I recently published my round up of the best games I played in 2021 and in thinking about those games it was obvious that most of them are JRPGs, which prompted me to think about why this was the genre I enjoyed most in 2021. It is only in recent years that I started to get into JRPGs as I have always been into other types of games in the past, so what is it about JRPGs that I am attracted to now?
First and foremost, I have found myself craving story driven experiences in the past two years in particular. JRPGs tend to put heavy emphasis on story and character development, I would go as far as to say that story and character development are the most important aspect of a great JRPG. When I think about the games I’ve played with the most memorable stories and interesting characters, they are almost always JRPGs. Sure, JRPGs often don’t take any risks in the stories they tell but I don’t mind that because they are well written and well told.
I tend to find the worlds created in JRPGs more interesting to explore as well. I find that western RPGs are always set in high fantasy medieval worlds but JRPGs tend to have more variety in the worlds they create as I have seen fantasy worlds, science fiction worlds, and even more realstic worlds as in games like Persona or Yakuza. I am forever intrigued when a game is set in a realistic japanese setting.
I know many people think turn based combat is old fashioned but I like the slow and more strategic side to it. I do like a fast paced action based game as much as the next person (see Scarlet Nexus from my 2021 round up) but a lot of the time I like to take a slower approach to combat and think about my next moves in a battle. Quite a few JRPGs take the old turn based system and update it adding new things to make it more engaging. The Trails games and Shin Megami Tensai spring to mind when I think of that.