What's so great about RPGs?

I just realized a few things about RPGs that I think many will agree with. Now I've mostly played RPGs by square but a few by other people like fire emblem (very briefly) and skies of arcadia, but i think my complaints are more or less general.

1: status changing spells are useless. in normal battles, you can take enemies down in a few hits, so the battle doesn't last long enough to justify poisoning the monsters or casting a reflect or slow healing spell on your party, and in boss battles, which ARE long and tough enough to justify status spells like blind or poison, these kinds of attacks don't work.

  1. after a while, magic becomes useless as your party levels up enough such that a continuous string of physical attacks punctuated by using healing items works great.

  2. all rpg characters have ridiculously crazy outfits that never seem to change. In the swamp, on the frozen tundra, or in the king's court, they always seem to wear the same thing. The same goes for the hair. How much gel do they need to get it that way?

  3. (this is mostly a problem with square/enix) what's with all the androgynous characters?

and yes, I know about the grand list of RPG cliches.

This is why I play BioWare RPGs. Increasingly excellent stories, increasingly solid balance, decreasingly combat-oriented, and it is soooooo much easier to work through their menus than your standard Final Fantasy combat rounds.

Still... what I really miss are old-school adventure games. You know, Grim Fandango, The Journeyman Project, Monkey Island, Buried in Time (my personal favorite)... that whole gang of games. I play RPGs today because they come closest to replicating the best parts of those games, while removing some of the most frustrating (like figuring out which ludicrous item to attach to some other ludicrous item in a standard LucasArts adventure game).

Oh ... you're talking about C-RPGs, which are a slightly different animal than true RPGs (like AD&D, GURPS, and other systems that generally require little more than a few friends, some rulebooks, dice, paper, pencils, and imagination).

In the computer RPG category, I think it all comes down to the story. Try some of the titles by Spiderweb Software. No, they're not going to appeal to people whose interest in games is just the looks. But as far as immersive storylines where what you do matters in the game (and where sometimes you find yourself given contradictory quests).

As far as the real RPGs go--well, I guess I kind of said it there earlier--what's so great about them is the friends and imagination bit.

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
I just realized a few things about RPGs that I think many will agree with. Now I've mostly played RPGs by square but a few by other people like fire emblem (very briefly) and skies of arcadia, but i think my complaints are more or less general.

1: status changing spells are useless. in normal battles, you can take enemies down in a few hits, so the battle doesn't last long enough to justify poisoning the monsters or casting a reflect or slow healing spell on your party, and in boss battles, which ARE long and tough enough to justify status spells like blind or poison, these kinds of attacks don't work.

  1. after a while, magic becomes useless as your party levels up enough such that a continuous string of physical attacks punctuated by using healing items works great.

  2. all rpg characters have ridiculously crazy outfits that never seem to change. In the swamp, on the frozen tundra, or in the king's court, they always seem to wear the same thing. The same goes for the hair. How much gel do they need to get it that way?

  3. (this is mostly a problem with square/enix) what's with all the androgynous characters?

and yes, I know about the grand list of RPG cliches.

[/quote]

  1. I would agree but find them necessary as part of the strategy of boss battles. Let's be honest the "normal" battles serve no purpose but to provide xp fodder so personally I'm ok with just jamming on the A button (360 guy) over and over again for those battles :)

  2. This isn't always the case as in most RPGs there are enemies that are insanely resistant to physical attacks.

  3. Something about Mary... that's all I have to say about that.

  4. I believe you're referring to Tidus, Vaan and Hope type characters who are male but look like they could easily be female characters with short hair... my question is why do the three I just mentioned all look almost exactly the same?

Ultimately for me it's not about the way a game looks (though it does have some bearing) I just downloaded an indie game on xbla called Cthulhu Saves the World it looks and plays very much like the original Dragon Warrior in look and combat mechanics so by today's standards it looks horrible but the boss battles all require you to really focus and the dialogue and premise is just hilarious (if you're familiar with Cthulhu anyway). If you have a 360 and are at all nostalgic while still wanting something new I can't think of a better way to spend $1.

EDIT: While not on the exact same topic I recently downloaded Lord of the Rings Online... it's a free to to play MMORPG (there are pay services but they aren't necessary) based on the Lord of the Rings mythos obviously and I don't think I've ever played a better free MMO.

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
I just realized a few things about RPGs that I think many will agree with. Now I've mostly played RPGs by square but a few by other people like fire emblem (very briefly) and skies of arcadia, but i think my complaints are more or less general.

1: status changing spells are useless. in normal battles, you can take enemies down in a few hits, so the battle doesn't last long enough to justify poisoning the monsters or casting a reflect or slow healing spell on your party, and in boss battles, which ARE long and tough enough to justify status spells like blind or poison, these kinds of attacks don't work.

[/quote]

Square-Enix isn't really your problem here, more like Final Fantasy in general. Now as much as I love the stories in those games, I agree that the gameplay is a little less likeable. However, if you've ever played Kingdom Hearts, you'd realize that your complaint doesn't cover everything. I personally would never have survived those extra-hard Coliseum rounds if I didn't have stuff like Magnega or Stopga to keep me from getting swarmed all over. So far, the only useless status effect I've had was Poison and that's just one compared to the other dead-useful (and life-saving) tricks I had to pull to stay alive. Oh and don't even get me started on PvP. XD I had a guy challenge my teeny character with his uber-buffed, mega-equipped one but even though he beat me, he told me I was the most annoying and tedious opponent he's had. I kept doing stuff like leaving him in the air, freezing him in time, and even putting him to sleep. It was fun. XD

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
2. after a while, magic becomes useless as your party levels up enough such that a continuous string of physical attacks punctuated by using healing items works great.

[/quote]

This I have to most heavily disagree with. Ever played any of the Tales of series? I've played Tales of the Abyss and no role ended a battle quicker than that of the spellcaster. There's also the Atelier Iris series which makes use of a fair amount of magic in order to wipe out ranks of the opposition. Hence, it's my favorite role (heck my signature role XD).

The way I see it, I think it really just depends on your style. Some people experiment more with physical attack combos, taking out one enemy at a time, while others focus on the big guns, charging up mana for a bit before unleashing a spell that wipes them all out (personally, I prefer the latter, ngehehehehe.... :cool:).

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
3. all rpg characters have ridiculously crazy outfits that never seem to change. In the swamp, on the frozen tundra, or in the king's court, they always seem to wear the same thing. The same goes for the hair. How much gel do they need to get it that way?

[/quote]

Two words: Game physics. Every game has 'em. Not just RPGs my friend. ;) Any person can take a reductionist and deconstructionist POV and find something in every single game to complain about. Take uh, Left 4 Dead for instance. Hand-guns in real life obviously don't have unlimited ammo. :rolleyes:

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
4. (this is mostly a problem with square/enix) what's with all the androgynous characters?

[/quote]

Well if you ask me, I'd rather have characters like those than old Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. If I wanna see shirtless guys overloaded with muscle smacking each other, I'd watch wrestling. Then again, perhaps it's just a matter of personal taste. :shrug:

Also, there's this funny optical illusion I found in comics/manga. It is said that the leaner a character is compared to whatever he/she is hitting/lifting/smashing, the more impact you can emphasize. It's weird, but I've actually seen it work.

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
and yes, I know about the grand list of RPG cliches.

[/quote]

I've seen it as well, along with a list of other cliches in other media. Only thing I've learned? True originality is either a myth or just something God can create. Believe me, as one in the practice of writing fiction, I have seen people resort to the most horrid and artistically repulsive just for the sake of being 'original'. :rolleyes:

Yes, there are many computer RPG's which are little more than "button mashers" full of androgynous anime-based characters, but I think this is due to a "Hollywood" style on the part of game creators.

Several games focusing on eye candy & flash, with some basic strategies became huge hits, & many developers simply began rehashing those games, either with sequels or what are essentially copies. I think this kind of approach got going during the bit RTS craze, beginning with Command & Conquer. The WarCraft/StarCraft/etc. games are all essentially copies of each other...

That said, not all current RPG's are like that. Several have been noted already, including the MMORPG genre like World of Warcraft & Lord of the Rings Online.

I'm not big on subscription games like WoW, but since LotR recently dropped the subscription requirement (subscription is still available & has added benefits over free play, but not until higher levels), I also recently picked this up as well.

While my experience with it so far is quite limited, it seems to be an an example of a really quite extensive & compelling RPG. I've only completed the introductory quests, & the only difficulty I've had thus far is getting use to controlling so much & getting my mind around how large the "world" is.

[quote="GIR, post:1, topic:225062"]
and in boss battles, which ARE long and tough enough to justify status spells like blind or poison, these kinds of attacks don't work.

[/quote]

Not always true. I can name several boss characters that have a weakness to one or two status effect type spells. The problem is a lot of people don't even bother to try them out, because they always just assume that what you said must be the case.

Sorry, can't hear you over all the Golden Sun I'm playing right now.
:D

[quote="ChrisWRIT, post:6, topic:225062"]
Yes, there are many computer RPG's which are little more than "button mashers" full of androgynous anime-based characters, but I think this is due to a "Hollywood" style on the part of game creators.

Several games focusing on eye candy & flash, with some basic strategies became huge hits, & many developers simply began rehashing those games, either with sequels or what are essentially copies.

[/quote]

Well they're not really "anime-based", being mostly original characters; and they're certainly not button-mashers given the "random inputs" connotation the phrase has. Also, I'm curious: you do know they're made in Japan, right? So not really "Hollywood". Sure, they cater to things like "moé" and other fan-silliness to a ridiculous degree, but Western gamers liked God of War: you have no room to criticize.

Also, if you think "eye candy & flash, with some basic strategies" is an accurate description of the first Xenosaga, or anything ever to come out of Nippon Ichi Software, I'm going to have to ask you to tear up your Internet right now. There's no less strategy in a good JRPG than in an MMORPG like WoW; indeed the mechanism of the "grind" is identical, though usually with random encounters standing in for "teh raidz". Except an in-depth story—Xenosaga not only has some of the best characters I've seen in a game, its plot only makes sense if you're familiar with 19th-century literature, Shingon Buddhism, quantum physics, and four kinds of Hermetic mysticism—is optional in Western RPGs, even WoW, and WoW's one of the better ones.

Mindless escapism. Probably no point reading any more into it.

I always liked crpgs (Japanese style RPGs) rather than your classic RPGs (American style RPGs). Just to clarify the difference -

cRPGs - Focus on storyline more than gameplay. More linear (some games will have varying storylines based on the characters you choose). These might have some side quests, side games and side puzzles.
RPGs - Focus on Gameplay (dice, stats, classes, cards, randomly generated dungeons etc.) rather than storyline. More open ended.

Neither were multiplayer back in their heyday.

RPGs from Square and Enix, I think, were much better before the Playstation era. (Some would argue FF7 was the best, for example, but I think FF6 and DW/Q4 were the best)

That being said, I think classic American-style RPGs are much better in a 3D environment, since there's more strategy (i.e., long ranged spells are more useful when you want to stay a good distance away from a powerful baddie).

I've been playing more classic style RPGs lately (which is a relative term, since I've only played a couple in the past 15 years), but what I don't like about those is that almost every single quest is "Clear that cave!!!", followed by "Yay! Here's your reward!", and the main storyline, if any, is very short.

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