RPG spotlight: The JRPG

There are two major types of role playing video game styles. The Japanese RPG(JRPG) and the Western RPG(WRPG). These names were created to identify where the game was made, but each has certain gameplay differences as well. This blog will identify both styles, starting with what defines a typical JRPG.

There are two main elements of a JRPG. They are:

Character progression

Image result for final fantasy 7 materia screen

Most newer RPG’s have complex upgrade systems, but JRPG’s are particularly infamous for it. Equipment often has its own set of stats that you have to consider, and not every game has a built-in comparison system. When it comes to spells/magic, certain spells complement each other when used in succession. Spell slots are limited, so choosing an optimal setup can get tricky.

When it’s time to unlock new skills and abilities, you’re usually greeted with numerous “skill trees” full of skills related to one area of combat. Skills usually have prerequisites you have to meet in order to unlock them, such as spending a certain number of upgrade points in one area. You have a limited number of upgrades, so a lot of planning is required to build your character the way you’d like.


Storytelling in JRPG’s has been traditionally linear. While a lot of them are becoming more open-ended due to the influence of western games, a JRPG usually doesn’t allow the player to alter the story too much. If a story does have multiple possibilities, it’s usually at the very end.

JRPG’s are known for their epic “save the world from certain doom” story lines. They’re also very character driven. The characters are eccentric and have their own backstories that get exposed. The player-controlled character’s story is often tied to the climax of the plot.


Overall, JRPG’s are focused on deep gameplay and a character driven story.




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