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What JRPGs released over the last handful of years would you say came closest to capturing classic old school RPG nostalgia greatness?

DragoonKain

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Nov 13, 2013
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How old school is Trails of Cold Steel? I've done some research on it and it looks to be bland corridors and dungeons, which we really started to see most in the PS3/360 era where there were just so many games being churned out that devs started skimping on the dungeon design. But the game itself does look pretty good, it's just I know those cut and paste dungeons are going to piss me off. It's what turned me off from Tails as someone who was with Tails since the beginning.
 

Black_Mamba

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Jun 7, 2004
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Octopath Traveler is closer to SNES Final Fantasy, while DQ is DQ. Personally, I prefer Octopath because of the combat, especially the boss fights which require strategy. Judging by your avatar, I think you'll like Octopath. There's a demo, so you can try it.
 
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Sejan

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DQXI on switch. It’s the definitive version of the game in all but graphics.
Octopath Traveller - just note that the character you pick at the beginning is the one you always have in your party. You can still experience all the stories, but you cannot take your first out of your party.
Bravely Default series. This has been my final fantasy for the last while. I think the pacing complaints of the first game are a bit overplayed, but you can always start with BD2 if you are worried about it. Either way, the games slot right in with the FF series—crystals and all.
 
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Asks "What JRPGs released over the last handful of years would you say came closest to capturing classic old school RPG nostalgia greatness?"

Refuses to acknowledge the games that actually do this.

My answer is SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI. Kiss my ass.

You WILL buy Nocturne, you WILL play it, and you WILL like it.
 
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Harry Tung

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Have to chime on DQ 11. Loved it. Only downside is the length. It overstays its welcome and I was like 100 hours in when post game kicked in. It would probably add another 40 so I just called it quits. Great game nonetheless.
 
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GeekyDad

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...no Shin Megami Tensei games. I've never been able to get into them. ...
Sad Michael Scott GIF

But yeah, Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler are the two that immediately came to mind for me.
 
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Animagic

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Haven’t really cared for any of the SquareEnix rpgs (including Tokyo RPG Factory) in the last several years.

RPG’s by smaller developers have been much more interesting.

I really liked this one:

 

MagnesG

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Apr 20, 2019
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Can anyone here vouch for the Tokyo RPG Factory games?

If so, which is best of the 3 recent ones?
Personally, I will rank Oninaki the best one, I am Setsuna 2nd, Lost Sphear 3rd.

The games ranges from average to good, but for some the prices are maybe too high.
 
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Carna

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i don't care for the idea of "recapuring" nostalgia, i do like blue dragon though.
 

Khalid M.

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Fantasian and it's not even close. If you have an Apple device, you have no reason not to try it. Everything from the exploration to combat to the light-hearted mood is old school through and through.

The Alliance Alive is a great choice as well.
 
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Graciaus

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Before you jump into Dragon Quest 11 I'd recommend playing the remakes 4-6 on the DS if you haven't. All great games (5 is the best) and show where JRPGs take inspiration from. They also can all be beaten combined with time left over before you'd get through 11.

Of the games you listed Radiant Historia is the best. If you like the time travel aspect of Chrono Trigger this is worth trying. Combat is the weakest part of the game but it is great.

Whatever you do don't play Ni No Kuni. Most overrated pile of crap there is. Awful combat, brain dead AI, pathetically easy even on the highest difficulty, very predictable story and boring characters. Games looks amazing and has nothing else going for it.
 
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KàIRóS

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Yup it's basically DQXI, it has every cliche of the golden era JRPGs you can think of (that were probably created by DQ to begin with).

Octopath Traveller and Bravely Default are pretty much spiritual succesors to FFVI and V respectively.

Fantasian by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu is basically a full comeback to the PS1 FF formula (VII VIII and IX) it even has random battles and new techonology to bring back the long lost art of pre rendered backgrounds.

The Alliance Alive brings back the usage of overworld map and other more obscure mechanics like SaGa's levelling system or weapon skills like in FFIX, also the story was written by Yoshitaka Murayama (Suikoden series).

I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear are also basically spiritual succesors to Chrono Trigger, atleast in terms of battle system, I am Setsuna also has a very similar story to FFX.

Undertale, you've probably heard about this one, it's heavily inspired by Nintendo's Earthbound and an obscure JRPG called Moon: Remix RPG Adventure in which you were supposed to befriend enemies rather than fight them.

Trials of Mana is a remake of a japan only SNES JRPG called Seiken Densetsu 3, it's amazing especially if you like Action JRPGs.

World of Final Fantasy It's basically a combination of old school FF and Pokémon.

The Trails series I wouldn't say they're old school, but mainly because Falcom has remained faithful to their mechanics so it's in a similar vein as DQ, they just stick with their roots and only try a handful of new things with each release unlike FF for example, but I can see why some are mentioning them, especially if they just discovered the franchise.

Also I guess I should give a shoutout to Mobile JRPGs, Another Eden is a Gacha RPG written by Masato Kato (Chrono Trigger) and it does have a Chrono Trigger vibe going on, another Gacha game I need to give a shoutout to is Granblue Fantasy believe it or not the Gacha game that started it all is actually pretty much an Old School JRPG in disguise, it has a very complete story and a lot of the staff behind the game worked on Square Enix previously, so they know their JRPGs.

KEMCO, is a company dedicated to making old school JRPGs for Mobiles, they then port them to console, you've probably seen some of their games if you've ever browsed through the RPG categories on any console, their games are hit or miss but I've actually been able to enjoy some of them, my personal favorite from them is Monochrome Order, it's turn based and it has a very dark and interesting story, the only JRPG I can compare it to is Shadow Hearts probably.

The only other game I have in mind is Star Ocean 5, it's probably the worst game in the franchise but unlike the Tales series, the combat has remained almost untouched so it has an old school action RPG vibe, I'd say if that's your thing you should give it a shot, but in general it's not a good game.
 

Daymos

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Xenoblade2. It's not about the graphics or gameplay, it's about a teenage boy from a small town saving the world with a sword that turns into a girl! It felt more like old school final fantasy than dragon quest 11 or octopath.. plus it's directed by the guy who started out by making the intro to ff6.

Now that's a classic jrpg.. even has giant robots, talking animal people, and a tree of life.
 
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FStubbs

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How old school is Trails of Cold Steel? I've done some research on it and it looks to be bland corridors and dungeons, which we really started to see most in the PS3/360 era where there were just so many games being churned out that devs started skimping on the dungeon design. But the game itself does look pretty good, it's just I know those cut and paste dungeons are going to piss me off. It's what turned me off from Tails as someone who was with Tails since the beginning.
As much as I love the Trails series, they're probably the OPPOSITE of old school.
 

Fredrik

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I would put FANTASIAN. Seriously, it looks like a classic PS1 JRPG slightly modernize to feel current taste.
Yeah it’s a bummer that people here will miss this, it’s very much like a classic Final Fantasy, really pretty too 👌
 
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Sentenza

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Wouldn't know. "Classic" JRPG gameplay is toxic waste as far as I'm concerned, so I'm not exactly invested on chasing that specific feeling.
 

bigedole

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I really enjoyed Alliance Alive. I also enjoyed my time with DQ XI, but it was very long and the charm had worn out by the end. I am a fan of the Tokyo RPG factory games, though the most recent one was an action RPG so it doesn't fit what you're looking for. Setsuna and Lost Sphear both had their faults, but I liked the mechanics.

I'm looking forward to Nocturne, will definitely be picking it up.
 

TeamGizzyy

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Dragon quest XI actually made me feel like I was warped back in time to my youth. Perfect nostalgic game
 

Mopey bloke

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Though I didn't go too far in it, Cosmic Star Heroine. It kind of looks like Phantasy Star reimagined with Chrono Trigger's graphics. It sadly doesn't have FM Synthesis music that I've noticed because the audio level is surprisingly quiet, so I can't say I even know what the music sounds like. The battle system is a winner in my book. It is also an indie 2D RPG that has animation in it; and that makes me teary eyed sometimes.
 
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JayK47

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Nov 2, 2019
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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel for sure. Turn based. Cliche characters. Robots, swords, magic, big boobs, etc. There are 4 games and I enjoyed the first 2. But by time I played the last 2, I was pretty worn out on the characters and world since they carry over from game to game.
 

Durask

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How old school is Trails of Cold Steel? I've done some research on it and it looks to be bland corridors and dungeons, which we really started to see most in the PS3/360 era where there were just so many games being churned out that devs started skimping on the dungeon design. But the game itself does look pretty good, it's just I know those cut and paste dungeons are going to piss me off. It's what turned me off from Tails as someone who was with Tails since the beginning.

Yeah graphics are mostly PS2 level but the series kinda pulls you in, I think you will definitely get JRPG feeling from these games.
 

Shouta

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How old school is Trails of Cold Steel? I've done some research on it and it looks to be bland corridors and dungeons, which we really started to see most in the PS3/360 era where there were just so many games being churned out that devs started skimping on the dungeon design. But the game itself does look pretty good, it's just I know those cut and paste dungeons are going to piss me off. It's what turned me off from Tails as someone who was with Tails since the beginning.

If you haven't played any of the other Trails games, I'd definitely recommend Trails in the Sky if you're looking to scratch that old-school RPG itch. Turn-based combat, overhead 2D sprites, excellent world-building and characters.

Also, Tales and Trails are two different series. It sounds like you have problems with Tales games since you mentioned boring ass dungeons and Trails in the sky doesn't have that issue, lol
 

Isa

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Xenoblade2. It's not about the graphics or gameplay, it's about a teenage boy from a small town saving the world with a sword that turns into a girl! It felt more like old school final fantasy than dragon quest 11 or octopath.. plus it's directed by the guy who started out by making the intro to ff6.

Now that's a classic jrpg.. even has giant robots, talking animal people, and a tree of life.
I was going to say the same. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was exactly what I'd been longing for for quite a few years. It may be a youth who saves the world, but they add quite a bit of unique flavor in regards to the world setting and lore. Its not too deep, and the game kept providing plenty of drive to keep going, whether it was the gameplay, music, environment, characters, story etc. Top class through and through. You can just feel the heart put into making it if that means anything. I don't replay too many rpgs, especially ones that are exceptionally long as my free time is very limited, but one day I intend to go through a Newgame+ in it. I would also second Dragon Quest, Persona series, Valkyria Chronicles, Nier 1&2 if you can stomach action.

Its crazy though man, some of these games, even going back decades with titles I love such as Vagrant Story, have so much better story and cinematics than much of the modern games these days. Some of the cutscenes in the Xeno series are badass, makes the goofy theme park ride CoD style FPS shite in shooters look like an ameteur joke in comparison. And I mean this as a direct insult directed towards RE7&8. Derailing for sure, but damn even playing Nier right now its crazy how much more imaginative, cool and immersive the cutscenes are when not trapped to some bobblehead camera. Jesus what a waste of potential. I apologize for the rant, despite my grievances I went and preordered the game to give it a fair shake. But holy hell am I not looking forward to the "cutscenes". The only way Capcom salvages this for me is if Lady Dimitrescu herself wraps her sweet cheeks completely around the very limits of my TV set, or we get a quicktime motorboat event. Then... then I will give them the solemn nod of approval.

On a side note, I've been digging into the oldschool scene on the side. Therre were a lot of great rpgs I never got to play and either collecting or emulation makes it quite possible to enjoy them these days, especially for hidden gems that have received fan translations. I've been slowly trying to work my way through Shining Force III, and when I finish off my current list of games I'm gonna jump right back to some hot centaur strategy action!
 
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DragoonKain

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If you haven't played any of the other Trails games, I'd definitely recommend Trails in the Sky if you're looking to scratch that old-school RPG itch. Turn-based combat, overhead 2D sprites, excellent world-building and characters.

Also, Tales and Trails are two different series. It sounds like you have problems with Tales games since you mentioned boring ass dungeons and Trails in the sky doesn't have that issue, lol
I meant Tales, I guess I combined Tales and Trails lol. I have an issue with how Tales started to get with their dungeons post Vesperia. I heard Cold Steel is even worse than that.