How do you play JRPGs?


What I’ll usually do is play for about two hours at a time. I’ve never been one to mainline RPGs. I’ll look at guides for side quests, but I never really get into using guides for crafting/collecting. I use guides to uncover as much of the story as possible.


I play them as is and make mistakes as I go. I wish there were more classic style jrpgs but it’s a dying genre as far as I can tell. :[


I don’t play a lot of JRPGs, but when I do I play them blind.

[Image of me drinking frosty bottle labeled JRPG while wearing a blindfold]

Occasionally look something up if I’m stuck but, if it turns out I’ve irrevocable pooched it, there are plenty of other games waiting for me.


There’s no way. What would you consider classic? I’m still seeing stuff come out. I think I Am Setsuna wasn’t received the best but it seemed to really be going for that. Also I think while stuff like Trails in the Sky is structured a bit differently it falls firmly in the JRPG category, (This isn’t trying to be disparaging, it honestly seems like JRPGs have shifted a bit but they’re still out and about.)

Also re: main topic - I started Persona 5 last week (knowing I rarely finish games since I don’t have the best attention span) and I’m wondering if people know how necessary a guide is? I kind of want to just go with the flow and squeeze as much grinding out in a single day as I can and grab whatever S-link seems interesting. How easy is it to miss vital stuff if I don’t look up a guide and follow the optimal path?


Sure there are lasting remnants trickling out here and there but this ain’t the PS1 golden era of JRPGs anymore. Even the “Tales of” series is starting to change the format of their games wildly.


I mean, good? Genres need to evolve and JRPGs are in a super good place right now. You have newer takes like Persona and Bravely but you still have the more traditional games like DQ that haven’t fallen off. The only one that really hasn’t been able to figure it out yet is Final Fantasy.


Very carefully.


I think FF has changed pretty significantly and change and evolution is good for the genre but I ache for more top-down old school party adventures with giant portrait art and immaculate summons. Also more Wild ARMs soundtracks.


With FF I meant that they haven’t figured it out because they’re not making great games. They’re certainly attempting new things but none of it has really worked out as well as fans and SE would probably have hoped. Compare that to Atlus, Namco, KT, Falcom, and even other teams inside of SE. FF as a franchise just hasn’t brought it as hard as most others who are making great games in the genre.


Sure sure, what I’d like to see from them is a dip back into their other JRPG franchises and maybe work on that. FFT or Vagrant Story perhaps.


The last JRPG I actually completed was Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, but I mainly did it only because I forced myself to complete it before the sequel came out. It was a really interesting game, but I just felt like there was so much padding, that I usually lose interest. I think that might be because I’m getting older…

also Dark Truth, I’ve not completed Persona 4 yet.


JRPGs have changed a lot over the years as well. In the 16bit days, it was pretty easy to play the game straight-shot, where today there are lots of bits to them where you’d probably never be able to figure it out without a guide.

Darksouls isn’t a JRPG (despite being a role-playing game made in Japan), but I feel that its “community hints” feature is a good way to bridge the divide between a guide and non-guide experience.


I play mostly blindly but I frequently look up questions I have like “what does stat/ability X do?”, “is it worth investing in character/minigame Y?” or “where’s the best place to get item Z / Exp?”

So I mostly look up mechanical things so I don’t waste time on something I’m not particularly invested in yet as a means to something else (such as wanting the best recruited team in FFX’s Blitzball so that I could get Wakka’s overdrive earlier).


Before I buy a JRPG, I usually skim through a the overview of a trophy guide to see if there’s a “true ending” or another version of multiple playthroughs, and if there are people screaming about bugs or easily missable things. If too many of those flags are present, I usually don’t buy/play the game.

Otherwise I play without guides for the most part. Persona 4 Golden was the last game that I remember playing along with a guide because I didn’t want to miss any interactions in my first playthrough.


For all games though, there’s this tipping point where I get so enthralled by a game I end up looking up lots of FAQ’s of how exactly the game works. I like finding out about hidden stats and manipulating them in my own playthroughs. I love finding out the strange idiosyncrasies present by unique characters/items and their effect on stats or the game in general. Sometimes I fall so in love with a game, I want to squeeze every lasting drop out of it and never let it end, so I’ll instead spend each moment learning about its inner workings rather than pushing forward with the stories. This is why I haven’t seen the endings of so many of my favourite games, because I’d rather just be within it at the last moment before the end, forever.


When I was younger, I’d just wing it, only consulting a FAQ when I actually found myself stuck. This always meant having a less-than-optimal party, but that didn’t matter. As it turns out, JRPGs aren’t typically that hard.

I would beat Golden Sun without collecting all the Djinns, meaning I would never be able to unlock the Samurai jobs, and would continue to pay the price in the sequel after importing my save.

I would play through Kingdom Hearts II without ever unlocking High Jump, Glide, Aerial Dodge, or even Quick Run, because I didn’t know how, or even that these moves still existed.

I would invest points into Boomerangs in Dragon Quest VIII when I only used them for a few hours, and I’d be OK with that.

These days… not so much. I’ve very much become a min-maxing power gamer. Everything needs to be optimal. A single skill point wasted drives me crazy.

I’m currently playing through Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse, and spend far too much time staring at menus, deciding what skills to keep, which fusion to pick, and trying to plan ahead using guides. It’s affecting my enjoyment of the game. Part of me wishes we could go back to the days of everything being randomized/hidden.

I know some people have it even worse than me. They fuss over their Pokemon’s nature when they only intend to beat the main story and move on. That’s never been a problem for me as those games are just so darned easy. But even with Pokemon games, I like to check Bulbapedia to see what skills and TMs I can expect so I can plan out my party. I recently saw someone doing that exact thing on the train. Gave me a good chuckle.


I used to be a side quest completionist, but I’ve realized recently that a lot of JRPGs have side quests that are mostly meaningless, and just get you gold/equipment, and that equipment doesn’t matter past a certain point, so if it doesn’t have exposition involved, I skip side quests. Thankfully a lot of games recently have done a good job of distinguishing those. For example, Tales of Xillia 2 had a ton of non-essential side quests that fleshed out your party members, which I really enjoyed. But in Ni No Kuni, I skipped all the bulletin board side quests, since I grinded hard enough that I was OP enough they didn’t matter.


Lately I’ve been trying to play without guides, but that generally means I drop off at some point. FFXV is one I just haven’t gone back to. I like playing Persona 4 Golden, but I’ve watched most of the Giantbomb endurance run, so I technically read a bad guide? Also gives me an excuse to play my vita. Seen a couple people mention Legend of Heroes. Not sure if I should pick any of those up. Any insight on the Vita versions?


Vita versions of Cold Steel are pretty good but have framerate problems. Nothing too bad though! The Sky games are PSP and look kinda bad on the Vita, honestly.

The PC is definitely the best place to play them. The Sky trilogy have great ports and the first Cold Steel came out last month on PC with great graphics options and more than 5000 lines of additional voiced dialogue. Cold Steel 2 is coming out later this year with the same treatment. That one is my personal favorite game in the franchise so super excited for all the extra voice work. Oh, and new to the PC versions of all these is a speed up function similar to FFXIIZA. Hold down a button and the game goes up to 4x speed. This is especially helpful in the Sky games because they’re old and fights move slower than a dead sloth. So yeah, no doubt PC is by far the best place to play them.


Some games definitely work better with a guide (or, at least, some guidance) than others. I used to be a huge guide-follower, but I’m now the total opposite. I’ll only look up specific questions if I absolutely have to; I’ll never look at a full guide. I might consider looking up some kind of “before you play”-style advice for a game if I’m pretty shaky about it, but I’m usually confident enough not to need it. This definitely means missing things (like I did in Persona 5), but I’m generally happier for it.

Personally speaking, the closer I follow a guide, the less connected I feel to a game. In Fire Emblem: Awakening, I, as someone who didn’t really think the marriage system was particularly interesting, delegated my pairings to a quick and easy guide I found online. It definitely hurt my enjoyment with the game; the fear of pairing two characters irrevocably together and having their offspring be bad made using my own initiative deeply unpalatable, since it might mean restarting the game from scratch. Or, what if I got the child character, but I’d trained the parents in the wrong classes and passed down bad Skills? Or, or, what if I don’t pair up two characters who I don’t like but I might super love their child?

… I didn’t finish Awakening, as you might able to tell.