I have been a JRPG player all my life. Ever since Soleil came to my Mega Drive, it has become my favorite genre. I don’t care if the battles are turn-based or real-time. I’ve been enjoying JRPGs for more than 25 years, and I look for them obsessively. This has allowed me to enjoy a lot of fantastic adventures, but it has also made me notice the patterns and clichés in character archetypes, battles, and dungeon designs.
Last year, I started playing Baldur’s Gate III. Although it’s not a JRPG, my extensive experience with Japanese role-playing games makes it impossible for me not to compare them. Surprisingly, Bioware, the studio that created Mass Effect, was amazed by Final Fantasy VII when they were developing Baldur’s Gate II. The romances in Baldur’s Gate were included due to the influence of the relationship between characters in Final Fantasy VII, leading to a combination of JRPG and CRPG elements in game design.
The mission in act I of Baldur’s Gate III starring Tita Ethel has been a standout experience for me. The character presentation, the world-building, and the dungeon design that leads to a great final battle are all exceptional. I fell in love with how the entire game world prepared me for the battle, merging madness with the concept of dungeon descending.
Tita Ethel, an adorable granny character, has a dungeon full of madness, transforming a beautiful garden into a horrible quagmire, and creating a descent into hell. The dungeon is not packed with hundreds of hallways or puzzles, but it’s the quality of the experience that makes it stand out. The battle against Tita Ethel is exhausting, like her house, and it offers a great challenge and an immersive gameplay experience.
I ask JRPGs to take inspiration from Baldur’s Gate III and revamp their dungeon design, moving away from flat routes through unintentional corridors. What I want is for JRPGs to create dungeons that are as immersive and engaging as the ones in Baldur’s Gate III.
In conclusion, Baldur’s Gate III has been a game-changing experience for me, and I believe that JRPGs could learn a lot from its dungeon design and character presentation. It has set a new standard for what makes a great RPG experience and exemplifies the potential for innovation and creativity in game design.