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#1 Edited by Jeust (10854 posts) -

What was it?

To me it was Persona 3: FES, followed by Final Fantasy X.

#2 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3532 posts) -

This is an impossible question for me to answer.

Most JRPGs are so long and have stories on many different levels. Usually the character stories and world stories are far more interesting for me than the Main Story. I always really liked the Squall-Rinoa-Seifer triangle, Balthier in FFXII, Kaim in the Last Story, Vivi in FFIX. The world of FF Tactics and Ni No Kuni stand out in my memory as very tangible fantasy places.

#3 Posted by Pezen (1668 posts) -

Suikoden.

To be fair, it's probably clouded in the fact that it was my first real story driven game. I was young and impressionable and never had big exposure to JRPGs prior to it. However, the story of being a young boy driven from your home and into the ranks of a resistance movement just spoke to me on some level. Meeting inspiring people that all had their own distinct personalities. Going from a rag tag group of people to eventually being an army. And all throughout those major events are small personal relationships and stories that weave the tapestry of that world together. I never had the same connection to any other JRPG since, even other Suikoden games didn't quite live up to it. Even though the second one is equally fantastic and in some ways probably superior as a game.

And every time I think about it, I realize I still haven't actually finished Suikoden V and I feel like hooking up my old PS2 and doing just that.

#4 Posted by Zeik (2755 posts) -

I try not to look at it in terms of "best story", as then I start feeling the need to overanalyze and pick apart flaws to try and be objective. Not to mention there are games that excel in very different areas.

But in terms of JRPG stories I got the most invested in and got the most enjoyment out of then Persona 4 and Suikoden 2 are probably at the top.

#5 Posted by anywhereilay (173 posts) -

Trails in the sky. Only joking, I've never played it but a lot of people would put it up there, which kinda temps me to buy it on steam.

Perhaps...hmmm... this is tough...maybe FF IX? But that's more the whole game rather than the story. Eh.

#6 Posted by BeachThunder (12403 posts) -

Mother 3

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#7 Edited by Veektarius (5012 posts) -

FFXII had a really interesting and mature main plot, I think.

#8 Posted by Pabba (389 posts) -

@pezen said:

Suikoden.

To be fair, it's probably clouded in the fact that it was my first real story driven game. I was young and impressionable and never had big exposure to JRPGs prior to it. However, the story of being a young boy driven from your home and into the ranks of a resistance movement just spoke to me on some level. Meeting inspiring people that all had their own distinct personalities. Going from a rag tag group of people to eventually being an army. And all throughout those major events are small personal relationships and stories that weave the tapestry of that world together. I never had the same connection to any other JRPG since, even other Suikoden games didn't quite live up to it. Even though the second one is equally fantastic and in some ways probably superior as a game.

And every time I think about it, I realize I still haven't actually finished Suikoden V and I feel like hooking up my old PS2 and doing just that.

Yes, this. You could also say Suikoden II, which is more of the same, but with bigger turns and triumphs and closer relationships amongst the main character.

#9 Posted by FreezyFrog (114 posts) -

Persona 4 was pretty damn memorable.

#10 Posted by Slag (4855 posts) -

I still really like FF: Tactics translation issues and all.

#11 Posted by dusker (170 posts) -

I was young, but I think it was FFX.

I watched the Endurance run of Persona 4, and I fucking loved that shit, but it might have been because of Jeff and Vinny, I'm not sure.

#12 Posted by Bocam (3821 posts) -

While not a typical JRPG, you should play Nier

#13 Posted by mosespippy (4435 posts) -

At first I was gonna say Persona 4, but now that I think about it Persona 2 IS was really fucking good. I need to play them both again to see how they compare. Luckily they are both on my Vita, but I'm playing through Persona for the first time now so it'll have to wait.

FFXII had a really interesting and mature main plot, I think.

FFXII came to mind for me as well but then in the end it's revealed that the gods are just fucking with humans to cause a war for shits and giggles. At least that's how I remember the end. Maybe I need to play that again too.

#14 Posted by Clonedzero (4196 posts) -

Uh, i dont play much JRPGs but i'm gonna go with the legend of dragoon.

#15 Posted by LawGamer (299 posts) -

For JRPGs? FFXII, hands down. The characters had multiple facets to their personalities and followed defined, reasonable arcs through the story. Square also actually took the time to give the game universe a sense of history and geopolitics as opposed to just coming up with some dumb sounding buzzwords that get repeated ad nauseum, like in XIII.

(Sample conversation from FFXIII: "L'cie focus focus. Fal'cie Pulse Cocoon focus. L'cie fal'cie? Focus Pulse fal'cie Cocoon Pulse!")

#16 Posted by Corevi (4797 posts) -

Persona 4 and Final Fantasy 9.

#17 Edited by EuanDewar (5098 posts) -

I really loved Persona 4, I think that game's narrative does a wonderful job of reaching into all sorts of different areas. It shifts very smoothly between a murder mystery thriller, a high school comedy, a drama about people coming to terms with themselves and even your typical monsters are going to destroy the world JRPG story. An exceedingly charming game.

I also remember thinking the world and characters in Final Fantasy XII felt special in a way a lot of the other entries didn't. More grounded, more relatable. I never got very far in that game though so I cant comment on the overall story.

#18 Posted by believer258 (12180 posts) -

Cjromno Trigger, hands down.

#19 Posted by oldenglishC (1008 posts) -

Phantasy Star IV. That game is a masterpiece.

Persona 4 is a close second.

#20 Edited by Ryuku_Ryosake (217 posts) -

From what I have read and what little I have played of it. I'm going to have to go with the original Shin Megami Tensei. It is truly something. That game does not hold back. In the first dungeon it is not afraid to tell you exactly why there are demon's in Tokyo. Lesser games would milk that mystery for all its worth. SMT got so much more going on that is can just drop that information like it was nothing.

#21 Posted by nasp (414 posts) -

nier without a doubt.i mean it has one of the best storys in games in general,so of course its the best jrpg story.

#22 Edited by DarknessMyOldFriend (257 posts) -

Kiyoshi Shigematsu's A Thousand Years Of Dreams from Lost Odyssey might be the only good writing in a JRPG, although perhaps that's not what you mean by story.

#23 Edited by fibabanchi (45 posts) -

Shenmue

#24 Posted by wemibelec90 (1828 posts) -

Surprised to see so many people pointing to Final Fantasy XII, as I couldn't disagree more. The world may have been very well-defined and dense, but holy crap did I not give a fuck about any of the players in the story other than a couple of the main party members. Also, instead of focusing on those great characters like Balthier and Fran, it instead paints a boring plot that has your typical "twist" common to all Final Fantasy games. Ugh. I kinda feel the same way about Nier: fantastic characters, a mind-blowing twist, but a plot that goes pretty far up its own ass. As a whole, it has some problems.

I think Persona 3 has the better story, particularly the stuff with Nyx, but Persona 4 has the better characters. Between the two, I think I prefer 4. Also, I'll second Chrono Trigger as having a great story. It did time travel pretty well. Thinking about it, I'm reminded of Radiant Historia which also handled time travel really smartly. I really need to play more JRPGs, particularly old ones. There are a lot of gaps in my knowledge there that prevents me from having less predictable answers.

#25 Posted by TheMasterDS (2133 posts) -

Has to be Mother 3.

#26 Posted by VaddixBell (270 posts) -

Final Fantasy X has a very good story that still stands well today (having played the HD collection). I think it does a lot of great world building, great characters and while the voice acting is sometimes spotty, the story is generally presented well.

Persona 4 (+ Golden) is easily one of the best times I've had playing a game and that's down to a great cast. It felt like a scooby doo episode with the murder mystery with characters that make it great. I'm not 100% sure I'd say the main story is one of the best but in terms of characters, it's right up there (in all of gaming).

Those are only really the two that stand out for me because a lot of JRPGs (while I love them) end up having these convoluted themes and bizarre stuff going on and you end up fighting some guy you've only heard of until the last hour or so (Necron in FF9 etc.) so I end up losing the plot for a lot of JRPGs at a certain point.

#27 Posted by derek_davis (46 posts) -

I'm not an expert, but the first thing that jumps to mind is FFX. Hopefully the story really was that memorable and not just amazing looking cutscenes of Sin

#28 Posted by Quarters (1858 posts) -

Chrono Trigger and FFVIII will always be some favorites.

#29 Posted by mithical (341 posts) -

I recently played Persona 3 and it's right up there with Persona 4.. really made an impression on me and makes me want to try the older games in the series.

#30 Posted by Steadying (1472 posts) -

Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, X and VIII have really good ones. Xenoblade was also really good until the end.

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#31 Posted by Heycalvero (117 posts) -

@lawgamer said:

(Sample conversation from FFXIII: "L'cie focus focus. Fal'cie Pulse Cocoon focus. L'cie fal'cie? Focus Pulse fal'cie Cocoon Pulse!")

This is great and very true.

#32 Posted by Rebel_Scum (769 posts) -

Final Fantasy 7, Suikoden, Shining Force, Landstalker, Final Fantasy 6 of the top of my head. Sure you could argue that some of those aren't really RPG's but I'm gonna ignore all that.

#33 Posted by Gaff (1880 posts) -

Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Persona 4, in no particular order.

Also, I have something to say about the distinction of best story and how you tell that story, but that's perhaps for another time.

#34 Posted by EuanDewar (5098 posts) -

Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, X and VIII have really good ones. Xenoblade was also really good until the end.

Ah yes, Crisis Core, that too.

Probably the only Final Fantasy game that has actually affected me emotionally in any way. I would say it was underrated but people seemed to like it quite a bit so I'll just say it is all too oft-forgotten nowadays.

#35 Posted by Spoonman671 (4769 posts) -
#36 Posted by Irvandus (2879 posts) -

Persona 4 is probably my favorite.

Runner up is FF12. That game stumbles way more than it hits but it has an amazing setting and glimmers of greatness in the plot. If only they stuck with the original plan and made Balthier the main character. Bummer.

#37 Posted by MackGyver (596 posts) -

Some of the best that come to mind have to be Terranigma and some of the Final Fantasy series.

#38 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5980 posts) -

I've only finished a few Jrpgs in my time, and of those few I'd go with Persona 3. I would say Persona 4, but I haven't actually played it. I've only seen the endurance run. I guess that still counts as an experience though...

#39 Posted by Limiter31 (49 posts) -

Since most of the stories of newer jrpg cant seems to measure up, I transitioned to playing/reading visual novels.

#40 Posted by BigJeffrey (5173 posts) -

Persona 3 FES fo sho

#41 Posted by Steadying (1472 posts) -

Persona 3 FES fo sho

Oh, right, this too. And Radiant Historia. There's a ton. I can't list them all. And I also can't choose a favorite.

also yay bigjeffrey is finally premium

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#42 Edited by RonGalaxy (3266 posts) -

I've never been big on JRPGS. I like the worlds and the story stuff, but the gameplay becomes such a chore after awhile. I do plan on muscling my way through Ni No Kuni and so far I've really loved the story in that. Same with Persona 4 Golden, but I lost my save after my vita memory card got corrupted (and I forgot to turn on cloud saving).

Question: is anything really gained from playing persona 4 on normal difficulty? All I really care about is the story/character stuff and the combat is definitely where it gets bogged down for me. Would I have a better experience playing on a lower difficulty?

#43 Posted by VaddixBell (270 posts) -

@steadyingmeat said:

Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, X and VIII have really good ones. Xenoblade was also really good until the end.

Ah yes, Crisis Core, that too.

Probably the only Final Fantasy game that has actually affected me emotionally in any way. I would say it was underrated but people seemed to like it quite a bit so I'll just say it is all too oft-forgotten nowadays.

I think a major reason why it's forgotten is because SE won't release a digital version on PSN. I've always wanted to play it but can't because SE won't make it available to me (as a Vita owned) and I'm not going to buy a PSP and then track down a physical copy to play it. They did the same with Birth By Sleep as well.

#44 Posted by Zeik (2755 posts) -

@rongalaxy: Normal is easy enough. Playing on easy doesn't make combat any less common, it just means you have to think less, which isn't going to make it less boring.

#45 Posted by ThunderSlash (1948 posts) -

While not the best story in a JRPG, I really enjoyed Digital Devil Saga's; its story is among my favorites. I also found Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter's story to be pretty well told. And while not a JRPG, Okami also had a great story.

#46 Posted by Marokai (3141 posts) -

Another vote for Suikoden II from me.

#47 Posted by StarvingGamer (8551 posts) -

Off the top of my head...

  1. Suikoden II - A story about war and the shitty things people do to each other, unlike most JRPG's manages to save the mystical end-of-the-universe bullshit until the veeeeeeeeery end
  2. Final Fantasy Tactics - Same as above plus one of the best antiheroes in fiction, a bit heavier on the mystical bullshit
  3. Final Fantasy IX - It's rare for the villain to be the most well-realized character in an entire game, also I <3 Beatrix
  4. Persona 4 - Fun murder mystery plot, amazing characters, Rise is my waifu
  5. Earthbound - They just don't make whimsy like they used to

I'm not sure if Xenogears was actually amazing or just so baffling to my young mind that I thought it was amazing.

#48 Posted by Crembaw (512 posts) -

For me, it has to be SMT: Nocturne. Its stripped-down nature, inherited from the first two SMT games, and the way in which it subtly altered the series' themes, ideologies and in-setting mechanics (for better or worse, depending on who you ask) kept me, personally, riveted the entire time. I've considered heading back into it, but like the good majority of JRPGs it'd involve a significant time investment, even with my max-statted Demi-fiend.

#49 Posted by Zeik (2755 posts) -

Off the top of my head...

  1. Suikoden II - A story about war and the shitty things people do to each other, unlike most JRPG's manages to save the mystical end-of-the-universe bullshit until the veeeeeeeeery end

As I recall, there's no universe threatening peril even at the end. Even the final boss is only really a threat to the region the game takes place in. (I guess it could be a bigger threat if Highland tried to take over other regions, but they were pretty much in shambles by that point.)

#50 Edited by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

As others have said, I like different games for different reasons, but some I can name are:

  • Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth's story arc is one of the most heart-wrenching, poetic characterizations I've seen in any video game.
  • Final Fantasy XIII series: Lightning's story arc specifically, going from the start of the first game to the end of Lightning Returns, was a wild ride and one I won't soon forget. Seeing the ending of Lightning Returns just puts a big smile on my face.
  • Persona 4: The murder mystery, the characters of Inaba, and of course, Yukiko.
  • Final Fantasy VI: A wild story with a deep, diverse cast that goes in some surprising places, both light-hearted and dark.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: A political drama inspired by the War of the Roses before Game of Thrones came along and did the same thing.