Saturday, June 5, 2010

RPG Gaming: A Pondering

With a few exceptions, such as Starcraft and various games of the Star Trek trademark, my favorite genre of computer games is RPGs.  Specifically hack and slash (medieval and magic) RGPs.  Role playing games might be the most widely manufactured game style, but most of the time they end up being little more than a passing fancy.

I'll try to outline here what makes an RPG alluring to me, keeping in mind that the majority of my experience lies in Diablo II, Dungeon Siege, The Witcher, and to a lesser extent, Oblivion, and Guild Wars.

Free - Sorry WoW, I don't care how compelling people say you are, or how many subscribers you have.  Paying more for a game that already costs a small fortune is retarded.  Of course on the flip side, subscription games are constantly being developped and improved, so you are getting something for your money.

A Storyline - I'm not asking for a Shakespearean level of storytelling, but it would be nice to know why I got the cool yellow glowing sword.  For being known as a dungeon craw, I found the quest in Diablo to be very compelling, all with a minimum of cutscenes.  On the other end of the spectrum, the Witcher plays almost like an interactive movie at times, but I find myself getting caught up in the story.

Shit to kill.  Lots of it. -  Again, I feel Diablo wins out here, with areas in the game where you're besieged by hordes of enemies.  Gamers want things to do, things to look at, weapon combinations to consider.  Being able to cut through enemies, and pick up tons of equipment is a nice plus.

Difficulty - Of course it is nice to slide through a game like a hot knife through butter, but it gets old pretty fast.  There's nothing nice than drinking a few potions, setting some portals, and hunkering down to fight that boss that may take a few lives, but is going to drop a ton of sweet shit when it's all said and done.

Sweet looking weaponry - Glowing swords, flaming bows, bleeding armor, pretty magical abilities.  Its the main reason we play RPGs.  We want to do shit that is impossible in real life, and we want to look bitchin' doing it.

Replayability - It seems a lot of RPGs falter on this concept.  Again I yield to Diablo.  Once you've run through the storyline, there's still so much to be done.  You can level, you can run through the cow level, or you can set to work completing the sidequests you ignored.  That doesn't even include looking around to compile the various types of unique weaponry and equipment sets that are available.

Overall, I have to give the edge to Diablo.  I spent hours playing that game as a kid, and occasionally pine for the heyday of its popularity.  Right now I'm playing through the Witcher, and while there's more talking and moving than fighting, it forces me to think a lot more.  Why did this guy do this, how do I want to approach him, what can I do to speed the process up?  Not to mention the storyline and music are fantastic.  I wish the world was a bit more magicky, but the game itself is compelling enough so that I don't care too much.

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