It’s that time again for another one of GamingUnwrapped’s GU Fantasy Drafts. This time around, the staff will be tackling a topic that sparks quite a bit of debate: do we prefer the Western RPG or the Japanese RPG. Both are the same genre, but both are far different in their general approach and aesthetics.
Now, we’re not exactly saying which is the better one outright (although our opinion on that may come out in our answers). This is more about which type of RPG we prefer as a whole. So, here goes nothing…
“Oh boy, this Fantasy Draft just got real. If someone pointed a gun to my head and posed this very question, I’d have to go with the Western RPG. Don’t get me wrong because I love JRPGs. However, WRPGs better capture the essence of what role playing is about. WRPGs give you the freedom to be who ever you want to be in a world they lay out in front of you. Character appearance, character class, stat manipulation, dialog choices, story direction, vast world exploration; the choice is yours and WRPGs have this nailed. You could argue that there are JRPGs that hold these qualities, but they never push them as far as WRPGs have. Compare exploration between Elder Scrolls titles and Final Fantasy titles and you’ll see the difference.”
“The main reason why I like Japanese RPGs is because they have more “personality”. Going off of what Felipe said, it may be true that you can create your own characters in WRPGs but ones in JRPGs have more personality and I find I can relate to them more (which is a different type of roleplay because if there’s characters that are like you, you might feel like you could be that character). I also like how diverse JRPGs can be. They fill every genre out there (while WRPGs keep going the medieval route). I like how diverse the gameplay can get as well; sometimes it even happens within a single series. Lastly, I like the stories far better in JRPGs. When it comes down to this specific element, the Japanese have the West beat because they know how to write stories. ’Nuff said.”
“This is a very hard decision. Considering, like many gamers I grew up with JRPGs. Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, and Dragon Quest made up a good amount of my upbringing–all long time JRPGs that still retain their finesse and quality today. However, I would have to agree with many skeptics in saying that nowadays the WRPG is as strong as ever, easily outclassing the JRPG regime. Skyrim alone trumps any JRPG I’ve played in the past 5 years. With Fallout 3, Kingdoms of Amalur, Dark Souls (a Japanese WRPG, a trend that we’ve been seeing lately), and the upcoming Dishonored, Western ideas have run rampant with the RPG genre. It all comes down to JRPGs having the greater legacy, but WRPGs are the current champs.”
“If you had asked me this very question four or five years ago, I would have stated Japanese RPG’s without hesitation. Now, however, I must admit to being hopelessly enthralled by the likes of Skyrim, Mass Effect, and Diablo 3. Like most gamers in their twenties and thirties, I grew up on Final Fantasy, Golden Sun, Chrono Trigger, and Pokemon, and they still hold a nostalgic place in my heart. Yet, when preference is solicited now, I must admit Western RPG’s have developed to satisfy my American tastes in a way JRPG’s simply can no longer match.”
“I grew up on JRPGs (which is a broad statement, as WRPGs weren’t too common so many years ago (to my knowledge anyway)), but I have to say I prefer them over WRPGs. WRPGs are broad and open and all about having a personal, unique experience, but they often fall short of having “substance”. For instance, as much as I love Bethesda games such as Skyrim and Fallout 3, their stories aren’t the most enthralling and the gameplay (mostly in Bethesda games) isn’t really intuitive. Now I admit, Kingdoms of Amalur is the most fun I’ve had with a WRPG, and an exception to the negatives I mentioned above.
Overall though, JRPGs usually contain a better story and better gameplay (although let’s be honest, Square hasn’t been helping anyone in quite some time). The fact that I love turn based gameplay also lends itself to why I’m more inclined to play JRPGs. The endless customization in the Atelier series, the massive numbers in Nippon Ichi games… JRPGS have just always felt more “epic” to me.
So yeah, JRPGs for me!”
Well, we have a final score of Western RPG: 3 to Japanese RPG: 2 for the staff in this article. I’m actually thankful that I wasn’t the only one who preferred the Japanese RPG (so thank you Chris for making me feel like I’m not a loner). However, if any of you have seen our GU Fantasy Drafts before, you know that this isn’t the end. We want to hear what you prefer, so go ahead and give us a vote in the poll below or give us a comment in our comment section. The battle continues!