Japanese RPG's (ToP/Star Ocean/FF) + some Q's

(caution: pretty long post… reply to bits of my post if you don’t feel like reading all this)

Hello everyone - wasn’t sure where to exactly post this (I imagined there would be a forum for… RPG classics?), but since it’s about japanese RPG’s in general I’ll just post it here. Feel free to move me tho.

Well, as veteran western-style PC RPG player I never thought much of japanese RPG’s, totally ignored the Final Fantasy hype ect. Closest thing I ever got to a japanese RPG is Zelda (Link’s Awakening) on the Gameboy I guess ^_^.
But since the supply of decent (PC) RPG’s has been drying up for some time, I decided some time ago (must’ve been more then a year now o_O) to try out some japanese RPG’s… I remember loving FF7 to death, not sure if that was the first one though (think the first one was Chrono Trigger).

That’s the main problem with me and japanese RPG’s, I find it hard to remember what game was about what. Especially with the SNES era type of RPG’s. I played two SNES ROM’s a while back, one was Tales of Phantasia (keywords that made me remember - Ninja Town, Dhalos, buying/selling paintings…) I remember that one was really great (had a real time combat system right?)
Now, I’m 99% sure I played the original Star Ocean too (for SNES)… but could someone PLEASE give me a brief description of the story line (for ToP and for Star Ocean…)?

I think ToP was about this character who’s home town in destroyed in the beginning… something about time travelling? Something with Ninja Towns and cat girls? Or was that Star Ocean? Are those games related?
Back to the present - there are alot of Tales of… and Star Ocean games out there. How are those connected? And how are those(plot wise) connected to the first games (ToP and SO)? One story, or seperate stories, or seperated stories AND worlds? (Probably has to do with Time though)

Currently I’m playing Final Fantasy 8 for the first time (and loving it to tears), can’t tell why I feel so immersed with the characters (stereotypes…) and the plot isn’t exactly great too (could guess most of the stuff before it was “revealed”)… still a really really great game IMHO (at the beginning of disc 3).

Now, for the last part of my post (phew… finally ^^), I’m already looking forward to the next RPG. Probably Final Fantasy 9, but I’m also thinking of the Suikoden series (which some people seem to adore). I’d like to play the first one first (makes sense to me), but most people seem to be more excited with part 2 and 3 of the series. Should I play part one or just skip it? (and is Part 3 for the PS2 or for the PSX? Only got a PSOne… )

If you got all the way to this part - congrats and thanks for reading. Please give me your input/game suggestions/comments/whatever.


Lessee… you got most of the stuff right. The catgirl is in Star Ocean, but the rest is in ToP. Star Ocean is essentially a Star Trek ripoff involving several starship officers going back in time and hanging out with people with monkey tails in order to find a cure to a disease which is turning the monkey-tails to stone in the future. (Yes, both ToP and Star Ocean involve time travel. ToP does it better though.)

The Star Ocean series are indeed sequels of each other (SO2 comes about 20 years after SO1, and SO3 comes 400 years after that). The Tales games generally aren’t related story-wise, though there are a lot of thematic elements that are the same. By the way, the original team for Tales of Phantasia ended up breaking away from Namco and forming tri-Ace, the makers of Star Ocean, which is why the two series have so many things that are similar.

I’d stay far away from the first Suikoden. It’s really an awful game if you’re playing it first time. Not that it’s completely terrible, but it’s fairly tedious and none of the characters have any kind of personality or screen time. I’ve never played the sequels, so can’t comment on those.

Most people who have played Suikoden would disagree with Cid here on, about all his points. =P It’s too short to be tedious, and considering that there were 108+ characters, it did a good job on focusing on the important characters, I thought anyway.

And if you want to play the Suikoden series, you SHOULD play them in order (starting with the first one). Especially since there are so many characters from 1 in Suikoden 2 (which most consider the pinnacle of the series). And Suikoden 3 is only for the PS2, and is generally considered worse than 1 or 2, but better than 4.

I’ve got an extra copy of the first Suikoden if you want to buy it from me (Shinrisen, not Cidolfas =P), but you can expect to cough up some money if you want it. =P Although I’d probably just charge whatever it normally goes for on Ebay.

Well… I have a bit of a different take on it because I played it for the first time this year. :sunglasses: No nostalgia tinges. So perhaps my views might be a bit closer to someone who’s also playing it for the first time now. Then again, maybe not. shrug

I liked the first Suidoden, at least much more that the fourth installment of the series. It was short, but it’s just enough to get you hooked on the series. So many of the events in the first game tie in wiht the others that you would want to play them in order just to get the full plot. It gets really complex in Suikoden II. That and its much easier to recruit all the Stars of Destiny in the first game then the others that want to rip your hair out and ask “Why isn’t he/she joining me?”

In conclusion, if you want to start getting into the series, start with the first one. If you like it, good luck in finding a copy of Suikoden II.

It’s funny how many of these rpg treads turn into arguments about suikodens. People have such differing opinions about each game. I personally think 3 was the best one, just because of the skill system and amount of story/character development. The mini-games/castle building was much better in 2. 4 was terrible in almost every sense of the word.

I would definitely suggest playing them and form your own opinion. As someone said it’s best to start from 1, but if you get bored with that don’t give up on the series. 2 was a hundred times better and stands the test of time better.

One rpg you didn’t mention that you may like is Secret of Mana for the snes or Phantasy Star IV for the sega genesis. For the Phantasy Star Series I’d say just skip to 4 and if you like it you can go back and play 1-3.