Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Top 5 Things Wrong with Mainstream RPGs of the Last 30 Years


Five: Having a stupid fucking "epic" story. 

General Fuckface just captured the courtly guard and is leading an airship rebellion in an attempt to control the flow of magical resources powering streampunk army robots while young white guy farmer learns about morals and philosophy 101 while fucking up a clichéd, emotional romance.  Giant ragtag bunch of heroes saves the world and learns exactly one thing about themselves, solving many of the psychological problems haunting the characters. There is twist, after twist, after twist in this "epic" plot, but by the end of it you just wish it was over.

Four: Being easy as hell. 

Pretty self explanatory--if you're not dying you're not playing a good game. Notable exceptions: Ultima, Roguelikes, Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Diablo 3, Quest 64.

Three: Lack of Scope. 

Seriously guys, Ultima I has 8 Castles, 32 towns, and 26 dungeons to explore. What the fuck. Notable exceptions: Ultima, Quest 64, World of Warcraft, Everquest.

Two: No Randomization. 

Why is it many games continue to drive the player through the same dungeons over and over? I'm looking at you, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. Notable exceptions: Crawl, Nethack, all roguelikes, Diablo, Diablo 2, Diablo 3.

One: Having a party instead of one character.

Why do so many games have a party of adventurers? Are we so schizophrenic? Even Ultima eventually fell victim to this unfortunate trend. What seems like an avdance is actually a cleverly-designed artificial game extender. Battles take 4 times as long, and you need four times the supplies and gear. Things become watered down, and I don't even think game developers are aware of what a drag parties in RPGs can be. Notable exceptions: Roguelikes, Ultima 1 and 2, Moraff's World, Quest 64.

It's pretty simple when you look at it. Good RPGs will tend to have a single character, gigantic scope, and a lot of randomization. It almost seems like cheating, because any game made with this formula sounds pretty damn fun.



Instead, gamers get railroaded down a single boring path of 12-15 hours of time-destroying brainrot.

2 comments:

Robita said...

I think we can blame the creators of Final Fantasy for dumbing down of the RPG. I say that, but I played a lot of FF over the years. I think it was all in a vein attempt to re-live Ultima I. I totally agree with you about more than one character to control! Have you tried "Legacy of the Ancients"? It's not bad.

Del_Duio said...

#5 I agree with wholeheartedly.

Personally I think for as awesome as Final Fantasy Tactics is (the good one, for the PS1) the story is just boring and terrible.

Also honorable mentions go out to just about every Ogre Battle game ever made- awesome gameplay, super huge convoluted plot that I could honestly care less about.