I’m almost finished with Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, a certain time of year is coming, and my family is trolling for gift ideas.
So, I need a new DS or GBA RPG. A nice long one, something I can get at least 20+ hours out of. Preferably more.
Handheld RPGs that I own:
The aforesaid Devil Survivor
Final Fantasy 3 DS
Final Fantasy V Advance
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Mario & Luigi, several
Puzzle Quest, if that counts
Ones that I’m not interesting in having:
Dragon Quest 4 or 5
Any Advance Wars game
FF Advance 4 or 6 or FF4 DS
If you can get over little story + lots of crawling, which you having played Nocturne tells me you definitely can, give Etrian Odyssey a chance. It’s an old-fashioned dungeon crawler made partially to appeal to nostalgia and partially just to rape people in the ass if they can’t figure out how to make a serviceable party.
Oh yeah, Contact. That game is pretty hit-or-miss imo. The gameplay itself is really good, but the story is just a bunch of random non-sequitur geek culture references strung together. It’s also perhaps the shortest commercial RPG I’ve ever played (11 hours), which could be good or bad depending on your perspective. Thank hard about whether or not you wanna get Contact.
I can third TWEWY as a good game, although the battle system takes a while to get into.
Either you somehow manage to wrap your head around how to manage two different battles, one with the stylus and the other with the D-Pad, on both screens at once, or… Yeah, I think that’s pretty much the only choice you have.
At least the enemies are the same on both screens so if you kill it on one screen, it disappears from the other. (And, of course, it only has one healthbar so it doesn’t matter who deals the damage.)
I think I remember there being an option to set your partner to auto, but you really want to control them yourself since you’ll use them for building combos and to power you up for special attacks.
So yeah, great game. Just be ready for the fact that the battles can be a real pain until you get used to them.
Last time I played it, I found it hard to juggle both characters to get combos. Usually I got combos just by randomly mashing the d-pad and controlling Neku. Maybe it’s too ADD for my old-man-styled brain. It’s a really fun game though. Probably one of the best on the DS.
SMT Strange Journey is due out soon and is the first game to actually have Shin Megami Tensei in the title since Nocturne.
Another option would be dropping ~$100 on a used PSP and picking up Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (One of the best action rpgs in existence and will easily eat 200 hours before you start getting good at it) and some of the many PSX remakes on it, soon to include yet another remake of Lunar: The Silver Star. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of original rpgs on the PSP that are any good
Meanwhile Falcom’s been making gestures towards bringing over a few of their games on the PSP. Games like Ys 1 & 2, Ys 7, The Sora no Kiseki trilogy, Zewi!!, Vantage Master Portable, and of course Brandish.
GEN sucks, it wouldn’t be compatible with most of my…stuff. Not to mention that I don’t have a pandora’s battery(not about to hardmod mine and my psp can’t softmod one), so if I wanted to go back to good 'ol m33 I would have to track down that kid I gave gen to. It might be good for some people, but the cons outweigh the games.
If you like tactical RPGs, Fire Emblem and Front Mission are also available on the DS. They’re not the shining jewels of each series, but if you are somewhat of a fan of either, they’re not bad. Front Mission can be frustrating at times, but if you’ve played the games before, you already know that.