Because I'm too lazy to recommend anything that's not on that list, in this order (assuming you plan to play all of them):
- Blue Dragon
- Tales (either one for 2 and 3)
- Eternal Sonata
- Lost Odyssey
From worst to best in my opinion. If you played LO first, you might not like the others as much...or at all. None of those games are bad, mind you. I just think some are clearly better than others.
I'm not a huge JRPG player, but I have many of them at my disposal because my brother loves to play them. I myself enjoy them as well, but ironically I have never beaten one. When it comes to JRPG's, I've only been about five hours into Chrono Trigger, eight to ten into Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, about 25 hours into Final Fantasy X, 15 hours into FFXII, 30 hours of FFXIII, and then I've dabbled only minutes to a few hours in many other JRPG games, but I have never finished one. The reason I want to play one is because as for right now I want to change it up a bit because I don't experience JRPG's enough, when I do enjoy them. I know there will be some that say either Xenoblade Chronicles or The Last Story on the Wii, but I don't really want to play those games because they're not supported with Dolby Digital; yes, that is somewhat shallow, and I know they're probably great games, but I just don't want to play those for right now. I just want to stick to some great ones on current gen hardware.
So no Final Fantasy 7, or randomly Xenogears or something. I started playing Blue Dragon yesterday, and I'm about four hours in, but most of that has been grinding. I can already tell what I dislike about some of it, but also what I'm enjoying. From Kevin VanOrd's review, he covers just about everything I worry about in a JRPG, and more specifically what I may run into in this game later on. I'll post what I had to say on that review about what I like in JRPG's so I don't have to sum it up again here: "I think what I want to see most in this game is just the towns you visit, and hear the music that accompanies it. In JRPG's, I care little for the open world map stuff where I tend to grind, which is the purpose I guess. I don't really play JRPG's for their battle system, but for their journey. The story that's told, the characters you meet, and the world you delve into. It seems to me this review is saying not to play this if that's what you want, but oh well."
So, that's what I wrote about 20 minutes ago. There's more to RPG's that I like I'm sure, but that pretty much says what I look for most I guess. Dragon Quest isn't a game I've ever played, and I don't think my brother really enjoy's those games very much for some reason. I might have to play those games in the future for myself. I'm really excited for Ni no Kuni. My brother's going to be buying that game, he says he's really excited for it, more than even Far Cry 3. He basically said "fuck Far Cry 3" when compared to Ni no Kuni, although he's still really excited for Far Cry 3, and again, he'll be buying that as well. I'm just kind of rambling now, sorry. Anyways, what JRPG's that are on either PS3 or 360 should I play? Thanks. Oh, and sorry if this is horribly jumbled. I'll try my best to edit it a little now, and more later. I couldn't post this right after the poll was made 'cause I don't have anywhere to do that other than notepad (now that I think about it), but I don't want to use that. This was my rambling, so it's not all well-written, so sorry about that. There's really too much in here for me to want to edit right now. Hopefully that's okay.
Logically, so far it seems Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia are the ones to go to. I've felt like this was the way to go before, but I'm still not sure. For some reason I hesitate to play a lot of these games because I feel like they won't stack up to what I'm hoping, but they might. I think I have Eternal Sonata. See, we have so many I don't even know.
Edit - Yeah, alright, we do. It surprises me, my brother didn't even beat the game; only got one achievement for it. That's probably why I didn't know if we had it for sure.
For current generations Last Remnant has interesting combat mechanics and decent characters, looks fairly impressive. Dark Souls and Demon's Souls are technically JRPGs as well and the sequel is much better than its predecessor. For JRPGs most of the good recent ones came out last generation so you've got any number of PS2 games to play: Valkyrie Profile 2 (has different enough gameplay that anyone who doesn't like JRPGs could quite possibly like it), Suikoden V, Xenosaga I - III (just don't play II first, if you're interested enough in the fantastic story in I you'll be fine with playing through II), Rogue Galaxy, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, and eh another 30 or so more excellent JRPGs. The PS1 also has a fairly impressive lineup, and while some of those games may be difficult to go back to I think Chrono Cross (solid game) and Vagrant Story (Best game ever made) still hold up visually and also have excellent audio.
@Video_Game_King: No, I shouldn't have added that one. I'd feel kind of bad even getting far into that since my brother hasn't really gotten too far into it himself; he vacillated getting that game long after its release for some reason, and he had just got it a few months back, but still hasn't really played much of it. For some reason I view JRPG's as his genre, so me playing through a great JRPG before him in a way would be a delight, but I also just think it'd be right for him to do that first. Right now I'm downloading Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia. Did you only play Lost Odyssey, is that why it's the only one you can recommend?
I should note most of the PS2 games I cited are of a similar visual quality or superior to most Tales games; the only JRPG that looks vastly superior to anything else is Final Fantasy XIII (or XIII-2 I suppose); for the most part other JRPGs just have a different style of graphics.
The ultra traditional combat system in lost odyssey gets boring to.
In the list, I only finished tales of vesperia and I'm a pretty big JRPG fan so deffinitively go with that one
I know you specifically mentioned the current consoles, but if you really want that journey aspect I'd suggest pulling out the PS2. FFX is a pretty linear experience but it's done really well. There are a lot of varied environments and they do a good job at making it seem like you're trekking across the entire world for the pilgrimage.
You said you've never played a DQ before, I don't think I could recommend Dragon Quest 8 any harder. It does have a world map of sorts, but it's more to scale. You're running through the plains and forests to get to the next little village or town, it has a really good sense of a journey/adventure. The towns you visit and the world as a whole just have a lot of charm and things to explore. Battle system is simple too.
Most of the games you mentioned I haven't played, since I've only got a PS3. If you're not in it for the battle system though I'd miss Eternal Sonata. It has an interesting setting, but from what I played there was a lot of walking down corridors fighting the same 3 enemies over and over. There's a lot of emphasis on the battle system, which is interesting and challenging.
@Fredchuckdave: Yeah, I have all those, but like I said, I don't exactly want to play those right now, I understand completely that those (or at least, in my opinion some of those) are great games though. If I think about it, current gen JRPG's are pretty lacking, but I still want to play those more than the last gen, or games before last gen, for right now at least.
I'd recommend a start with Tales of Graces F and then go back to earlier in this generation. I would also add Star Ocean 4 (PS3 version) to the playlist just so its horrors could be understood better, while also appreciating what was good in it.
Maybe a dose of Resonance of Fate if you want a really freaking cool combat system.
@NTM: Well I mean for the most part VP2 (or FFXII for that matter) looks much better than most of the JRPGs you mentioned, even though it came out in the previous generation; so by and large it is a current gen title (it came out in 2006 to boot). Rogue Galaxy has a similar art style to Tales games but I'm pretty sure it still looks better, Odin Sphere looks fantastic to date with yet another different art style.
This generation was not great for JRPGs and going back and playing older games that you missed that don't have too archaic design is almost certainly a better decision, if anything VP2's gameplay is 10 years ahead of its time and Vagrant Story's is 25 or so as nothing really scratches the surface of either game yet, though Final Fantasy XIII is fairly deep and complex in terms of combat mechanics. Alternatively just pick a different genre and hope JRPGs rise from the grave in the future. Square seems to be doing relatively well relative to other Japanese companies and has made most of the best JRPGs not titled "Final Fantasy."
Tales of Vesperia for sure but to be fair it's the only one out of that list I have personally played. I sort of fell out of favor with JRPG's this gen but Tales is still a fantastic series in my opinion. The real time combat helps soften the blow of some of the grinding that pops up in JRPG's. Although in the 20 hours I have played of Vesperia I don't remember having to do tons of grinding.
I haven't personally played Lost Odyssey but I did see my friend play through a good ten hours of it (I think he was half way through the game so there was a lot of story context that made no sense to me) but what I saw looked really, really good.
I should note that this popular notion that you have to "grind" in JRPGs is for the most part false; you can grind if you want to trivialize the main storyline or you can just play the game getting in a "normal" number of battles and try to keep it challenging the entire time; most games don't have a perfect curve in this regard and you'll still overlevel without even trying but VS doesn't even have an experience system and VP2 is pretty close to perfectly balanced start to finish.
Well I answered your poll but it really comes down to 2 questions.
Is story more important?
Is length/gameplay more important?
If you care more about story than the answer is Lost Odyssey. In my opinion other than Xenoblade Chronicles it is the single best "real" JRPG of this gen. It has a really freaking good story, characters you can relate to, great graphics, and by the end you actually give a damn about the cast etc. Even the annoying members of it.
If gameplay is the bigger deal to you then the three games I would advise first from this gen aren't on the list. Those being Xenoblade, Resonance of Fate, and The Last Story. But from your list I would tell you to play Tales of Vesperia. In general it is the second best game on this list.
Lastly if all you want is a long ass JRPG, go get White Knight Chronicles 2. Considering it has both game one and two in one box and the online stuff you can mess with I don't think any JRPG this gen has any competition for it.
@Petiew: I love Final Fantasy X, it's probably, (probably) my favorite Final Fantasy game from what I've seen and experienced. As I mentioned I got 25 hours in, and I would have gone more in it, but there was a Seymour battle that wouldn't let me progress. It just kept freezing on me, so I never went back to it, I still loved the game though. I should say that I don't necessarily "hate" the world maps, I just don't find them appealing when compared to the other stuff I could be doing when I play the game. There's quite a few times in games when the world map theme song is very good; for instance, Chrono Cross, that has an amazingly relaxing world map theme I think. When it comes to the battle systems, that's correct, I'm not really in it for that, but it doesn't really mean I don't, or can't enjoy them; again, it's just not one of the aspects I look for when it comes to the genre, even though I understand it's a big part of them. Thanks for your reply.
@SomeJerk: I have both Star Ocean versions, and just a month back I tried playing the PS3 version; while I wouldn't say I hated it, because there are a few good aspects I've noticed, I didn't enjoy it much. This is somewhat nit-picky, but I didn't really like the overly Japanese feel of the characters' dialogue, the doll-like faces, the overall animations, below average framerate, the annoying battle music (at least to me) and it's just not the kind of sci-fi I like. The sci-fi I don't believe is an emphasis, but with the way it starts and with the exterior and interior of its ships, and the character designs, I just couldn't get into it. I did enjoy my time with Till the End of Time though. I guess I just didn't like the extreme Japanese style it gave off, or at least that's what I think it was. Resonance of Fate, yeah, I saw my brother playing that a bit on 360; it looked alright. I might play that, but from what I saw, I'd play that after all the other ones. Thanks for your post though.
People have legitimate complaints about Eternal Sonata, but it has a fun and unique combat system and the story payoff at the end is worth it. I'd suggest it.
Backup is Vesperia, but I've never finished the game because the mechanics become a little too convoluted, and the boss battles are a biiiiiiiitch.
@pyrodactyl: Yeah, he mentioned that when he was playing it. I'm downloading that now, but I'll probably be playing it myself, which is fine.
@Lost_Remnant: Lost Odyssey I'm going to let my brother go through first. The art for the facial on its characters in that game were ugly, and I didn't really like the voice work, but other than that, I was interested from what I saw on YouTube before he bought it.
@Fredchuckdave: No, I understand that. The only problem is that my PS2 broke a while back, so I'd have to play it on my dad's (not my own) PS3. He owns the first version of PS3 that plays PS2 games, and I rarely ever go out in the living room and play on that system, let alone PS2 games. Those games are great, and they aren't archaic, the only problem I have with it, which is very nit-picky, is that it doesn't have Dolby Digital. Those games can still sound good, sure, but I still want to experience a game in my own room with my home theater system at full effect. Thanks for replying, I understand what you're saying, and in time I may do as you recommend when it comes to going back. Oh, and alright about the grinding.
@Karkarov: If you read my comment on the first page, it says that it doesn't have to be on the poll. Actually, the poll says that it doesn't have to be on the poll. I don't expect you to read through my other comments, or even my first, but I don't really want to repeat what I have already said. Everything you've mentioned I've already covered, except for White Knight Chronicles. I saw my brother play that game, (I feel like I keep turning down these recommendations, but) I don't really want to play that, it looked very dull. Thanks for your reply though.
@Mistzero: People have mentioned it though. Ha ha.
(Truth be told, cheap Wii and Xenoblade is my #1 JRPG recommendation of this generation. It's overhyped, going to cost you the space and money and A/V slots of an extra console but ngggghh so good and lengthy)
@AndrewB: Alright, this is a post to you obviously, but if anyone else reads it, it's to them as well. Basically, what I want to play is a JRPG that has a good soundtrack, nice visuals, a great cast of characters, a good story, a grand world to visit, and if it can, has to be on PS3 or 360.
@SomeJerk: I have a Wii and I have Xenoblade Chronicles. I saw, but heard far more of my brother play that a lot, and he handed me the controller for a minute or two early on in the game so I could feel the controls and get the basics of it. It's neat. I'll most likely play that at some point, but right now, I've got Eternal Sonata downloading, and Tales of Vesperia already downloaded.
@NTM: That's great dude. I did read your comments though and seeing as how you were looking for suggestions I thought I might give my suggestions. Pardon if I offended or happened to suggest a good game someone else had already mentioned, it isn't like reinforcing their opinion makes any sense or anything. Your initial impression of White Knight Chronicles is accurate though, it is boring, generic, and not really anything to write home about. But it is really freaking long and cheap.
@Hizang: This guy, he is wrong. :P
Lost Odyssey, because that's the only one I can recommend.
Same here -- sort of (played some of Eternal Sonata and I definitely did not find it as engaging or great as Lost Odyssey was). Lost Odyssey is definitely among my all-time favorites. At the very least it would be second to Chrono Trigger in my all-time favorite standalone JRPG.
Lost Odyssey has an amazing story and supplements it nicely with some really touching literature recounting on Kaim's memories drawn from his years and years of immortality. There's a lot of neat little touches like that which make it a very polished, unique experience. Definitely consider it. I don't even consider myself a big JRPG person but I loved Lost Odyssey.
I feel like I should mention this, although it really has nothing, or very little to do with the topic. I have another brother. My brother's are two years older than me and they're twins, the one that loves JRPG's lives with me. When I mention one brother, I feel like I need to mention the other 'cause I hate leaving one out; others will think it was just the one and I, when I'm the youngest of three. My other brother likes sports games, the usual (i.e. Call of Duty multiplayer), open world games; less Grand Theft Auto (though he has liked playing them before), and more like Skyrim or Assassin's Creed, and he loves, or loved past Zelda games.
I like Call of Duty as well; not so much the MP, but I enjoy the campaigns, Infinity Award's more than Treyarch's. When I say not so much the MP, I don't mean I don't enjoy playing the multiplayer, I just mean that multiplayer in general isn't my type of thing. And other than liking some tennis games, a few football (that's not Madden), basketball, and racing games, I don't care for sports games at all. Anyways, yeah, I felt like I had to add that. I don't really like adding personal stuff on the internet, but morally for me, I felt this was needed.
@EquitasInvictus: I'm actually just waiting for Eternal Sonata to download; then I'll probably turn the 360 off for a while since Tales of Vesperia was downloading before that. My brother was just telling me that the game's alright, but he didn't beat it 'cause he didn't like the story, and how it's all about music, or at least that's how he summed it up before he went out of the room. And yeah, I may get to Lost Odyssey, but not soon since I'm going to wait for my brother to beat that first, but since he hasn't been doing it, I may never play it :O. Ha ha. I don't know. I'm glad to hear that it's good though at least.
@AndrewB: Alright, this is a post to you obviously, but if anyone else reads it, it's to them as well. Basically, what I want to play is a JRPG that has a good soundtrack, nice visuals, a great cast of characters, a good story, and a grand world to visit, and if it can be, has to be on PS3 or 360.
Unfortunately, the only games on the list you posted that I've spent extensive time with are Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia. Of the two, I believe Vesperia has the same awesome composer responsible for the rest of the modern series. As far as cast goes, Vesperia has......... three good characters (Yuri - the main character, Estellise, and Flynn). I'm not sure where the story ultimately goes because I haven't had the time or will to finish it after losing a mid to late-game save file, but it definitely looks fantastic artistically and has a great big world to explore, even if the story I've seen has been a linear path with fantastically difficult side-missions.
Eternal Sonata's soundtrack is also really good, and at its best (perhaps obviously) is when it incorporates classic Chopin compositions (and not to spoil anything, since every JRPG has final battle music, but Eternal Sonata's is the best). The visuals are probably on par with Vesperia, to the point where I wondered if it used the same engine and shared artists when I got around to playing Vesperia. As far as cast, Eternal Sonata has the obvious main character of Chopin, but a sort of secondary main character in Alegretto. There are a couple of other good characters, but for the most part, the rest of them have equivalent and stereotypical tropes in Vesperia. There are surprises along the way, but nothing that'll blow your socks off if you're used to the better JRPGs of olde. It's been awhile since I played it, but the world/setting itself was mostly forgettable, and even the main villain was pretty weak (but I remind you, there's something beyond that to the story that makes it interesting).
I mean, there are parts of Eternal Sonata that I recognize as filler, level-grinding, JRPG crapola, but I really liked playing the game nonetheless. Like I said, I'd recommend it over anything.
Regardless of which you buy, play the PS3 "post Microsoft paid exclusivity" versions with all sorts of improvements.
As for other modern JRPGs, the genre lost much of its appeal to me within the last couple of years, so honestly I haven't played much. However, if you have the ability to play GameCube games in any fashion, I'd highly recommend Tales of Symphonia over everything else. It's the pinnacle of the Tale series, has wonderful English localization, it's incredibly long and has a couple of major story branches that'll blow your socks off once you've played it and realized those things were possible. It has the same handful of stereotypes as well as a few genuinely good characters that make the game. Totally. Lloyd (the main character), Colette, and Kratos in particular.
Play one of the Tales games to start and end with. I'd say Vesperia is the better of the two, mainly because Graces F has unlikable characters and Vesperia has awesome characters. Then I would put Lost Odyssey in the middle of your list to refresh you after one of the two mediocre games (Blue Dragon/Eternal Sonata).
@AndrewB: Eternal Sonta is nearly done downloading, and Tales of Vesperia has already downloaded. I have them both on 360. My brother says he has all of the DLC and stuff for Tales of Vesperia. And oh man, I totally forgot about Tales of Symphonia; that was a game I really wanted to try back then, but never did. I didn't know it was part of the same series, that's cool. The word Tales does give it away, but since I had forgotten about the game, I wouldn't have known anyways. Yes though, I do have access to a Wii and an original Gamecube, so basically, I could play it, but I'm not so sure about finding the game. I kind of just want to play one of the JRPG's that I already have access to, but thanks.
I know you said you wanted PS3 or Xbox 360 games recommended to you, but if you happen to have a PS2 I would have recommended Tales of the Abyss and Persona 4 or 3. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've played any JRPGs (besides maybe an hour of Tales of Vesperia and FFXIII, the latter of which I did not like at all) on those consoles...although perhaps I'm just forgetting about others that I've played.
Lost Odyssey seems great from watching my sister play it - she really likes it (although I find the characters to be mildly annoying - then again I don't find Tidus from FFX annoying and meny others do; so take that how you will).
I have played enough of Blue Dragon to know that I don't like it. I personally found the characters extremely shallow (at least in the early goings - don't know how far I got overall but I did reach a point of being sick of it, which is very rare for me with JRPGs). I also found the battle system and mechanics to be purely servicable and not truly interesting or to have truly game-changing depth (although if you don't care for the quality of the battle system then maybe you will get something out of it and get further than I did).
Also, I know you said you played about 25 hours of it - but FFX is worth finishing, man! (Although, maybe revisit it when that HD re-release comes out... if it ever does).
Also Final Fantasy 13-2 is pretty fantastic and actually very short compared to others - if you lasted over 30 hours in FF13 then I can definitely see you enjoying and finishing FF13-2
@Dixavd: I know. I said the reason why I couldn't finish Final Fantasy X. It's not so much that I didn't want to. I hope it does come in HD, that'd be awesome. Oh yeah, now I remember why I came back on. I was seeing when I posted the first comment, then I'll know how long I had the 360 on. I'm going to try Tales of Vesperia, Eternal Sonata, and I might play some more of Blue Dragon, but later.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 I have, but again, I've only seen my brother play it. I had, and still have zero desire to play it since I didn't beat the first, but from what I saw, other than playing as Lightning's sister and some dicey framerate, it did look really good. I have nothing against that character from her personality stand-point, 'cause I don't really know her motives, but I don't like her clothing choices :P. The end of the game was crap though, I don't think he got the best ending. Or maybe he did, and I just didn't like it. He's usually good at going for the best you can get in JRPG's.