Help me pick my next "retro" RPG!

  • Hi guys,

    I should be finishing up Suikoden 2 in the next couple of days, and I need your help picking its follow up! Right now I'm choosing between five games, to play, but I'm also open to suggestions. The only qualification is that I have to be able to download it onto my Vita or 3DS. In any case, here are the 5 games I'm considering right now, ranked in order of most tempting.

    1. Vargant Story
    -I hear this game is a hidden gem and an utter masterpiece
    -It's hella cheap

    -The combat seems pretty intimidating
    -Not sure if it will control well on the vita due to the touch screen approximating L2/R2

    2. Chrono Cross
    -I consider Chrono Trigger the greatest game of all time!

    -I consider Chrono Trigger the greatest game of all time.

    3. Final Fantasy: Tactics
    -I hear the story is really amazing, and while I didn't like 12 very much, I loved the world of Ivalice

    -I'm really bad at strategy games, and I'm worried this will be too hard for me

    4. Dragon Quest 8
    -Huber's hall of greats speech makes me super hyped for this game
    -I love character driven stories ini my RPGs

    -I hear it's really long and pretty grindy, which I honestly don't think I'll have patience for
    -Not sure I have enough space on my 3DS to download it
    -The most expensive option

    5. Final Fantasy X
    -It's the last Final Fantasy (besides XV) that I really want to play
    -That soundtrack

    -Would have to move all the shit on my Vita memory card around, which is going to be a huge pain

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Have you played Grandia? If not, play Grandia :)

    Out of the ones you listed I like FFX the best. Vagrant Story is good but it's quite difficult and the weapon system is a bit obtuse

  • @Sieghardt Grandia (and Wild Arms) will be on a future list for sure. What's the best starting point for that series?

  • Well, I think it's better that I write a few sentences about each game and you can decide for yourself.

    If you're in the mood for more Suikoden I recommend playing Suikoden 5. Characters from that game return in 5 with bigger roles (lke Georg Prime) and it's pretty similar in style. Some improvements were also made to various aspects like dialogue options mattering more (the liking point system) and the strategy battles are the best they've ever been. The beginning of Suikoden 5 is a slow burn though, takes a few hours to get going and open up.

    Vagrant Story is a good game, but it has also aged pretty poorly. Not visually, but the game is slow and there are numerous instances where there's legit trial-and-error moments (for example a boss where you possibly couldn't know what their weakness is, so you come in unprepared and get owned so you have to retry from the last save point). If you can look past things like this then there's a good game underneath.

    Chrono Cross is also a good game, but has some rough edges. The game has too many characters, a hit-or-miss combat system, several text dumps to explain the story (how the story is told isn't always great) and the ending is honestly clumsily told (so much so that it's very polarizing, some end up disliking the story while others love it).
    It's not better (nor should it really be compared to) Chrono Trigger, but it can be worth checking out if a story focusing on alternate universes interests you. But if you don't play the game, definately check out the music.

    FFT is pretty great, but has some nasty difficulty spikes. I personally prefer Tactics Ogre. War of the Lions version is the definitive version. For a smoother experience you'd probably want to read up a bit about the gameplay and get some tips from say gamefaqs before playing if you're not an avid SRPG player.

    Dragon Quest 8 is really good. While the story isn't anything mindblowing, the pacing is a little slow and there's grinding involved there's still lots to love in the game. The world, characters, music, voiceacting is all great and the game oozes with charm. While not perfect, I would still rank this as one of the best JRPGs on the PS2, easily.

    FFX. This is kind of where Final Fantasy started to go wrong, if you ask me. Lack of overworld, some really dumb stuff, sometimes terrible voiceacting, bad designs, more linear, etc. There's still lots to like in the game, but I feel it's better to rein in your expectations a bit.

    As for Wild Arms you can play them in pretty much any order. The best ones are 1 (or Alter Code f, the remake), 3 and 5. 3 and 1 are on the PS Store.

    Here are some random classic suggestions taken from the PS Store (since most of these seem to lean more towards playstation).
    Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together - Tactical RPG
    Alundra - Basically a Zelda type game with more difficult puzzles, platforming and a more mature story. A personal favorite.
    Tomba! - I guess you could call it a metroidvania style game?
    Front Mission 3 - Tactical RPG
    Valkyria Chronicles Remastered - Not really that old, but still what I would consider a classic that shouldn't be missed.

    On the US PS Store I know there's also a few other good ones.
    Breath of Fire 4
    Legend of Mana
    Megaman Legends 1&2
    Various Shin Megami Tensei games, most notably Nocture, Devil Summoner (Raidou) 1&2 and DIgital Devil Saga.

  • @naltmank
    For Grandia? Absolutely start with the first game, it's on PSN as a PS1 classic and you can often get it for just a few dollars. 2 is also pretty easily available on steam now, 3 and xtreme are a bit harder to get and not quite as great, consider them after you play the first two

    For Wild Arms, it depends on your taste and how much you're willing to put in to get hooked. WA1 is very light on story and feels more like an 8/16 bit RPG and is more about exploring and dungeons. WA2 would be a good start if you want something with a bit more story to get you started

  • Final Fantasy Tactics used to be my favorite game until Persona 5 came out, so I'm gonna suggest that one. It does have some difficulty spikes but you never get "stuck" - save for one battle towards the end of chapter 2 that forces you to use the main character by himself. It was my first ever SRPG so it taught me a lot about the genre and if you're already familiar with Final Fantasy and Ivalice specifically, you'll have a lot to appreciate here. I'd really recommend picking up the War of the Lions port available on Vita/PS3 and hell, even IOS. Great story, great characters, and the job system lends itself to a lot of customization.

  • Final Fantasy: Tactics

  • Of your list, definitely Final Fantasy: Tactics. Good gameplay, even better worldbuilding and story

    It's rough around the edges, but if you're already in retro mode you'll expect it

  • I don't have an SNES nor Raspberry Pi but am also interested in the Chrono Trigger series. Can I enter at Chrono Cross?

  • @GoTaco why would you need a raspberry pi? if you are going to emulate it any computer would do for emulating those platforms

  • I didn't really disclaim that properly but I'd play with friends so we'd likely do a living room setup type thing. Don't wanna hover over a desktop.

  • Why would you "enter" at Chrono Cross?

    There's two games in the series, Chrono Trigger, which is among the best video games of all time, and Chrono Cross, which also exists.

  • @TokyoSlim

    Because I don't have access to the first game.

  • @GoTaco said in Help me pick my next "retro" RPG!:

    Because I don't have access to the first game.

    The playstation version is on the US PS Store.

  • @suplextrain

    Thanks. I didn't even know it was on PS1. I checked a while ago and I only ever saw Chrono Cross.

  • Thanks for the input, guys. Based on what you've said, I'm kind of down between FF Tactics and DQ8 now, leaning slightly towards tactics. The main thing keeping me from jumping headfirst into Tactics is the difficulty. On a scale of Banner Saga to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, how much trouble should I be expecting? Also, does anyone have experience with the 3DS port of DQ8? I do plan on getting to all of these (plus all the extras you guys have mentioned, including Tactics Ogre if I can deal with the difficulty) at some point down the line. Just trying to pick off this massive retro backlog one game at a time.

  • I haven't played Banner Saga or Path of Radiance, but I'd say that FFT is amongst the more difficult SRPGs that I've played, mainly for the difficulty spikes that come out of nowhere. Not impossible, but definately not easy. Hence why I recommend reading up a bit on Gamefaqs for some advice before you start.

    I haven't played the 3DS version of DQ8, but most of the additions don't make the game better and it's a pity that stuff like less voiceacting is a thing. Personally I'd say the PS2 version is still the best version, but if you have no other way of playing DQ8 then playing it on 3DS is fine. It's not like Xenoblade that got gimped pretty hard with the 3DS port.

    Tactics Ogre isn't that difficult. Some stuff like getting some bonus characters or some of the bonus dungeons can be tricky, but the main game is pretty straightforward. It's easier and overall better designed gameplay wise than FFT if you ask me, but some might disagree.

    Also I remembered that Breath of FIre 3 is also avaliable on the PS Store.

  • @suplextrain Good looks. Yeah, I think the PS2 version of DQ8 is pretty unanimously the preferred version, but I don't have a TV right now and won't have one for a little while still (moving every couple of months makes investing in one tough). That's why I need everything playable on my portable systems. Regarding Breath of Fire, great/shit, that's another legendary franchise I need to play. Adding it to the list.

  • @naltmank Tactics is harder then banner saga but nowhere near the difficulty levels of fire emblem

  • @naltmank Again, I really don't find Tactics all that difficult unless you are only running from story battle to story battle, then yes, you're going to have some trouble. Just like Dragon Quest 8 (the other game in contention), you're going to have to grind every now and then - which isn't much of an issue as you can engage in random battles all over the map. Just a few random tips off the top of my head - Time Mage with Haste makes life much easier, make sure everyone in your party learns JP Up early on (learned from the Squire class), and there's a real easy way to buff up your party fairly quickly: Enter a random battle, wreck the enemy until there's just one monster left, hurt but don't kill it until it hides from you, beat the crap out of your own party using rocks and weak weapons, heal, repeat until you've gained the levels/job experience you're looking for. I generally pursue the main story until fights start getting real rough (ie. half the party is dead or at low health) and then I'll grind a bit to get a new job or learn a skill that makes battles flow more in my favor. Besides a fight towards the end of chapter 3 where you can't use a full party, most of the combat feels fair. The difficulty spikes mentioned in the thread are generally from the game introducing a new class that you may not have fought against before, like the Dorter fight in the first chapter introducing wizards and archers all at once.

    So basically, if you don't prepare and just try to rush through the game, yep, it'll be difficult.. but that could be said of most games really. If you're leaning towards it already, I'd say just take the dive - even if you run into trouble, there's enough resources online to help you out. Hell, I believe a few of us in this community could definitely help out too but I'm gonna say you got this.

  • @SabotageTheTruth said in Help me pick my next "retro" RPG!:

    Dragon Quest 8 (the other game in contention), you're going to have to grind every now and then - which isn't much of an issue as you can engage in random battles all over the map.

    The only real section in DQ8 that I'd say requires some grind is around the midpoint of the game. It especially helps to level up Angelo until he gets a heal all spell since it really helps with the boss fight.
    Getting a decent monster squad also helps out a lot in DQ8.