hello everybody, ETSS here for another editorial. that's right, people, it's an editorial that's NOT about T.V or anime!
yeah, instead it's about....japanese RPG's...which are basically anime...but you get to play them.....
*slightly less enthusiastic cheering crowd*
Oh well, I'm gonna talk about it anyway, because this is something that needs to be talked about
Why do we love stories in RPG's, particularly JRPG's?
I mean think about it, in an industry that values gameplay over story so heavily that they deem a portly plumber jumping around polka dotted fly traps and hammer throwing turtles the PINNACLE of iconic world building, any JRPG that has a lackluster story or way of telling its story instantly gets its score cut down like wheat meeting the scythe. Doesn't this seem odd to anyone? What is the reason behind this sudden heel turn in mindset whenever this particular game genre is brought up in conversation?
I'm not gonna beat around the bush here and just give you the straight answer. We love good stories in JRPG's because WE WOULD NEVER PLAY THEM OTHERWISE!!!!!
let's look at what you have to look forward to in any given JRPG of decent quality
you have to
A. keep track of your character's stats, weapons, spells, health, potions to relieve that health should it drop too low, replacement weapons should the one you have break (if you're playing fire emblem), and sorting through all of it to see which should go in your inventory and which should just go into the convoy until you need it later
B. do all that with everyone in your party
C. choose which members of that party you wish to take with you, as in most RPG's you can only have 3 guys with you at one time
D. and then sort through a meticulous series of taking a punch and then throwing one right back at your attacker until he drops dead or you do
doesn't sound so much fun anymore does it? until, that is, you give them something for the audience to latch onto, something to motivate them into performing this endless busywork
like, say, marching to plegia to save exalt emmeryn in fire emblem awakening
or helping cloud find out who he really is and defeat sephiroth in FF7
or stopping kefka in FF6
or saving your mother in Ni no Kuni
and so on, so forth. Because of the way these games are made, the audience needs to feel like they'll be rewarded for their OCD, by being given the next part of the story.
That's why Spoony mostly ragged on the story of final fantasy 10 when he played it. He admitted that when you get down to brass tacks, the game is really well balanced and plays like a dream. But the story was so horrible to him, and the characters so unlikable, that he was taken out of the experience, and the game was a slog to get through for him.
it's like watching a movie, all you're really doing is sitting in a dark room and looking at a wall, so you need to feel like you're getting something out of it otherwise you'll realize "hey, I'm just sitting in a dark room looking at a wall, I'm going to go do something productive with my life for once"
I'm not gonna go any further, because I think you get it by now. So I'll just leave it at this
fire emblem awakening>final fantasy 6......yeah, I said it