Why is Pokemon the only JRPG I like?



  • First off, I just wanna say that I'm new to the Easy Ally guys after seeing Brandon on the Kinda Funny channel a while back, and it's been awesome! I love all the content.

    Now this topic has been bugging me for a while now. I wasn't the biggest gamer my whole life despite always having them around almost all the time. I would play games here and there but mostly dive deep into a few franchises I really loved (one being Pokemon). Now granted I don't have time/money to play all that much these days either, but since finding the world of podcasts and video game enthusiast groups, I have been more informed than ever. I consume much more news and content than I actually play games.

    Once getting into these hardcore gaming sites and groups, I of course learned a lot about JRPGs, which had never been in my life, outside of Pokemon. The big ones like Final Fantasy, Persona, and other JRPGs were always talked about and I felt like I was missing out on something. I grew up playing Pokemon and it was always in my life. I love those games. And since those are JRPGs, I figured I should like some of the other popular ones out there. So I tried to jump into Persona 4 golden on my Vita.

    Long story story short, I played like 12 hours of it and I didn't like it. I don't know what it was. The style? The obscure story? I don't know. But in the end I have come to the conclusion that I just don't really dig Japanese style "stuff". I've tried a few popular animes as well, nope. Not for me. So this hugely popular genre of media just doesn't click with me... Except Pokemon.

    Why does that game click with me and so many other Japanese style things don't? Is it purely because it's what I grew up with? I like the idea of creatures that you capture and raise to be more powerful, but why didn't that same system from Persona click with me? Any time I see another turn based battle system In a video or stream, it just seems annoying to me, but not the Pokemon battle system. I know what Oran berries do and what a poke flute is for, but when there are tons of obscure items in another game that you have to learn what they do, it is just annoying.

    Am I just a broken Japan hater who happened to grow up with Pokemon? Or is there something special about Pokemon that sets it apart from other similar JRPG style games? Does anyone else feel this way? Did I write too much for my first post on these forums? I sure hope not. I'm glad I found Easy Allies and I love everything about them and this community. Thanks for reading if you did.



  • Pokemon is pretty culture neutral and collecting is fun. And as some one who adores JRPGs I can say that for me it took a lot of getting used to, so I can see where you're coming from on that point. Plus Pokemon is Pokemon.



  • I'd guess you just haven't played enough JRPGs and watched enough anime. Simply not getting into Persona isn't enough to swear off a genre, and simply disliking a bunch of random, quite probably bad popular anime definitely shouldn't be enough to swear off an entire medium. It's like swearing off television because some idiot told you to watch The Big Bang Theory or swearing off books because you can't understand why people liked 50 Shades of Gray. I can't promise you'll find anime or JRPGs you enjoy, but instead of simply listening to what people tell you to play and watch, research the suggestions and look for even more out there that looks interesting to you. Personally, I like using this site as a resource for seeing what new anime is coming out and picking things that look like they might be interesting. Maybe it will help you too. I usually watch three episodes of a show and drop it if I'm not into it after three episodes.



  • Well... Persona 4 isn't exactly a typical JRPG. So maybe before saying you don't lIke all of them, maybe try one or two others. Not that you have to, but games like Final Fantasy aren't really like Persona.



  • It's OK for not to like everything, as not all genres fit for everyone. As for example, I don't like competitive multiplayer games, or RTS genre.

    But if you want some suggestions which JRPGs to try out to see if you could get into some of them, may I suggest Chrono Trigger, or the newer I am Setsuna? Chrono Trigger is considered to be one of the best JRPGs and best games ever made by many people, and I am Setsuna is somewhat of a spiritual successor to it. I am Setsuna is not nearly as good game though, but it's not bad by any means. These games have interesting combat, in which you have to wait your turn to do actions, but the battle is still active, so you have to either use your turns as they come up, or wait that other party members are ready, so you can use double/triple techs. Also, the story is pretty good in both games. Chrono Trigger is one of the better time travel stories ever made, while I am Setsuna is... Say, more of a religious experience, without spoiling it too much, as it just came out.

    Also, Secret of Mana is one of the better non Final Fantasy games made by Square, which is actually more action oriented.



  • I'm exactly the same, I really don't like JRPG's, mostly because of turn-based battles and incessant grinding. Both of these aspects are a core part of Pokemon though, and I can never understand why I enjoy it in Pokemon. Maybe it's because I loved the cartoon and understood the turn-based aspects before I played the games.



  • An odd question seeing as how apparantely the only other JRPG you have tried is Persona 4. Not all JRPGs are similar either (same as how Doom isn't like CoD or Deus Ex) and Pokemon is far more "anime" than many other JRPGs. The same is true for anime, but I feel that is going a bit off topic.

    Since you haven't identified what it is you like about Pokemon yourself making recommendations is going to be difficult. So I can only assume based on the qualities Pokemon possess.
    Pokemon is very light on story and has no really memorable characters, it's a series pretty much all about the gameplay. The gameplay mostly consists of collecting, exploring, fighting, customizing and generally a bunch of grinding. Because of how little the series has changed over the years I guess it's also easy for it to turn into a comfort game series where you can just jump in and do the same things as you've always done.

    Based on this I don't feel like I can make any good suggestions for other strong JRPGs since most of them involve a strong story (which doesn't seem to be your thing). This is doubly troublesome because I generally don't like JRPGs that focus on the gameplay over story, so I don't have too much knowledge about those kind of games.

    I think the best option for you is to simply play more (preferably older ones from the SNES, PS1 and PS2 eras since they're generally better) JRPGs while keeping an open mind and not try to compare them (or expect them to be) to Pokemon.

    But if I would have to make suggestions it would probably be the Suikoden series, specifically Suikoden 2.
    However Suikoden 2 becomes enhanced by playing the first game (which is an overall rougher game than 2) since many characters from 1 show up in 2, events tie together a bit and if you have an endgame savefile from Suikoden 1 you can play with the protag from Suikoden 1 in 2.
    As I just hinted at the series is partially about "collecting" all the 108 Stars of Destiny, basically people destined to fight together to resolve a specific event in time. This means you will go out and try and figure out ways to recruit all kinds of characters (sometimes just talking to them other times it might require you to have a certain party setup or item).
    In addition to this you also have a "castle" you upgrade and populate where you can gamble, play minigames, have cooking competitions and so on. You also have to create balanced parties of 6 to fight with and as you collect more characters you get more to choose from and upgrade.
    Maybe these similarities are enough for you to branch out?
    Both Suikoden 1 and 2 are up on the Playstation store in case you're interested.



  • Because you enjoy SLAVERY AND CONFINEMENT OF INNOCENT CREATURES!

    gotta catch em all...

    :crying_cat_face: :crying_cat_face: :crying_cat_face: :crying_cat_face: :crying_cat_face:



  • Has to be the charm and setting that Pokemon offers. As historically, the majority of the Pokemon games have the slowest, strictest, and least interactive turn based battle system you can find out there. Unlike something like FF7, which has a vastly superior and faster battle system. Compared to a chunk of the Pokemon games.

    You do need some interest in Japanese culture to enjoy a number of JRPG's. But there's some out there other than the Souls based games, that don't have much resemblance of Japanese culture. Like some of the FF games. Or Valkryia Chronicles.



  • My guess as to why you like Pokemon and not too many other Japanese exports is because Pokemon is a special case.

    See, Pokemon followed in the footsteps of the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime from the late 80s to late 90s in North America. They actually had an amazing localization department when making the English version of that show and a lot of the humor, story, and voices were written to reflect the values of the Western English speaking audience. So the Japanese and English versions are not entirely the same and it made for a successful show in NA.

    Pokemon took that idea to the next level. The show, video game, film, future games, and future seasons of the show were all carefully planned to be successful worldwide, and especially in NA. Again, like DBZ, the writing was curated for the English speaking viewer and the ethos of the show isn't exactly the same as most Japanese exports. It's also meant for kids who speak English in North America. The game and the show were sort of one in the same in terms of having that approachable philosophy.

    It is quite genius if you ask me. Before Pokemon, when had anything Japanese completely dominated the gaming, toy, and television market like Pokemon did? When I think back to my young childhood, Pokemon is the number one thing that stands out.


    Obviously, I'm not CERTAIN this is exactly why you gravitate more towards Pokemon, but its a sound theory I think.


    @suplextrain Also, great response! I've never played Suikoden but I've downloaded it off of the PS Store when it was on sale for $2 a few months ago. I nearly skipped to Suikoden 2 because I've heard it's much better but I'm happy I didn't after reading your post.



  • Oh and the battle theme music, and battle based sounds in Pokemon, is key to what makes the battle system immersive. Otherwise, its just press attack. Get attack. Heal or switch Pokemon.



  • Maybe you're just way more gameplay focused and like the collecting/raising aspects.
    As such games that are way closer to Pokemon would be the Dragon Quest Monster series or that recent Digimon game or maybe Ni no Kuni.

    As for this thread. The answer kind of already lies in your questions. JRPGs are just that varied with many of them focusing on different aspects(story, combat, general gameplay systems, etc). And looking at the other stuff you tried, I can say you tried stuff that's very far and different from Pokemon.

    Also I believe there are times where one might be less receptive towards certain games whereas other times those same games appeal way more. At least that's my experience especially when you live the steam life of huge back logs. It's pretty weird to have so many games at your finger tips and sometimes none of them speak to you and then on some day the weird mood strikes and find yourself playing through something that you bought a year ago.



  • try digimon cyber sleuth :)

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  • @TheTylerHorne Have you played Fire Emblem? If you like Pokemon, I really really think Fire Emblem Awakening is a game for you. It is absolutely incredible, It is my number 1 recommendation.



  • Just play what you enjoy regardless of genre.



  • I think the key thing is that the Pokemon games tend to have better pacing, especially in their early game. While there is some necessary tutorialising in most Pokemon games you are out of the starting town with your starter Pokemon and are catching additional Pokemon within 30mins or so. While more traditional JRPGs (particularly older ones) tend do keep you in the default starting town for quite a while until the inciting incident happens.

    For example if Pokemon Red/Blue were a more standard JRPG you'd start the game in your home town and having to faff about there for an hour or two before moving to Pallet Town which would function as the inciting incident and the thing that would thrust you on your journey.

    I also think the Pokemon games' light touch to giving detail to the setting and characters (with a few exceptions) really allows the player to project themselves and their viewpoint on the world. It you on the journey rather than you assuming the role of a plucky hero with funny hair.