So recently I've gotten into RPGs again recently, with mixed results. Final Fantasy 2 on my iPod is perfect. Being able to save anywhere, being able to make a decent amount of progress even during a 10 minute break at work, it's great. And since I got past Kashuan Keep it's all new to me (last time I played it on GBA and got stuck there). The leveling system (or rather, lack of one) makes it really addicting, instead of only a stat boost every level, every fight can improve your stats.
Final Fantasy 4 The After Years, was a bit of a disappointment. I bought the first part for 800 wii points thinking it was the whole game. After finishing it in one day I found the menu for buying the other parts for 300 points x 7 = 2100 points for the individual stories plus 800 points for the finale. No thanks. I tried watching a play-through someone had posted on youtube, but got frustrated with having to fast-forward through the game play to get to the story. So now I'm just reading the script that someone wrote up on gamefaqs. The gameplay is just like 4. The band thing is kinda cool, kinda reminds you of Chrono Trigger, but not enough to make it fresh enough to bother playing it. The storyline is new, but about 90% of what happens is just a revisiting of what happened in the first game.
Final Fantasy 13's best bit of storyline was all at the beginning, and the climax was when Snow rescued Hope. After that it simply dragged on and on until the final boss with some shmuck no one cared about and a very predictable ending. I miss Kefka and Sephiroth. Final Fantasy 2 has the same sort of feeling as 6 and 7. That "man, I wanna get that jerk who's doing all these bad things" feeling, whereas FF13 is more like "man, I wish all these characters would stop whining and do... whatever it is they're trying to do." feeling. The gameplay is interesting at first, but after a while you feel really uninvolved in the battle. It's almost always the same strategy, use blasters until it breaks, then attackers until the break bar goes away and switch in healers whenever you need them. Get's pretty boring.
I'm not very far, but Tales of Phantasia is really fun. The storyline moves quickly and is interesting and dramatic from the beginning. The gameplay is very active, and requires a little more skill than your typical RPG. And again, like FF2 you can save anywhere! Why don't more games do this!? I'm wondering if I should try any of the other tales games. I tried Tales of Innocence on the DS but it didn't hold my interest very long at all. The storyline was boring, and after 15 or so minutes of gameplay and cutscenes I still hadn't fought anything.
I saw PSO for gamecube in a shop for $36! That's a lot for such an old game. So I downloaded it instead. After grinding through forest 1 and getting to level 2 I decided to hack a level 200 character to just plow through the game. I guess that was the whole fun of the game though, gradually building up a character and having an epic boss fight at the end of the dungeon. It's not really worth playing through again legit. It's interesting how the controls, the way some of the enemies move, the music and atmosphere make it feel a little like a Resident Evil game. That would be an awesome survival horror game, aliens instead of zombies.
Tried playing a little PSU as well, pretty much the same as PSO except the cheezy voice acting made me quit real quick. PSU was really fun online and really fun offline the first time through, but again, it's just such a grind.
So RPGs are grindy, big whoop, what's new? The thing is, I've been getting that "god, this is such a grind!" feeling with non RPGs lately, like Mario Galaxy 2. It was just nothing really new from the first Mario Galaxy. It starts feeling more like a puzzle game than an action game, a really easy, boring "square block goes in the square hole" sort of puzzle game.
I'm really intrigued by that Shadow of the Colossus game, I'll probably give that a try at some point, it sounds like a step in the right direction. Instead of having to grind through hoards of monsters to get to the fun, challenging boss fight, you just have to explore and find it.
And I'll probably play FF12, just so I can say I've played every FF except 14. Twelve's battle system looks absolutely awful though. Auto-attack for the lose.
All this gaming is my last hurrah. I sold my PS2 when I realized all the games I owned for it were grindy RPGs that I didn't feel like finishing. I'll play Tales of Phantasia, FF2, FF12 (on my friend's PS2) Shadow of the Colossus, possibly Dragon Quest 9 on DS, it's been kinda fun so far. After that if I have free time for games I'll just play my housemates' FPS games.
I think one of the best games I've ever played is Sonic Adventure 2, well, just the Sonic and Shadow levels, but still, the levels are so short, but so intense, no downtime really, just try to get combos hitting badguys, grind on rails, jump off of rails and ramps to do crazy flips for more points, use the ring dash to get to new areas and get moving faster, it was brilliant! The Wii Sonic games are terrible, tilting the controller to run? Could never get used to that. Sonic turning into some giant slow monster? What up with that? But I might try Shadow the Hedgehog. It looks like it could be fun, but there's no grinding and no ring dashing. If I see a cheap used copy I'll pick it up.
Once I get the result from my JLPT (almost 100% sure I didn't pass) I'll be motivated to study again, and quit playing all these games, hopefully for good.