Trials in the sky: Best classic jrpg of this generation. Period.

Been hearing a lot about Xenoblade being the jrpg of this generation (started it, pretty rad), but man I do wish more jrpg fans would check out Legend of Heroes: Trials in the sky on psp.

Easily the best 'classic jrpg' of this generation with modern systems that pretty much reduces frustration to pretty much nothing. It might be the only jrpg that I haven't found anything worth complaining about.

- Plot is simple, almost episodic with a main story going on in the background. nothing Xenogears deep. More focused on the character growth. Superb localization makes the pretty high word count game, pretty enjoyable. Characters fit molds, but they do them well and nothing facepalm silly. It also does it at a pretty reasonable pace that helps you learn about the world rather than most games that go full speed at the beginning in which players are overwelmed with lore and what not.

- Simple combat system. It utilizes orbs that place on a grid (kinda like ff7). simple yet effective. Nothing is permanent so those can be rearranged whenever, and however. Monsters on the field and are easily avoidable. You get orbs early on that show them on the minimap and eventually allow you to 'phase' through them like nightwalker and avoid them all together.

- Best feature ever. An all purpose journal that you can popup with a short cut (triangle left I think). Got info on all the systems (different combinations of orbs leads to different spells, this book tells you pretty much all the spells in the game, no bullshit). All the abbreviations for stats and what they mean, detailed journal entries on all quests and objectives and what not and the usual monster book. Don't need to go to gamefaqs for a guide about the systems and what not. All rpgs need this.

- Exp curves all around. Game doesn't like grinding, so if level too high, exp is shit. If level is too low, exp is insane.

- If you 'game over', you can restart the battle right there. No restart from save bs.

- An toggle able option that allows you to 'ninja gaiden' a battle if you die. ie: lower the difficulty. Doesn't even taunt you about it!

- A truly engaging world. npcs have an insane amount of dialogue (localizing nightmare I'd imagine). Pretty much any 'event' that transpires leads to entirely new dialogue from all the npcs in town. Heck if you help out npc 'john' in town A, he might appear in town C and react to your help.

- Pretty much 95% of all the sidequests are on a bulletin board in each town. Some are kill miniboss quests, some are 'detective' style investigation quests. Good amount to help build the world. And easily accessible.

- Dungeons are surprisingly 'simple' in layout and with no random battles, no frustration.

If you enjoyed jrpgs in the past and are tired of all the bs that's going on this generation or so. I implore you to check this out. I can see why this series is the 'top rpg' in japan these days.


State of portable gaming.

 I found my old gameboy color the other day and popped in 2 AA batteries and played a good hr or 2 of pokemon red. Obviously the graphics don't hold up that well (yet it holds up better than I thought compare to modern pokeman -.-"), but the most noticeable thing is the game is snappy as hell. You open a menu, press an action, walk a step, it just happens. No waiting half a second-1 second for the action to happen. I feel like the portable games strayed away from this after the gba era. 
Anyone remember psp era before you could do 'install data'? Remember Midnight club DUB with it's 2-3min loading? Same thing happened to ds.  I couldn't stand pokemon diamond/pearl because of how damn sluggish everything was. The game didn't even look much better than the previous generation (the polygonal map looks arguably worse than the sprite based maps) yet was still about 1/3 slower. 
I recently watched someone mess around with 3DS and those menu transitions take wayyy too long.  I kinda doubt NGP will have amazing loading either. Sony consoles are great, but loading times aren't their strong point. 
I can see how people are saying ios devices are 'future of portable gaming'. The games are pretty enough (retina display helps). They are also mostly pretty snappy. And you can jump in and out whenever you want with quick app switching (I guess you kinda can with sleep mode on ds/psp).