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Have you misplaced a part of your youth? A convoluted, engrossing story? Individualized, quirky characters? A grossly overpowered, unusually stylish protagonist? Looking for that four person party? That menu driven combat? The countless amount of grinding? The four to six stage final boss? If you’ve answered yes to one or all of these questions, then you, like me, are itching for a traditional, console-style RPG.

I, more than most, am an RPG whore, and will play most anything that receives a decent amount of buzz. I’ve tackled everything, within the last few years, from Fallout 3 to Eternal Sonata to Rise of the Argonauts to Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, with most titles offering an engrossing experience that I can thoroughly explore and enjoy a fulfilling journey. But most action RPGs (and similar variations), unless new aspects are added along the course of the game, get boring and repetitive. I don’t know how many times I had to put down FFVII:Crisis Core in disgust because I just couldn’t take the monotonous combination of mission-driven sidequests and mindless repetition of the “x” button. Or how I maxed out my level in Mass Effect before I could finish masturbating to the alien lesbian sex romp.

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Yet, I cannot dispel (you see that I did there?) my anger onto this sect of role playing games. I enjoy the adventure they produce, while also finding myself becoming completely engulfed by their respective worlds. And it is this fascination that has spread over the consumer faster than a chimpanzee can destroy a woman’s face (what, too soon?). The industry is driven by the consumer, and today, the largest group of people within the video gaming world is your 18-to-25-year-old male who’s looking for everything to be on a fast-paced track to EXTREME.

With the fast-paced, action obsessed youth being popped out of the uteri around the globe, it’s no surprise games like Mass Effect, Fable, The Elder Scrolls series, Tales of Vesperia, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, and Valkyria Chronicles have become the norm for RPGs on this 7th generation of console gaming. Yes, there have been some solitary, traditional releases over the three year span of this generation, but Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, as much fun as I had playing them, haven’t exactly satisfied this ongoing hunger that previous generations never failed to conquer. I have also enjoyed the re-releases of past classics; both Star Oceans and Chrono Trigger provided a great deal of fun, not to mention the resurgence of my youth. But on such a small screen and all three being games that I’ve beaten before, my role playing desires haven’t exactly been met. Planned RPG releases for either the 360 or the PS3 are somewhat numerous, albeit far between, but are either action or PC styled, with no satisfaction in sight. The traditional, console-style RPG, or sometimes “jRPG,” is a dying breed. A genre being slowly murdered by the consumer.

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If we focus our attention to one of, if not the most, popular game of all time, (by numbers, no, but by sheer commonality) World of Warcraft, we witness the murderous foundation of the traditional role playing game. With its introduction back in 2004, WoW has exponentially grown to a subscriber list of more than 11 million players in just over four short years. Because of its immense popularity (as well as its “predecessors”), many console games have tried to mimic the overall feel of an MMORPG, without becoming a massively multiplayer online experience.

And whether we realize it or not, both traditional and modern console role playing games are measured against Final Fantasy as a series, which has simply become a single player, offline MMORPG in its most recent endeavor (and its upcoming one). And with 11 million subscriptions for WoW, why not tinker with a couple features, add some new ones, call it your own, and try to mooch players from the MMO mammoth?

Like the current stock of MMOs, console RPGs (and video games, in general) have transitioned “nicely” to serving the persistent world community, with many other games featuring mission based extras, collection quests, and the focal point of the game shifting from plot to action-oriented gameplay. And if Final Fantasy is doing it, the entire genre should follow suit, right? Wrong, but until a new fad emerges, this is what will continue to happen.

Epic stories and convoluted plot twists are sacrificed for character customization and grittiness. Menu driven battles are exchanged for real time encounters. Grinding is replaced with “event experience,” where you gain experience just for playing out a plot point (something that has gotten absolutely ridiculous). Where is my cigar smoking, booze drinking, resident wise-ass? My cute, quirky, disproportioned jailbait? The omnipotent main protagonist? I know these stereotypes have been both overused and don’t appeal to every gamer interested in the role playing genre, however, when I hear, as I’m sure most other hardcore gamers do, the acronym “RPG,” this is what my whorish little role playing brain visualizes for me. I do not think of playing as either good or evil, real time battles (or strategy-RPG style battles, for that matter), or collection quests.

I’m afraid, though, that my ranting (see: bitching) is for naught, as there is not one solitary JRPG release slated for either the PS3 or 360 (in America, that is). Nor have I caught wind of anything in the beginning stages of production. There ain’t nothin’ out there. Maybe I was wrong. The traditional, console-style role playing game is not dying; its already dead (or I need to learn Japanese).

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  1. I cannot STAND gritty, testosterone filled, grunty stories/characters, I just can’t anymore. Give me a melancholy pretty-boy hero any day.

  2. avatar UUUUUmmmmmmm

    What about final fantasy 13?????

  3. Archetypal RPGs are just as common now as they every were, they’re just being developed more for portable consoles than the bigguns. PS3 and X360 titles are expensive & time-consuming to develop for. RPGs generally don’t yeild lots of profit.

    If production costs go down (and FFXIII’s White Engine may help with that) we’ll see more RPGs.

    And I should point out Steambot Chronicles 2, coming… eventually–a JRPG no fan should go without.

  4. I am waiting for FF13, and Star Ocean, but that isn’t too many to look forward to. I’m trying to get back into JRPGs finally; they’re all I used to play. Now I just play JSRPGS, but I want to go back to my roots!

  5. avatar WWII

    “R.I.P: Traditional Console RPG”

    Sorry to ruin your big ass rant but didn’t you know that Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey are traditional jrpg’s?

    They even utilize the ultra old ATB system for god’s sake!!! That’s the same system utilized since FFIV through IX man… Didn’t you know that? These two are pretty new.

    Tales of Vesperia is pretty traditional too. It used the same battle system as Tales of Phantasia (snes). And the story and everything it’s pretty oldschool….

  6. avatar Jtickner1

    I agree 100% with this article. While I still have fun playing these RPGs, as some are good games, they will never replace my love for the traditional JRPG.
    For me, the Final Fantasy series died when I finished Final Fantasy X. I frigging love the conditional turn-based combat in that game and I was heart-broken when I found out Final Fantasy XII contained real-time battles :’( While it’s still a good game, it’s just not a good Final Fantasy game.
    I’ve been playing through classics (classics in my opinion) to get my fix. Games like, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX and X (need to get copies of the older ones) and The Legend of Dragoon.

  7. avatar Jtickner1

    ““R.I.P: Traditional Console RPG”

    Sorry to ruin your big ass rant but didn’t you know that Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey are traditional jrpg’s?

    They even utilize the ultra old ATB system for god’s sake!!! That’s the same system utilized since FFIV through IX man… Didn’t you know that? These two are pretty new.”

    I’m sorry but did you even read the article? He acknowledges these two games, saying that these two titles are pretty much the only classic JRPG games that have been released this generation..

  8. avatar Lattocky

    Unfortunately, I feel your pain and this is the first article I have read about this and im glad i finally found one.

    I anticipate many RPGs expecting a great traditional but when i finally see it I am dissapointed, not because they are not good just because i want the traditional style. Hopefully somebody will release one soon because the only great traditional RPG that i have played, in my mind, in the past 3 years or so would be Dragon Quest VIII which was is the only game i can think of being remotely close to to the types of RPGs i love.

    I miss you traditional RPGs…. :(

  9. avatar dotdotdot

    did you just claim valkyria, an srpg, is too fast paced…/fail

    • avatar Herzaman

      Yes but only on the early PS3 mdoels namely the 2006 20GB and 60GB launch mdoels and a 2007 80GB model !After 2007/2008, Sony removed Backwards Compatibilty from all future PS3 mdoels !

  10. I think he’s saying that since Valkyria is actually an “action” SRPG, it’s still feeding the testosterone generation’s need for “right now” gameplay. Valkyria is in no way a traditional SRPG.

  11. avatar votershatefreedom

    i agree whole-heartedly. it’s almost ridiculous what they call an rpg these days. there are a few gems here and there, buts that lies simply in original gameplay or good story. i’ve been waiting for a good “rpg” for years now, but i do honestly believe they are dead.

  12. avatar ..

    Dragon Quest IX?

  13. avatar Name (Required)

    With the new Sega Genesis collection play all the old phantasy stars. They will eat up some time for ya. Plus as bonus you can play the old shining series too.

  14. avatar Meh

    You’re not looking for a console RPG. You’re looking for a JRPG. Western RPGs are still very popular. You just would rather play the pretty boy with the oversized bastard sword (see: breaking the laws of physics (see: using your own jokes)). That’s okay. They make Final Fantasy for a reason. You get to play it.

    There are loads of great RPGs out there, turn-based or real-time. You even say you didn’t enjoy Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey as much. They’re pretty much spot on for JRPGs. Perhaps you just don’t enjoy the genre like you used to (see: losing touch).

  15. avatar M

    Drag your PS2 out. Persona 4.

  16. avatar I Agree

    with everything you said. Blue Dragon and Lost odyssey were both fun games but seemed to be missing something that filled that hole inside. Dragon Quest 8 was the best RPG I’ve played in the past few years. The world map was what did it for me. Dragon quest 9 is only coming out for DS and is action based, which makes me sad. All rpgs now days are action real time hit a button and he swings instead of turn based. I will have to look into Persona 4 if it is traditional, as well as some of their earlier ones. Atlus is still releasing fun strategy type games but it seems as though if you’ve played disgea, makai kingdom, or phantom brave, you’ve played them all.

  17. avatar I Agree

    Nis America is also basically the same as atlus in my book. They make the same types of games so sorry in any of the above are Namerica instead of atlus.

  18. avatar CJ

    Why does everybody nag at Final Fantasy XII’s battle system? It’s virtually the same as the PS1 titles. Just turn gambits of and select all of your attacks. XIII is turn based too by the way.

    • avatar Didem

      I cleelptmoy agree with you, I think that if there are groups out there with highly customizable LAN interfaces where the game master can alter the game world in reaction to the players, then that is, in fact a role-playing game. Although there’s a reason why you don’t see a lot of those, at some point it’s easier to play pretend rather than spend twenty minutes trying to code your ranger out of a wall.

  19. You forgot Infinite Undiscovery…

    Also, the “old” RPG’s are still coming, but, they are, like J.F. Fox said, mostly portable. The Dark Spire just came out for DS, and that game is practically Shadow of Yserbius (bonus points for ANYONE that played on the ImagiNation Network! Anyone? Anyone…?). But Dragon Quest IX is coming too, and if that’s even half as great as DQVIII, it’s sure to be an instant classic.

    The thing I hate most is that handheld RPG’s always seem to be $40 new, while other similar titles are $30. When Star Ocean was first re-released on PSP it was $50! That’s a lot for a handheld game… :/

    I’d like to see the Wii get a classic JRPG like a Grandia or Suikoden remake with bright, happy Wii graphics. FFIV: The After Years is on WiiWare. Why not remake the Dreamcast’s Grandia? Unless the Wii isn’t powerful enough to handle cutting-edge Dreamcast games…

  20. Oh, and remember .Hack? It was not a traditional RPG by any means, but that game made the offline MMORPG cool way before FFXII, and the way they marketed the game, anime, comic, book, merchandise, and breakfast cereal all together was a neat way to instantly saturate the market with .Hack-iness. It was just too bad that the games were all basically the same and could have easily been on one disc instead of four separate 20-hour $50 titles.

  21. avatar Glass2099

    Off topic but nice to find a discusion place wihout the email signup hassle.
    Any who I feel like I need the nostalgia at times too. What fulfilling this need usually leads to is a lot of wishful thinking of how those games might expand on their already charming concepts from there. Hopefully someone will hit that sweet spot in cons rpgs someday. Hey maybe if you could be more specific on storyline and gameplay mechanics someone could place you with at least an emulator of a great old cons rpg you missed. I know I learned of quite a few ones in an older gamespot article on the history of the console rpg just today (er yesterday 12-19-09).

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