AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Related Topics > Games

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2004-08-25, 02:36   Link #1
ClancyDamon
クラシー デマン
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: California
Age: 27
Send a message via AIM to ClancyDamon
Japanese Vs. American RPG's

This is pretty self-explainatory.

Basically, almost every RPG to come out of Japan is in the same, Final Fantasy style. By this I don't really mean in relative story structure (angst ridden teens, universal evil, philosophy, magic) but in technical layout (The character stats, the physical and magic/psychic/special-in-some-way attacks, a party, etc.). Well, actually, I suppose I mean the technical structure of the story presentation. I notice that in Japanese RPG's, you generally have a very linear, very structured story starring a set/established character whose personality has been predetermined.

However, in American RPG's, you generally have a Dungeons & Dragons take to story: a more-or-less non-linear story line, and a very personalized character. We all know Final Fantasy as the basic representative of the Japanese RPG field. On the American side, consider Morrowind, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the upcoming Fable/Vampire: The Masquerade games for representation. (I'm sure you've played and/or heard of these.)

My question to all of you is which do you enjoy more, from the perspective of Playing a Role in a Game?

The Japanese system has the advantage of delivering a far more powerful and developed story, since it is in fact told a rail. The points that the author would like to make can be fully expounded and the predetermined characters allow for more believable interactions, given the skill and consideration of the game makers. The American system takes a hit here. Do to it's far more open-ended nature, many ideas are often only slightly touched on, if included at all. It also makes the story more static to the character you play, as you're not really an extention of it - you're merely an observer.

However, the flip side is that you can feel far more personally attatched to the events that occur as you often have direct control on the flow and progression of said events.

The biggest issue that could be considered, though, is the basic definition of the term, Role-Playing. Should you insert yourself into a story, creating an entirely new entity that forms his/her own role within the bounds of the literation, or should you "possess" an established role within that realm and guide them through their destined paths? Neither is correct, but certainly one is preferred.

I, myself, enjoy American style RPG's the best. I may not discover new philosophies on life, love, and friendship, but I do enjoy the fact that I am in control of my own destiny. Being led along a rail is certainly entertaining for the narration, but often I feel uninvolved, merely a member of the audience. I prefer the greatly personal perspective found in the American style. While perhaps not as deep, games such as SW:KOTOR have proven that this style can certainly have complex and well formed/defined stories that are highly organic to you're own personality. Rather than my world shaping me, I enjoy the idea of myself shaping the world.

...Basically, I like American-Style RPG's the best.

So if you didn't already give on leave (sorry, I got on a role and couldn't stop) then let's know what you think. In fact:

Japan: 0
America: 1

Let's keep score! Which is better, and why?
__________________
And thus God disappeared in a puff of logic...
ClancyDamon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 03:44   Link #2
DekaMaster
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
I don't base what I like on country of origin. If a game is good it's good. To lump AMERICAN RPGS GOOD or JAPANESE RPGS BAD is not the way to go about it. And i very much doubt you have played every rpg to come out of japan. From the sounds of it you would be supprised how wrong you are about Japanese rpgs. Now if you will excuse me I need to go play more .hack
DekaMaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 04:41   Link #3
Sch0lls
CotS/BotS Fan
 
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Massachusettes
Age: 30
Send a message via AIM to Sch0lls
I tend to lean toward the Japanese RPG's a lot more only because I enjoy them a lot more.. Morrowind I heard was a great game, Daggerfall was one I got about 10 years ago and it's fromt he creators of morrowind so I'd assume it's american and that was a great game, I just like the RPG's like Final Fantasy and Seiken Densetsu.. Those two series have to be my favorite..

Everquest is american, right? Cause I definately like FFXI a lot more, but it's the same as EQ, I don't know what causes me to like FFXI more, it's probably the graphics and the scenery, there are a few things I enjoyed from EQ that aren't in FFXI, but I do tend to stick to the Japanese RPG's more than the American ones..
__________________
"Abriels don't cry, I wish I wasn't an Abriel right now" - Lafiel in BotSII
Sch0lls is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 06:16   Link #4
HK anime seeker
Looks fun...Time to jump!
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
We'll have to wait for world of warcraft before we judge what RPG games are good or not.

But in general I don't judge games on the country of origin. Judging by country instead of quality seriously narrows your horizons in everyday life.
__________________


What is lost can be found. As long as you try your best to find it..
HK anime seeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 06:42   Link #5
NoSanninWa
Weapon of Mass Discussion
*Fansubber
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, USA
He's not talking about quality. Both types of games have good quality and poor quality examples. He's talking about a philosophy of game design.

The question is which philosophy of game design do you think is best?

Personally I find them both flawed. My ideal would be the Japanese model with some actual flexibility built in. I keep waiting to see a game where there are different ways of solving the same problem leading to slightly different outcomes. A game where there is a solid story that involves the character, yet the story can diverge into more than one path based upon decisions by the player. I hope that some day someone will make a game that succesfully combine these two design philosophies.

The closest I have yet found to my ideal is Arcanum. It isn't perfect, but it is at least closer than everything else I've played. The game actually changes in response to the character I play. Nearly every character in the game has different dialogue based upon what kind of character I am playing and how I've chosen to solve problems.
__________________

There's not that fine a line between willing suspension of disbelief and something just being stupid.
NoSanninWa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 07:12   Link #6
kujoe
from head to heel
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Age: 32
One thing I hate about Japanese RPG's is the usual damsel in distress-magic caster/healer-heroine. Personally, I'm tired of this pathetic archetype. I prefer if the industry would stick to heroines who are able to stand on their own or who are able to stand on equal terms by the hero's side. Sadly, that's not going to happen. I do know that there are instances when heroines are able to make their mark in the story, (ie. Xenogears, Grandia, FFVI, Valkyrie Profile & Front Mission 3--older games such as Phantasy Star have their own examples as well) but nowadays they've become a rarity.

American RPGs aren't really bad. The Baldur's Gate games for example were able to merge the characteristics of a Japanese RPG (plot-driven main character and linear storyline) with the characteristics of an American RPG. (flexibility, major choices and different outcomes) Other good examples are Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic. Yeah, I know--they're all BioWare games but I haven't been playing games that much nowadays.

Last edited by kujoe; 2004-08-25 at 07:41.
kujoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 07:35   Link #7
dreamless
/Ultimate Magic Attack!!!
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Time Warp/Future
I love both equally. However I do think the future is for different genre of games to merge. For example, there are those FPS/RPG hybrids like Deus Ex and System Shock series which are absolutely fantastic. And there are already signs of the Japanese and American RPGs borrowing different elements/design philosophies from each other.

For example, Planescape Torment has maybe the most well-developed and best main plot in an RPG ever, despite it being an "American RPG" and having lots of side-quests. It follows a very complicated main plot, while at the same time allowing you to role-play your characters' personality and profession to your wish. Arcanum is another nice example.

Also the newer Japanese RPGs also start to have more customizable characters (still not personality-wise yet, unfortunately) and more side-quests, and some more variety in combat system.

Another point worth mentioning is the Japanese SRPG/SLGs (Strategy RPGs) which has some great games which allows you to role-play your character and branch on different paths depending on your decisions. some examples are Langrisser 4, Tactics Ogre, etc. etc.

So the "best" thing would be combining the best of both worlds, a branching story depending on the decisions of the player, characters developing different personalities depending on the choices of the player, lots of side-quests, while the main storyline(s) still very complex and emotional. It's hard to do, but I think it's doable. like SW:KOTOR, Langrisser 4 and Planescape Torment have shown.
dreamless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 08:57   Link #8
Proto
Knowledge is the solution
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: U. of Pittsburgh, Previously in Mexico City.
Age: 29
There are some japanese RPG's which lets you vary the story slightly according to your decisions within the name, being the most remarkabla the Secrets of Mana series (specially Secrets of Mana 3, aka Seiken Denjetsu 3... which never came to America anyway)
Proto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 09:20   Link #9
Secca
nya`
*Artist
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
I like japanese RPG better because the story has more impact and the characters are more memorable.

I played American RPG like Morrowind, Baldur's Gate, etc. Sure they allow you more freedom to do whatever you want with your character, but that's it. Your character doesn't actually grow, sure it level up and get better equipment. But in term of roleplay it doesn't really change from the begining, the personality is static. It's just your avatar. it doesn't have personality of it's own.

While Japanese RPG they design the characters to have their own personality, usually they have flaws in the begining like a coward or something. And as you play, you watch them grow little by little to become a better person or meet someone special and fall in love. There is a certain statisfaction to watch your character maturing and become stronger.

I think that's why people could easily describe what's the characters in Final Fantasy VII like. But not many could desribe what the characters in Morrowind like.

I think for single player RPG Japanese games are better, but for MMORPG I think American games has better apeals :freedom to do whatever you want with your character. You make your own story and meet many characters (real people) some memorable some not. ^^
__________________
Secca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 10:30   Link #10
Suikun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Michigan
Age: 27
I honestly have no problem with the American philosphies of RPGs - of taking a large, open-ended world and allowing the player to fully explore at will - it's just that, so far, I have yet to see an application of this work well for me. Everyone seems to turn to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baulder's Gate, Morrowind, and Diablo as great examples of American RPGs - well, if this is the best Americans can do to apply their philosophies of what an RPG should be to a game, then no thank you. I don't see what's do great about any of the those games, or any of the other countless American RPGs that follow in the same vain as those.

Most American RPGs can be sumed up in one word: generic. They use generic characters with a generic Dungeon's and Dragons fantasy enviroment with little to no story, and throw you in some dungeons for some mindless hacking and slashing. Right down to the music, as well. Most American RPGs (not all, but most) feature some generic music that often sounds as though it was just lifted out of any old crappy Hollywood movie and stuffed in for good measure. Japanese RPG's music has much more character to it - it features the stuff I'd gladly listen to outside of the game or even not having played the game at all, whereas the music to most American RPGs need the game to support it. Of course, this isn't true in ALL cases - some American RPG games do have very well done music. I just much prefer the style of composers like Nobuo Uematsu or Koji Kondo.

But, all that aside, although American RPGs do usually succeed in giving the player a much more open-ended world to explore in non-linear progression... all that means nothing if it's more like a chore to drudge through, providing generic mechanics that just aren't any fun.

On the other hand, Japanese RPGs usually provide a much more fun, satisfying experience. I much prefer their mechanics to those of most American RPGs because even the hack and slash action RPGs manage to flesh out a much more personalized enviroment that is often much more lush, creative, and has more character than that of most every American RPG.

The characters are much more personal - much more dynamic than the generic onces featured in American RPGs. And, unlike most American RPGs, games like Zelda or Golden Sun don't shove repetitive fights down your throat simply to needlessly lengthen the game - Japanese RPGs often provide much more variety in the type of enemies you face and the strategies used to deal with them. That, combined with the better enviroments, compelling stories, and dynamic characters, and they're just plain and simply more fun to play.

That being said, Japanese RPGs are going in a direction that I much prefer they not - and that would be the excessive amount of complex storytelling crammed into the newer RPGs like Xenosaga and the new Star Ocean. All of them take needlessly complex stories - stories that often feel like they've been made so convoluted simply to make up for flaws in their structure - and then presents these stories through cutscenes that are just too damn long. Video games - specifically RPGs - can and should be used as a legitimate form of storytelling... but not like this.

And before I get any flame responses to this - realize that this entire post is a generalization. There are a small few American RPGs that break these conceptions and provide a great experience, and likewise many terribly generic Japanese RPGs. And, in the end, I'll play anything that's good regardless of their country of origin... but you can't deny certain generalizations such as these exist, so I can't help but be slightly biased towards what I know I like.
Suikun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 12:04   Link #11
dreamless
/Ultimate Magic Attack!!!
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Time Warp/Future
^ Hmm... maybe you can try the Fallout series. The characters develop some real personalities based on your choice the people react differently accordingly. Being a Demonspawn (if you always do nasty things in the game) gives quite a different game experience from being a Saint (do good deeds all the time). One of the things I enjoy most in American RPGs is that you can become what you want to be, not some preset character doing preset things, which is sometimes really annoying for me in a lot of Japanese RPGs. But then I always like to play evil characters in American RPGs, and in Japanese RPGs where I had such a choice (Langrisser 4 for example), so that may just be me
dreamless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 12:16   Link #12
Roots
外人、漫画訳者
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Age: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClancyDamon
The Japanese system has the advantage of delivering a far more powerful and developed story, since it is in fact told a rail. The points that the author would like to make can be fully expounded and the predetermined characters allow for more believable interactions, given the skill and consideration of the game makers.
I vote Japanese-style because of this fact. When I play an RPG, I want to become immersed in an epic plot and feel enraptured by another world. Any game, RPG or not, that can make me feel that is a winner in my opinion. Its a game that makes you forget you're playing a game. Unfortunately, very very few games have given me this kind of experience.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NoSanninWa
Personally I find them both flawed. My ideal would be the Japanese model with some actual flexibility built in. I keep waiting to see a game where there are different ways of solving the same problem leading to slightly different outcomes. A game where there is a solid story that involves the character, yet the story can diverge into more than one path based upon decisions by the player. I hope that some day someone will make a game that succesfully combine these two design philosophies.

What about Chrono Trigger? That kind of got close to your ideal, but still a good distance away. I find your concept interesting, I would like to see a game like this myself someday. But I can imagine the pure hell involved in making one, because you'd have to account for so many variables and what the player's past actions were. It makes me just thinking about it.


By the way, the game in my sig is going towards a Japanese style approach, but I would like it to have some open-endedness (sidequests, free exploration, etc.). There is at least one person on my staff that I know really wants it to be American style though.
__________________

Hero of Allacrost, a free 2D RPG in development.
Roots is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 12:31   Link #13
Suikun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Michigan
Age: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamless
^ Hmm... maybe you can try the Fallout series. The characters develop some real personalities based on your choice the people react differently accordingly. Being a Demonspawn (if you always do nasty things in the game) gives quite a different game experience from being a Saint (do good deeds all the time). One of the things I enjoy most in American RPGs is that you can become what you want to be, not some preset character doing preset things, which is sometimes really annoying for me in a lot of Japanese RPGs. But then I always like to play evil characters in American RPGs, and in Japanese RPGs where I had such a choice (Langrisser 4 for example), so that may just be me
I'll give the Fallout series a try - I know a few people who also are fans of the series.

And yeah, that's something I did neglect in my post that many American RPGs do deliver very well - they often give the player the ability to be... well, anything. Morrowind was particularly cool in this way as you could be good or bad, human, other things, etc. Japanese RPGs do tend toward preset characters (usually for the sake of storytelling purposes) but it would be nice to see more Japanese RPGs give the user more "creative control" over the charcaters in the game.
Suikun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 13:29   Link #14
kujoe
from head to heel
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Age: 32
The allure of Japanese RPGs definitely lies in its idea of presenting a story. And they're definitely up there when it comes to creating more interesting worlds. From the cerulean beaches of Chrono Cross, to the quirky underworld of Disgaea, Japanese RPGs are definitely on a league of their own. To put it simply, I'd rather be a pirate in Skies of Arcadia than some elven ranger prowling the forests in a BioWare game. 'Nuff said.

Americans RPGs on the other hand, focus more on the technicalities of traditional roleplaying gameplay--ie. micromanagement, the power to choose, etc. They put the "role" in the term "roleplaying." You choose your own role. Japanese RPGs give you one. So while I'm wasting away, stuck on Tidus's shoes in a Japanese RPG, I can always choose to be a legendary thief named "Bob" and kick some drow booty in their own home turf.

In other words, I like RPGs based on how good they are in their own right. Japanese RPGs are certainly memorable--they're charming and the characters can indeed be great. On the other hand, American RPGs give you the option of becoming "cool" in your own terms. There's the aspect of multiplayer gaming too, which even FFXI tends to emulate.

Both models have their ups and downs, as NoSanninWa has said. In the end, it really depends on how well a game was made and how much love was put in making it. Don't limit yourself with the categories. Give each a chance and you might be surprised.
kujoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 13:38   Link #15
Wandering_Youth
lost in wonder forever...
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: edge of my dream in the land of twilight...ZzzZzZ
I grew up playing Japanese RPGs (Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger) and I liked them a lot because they had amazing stories and worlds. However, as I got older I played less and less Japanese RPGs and I begun playing more American RPGs such as Neverwinter Nights, Diablo II, and SW:KOTOR. I like Japanese RPGs because they do a great job of telling a story and immersing you into the game world, but I like American RPGs because of the character customization and combat.
__________________
Wandering_Youth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 13:49   Link #16
DekaMaster
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Everyone should try Fable when it comes out on the Xbox. It is an action rpg that from the looks of it,no one will ever have the exact same game expierence. Not to mention it is all about choices. A minor one for example. If you eat to much your character gets fat. If you carry a heavy sword your character builds muscle. And there are many many choices through the game. You can become totaly good or totaly evil and there are levels inbetween good and evil.
DekaMaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 15:16   Link #17
Tommy
Mr. Prince
 
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Age: 31
Well Japanese RPGs get my vote. I just don't like american RPGs they don't appeal to me at all. Mostly because of the battle system I guess. I like FF type battle system vs the diablo/KOTOR type battle system and in all fairness these are probably great games but I have absolutely no desire to play them. However I will be giving Fable a shot.
Tommy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 16:07   Link #18
NoSanninWa
Weapon of Mass Discussion
*Fansubber
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, USA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roots
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoSanninWa
Personally I find them both flawed. My ideal would be the Japanese model with some actual flexibility built in. I keep waiting to see a game where there are different ways of solving the same problem leading to slightly different outcomes. A game where there is a solid story that involves the character, yet the story can diverge into more than one path based upon decisions by the player. I hope that some day someone will make a game that succesfully combine these two design philosophies.

What about Chrono Trigger? That kind of got close to your ideal, but still a good distance away. I find your concept interesting, I would like to see a game like this myself someday. But I can imagine the pure hell involved in making one, because you'd have to account for so many variables and what the player's past actions were. It makes me just thinking about it.
Chrono Trigger? I played Chrono Trigger, but I don't understand why you think it can be changed? Are you talking about New Game+? I don't think that really counts. I mean a game where you can change it's path by choices you make while playing the game. Chrono Trigger merely had bonus endings you could get by playing through a second time and choosing to fight the final boss at earlier points in the story. I find no causal relationship between this and the different endings you can get. It is also something you can't accomplish while playing the first time.

Do you mean something else?
__________________

There's not that fine a line between willing suspension of disbelief and something just being stupid.
NoSanninWa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 16:15   Link #19
Kyuven
Bishoujo Goodness Galore!
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Stuck Between Reality and Fantasy
both have their good points and bad points
a big difference between recent american and japanese games is that japanese RPGs seem to be getting shorter (FFX was REALLY short compared to FF7 and FF8, each of the .hack games has the same amount of story content as a 13-ish episode TV series, although this was probably intentional in order to be able to break the game up over 4 games, same goes with Xenosaga) whereas american RPGs are getting longer and more intricate (Morrowind, Star Wars: KotR, and Deus Ex, it took me TWO FREAKIN' YEARS to finally beat the boss of Morrowind)
also, look at the american vs. japanese MMORPGs (there's only 1 japanese one that i know of though):
FFXI is insanely linear (has an FF-style storyline) for an MMORPG, meanwhile games like EverQuest, Dark Ages of Camelot, Asheron's Call, and so on have so much content that people are STILL playing (Everquest) after five years. However, from my days in EverQuest, i never really saw any especially interesting storylines (although there are hundreds of them, some of them are really contrived: expansion on the moon anyone?)
the japanese and american RPGs mentioned are two sides of the same RPG coin: if you want insane content, but not as deep of a story, American RPGs are the way to go.
If you want a story with more aesthetically pleasing characters (love it or hate it, you have to agree Morrowind's characters are some of the ugliest SOBs ever to be rendered) but a shorter game, play a japanese RPG

i, personally, like both
__________________
An anime worth watching is an anime worth buying.
Kyuven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-08-25, 16:22   Link #20
dreamless
/Ultimate Magic Attack!!!
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Time Warp/Future
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoSanninWa
Chrono Trigger? I played Chrono Trigger, but I don't understand why you think it can be changed? Are you talking about New Game+? I don't think that really counts. I mean a game where you can change it's path by choices you make while playing the game. Chrono Trigger merely had bonus endings you could get by playing through a second time and choosing to fight the final boss at earlier points in the story. I find no causal relationship between this and the different endings you can get. It is also something you can't accomplish while playing the first time.

Do you mean something else?
hmm... if branching stories is what you are looking for, then you should definitely try some of those SRPG/SLGs, Tactics Ogre, Langrisser 4, Vanguard Bandits etc etc. all have some branching stories...

Planescape Torment offers multiple ways of solving problems and has imo the best story ever in an RPG (Japanese or American or others).

If you find Arcanum close to your ideal, I think you can also give a KOTOR a try.
dreamless is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:57.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.