As I shared in my previous posts, I tend to prefer Japanese made games, mainly Japanese roleplaying games. While I enjoy playing them mostly for its story, characters, art direction and even most of the gameplay aspects, there are a few annoyances and inconveniences that I dislike. (Image Source)
1. The plot usually features a young male hero wanting to save the world.
As my preferences shifts more towards female main characters rather male, I do find this plotline of a young male hero saving the world rather clichéd. While this is not necessarily a bad thing considering that each game takes a different approach, but why does the main character always have to be a young male hero? Why not an older or even a female heroine? I understand that males tend to be the main audience for video games, but with more females playing them too, I would like to see more female main characters. Thankfully, this trend is changing as more games allow you to play as a female heroine or you play as one exclusively.
2. Level Grinding
Level grinding has always been main staple of RPGs because your party members might be under leveled right before you face the boss. Therefore, you might have to grind so you can become strong enough to defeat it without getting so many game over screens.
However, some companies tend to take grinding to ridiculous levels. For example, in some of the Neptunia games, besides the usual grinding you need in order to beat the bosses (although you can make them easier to beat so you can progress the game faster) is getting every character to Level 99. While there is the arena and Lily rank abilities that boost the experience gain, I don’t bother doing it because it gets boring fighting monsters over again just to gain a trophy. The same goes for money grinding as well for some games as some require it to buy the most powerful equipment or a special ending.
At the same time, game makers are now making grinding less painful by adding features to make life easier such as the Exp. All in Pokémon X and Y and the various grinding options such as Auto Battle in Bravely Default. But most likely than not, you probably don’t need to grind much in most RPGs released these days (unless you are playing at higher difficulty) and some outright discourages it with diminishing returns in gained experience. In fact, grinding can be useless in some RPGs. For instance, in any of the Atelier games, no matter how much you grind, if your equipment doesn’t have the right traits, you won’t be able to beat any of the post-game bosses no matter what since any level over 50 doesn’t give a significant stats boost. With some games carrying over the character’s levels, equipment, etc. in a New Game Plus, level grinding becomes less of an issue in the subsequent playthroughs.
3. Individual Values
If you are a Pokémon fan, Individual Values are usually the most hated aspect for the fact that they are determined automatically by the game. For instance, if your Pokémon have low IVs for a particular stat like speed or attack, it puts your Pokémon at a disadvantage against a Pokémon with the same EVs, but with a higher Individual Value for the same stat. Of course, obtaining a Pokémon with good let alone perfect IVs is very time-consuming since it requires the player to breed several eggs, switch Pokémon around in the daycare and check them to see if they are perfect. While Game Freak made it easier to pass down IVs from parents in Pokémon X and Y, it’s still a tedious process, especially if you want a female Eevee with very good individual values. Basically, you will be breeding Pokémon for several hours to a few days.
To make matters worse, the type for Hidden Power is also tied to Individual Values, which makes the process more tedious than it already is if you are also focusing on Hidden Power types. Therefore, the odds of getting a female Eevee with very good IVs and Hidden Power Ice are even worse. Because Individual Values is time-consuming except for the competitive player, most people end up not caring, battle on Pokémon Showdown instead or resort to cheating. At least Generation 6 games made Individual Values a bit more manageable compared to the past generations where you have no items to pass them down whatsoever.
4. Plot Linearity
While I understand that the first parts of the game will be linear for obvious reasons, there are a few games that just take it to another level. Sure, Final Fantasy X is guilty of this as you will do nothing but go to a different town, solve a puzzle, battle a boss, etc. until you reach the Calm Lands. However, Final Fantasy XIII takes that to a whole new level and made the whole game too linear. This was the main reason I hated 13. All you do is walk through hallways and fight some enemies until you reach the next stage. Because of this, there is no wonder a lot of people called that game “Final Hallway XIII” for the fact that there are no exploration aspects whatsoever since Square Enix thought it was a good idea to get rid of cities. Hopefully Final Fantasy XV will learn from its lessons and not make the game feel like a glorified hallway simulator.
5. Random Encounters
I still find it surprising that some roleplaying games still have random encounters for the fact that it’s technically possible to have the actual monster on the over world. Although it’s understandable to have it in a game such as Pokémon, I find it was somewhat annoying in Tales of Hearts R since all the recent Tales games tend have the enemies on the field and the remake is a 3D game. Furthermore, there are times that I just want to travel or find a place to heal. While some games provide the ability to avoid random encounters for a certain period of time through a use of an item, they don’t always work and you will get dragged into battles even if you don’t want it.
On the flip side, Random Encounters are not necessarily a bad thing from a level-grinding standpoint since you can battle right away and not wait for the monster to spawn again. But still, my feelings towards this really depend on how it’s implemented. Some games implement this better than others.
6. Difficulties in triggering flags for multiple endings and/or events
Back in the day, role-playing games only had one or a few endings to achieve. However, games these days now feature more than one ending with flags to trigger them. While I don’t have a problem with the requirements since there are walkthroughs, but I experienced some problems trying to trigger them and of course keeping track of them. This was pretty problematic in Atelier Meruru, which has a lot of conflicting flags, and if you trigger one of them, well it takes you a different ending. To make matters worse, I had a hard time triggering the flags that would allow me to build those archives, which in turn unlocks creation of stronger weapons and items to complete some tasks. However, this is slowly becoming less of a problem nowadays since some games either only require simple requirements to achieve these flags or allow you to view all the endings just by choosing even if you triggered other endings/flags.
With that, this pretty much sums of some of the annoying aspects in Japanese RPGs. Feel free to share what aspects in Japanese Role Playing games that you personally find annoying/troublesome.
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