So I just refinished playing Chrono Trigger again, which is my all time favorite game, and I've been thinking a lot about it. This has led me to really think about JRPG's in general. There are a lot of dedicated fans to the genre and a lot of people who absolutely despise it.
What seems to be the main divider is the combat (the next being the time investment). Obviously it has some obvious flaws: It tends to set up a system that relies heavily on grinding. This can be incredibly boring, and is generally unsatisfactory as a result. Then once you either get to a certain power level or you just learn the patterns it gets even more grindy. I mean as soon as I unlocked Luminaire on Crono and especially Flare on Lucca, I pretty much just used it against every enemy that allowed it. (If you've never played the game, those are the two most powerful magic abilities those characters can learn.) #LuccaBestCharacter
What's worse, to me at least, CT feels a whole lot less grindy than plenty of other games (A mixture of only having to fight most enemies once and personally enjoying the combat system itself).
Of course there are some possible positives, as long as the game is designed well. There is the opportunity for great set-piece fights (such as bosses). There can be in depth tactical combat, as seen in Pokemon competitions, though it's rare to see an ai that's amazing at this. To me there are also some mechanical advantages, such as it being easy to implement new skills and stuff once you've got a baseline working, but the consumer rarely sees things like that.
So what are your thoughts on the matter? What are some ways to make it less grindy? Even better, how could you improve the combat so it feels more engaging? Am I missing any big pros/cons?