A Stumbling Revolution

Austin C. Howe talks gen 7 JRPGs. I stick my oar in periodically.

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  1. Brute data point on this: by my count, in 2006-9, there were twice as many new JRPGs released (outside Japan) for PS2 as for all the gen 7 consoles combined. Haven't yet compared this to previous generational overlaps.
  2. These aren't series examples, but a great example of this dichotomy is Blue Dragon vs. Eternal Sonata, two of the earliest gen-7 standalones. Blue Dragon's combat and spatial framing are basically FFX's, but Eternal Sonata's attempts at innovation are a disaster (which in some ways anticipates FFXIII).
  3. I'd argue that XIII-2 kinda stands up on this point (though it has other problems), partly by keeping its playable cast small, but also the combination of paradigm shifting and autobattle means that your main combat decisions are about the whole group, not individuals. Other things that reinforce this are items generally being target-all and the limit-break mechanic (feral link) being focussed around the third party member (tamed monster/non-character companion). XIII's failures, to my mind, are more to do with the mechanical design of enemies than of the system (though there is the point that in XIII, it's game over if the character you're 'controlling' dies, even if the rest of the party are fine).
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