Just because an RPG has a simple story does not excuse it from being a bland story; a comparison of Final Fantasy IV and Bravely Default II will illustrate that.
You need more then just a story to make an rpg memorable you need characters with a great back story or with a major plot twist with the story. A bland stale rpg with just bland generic characters, generic music, and generic story is not a fun game and most rpg fans will probably avoid it and want to huff paint to play the game. To me if it is a generic rpg that shows there was no thought behind the game it was rushed out the door with out care and it's left to fend itself against the bigger rpgs. Then why even create the generic rpg if the all you're going to do is say here is this rpg play it its like meh here you go now shut up. The characters have to be someone the fans like whether it's Cloud or plot twists with Fei. You need the music to convey the feelings the character goes through whether it's love or they are pissed off at the world and want revenge. When Aerith dies in FF7 and the holy materia fell off her hair piece and started to drop and her theme played that's a memorable tune. Or when you find out you have to fight Id and his theme plays after you recovered Emeralda that is memorable to me. I have never dove into the Bravely Default franchise the game is on my list I will reserve the judgement myself. I usually have fun with jrpgs Shining Resonance Refrain had an ok story it's not up there Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Tales tier but it was still a good rpg because I liked some of the characters and music in it.
^^^ This right here! Take FF10 as example. I consider it a simple story. Monster terrorizes world, girl is that sacrifice every generation has to make and her final journey is the best period of her life. Now, what makes FFX so great isn't the story exactly but the characters involved in it and the believable relationships they build that makes the final sacrifice so hard and heartbreaking.
I guess I'm just easier to please since I've been playing rpgs since the early 90s. Rpgs back then really didn't have great plots for the most part but the music and gameplay were what had me invested.
For me Story is the most important part of an RPG and why I got so into them. The lazy half stories being told through hours of dialogue that tells you nothing these days is insane to me. The JRPGs on SNES managed to tell a great story with 1% of the dialogue games have now. I also feel like voice acting let many JRPGs stop writing the same memorable music that they used to have when music was the sound of the game. I would say the music getting quieter when you open an event like in tales games where it just shows the portraits and the characters talk to each other. Bravely Default 2 has these same kind of events. They are not voice acted at all... so why does the music get quieter during these events? Am I going to have trouble reading because the music is there? The modernization of JRPGs has done some seriously dumb stuff. The biggest casualty is the story.
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