I played the handheld translations of the old NES/SNES versions of the games (I think I skipped 2 and 4), and I tried my hand at the Playstation versions (7 and 9), but for the life of me, I don’t get the appeal. I played the first Final Fantasy on the PSOne from the “Origins” collection. It had better graphics (such that it could be) and a more balanced game (from the reviews I read on it.) It reminded me quite a bit of the old CRPGs I loved on the C64/Atari. Ultima, Pool of Radiance, etc. were some phenomenal RPGs for their time, and they were some of the few games I felt the need to finish the quest. For my money, nothing beats Ultima III:Exodus. It was the pinnacle of 8-bit CRPG perfection.
The problem arises when Final Fantasy went 3-D. Maybe I’m old fashioned, and maybe I’m not quite in touch with JRPG mechanics, but I never found the 3-D Final Fantasies to be very fun. To be sure, I’ve not played FF8, and I really should play FF7 longer, but I tried FF9 and got lost trying to figure out what to do. Some people reading this will no doubt quip I must be mentally challenged for missing the plot points of FF9, but all I can say is, I must be, because I sure missed them.
I do have one pet peeve with JRPGs that I need to get off my chest. I am TIRED OF BEING A TEENAGER or a KID. I despise the adult/child interaction conversations in the games. After you get past the exposition and into the story, it doesn’t come up much, but dang if every Japanese gamer wants to be 12 perpetually. I don’t see the appeal and don’t care for it at all. Call me an old fart, but I like playing the game through the eyes of the protagonist (Fallout 4 gave me a voice that I did NOT like). I guess that’s why I’m going back to my Baldur’s Gate and Planescape games. I figure I need to finish all of those before attempting another JRPG.
And incidentally, turn-based combat is supposed to be TURN-BASED. Just a nitpick, JRPG makers.