's the first game I even played this gen because it was the game to convince me to finally buy a 360. Sadly, it was all downhill from there haha

#48 Posted by TopSteer (642 posts) -

Nier, Tales of Vesperia, Tales of the Abyss, Radiant Historia and FFXIII are games that have been mentioned that I would recommend also.

I didn't like Lost Odyssey but it wasn't because of the story which is actually pretty interesting.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and it's sequel Radiant Dawn have some of my favorite stories in games.

Also since I seem to be the only person that played this game, Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll is one of my favorites and has a pretty good story.

#49 Edited by Quarters (1664 posts) -

You could try Wild ARMS. WA1 has a PS2 remake(called Alter Code: F), and WA3, WA4, and WA5 are also on the PS2. Full disclosure, haven't played the latter ones. WA1's alright though. In case you were wondering, WA2 is on PS1. However, they may not fit the bill for an "excellent" story.

#50 Edited by Reki (15 posts) -

In terms of a story that is of excellent:

  • Golden Sun + Golden Sun: The Lost Age (GBA)
  • Radiant Historia (DS)
  • Ghost Trick (DS)
  • .hack [Infection/Mutation/Outbreak/Quarantine] (PS2)

In terms of a story that isn't good by itself, but facilitates the game excellently:

  • Mana Khemia (PS2) <-- One of my favorite JRPGs of all time, though the setting is an alchemy school
  • Tales of Vesperia (360)
  • Tales of Graces f (PS3)
  • .hack GU [Rebirth/Reminisce/Redemption]