JRPGs, meaning Role Playing games coming out of Japan, are all about fantastical stories involving cats and mechas, and characters that are inspired by anime and manga, two main inspirations for JRPGs. The themes are also influenced by easter religions such as Buddhism, Shintoism and Hinduism, such as the cycle of life and death, the ambiguity between good and evil, and the idea of everything being connected.
But for the last few decades, it is becoming apparent that JRPGs are trying to decide whether they want to keep their battle systems faithful to the early days of JRPGs or want to bring them closer to Western RPGs.
While Japanese RPGs have been known for their turn based play style, from the early days of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, some have turned to real time battle systems, such as the Tales series and more recently Final Fantasy’s latest title.
Games like Persona 5 have kept the turn based combat an are praised for improving it by making it more fast paced. Similarly, Dragon Quest XI returned to a turn based system after Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2, although they were not mainline titles made for the series.
On the other hand, games like Final Fantasy XV have changed course after decades of Final Fantasy titles with different variations of turn based combat, which was received with mixed response from the fanbase, some liking the change and some wanting to go back to the old days of Final Fantasy. Despite this change, another recent Final Fantasy game titled World of Final Fantasy was faithful to the previous titles’ combat system.
In short, it seems that JRPGs are divided into two camps, and they will continue to struggle to make fans happy given their varied expectations for years to come.