The Duck’s Favorite JRPG

I enjoy a variety of different video games.  I like plaformers and first-person shooters.  Adventure games and action games.  And the occasional fighting or racing game.  But, few can compare to the RPG, a genre that lets you immerse yourself in a game beyond what regular video games can offer.  They let you level up your characters and customize them, while also providing us gamers with some of the best characters and stories you’ll ever find.  RPG’s are complex, amazing games and are an experience unlike any other, and the best ones usually are those from Japan.

            So I, along with my fellow bloggers from My Two Caps, Recollections of Play, and Planet Zombo, have all decided to write about our favorite JRPG.   Why don’t you check out their posts?  My Two Caps is writing about “Chrono Trigger” for the Super Nintendo (a game I’ve heard is great, but I still haven’t gotten around to myself).  Recollections of Play discusses a relatively new game for the Wii called “The Last Story”.  Another game I really must check out.

            So what JRPG did the duck choose?  Well, I’ll tell you.  The game I chose as my favorite JRPG of all time is an old one from 1997, the famous “Final Fantasy VII” for the original PlayStation (spoilers ahead).  I have written a post on this one before, but now I am focusing specifically on why it is my favorite JRPG (and one of my favorite games ever).  This game is considered to be one of the greatest games ever made, and it took me years to get, as it was rather elusive by the time I decided to start looking for it.  I had first heard of the game because the “Kingdom Hearts” series included characters from “FFVII”, which caused me to look into it, and it seemed amazing.  I had trouble finding an affordable copy of the game, but I did at least watch the movie “FFVII: Advent Children”, which was confusing as heck, but that’s not the point.

            After meeting the characters in “KH”, and seeing them in action in “Advent Children”, and reading about them on the Internet, something strange happened.  I ended up becoming quite attached to “FFVII”.  And this was still before I had ever played it, mind you.  The game just seemed so interesting when I looked into it.  I’ve rarely been so drawn to a group of characters or a story from a game I’ve never even played before, but that’s what ended up happening.  There are plenty of games I’d like to try someday, but I don’t have nearly the same desire to get them as I did with “FFVII”.  It drove me rather nuts sometimes that this amazing game was either impossible to find in stores or was expensive on the Internet.

            Finally, I decided I would wait no more.  Life’s too short to deny yourself something as simple as an absolutely awesome video game.  I found the most affordable copy I could, and I finally played the game, and it was so worth it.  (And I actually had to buy two copies, as the used copy I got was NOT “like new”.  So I just got a brand new copy to avoid any more trouble.  Still worth it.)  The game was amazing and did not disappoint me, and I now present you all with several very compelling reasons why this game is my favorite JRPG ever.

            1. It’s iconic.  At least, in my opinion.  As I said before, I was already familiar with the characters before I ever played.  For me, that was because of “Kingdom Hearts”, but I think that, even for those that didn’t play the “KH” games, characters from “FFVII” are probably some of the more widely known JRPG characters.  Cloud and Sephiroth (the main good and main bad characters, respectively), for example, are likely much more well-known than, let’s say, Vaan and whoever the main villain of “FFXII” was (because I don’t even remember).  Of course, JRPG’s are not confined to just the “Final Fantasy” series, but that is one of the more well-known series, and “FFVII” is the most famous of those.  (I personally would consider it to be like how “Ocarina of Time” was the iconic “Legend of Zelda” game.)  According to Wikipedia, VideoGamer.com called Cloud the “poster boy for the entire JRPG genre”, and Sephiroth ranked very high in many lists of top video game villains.  Also, GameSpot also thought that the scene with Sephiroth in front of the flames of the burning Nibelheim “might be one of the most recognizable cutscenes ever to grace video games”.

            2. The characters.  Okay, lots of RPG’s have great characters; that’s why I love them.  But, I think “FFVII” had one of the greatest groups of characters ever.  I really cared about these characters.  In some RPG’s, it feels like they are too complex, and I just can’t relate to the characters at all.  But, that wasn’t true of this game.  Just Cloud, the main character, was a very relatable character.  He was a hero, but he was actually a bit of a loser.  He wasn’t really a member of SOLDIER.  Tifa wasn’t even originally his friend at first when they were kids.  His mom wanted him to get an older girlfriend so he had someone to take care of him.  Does he sound like someone you think can save the world?  (And he once said the words, “Let’s mosey”.  Nothing more needs to be said there.)  But, that’s why I liked Cloud.  He was an ordinary guy, but he was able to do something amazing.

            Then, there are plenty of other great characters.  There was Tifa, who was nice, but didn’t put up with any crap.  (I even have a figurine of her.  She looks sad stuck in that box, though.)  And everyone loved Aerith (whose named was incorrectly translated as Aeris) the flower-selling girl, whose death was considered by many to be one of the most painful moments in video games.  And I very much liked Vincent because I thought he was pretty darn cool (though a bit of a grump).  I liked pretty much all the good characters (with the occasional exception of Cid, who could be funny, but who could also be a total jerk face).  And Sephiroth was a great villain.  He was one evil dude.  I was actually personally motivated myself to stop that scumbag.  I really hated him.  I usually don’t hate villains as much as I hated Sephiroth.  But, it was good because it made me even more motivated to play the game and stop him for more than just the sake of finishing another game.  And at the same time, I also felt somewhat sorry for him, as well, because of what was done to him.  A great, terrible villain.

            3. The story.  Once again, RPG’s usually have great stories, but this one stood out to me.  Not only did the characters likely play a big role in my love of the story, but I was just simply very interested in what would happen.  The story involved stopping an evil company called Shinra from draining the planet’s life to use as power, unbeknownst to most of the world (oblivious people).  Human experimentation.  And stopping a crazed man obsessed with his “mother” from grievously damaging the planet with Meteor.  It was just awesome.  When I got this game, I played way more video games everyday than I normally do.  I just needed to know what would happen next.  I needed to learn more about the characters’ pasts.  I wanted to see more of Cloud’s and Aerith’s relationship.  I wondered what the heck Jenova was.  And I looked forward to helping the characters stop the evil Shinra corporation and, of course, Sephiroth himself.

            4. In short, this game is fantastic.  Even the music was great.  Almost every bit of this game was just awesome.  I had so much fun playing it, from helping Cloud to disguise himself as a girl (wasn’t he cute?) to defeating Lost Number in order to save Vincent (who could’ve shown more gratitude) to a completely epic (a bit too epic…) showdown with Sephiroth (who possesses the most ridiculously long attack in the world, one of the only parts of the game I actually really hated).

            I can’t even fully express how great a game it was, but I can say that I really felt a personal connection to it and its characters.  It had such an interesting story, and I felt like a part of it because I cared so much about what the characters were working towards.  I even almost gave up on part 2 of the final boss battle (stop healing, you stupid boss, stop healing!!!!), but after giving another look at my little, blocky characters fighting their little hearts out, I just couldn’t leave them.  We had been through so much together, and I had to see this thing through.  I had to save the planet.  I had to avenge Aerith.  I had to kill that crazy mama’s boy!  I couldn’t let them down!  I just couldn’t!

            So if you ever get the chance, consider playing “FFVII”.  It is an amazing game.  Even after all these years, this game is hard to beat (in the way that it is hard to find a better game, but I suppose it is hard to complete, as well), and I don’t see myself finding a JRPG that I like more anytime soon.  Now that this post is out of the way, “let’s mosey”.

The Duck That is Going to Mosey

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5 thoughts on “The Duck’s Favorite JRPG

  1. We have something in common Duck! Great post you outlined it perfectly. I have never played a game, nor will ever again where everything came together so well. The story, the characters, the gameplay, the music, the locations, the art direction, the humour, the mini-games, the emotion, the atmosphere… everything just clicked with me. In Final Fantasy VII Cloud is the most human character I have ever seen in fiction, he was unsure of himself and just wanted to be somebody other people looked up. In the end he saved the world because it was the right thing to, but his real journey was just accepting who he was. FFVII is a masterpiece and the experience is more than just the sum of its video game parts.

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    1. It is amazing that a game from 15 years ago is still so great. I’ve played lots of wonderful games since then, but none have all the qualities this one does. And I just can’t get into a lot of the heroes in other games (so I’m usually a villain fan, because they have actual personalities). Most main characters are the same or don’t even have much personality, but Cloud was different and indeed very human.

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  2. The ‘Final Fantasy’ games seem to have fallen out of favour recently, though those who remember the glories of its best incarnations hope for a return to form with the (long-promised) new games.

    I bought ‘The Last Story’ on the basis of awesome previews (and the promise of an Artbook and a game music CD). The parts I have played are good, but I confess to not being a massive RPG person. Zelda games are considered ‘RPG-lite’, which is more my style. As such, I have not completed it nor have a strong inclination to. Same thing with Monster Hunter Tri, another game with rave reviews (and a free black Controller Pro).

    I am hoping a game store near my folk’s place still has a pre-owned copy of ‘Okami’, as I must have the game that Out-Zelda’s Zelda. Here’s hoping the website is not lying =)

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    1. I was checking out various games on Amazon, and I saw the copy of “The Last Story” that comes with the artbook and CD. If I ever get around to getting the game, I want to get that, too. I like artbooks. While I do like RPG’s, they aren’t my favorite genre. I usually like them a lot once I get started, but I am reluctant to start sometimes, as they are so long. (I am 50 hours into “FFX” right now, and I’ve loved almost every bit of it, but when I was just starting the game, it seemed quite overwhelming. I think “FFXIII” took me over 100 hours. I don’t know if I can ever do that again.) “Zelda” is more my thing, too. Shorter. And I don’t have to take turns in battles. I can just go and slash the crud out of enemies.

      You must get “Okami”. That is a really wonderful game. One of my favorites. I was lucky my game store sold a used copy that was in very good condition when I went to buy it. Even came with the manual. That seems to be rare with used games.

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