Ive had it world. Somewhere out there, in every neighborhood there's some closet bro sitting on his little 'tocks typing drivel about how:
- "Japanese developers need to catch up to the rest of the world."
- "Japanese games are stuck in the past, they have no innovation!"
- "I remember when Japanese games were good back in the day!"
Since when did Japan need help with their game design? Try never.
Factually the best game ever made. Unless we're talking about Symphony of the Night.
There's a certain fondness associated with older Japanese games where masterpieces like Chrono Trigger were unleashed upon the world and the genuine shock at discovering an inverted castle in Symphony of the Night still has people talking about it over a decade later. The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy let gamers embark on grand adventures for the first time and Super Mario was always fun (people tend to play 2D Mario better after a few beers, just an FYI). Maybe Japan wasn't part of the revolution that changed gaming in 2001 when Grand Theft Auto III and Halo: Combat Evolved changed what people expected from videogames and made the West more relevant than ever. But the simple fact remains that many Japanese developers have taken the biggest risks imaginable this gen, and their games show it in every way that matters.
Factually the best game ever made. Unless we're talking about Chrono Trigger.
It's not any Japanese person's fault that the bros associate Japanese games with feminine males carrying giant swords. The broad generalizations that Japan needs help with game design need to stop. Look at what's popular these days: Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Halo, Assassin's Creed. These aren't games that take chances (granted, they all did when they first started, but now that they're established don't expect any of them to switch things up aside from setting), with each game you have a good idea about what to expect from it. But the fact that people aren't supporting Japanese games as fervently as they did ten, fifteen or twenty years ago is sad when we are seeing some of the most creative games ever coming out of that tiny country.
Changing the setting of your game is a big deal. Like your review scores REALLY go up and people forget they played this game last year.
Take The World Ends With You for instance. Its one of the funkiest games ever, set in a twisted version of the country everyone loves to bash on. A less successful game that took a huge risk was Nier and even that earned a decent cult following. And what about Final Fantasy? It is easily the biggest risk-taking series out of Japan. The game looks and plays nothing like its previous entries. When you stop and think about it, each game is completely different from one another. Final Fantasy XIII may have been a polarizing entry in the series, but the decision to have players control the greater flow of battle rather than the minor details like in most RPGs was a breath of fresh air and most fans will defend that amazing battle system, dubious mishandling of unneeded sequels aside. And while we're at it, leave it to the Japanese to actually get the Kinect to work, because there's nothing else quite like Child of Eden. Unless you're a Rez fan, which makes you a good person.
This is what innovation looks like. Deal with it.
Or what about the Shin Megami Tensei games? Whether its the JRPG meets dating sim Persona titles to the handheld masterpieces like Devil Survivor or the shocking look at love and relationships through a puzzle game in Catherine, the SMT team has always tried something new and daring. Or what about From Software deciding that gamers are a bunch of whiny pansies and just casually dropping Dark Souls on the world? And for those more interested in quirk, theres always Recettear, which is an RPG about running an item shop. But those aren't the only innovations, from Super Mario Galaxy's planetoid-based level design and gravity defying gameplay to Eternal Sonata's dive into the dying dream of Chopin to the Metal Gear series' sheer insanity, Japanese games have been innovating and trying new things this entire gen.
All I want for Valentine's Day is a new pair of undies! Just to get me ready.
The very idea that Japan somehow needs to change the way they make games is absolutely preposterous. In Japan, Bayonetta was created and sits as the greatest action game ever released. In Japan, Vanquish turned the concept of a cover-based shooter on its head by emphasizing constant movement and skillful play over hunkering behind a piece of rock. In Japan, Super Mario Galaxy redefined the entire concept of level design. In Japan, Final Fantasy has dropped everything the previous game did and started from scratch. In Japan, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is breaking the limits of graphical power. In Japan, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance just made half of a nation crap their pants. In Japan, Chaos Rings made mobile gaming relevant. In Japan, Dark Souls made grown men cry. In Japan, fresh, exciting and innovative games have been created this entire generation on every platform imaginable. You should play one. Theyre really fun.