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Great Debate rpg

93 comments

  • Ravenwild - September 21, 2012 2:18 a.m.

    All this is proving is that JRPG fanboys care more. JRPGs are barely RPGs... no character creation, no choices. It's just a big stylish cut scene with rock paper scissors battles.
  • DarthPunk - September 21, 2012 2:12 a.m.

    I'm going to have to massively disagree with Hollander on combat in WRPGs. Like Henry said the examples you gave are of games that are moving away from their RPG roots (and even with something like Mass Effect I’d argue it’s combat doesn’t stack up to a real dedicated shooting game) but for the most part WRPGs stick to the D & D/MMO model that you criticized and say what you will about turn based at least it feels like your choices have an impact on the combat where as the WRPG model feels like the game is just playing itself. The fact JRPGs are starting to go down that root never fails to depress me
  • taokaka - September 21, 2012 1:35 a.m.

    Henry easily put up the better debate in my opinion, Coopers arguments sounded like those that would come from somebody who had only played ten minutes of a jrpg before. However my choice for the better of the two goes to the jrpg just by a hair, an extremely well animated and colourful hair. I feel that the story of JRPGs on the whole are so much more engaging and emotive, I'd rather have a predetermined fantastic cutscene over my choices giving me one of two different yet equally boring cutscenes (I'm not saying all WRPGs have boring stories just a lot of them). The art style and music in JRPGs are another plus, I've been listening to disgaea 4's soundtrack all week and it's amazing also the argument against Jpop becomes invalid if used in the correct context such as when a JRPG is set in a modern day city where people might you know actually listen to pop over a dramatic musical score. While WRPGs have more action based gameplay it can lead to games not feeling very RPGish at all like mass effect 2 and 3 in my opinion, while both are still amazing games I didn't think of them as rpgs. Another point for WRPGs is camera control, I love being able to control the camera and look around the world while in most JRPGs I feel like I'm missing out whenever they use fixed camera angles. But in the end it comes down to which genre has more of my favourite games, WRPGs have skyrim, mass effect 2&3 and not much else which I've played that tickle my fancy while JRPGs have TWEWY, Pokemon, Valkyria chronicles, persona, SMT: devil survivor, and my childhood favourite, digimon world 2003.
  • tehtimeisnow - September 21, 2012 12:51 a.m.

    wrgps win hands down seruoisely cuz if there no guns in the game it sucks and is behind the times cuz we been useing guns for hundreds of years and swords r just dead tecology and also if im not in a ferst person point of view its imposseble to get immersed and last but not least jrps r just boreing and have bad storeies and r just based off amine cartoons and stuff so yes wrgps win hands down
  • Aarononymous - September 20, 2012 10:33 p.m.

    Point-by-point feedback: 1: JRPGs: Constrained by manga/anime aesthetic style. Looks and personalities are often overly exaggerated and silly. WRPGs: Constrained by customization in gameplay. Looks and personalities are often blank slates for players to project themselves onto, which can be boring if you're not totally immersed. 2: JRPGs rely on cliches. WRPGs do too. The major difference I can see is that WRPGs are honest about their literary and cinematic influences. Skyrim's major influences are Beowulf, Tolkien, and DnD. Mass Effect pulls from Star Trek, War of the Worlds, and Lovecraft. JRPGs might be too but as an ignorant American they're lost on me. 3: JRPGs: Drama that sometimes dips into melodrama or gets lost in the grind. WRPGs: Drama that often gets lost in the endless open-world content. 4: JRPGs: Incomprehensible plots with big plot holes. WRPGs: A mix of good and bad. Mostly they let you decide how far to delve into the plot, which gives them an advantage. 5: JRPGs: Simpler gameplay and smaller worlds means less bugs. WRPGs: The bigger the world with more options, the more bugs. It's a trade-off. 6. JRPGs: Turn-based combat made sense in the 16-bit era. Now, not so much. WRPGs: Huge range of qualities here, but real-time action is always going to be more immersive than turn-based. 7. JRPGs: Big range of really really good and really really bad. WRPGs: Cinematic score does not mean LotR rip-off, Henry. Less memorable soundtracks in general, but a few gems (TES). 8. JRPGs: Traditional storytelling is more reliable. WRPGs: Big risks mean huge payoffs when they go well and fan backlash when they don't. Whatever you think about ME3's ending, it has cemented the series' place in video game history. In my opinion, what WRPGs have that makes them the winners is immersion. Deep character and gameplay customization, "blank slate" characterization, choice-driven narratives, open and coherent worlds, and sensible aesthetics are all important ways that WRPGs allow for a much greater degree of player immersion.
  • Mcfluffan - September 20, 2012 9:04 p.m.

    Well, I have to go with WRPGs. JRPGs are amazing, and I love to play them as much as the next guy, but they all are similar in a lot of ways. To some, that is a plus, but to me personally, I like innovation and change in video games. I like game developers adding their own twist to an RPG, a good example is Borderlands, for it is not a strictly speaking RPG, but it has those elements, and at its core it is one. Now Borderlands isn't story driven (not really at all), but my point is that WRPGs come in all different flavors, which I personally like better. Of Course, WRPGs do tend to be less like a RPG, but in the end, what makes a game an RPG varies from person to person.
  • RadgarLaser2 - September 20, 2012 8:56 p.m.

    1. Characters - JRPG 2. Cliches - JRPG 3. Drama - JRPG 4. Confusing Plots - WRPG 5. Glitches - JRPG 6. Combat - JRPG 7. Soundtracks - JRPG 8. Choice - WRPG JRPG 6-2 Given the parameters, JRPGs wins hands down. JRPG's are about the overall experience and it's a much more memorable one. WRPG focus more on combat/action and choice/freedom. They excel in some departments but they don't give you the overall satisfying experience. The Mass Effect series is great no doubt but having the entire plot cut in 3 parts loses what would have been a great overall experience. That's something you rarely or never see JRPGs do.
  • n00b - September 20, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    A ragtag group of teenagers picking up swords, staves, and bows to fight a boring evil presence replace with A ragtag group of aliens picking up guns, space magic, and stuff to fight a boring evil presence... in space! and you have mass effect. point invalid.
  • Tyrande - September 20, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    For me JRPG's all the way!!! JRPG characters have more... personality i guess, i end up actually caring for them, rooting for their success, cryin like a baby when one dies (not aerith) or totally wanting to leave them stranded on an isolated island somewhere (cough* Lymle from Star Ocean) you know it's pretty much a love/meh/hate relationship with every character. the stories do tend to be more complicated but all the more satisfying when you understand what went on. of course i've also played skyrim, amalur, the witcher, fallout, mass effect and so on. i enjoyed them, also got bored at times. (with the sole exception of mass effect)
  • JMarsella09 - September 20, 2012 7:29 p.m.

    You know, I have an unhealthy love for RPGS, from both sides of the world. I've always considered story to be one of the most important components of any game, only behind gameplay. That's one of the reasons I love Mass effect, because it focuses on characters and story as much as it does choice. Yet, it's also the reason I prefer Japanese ones. The more I know about a character, the more I care about the game. Sheena Fujibayashi and Naoto Shirogane are some of my favorite characters of all time and that reflects in my love of their respective games, and yes I love Tali too. And truthfully, I never found Kingdom Hearts all that confusing. Just me. On the subject of music, my ipod is stacked with Persona, Ys, Ar Tonelico, Final Fantasy, Kingdom hearts, et cetera. I really do love them.
  • Bloodstorm - September 20, 2012 6:43 p.m.

    I'm giving my vote to Cooper. Role-Play is much deeper in western RPGs. It is the difference between Theater and LARPing. You play a role in both, but the difference is in one you stick to a script, and the other you create your own character. The JRPG's I've played, you are always stuck to the path of the character you are playing. Playing Mass Effect or Fallout 3, there are times I remember where making a decision was extremely where the "right" decision seemed to be against my morally right decision, or where I made a bad decision, but because the emotion of the moment got to me. That is role-playing.
  • StrayGator - September 20, 2012 6:42 p.m.

    1-1-0 vs 0-1-0 ? How does this work exactly?
  • Bloodstorm - September 20, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    I assume they tally up the comments for the 2 debaters.
  • GR_JustinTowell - September 21, 2012 2:33 a.m.

    No, I believe it's based on debates each editor has taken part in and who won each one. So I've only taken part in the Mario vs Sonic one so far, which I won, so it would be 1-0-0 for me.
  • FOZ - September 20, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    Dumbed-down MMO's? So Xenoblade plays like an RPG meant to be played by humans, as opposed to machines. As repetitive as standard encounters are in Xenoblade, MMO combat is simply impenetrable to anybody who doesn't have/ want to have a calculator and spreadsheets from the internet constantly on hand, so I don't really see a problem with that. Does it always seem to be a problem with the big projects on 360/ PS3? Tons of cg and impossibly immaculate hair, flashy combat, questionable writing. While Persona 3 and 4 (and most SMT games recently) are consistently acclaimed, both of those came out on PS2 when just about everybody else was developing for PS3. Radiant Historia is just a DS game, and one that came out as people were saying the DS was at the end of its life, and it's one of the most smartly-written games I've played. Why are the projects using older technology better-received and you might say, better written than their big-budget counterparts? I think Skyrim is a pretty damn good game, but as an RPG, it definitely has problems. Storyline is boring and has no reason for you to be invested. Combat is straightforward and often just plain shallow. Elder Scrolls was always about character-building as opposed to the actual fighting. I would put it on a "best games" list if I had to make one, but not a "best RPG's" list. It's a good game that happens to be an RPG, but doesn't really feel like an excellent RPG. As for Mass Effect 3, the story does give you a reason to be invested, but drops the ball all over the place with the writing. Really inconsistent quality, especially with completely uncontrollable moments that turn Shepard into a big softy regardless of how you tried to play your character. The combat takes another genre and drops it into RPG trappings, and while I think the series did it pretty damn well, I can't really say they "created" a compelling RPG battle system. I guess they "assembled" it. I don't want to hail The Witcher 2 as the pinnacle of RPGNess, since that's already been done. But it does go with tougher issues than most other games. One of the problems with JRPG's is that they seem to be so afraid of realistic and adult themes. It feels like villains always fall into "pure evil" or "good intentions, extreme, convoluted method" and it feels pretty contrived. They also seem absolutely terrified of anything other than "pure," sterile romance between two beautiful people.
  • felipe-bini - September 21, 2012 5:23 a.m.

    you sir, is the voice of reason.
  • shawksta - September 20, 2012 6:14 p.m.

    It is hard, and with all due respect to both sides, they did awesomely and had their trips, they both bring different things on the side of the table, it's like comparing comics to Manga, both are 2 different substance of a theme that take it to different experiments and results. If I had to be forced to choose, it'll be JRPG, only because it takes certain games to outstanding deep meanings through it(Mario Rpg's for example) and are built from the ground up as rpg's while most WRPGS's are simple approaches with a slapped choices and exp systems then call themselves rpg's, of course there ARE Fantastic WRPG.a that really shined and were built from the ground up, and I have appreciation for many. Really and truly honestly, these 2 are really fantastic in their own works.
  • garnsr - September 20, 2012 6:05 p.m.

    I haven't played any JRPGs for a while, or many Japanese games for that matter, but as far as what should really be classified as RPGs they are the best. Amalur was an action game really, Elder Scrolls and Mass Effect are pretty much, too, the only reason they get called RPGs is because you play a character who talks to other characters. Which the JRPGs focus on better, giving you their story, and using a set type of battle. Once you get very far into the action direction I don't think you can still call it an RPG. Western "RPGs" are great, action-packed fun, but JRPGs earn the tile of RPG best.
  • BladedFalcon - September 20, 2012 5:54 p.m.

    Hmmm... I think that this is so far the toughest debate for me to pick a side on... I mean, I honestly find I greatly enjoy both types of RPGS, and both bring different, and cool stuff to the table. Now... I think that JRPGS as of late (And in this generation overall) have been in kind of a decline. I really didn't like FFXIII and I really doubt FFXIII-2 would change my mind, and honestly, in this generation I think the only JRPG I've really enjoyed is Tales of Vesperia (Also, some people might consider Demon/Dark Souls to be an RPG, but i honestly wouldn't, they feel far more like action games than RPGs, honestly, same with Dragon's Dogma.). In comparison, I had a blast with the Mass Effect Series, and I enjoy my time with the Elder Scroll games. THAT being said... I think my vote ultimately goes for JRPGs still, because even though they haven't been in the best shape lately, I still overall like them more than WRPGs when you take into account older games. Every single Mario RPG is fantastic, and FFVI remains my favorite RPG of all time, while Tales of Symphonia, Final fantasy X, Dragon Quest VIII have also left a big impact on me. That, and ultimately, I think RPGs stand out the most for their narrative and characters, and while both genres have done great AND badly in this regard, i find that more often than not, JRPGs tend to be the ones that remain ingrained in my brain the most. (that, and I honestly prefer a more focused, linear narrative over the artificial choices WRPGs give you.)
  • dcbernman - September 20, 2012 5:50 p.m.

    I can't imagine only having one or the other. Having both western and eastern RPG's really allows us to take what we love from one, and, when tired of the flaws, switch over to the other side for a while. I feel that other rpgs deserve a mention though. Look what Korea and China have been bringing to the MMORPG genre. They might be heavily inspired by Japanese entrepreneurship, but some of their games really do try to innovate, sometimes by drawing upon concepts we consider "western." One thing I do have to say about linearity or openness of story lines: I love JRPGs for their linearity. Sometimes, I don't want to be the main character, and I want to engage in a story the way I would for a book or a film. I don't flip out when a book doesn't let me decide how the plot progresses. Linearity allows for a tighter, focused narrative, and that can include thoughtful and engaging character development. Having a world map and side quests is really just an effective way to disguise this linearity. Western RPGs and MMOs give me more chances to power trip, make my own character, and mold the world/universe to my liking... or otherwise beat the crap out of it. What's not to love about either of these approaches? RPGs will always be my favorite genre. The more flavors it comes in, the better. Currently, I'm working through the PSone era of JRPGs... it's been awesome! Next on my list is Suikoden 2... what I've played so far of it marks it as one of the best JRPG's I've ever experienced. On the Western front, I've been waiting for that enhanced edition of Baldur's Gate to drop... always wanted to get into that series... especially since the future of Bioware seems to have darkened over the past few years.

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