Growing up, there was nothing I enjoyed more than coming home after a long day of school and jumping onto a classic Final Fantasy game. Or Grandia. Or Star Ocean. Come to think of it, I played an awful lot of JRPGs – some multiple times through.
Despite the hours of endless enjoyment hidden within the classic games of my youth, I could never quite put my finger on the factor of the games that had drawn me to them every day throughout my childhood; at least not until the new style JRPGs were released.
We’ve lost something with the new generation of JRPGs, and despite the numerous attempts and the few hidden gems that gather dust in game stores throughout the world, it just doesn’t seem to be the same anymore.
I’ll start with the things that made the classic games so great for me…
5. Emotional Connections
JRPGs always center around a traditional story format. You have the brave protagonist, usually an underdog, who must fight for his/her love or honor against unbeatable odds and the dastardly villain – Hell-bent on destroying the world as we know it. However, it’s common-place to use side plots and twists to revamp the main plot, bringing them to life, awash with emotion and amusing moments.
After crashing in the Evil Forest and rescuing the princess from a monster who wished to take her life force, the forest wasn’t quite ready for them to leave, petrifying itself into a form of solid stone and Blank along with it like a creepily obsessive partner who locks the front door so you can’t leave.
After hours of gameplay and getting to know your characters, it’s in moments like this that the games really peak – causing a true emotional response out of gamers, both young and old, as one of your beloved friends leaves the cast – much like in your favorite television series.
Modern RPGs seem to be missing this element, the ability to make you fall in love with characters and feel for them as you follow them on their journey. It is a mighty shame to see such a unique element leave the genre. Modern RPGs tend to focus more on the end game and less on the journey, so to speak.
The characters are often hollow shells, just playing out the end goal without much of a background or story for themselves; no interconnecting plots, emotional reels or chance of a connection with characters you may end up spending 200 or more hours with.
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This article was first posted on March 15, 2013