My last good RPG I played, I would sink 8 hours a day on it at a time which only felt like minutes. That good RPG was Fallout New Vegas on the Xbox 360. But there was a problem. It is a good game, but it could have been great.
What prevented it from being very outstanding are due to growing trends in RPGs I’ve noticed. You might have experienced them in games like, Mass Effect, Dragon Age 2, and Pokemon Black/White.
In these games, you must be everyone’s best friend. You must quest or you won’t progress. There is a soft-level cap. There is only so much XP the game will give you. You must join every damn club/guild/faction. Those are complete turn-offs.
What if I want to be an asshole to everyone? The game will penalize you. Townsfolk will hate you, factions will kill you on site, and you lose out on a lot quests and XP. What if I want to piss around in the world and develop my character my own way? You are going to be very weak, very poor, and accomplish little. What if I want to spend hours in the world and grind out my levels? What if I want to be a rogue? My own man? I don’t want to be affiliated with every damn guild or faction in the game. It is so restricting.
In my playthrough of Fallout New Vegas, it starts off great. There is a very compelling narrative. It is a solid RPG. The whole old western 1950s post-apocalyptic world is a lot of fun to walk around in. The VAT system of Fallout is excellent as always. But exploration is limited because you are inherently a weakling very early in the game and only at the tail end do you start feeling a badass.
I learn who the NCR are and quickly you are going to be given a bunch of tasks for people. Yeah, you are helping everyone out because you are so helpful. If you ever want to shot that quest-giver in the face, killing them instantly, the people nearby will gun you down and you lose out on XP.
I came to this ravaged town and I get up and close with the Legion. I’m given three options, I can suck up to them, join the Legion, or start a fight. Why give me the option to start a fight with him if I will be killed within seconds? Just to show who weak I am? I wanted to have some fun and the game punches me in the face for it.
At this point, I want to try grind out some levels. So I got out into the wilderness. I might be able to kill a few mutants and scorpions, but the XP is so low, its discouraging. The only XP you will get is from major quests and a shitload of sidequests. At best, by the end of the game, you will be level 23-28. Why so low? I want to be powerful enough to wipe out cities and towns for the fun of it. Nope, you can’t, so disappointing.
I want a double-barrel shotgun, but the game doesn’t have one. And the weapons really suck. Even the real great ones are very hard to come by and you can’t spam them because ammo is hard to find. Worse yet, the game only offers so much ammo. I went to every damn vender possible and cleaned them out. Once that stockpile I have is gone, I’m shit out of luck.
You can make ammo and stuff, but to make the ammo is very annoying and tedious. You can never gain enough pieces to make a lot of ammo to be worthwhile. That is very frustrating.
You are so weak. The only way to have an easy time in the game you must resort to getting companions. Your companions are definitely much more stronger than you, you might as well find a place to hide and let your companions do all the work.
At one point, you must pick a side. You must side with either Benny, the Legion, NCR, or Mr. House. There is no way around this. You are going to make enemies and swear allegiance to one side or the other. I sided with Mr. House, because, I could still be welcomed in a lot of places and just made the Legion pissed off.
Once you do the Brotherhood of Steel quests, you are starting to be a badass. You get that armor and you are a tank. But with your ammo being limited, you gotta save that all for the fight at the Hoover Dam or else you are going to have a hard time. What I did once I got this suit, I went into the NCR stronghold and shot the place up and killed everyone. I went into the Legion camp and killed Caesar myself. It was fun doing so, but that’s as far as it went. At the fight at the Hoover Dam, I got by from being very resourceful and beat the game.
What is wrong here? I am playing a sandbox RPG with a choice making system, but I am forced to play along with the story-narrative and the only big choice to make is if you side with Benny, Mr. House, NCR, or the Legion.
I can’t level grind, but I must have all my attributes above 100 to open all the doors. I can sidequest, but there is so little and you are better off just sticking to the main storyline. You are a weak piece of shit until you pick who to side with for the Hoover Dam. And you can’t mess around in the world without making a bunch of enemies or wasting the ammunition.
Its like you are taken to Disney Land and you gotta only ride so many rides, eat here, and you can’t play any real games or talk to the Mickey Mascot. If you don’t listen, you gotta spend the entire day in the car while your family has all the fun. You are really restricted.
Now we are going into Overtime to tell you about past games and what they did right to make them outstanding games. Those games would be: Final Fantasy 7, Dragonquest 8, Knights Of The Old Republic, and Fable.
In Final Fantasy, your impression is, its a standard RPG. You expect that from Square. But the more you play it, the fighting sequences become more exciting, the world is a great place to explore and grind, the story has such a large scope and so rich, and there was something else that puts it over the top. Aerith dies. At that point, I fell in love with the game. This was in the late 90’s. You had a very integral character lose her life. Suddenly you become very attached to the characters, the story, and the game itself.
In Dragonquest 8, its another fine and polished RPG game. From the art design, to the music, to the storyline, to the characters, it is great. So what makes it stand out? You get a large selection of ingame items and weapons with the alchemy pot. You fight in the Monster Arena and you can get your Monster Team to fight for you in real fights. You can grind all you want. And after you beat the game, there is another quest waiting for you afterwards. To me, Dragonquest 8 is the gold standard for RPGs.
So those are traditional turn-based RPGs. They are a different animal when compared to Action-RPGs that have a choice making system. But those I’ve listed are the best of them. Without those small touches, they’d be easily forgotten.
Fable, the first one on the Original Xbox, it is the best of the series. You can be good or evil. The game keeps track of the evil and good things you do. But if you do evil things, you will own every building in all the land and be rich as hell. You can find this one cave and grind. At that point, the game can’t even contain you. Max out all your attributes and spells and be all the potions you can hold. Yeah, you are invincible.
In Knights Of The Old Republic or KOTOR, you are Revan and you don’t know who you are. You can be very good or very evil. Jedi or Sith, its your choice. This is where Dragon Age and Mass Effect derive from. But here, the game doesn’t be a dick to you if you go Sith and likewise if you go Jedi. Sure the game allows you so much XP, but early on, you are pretty badass. So it doesn’t matter about XP or level as long as you are virtually invincible.
What puts it over the top, at the tail end of the game, if you been evil a lot, your party will rebel against you. What you do before hand, take all their weapons and clothes, and you kill them all, but HK-47 who sides with you and will fight with you as you do this. Then you teach that bitch Darth Malak how a real Sith Lord rolls. That’s a real choice making Action-RPG.
Funny how all these titles are last generation or later. So what happened to this generation and their Action-RPGs and turn-based RPGs? They are just garbage. Final Fantasy continues to suck majorly. Bioware makes Dragon Age 2 which is a total screw-up and makes the glitched out, buggy videogame Two Worlds look like a masterpiece. And where is a real Dragonquest game? I don’t want one on the DS or a MMO.
Do I ask for too much? I just wanted a double-barrel shotgun, mess with NPCs, attain a high level, and not be a weak little bitch. Yes, it is trying to tell a story, but at what point can I let loose on the world you made and have fun with it?
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