Just read this article and I like it (I agree with many of the points kamiboy raises). I can't stand JRPGs, the reasons primarily being the incessant combat (Lost Odyssey had an enemy popping up every 4.5 seconds, it felt like), the interruptions to go to the battle screen, the battle screen with queued attacks, and the party-based combat. Apart from that, they're fine.
So the appeal is lost on me. I don't know if any of that could or should be changed; however kamiboy's 'improvements' make sense to me.
Originally Posted by Librarian
At the same time western RPGs run danger of becoming equally formulaic, going for the sandbox type gameplay of the Arena Scrolls games or following the yellow brick road Bioware paved.
To be honest, for me all the praise Bioware earns for their stories is just an indicator of how bad most stories in games are.
And the wonky action combat is something I never enjoyed and I hope japanese developers do not make the mistake of trying to copy that.
Well, I don't think there are a huge amount of open world RPGs being released. Bethesda and a few sub-par European developers are about the height of it. But I accept your point about being formulaic - for me it is in the whole good\evil character choices, which I'm starting to find tiresome. Fallout New Vegas made a good stab at subverting this - at least as part of the main quest, where none of the factions were good\evil (apart from the Legion) and whom you chose based on a balancing of good and bad points. So the story was good there, and well executed. I'm still wondering why the game left me cold though.
As for Bioware, at least they're making an effort. I thought Dragon Age the dullest game ever (down to the combat, I think) and it was sheer drudgery to play through. Even though I liked the story and the interplay of the characters, I just couldn't play it past a certain point because it was so damn boring.
Of course, with the open world games you have the challenges associated with delivering a structured story in a free-roam environment. I thought Fallout 3 and F:NV did reasonably ok in this regard.
Crap, look how long this post is.