You really have to appreciate how horrible JRPG's are compared to western RPG's in terms of gameplay. From what I gather its just one long linear movie. I mean sure theres people that dig that, and I respect that, but I can't possibly fathom it. As a game developer, it just boggles my mind. Guess I would never make it in Hollywood (or whatever the japanese bollywood is- jollywood? err that sounds wrong.... nvm)
MGS1's map was just a straight line too. But that's the difference between the 2, after playing modern WRPGs like Fallout 3 and Oblivion they really don't have as much direct storytelling as a modern JRPG. I like the clarity in JRPGs. Where if I stop playing a WRPG for a while then I have no clue where I am, what I'm doing etc.
Well thats the difference between "Role Playing" and a "Movie" :S
Most JRPG's simply aren't role playing games- its not necessarily a bad thing overall, since they belong to their own subgenre of psuedostrategy / interactive movie. And theres merit to that- a good movie might be more fun than a bad game. Thats a matter of taste. Think of it this way- a Movie at its purest is just a book, telling a story. An RPG at its purest is just a bunch of blank pages and a pencil.
After that though, it boils down to opinion. When when I play something like Baldur's Gate, I judge it as a game- I compare it to other games I've played, I weigh the good and bad of it, look at the graphics, sound, gameplay, story, replayability, interactiveness. And I love Baldur's Gate. But when I play something like (any final fantasy game), I don't judge it as a game, I judge it as a movie. And when you weigh something like that against a movie, it just can't stack up. FF13 might have a bunch of cutscenes with sleek and shiny visuals, but how does it compare to The Wrestler or There Will Be Blood? Not favorably. I think western RPGs only appeal to a small niche- those who can roleplay, putting themselves in that character, whereas JRPG's appeal to everyone- anyone can watch a movie.
She's not really that hot, about average, which isn't bad, of course. Unless you mean the serious bonus points for being a gamer girl. But lots of those around anyway
Heh, anyway, nothing wrong with JRPGs being linear. It really depends on what you want from your "gameplay". FF works better than movies in the sense that it gives you some interactivity. You feel like you're affecting the story. You're not just sitting down and watching some punk take on the world on his own. You're telling the punk what to do, you're seeing him with his friends and enemies, and the (limited) interactivity gives you enough time to get emotionally "in-character". The game dynamics allow you to explore the world further at your own pace if you wish. You don't just lie down and listen to a lecture about the world's history, etc, you get to learn about it if you wish, or skip it entirely and go with the main story without caring about whatever weird stuff is in it. Movies can never do this, they have limited time and you're expected to suspend a lot of disbelief.
Western RPGs don't appeal to the majority because they're just a lot of effort. In most games, you need to learn the game rules first, which stats do what, etc. There's plenty of stat juggling. And yeah, there's the story. Fallout 2 is what I'd consider the best example of a RPG. BG, NWN, not so. BG is very much like FF in terms of gameplay, with less grinding. It's quite linear, 60% of interactivity/replayability is in swapping the characters, that's it. In the end, you're still on the same track, the same chapters. There's still the bonus of creating your own character, but the average person just doesn't want to bother with all the stat juggling and reloading saved games. It's more of a "game" in the sense that you have to find a way to achieve the goal, but that doesn't make it more fun.
BTW, I've read a few articles on insomnia.ac and I disagree with them entirely. Alex Kierkegaard makes logical statements. But he misses the point and tries hard not to see it. He tosses in a lot of words, phrases, argues about their validity, and then tosses some questions with no valid answer. He's right, in a sense, but he's well.. like a language teacher who's more concerned with grammar than communication and writes long speeches about why slang shouldn't be used. It's good for the pretentious game developer who wants to argue on forums, not so for the ones who want to get in touch with their players. No offense to Pixelthief at all
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.