• Monday, 28 March 2011

      RPG Problems

      Now I will be talking about RPG problems.

      Remember I talked about playing Golden Sun again just recently, a great game that turned me into RPG genre.

      My concern about RPG which stands for Role Playing Game is that you basically READ TOO MUCH!
      What the f* man, I spent my time READING TEXTS in Golden Sun rather than actual story development, cutscenes and unique battles.

      It's actually crazy, it's like saying FPS genre but you end up watching cutscenes rather than actual shooting. I think that is the problem with Japanese RPG games, you end up reading too much narrative texts that supposed to tell the story than actual story progression.

      In Golden Sun I was talking to random A.I or NPC (Non Playable Character), NPCs that displays unneeded dialogue I don't need to know. I end up interacting with the environment, reading shelves- what books are displayed and what it's about, reading a well- what is inside the well, reading grave stones- what the description says on the grave stone. It's insane! During this is boring me!
      I mean if a volcano erupted in a village, why should every NPC have a dialgoue relating to the volacno? why should they all be saying incoherent text that would not aid my quest:
      *I can't believe MT Aleph just erupted, we are doomed
      *I need to pack up my sh...and gtfo out of this village because of this volcano
      *it's been such a long time since Mt. Alelph erupted, why is it starting now?

      Seriously these are the kinds of dialogue you would get from NPC, why should you waste 20mins of your life reading incoherent text from NPC that would not aid you? Designers and Narrative Writers should fix this problem by ONLY allowing you to talk to NPC if you need to get information, Action Adventure did this right.

      For an example  if I signed up for a Side Quest and I'm meant to look for a lost cat. Then speaking to NPC should be available and the NPC should answer my executed action button. The dialogue should then relate to the cat I'm looking for:
      *A cat? white looking cat, I saw it wandering alone in the woods
      *Sorry stranger I didn't see any cat in my workshop
      *Did the cat had a oval shape to its body? yes I saw it wander in Bangadrag forest.
      NOW this is when NPC's dialogues are reliable and WORTH reading!  Instead of just talking to NPC that provide useless dialogue.

      And as for the battle, the battle are SO repetitive. Please don't be defensive about this 'Repetitive' comment I would soon write an article based on 'Pure Repetitive Games'. But in Golden Sun or typical RPG, I'm traveling the world and always end up battling the same varieties grouped monsters I battled in 4th previously battle. Attack, attack, spell, defend= Defeated the monsters, read the text of collected items, skip the text or battle summary and results. This is actually a 'DESIGN PROBLEM' towards RPG games. Or JRPGs.

      The title Role Playing Game makes sense because in battle you are taking turns but in actual in-game RPG consists of reading countless text and dialogues, fighting the same repetitive battles and a slow steep in story progression!

      ABOVE IMAGE: Here is a typical overused concept in many JRPG games. Party System, every single time you are grouped in party groups. Nothing never changes! Why can't I save the world alone in any JRPG's?

      ABOVE IMAGE: The only interesting trend towards JRPG is when they are Real Time Battles. Turn Based is strategic but can often get repetitive that you end up just pressing A to attack, and button bashing the same buttons for Block, Spells etc. Real Time changes the pacing of the game.

      ABOVE IMAGE: This is a good example of 'Skipping Button Bashing'. In JRPGs, when you experience your first few battles you would be reading the texts battle summary located below the screen. And after those first few battles, you would end up pressing the Skip button because it displays the same text from previous 8th battles! This is bad designing, why should you include 'battle commentator' that I would end up skipping? Why should you include 'battle commentator' that displays the same text?

      I believe that Real Time RPG solved this problem, in real time you are all over the screen and the only battle messages you see are the combos and hit damages.

      I wouldn't say I may be the first to see this problem or complain about it, I believe the Western Gaming Industry already have solution to this problem.

      This is where I talk about the problems of Western RPG's!

      What is the problem exactly? well basically I READ TOO MUCH once again! I am constantly choosing selective sentences for my character, and reading what the NPC have to say about current situation and about you. Tell me am I playing an RPG or reading a Novel?

      Western RPG as I'll relate to 'WRPG' solved many JRPG problems. Problems such as 'Skipping Button Bashing' or 'Skipping Battle Commentator', and overused concept such as Party system. Aside from the reading too much in WRPG, another problem to their formula is the multiple choices! Sometimes they can be way too much and just too deep to handle. And their last RPG problem is that YOU TALK TOO MUCH!
      I remember playing Duex Ex Invisible War during the arrival of 7th gen consoles, I was so put off by it in the first opening of the game because I was doing more talking rather than fighting!  Trying to find out a stupid explosion in the apartment.

      Japanese developers help flourish and nurture the RPG genre and because they did so they vow not to change their methods. This is the problem and why people and I bang on about Japanese Gaming Industry is dying. JRPG tend not to change it's overused formulas, it's always about fantasy world, a world in danger. A young hero joined by the same overused varieties of groups to save the land, and using the same gameplay. Many Japanese gamers play this game but the genre isn't reaching to many other Japanese gamers!

      It is like Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii. Both 360 and PS3 only reach out to hardcore gamers but the Wii reaches out to both hardcore and casual gamers. So which is obviously taking the advantage? This is the problem with JRPG's, they use the same graphical trends which is cell shaded graphics and always based about teens saving the world.

      Now the Westerns are taking the use of RPG elements in their games, mixing it up with other genres and doing it right in making RPG games! Their own WRPG consist of reality based world or future location rather than fantasy worlds of JRPGs. Many WRPG are real time battles and the only WRPG turn base I could think of is Dragon Age Origin. Even though Dragon Age is turn based, at least you don't see the Battle Commentator  bombardment text like from JRPGs.
      The characters in WRPG are based on reality characters and using different personalities rather  than JRPG overused personalities.

      To back up my comments

      Demon's Souls made by a Japanese developer/Publisher FromSoftware. Why is this hailed as a Game of the Year in the West and not talked much in Japan? Well the setting is not a local fantasy world but set in the middle ages. The character is of your own creation like many other WRPG.

      One thing I just don't GET in JRPG is that the protagonist is a defined/pre-set character you play as yet in many JRPG the protagonist cannot speak, you make the decisions for him as you are the protagonist. However in WRPG that protagonist is the character you create from the start of the game, the character represents you! And the final thing why Demons Soul was successful in the West is the real time battle and difficulty. Apart from Demons Souls, Lost Odyssey is another hailed JRPG in the west. Compare Lost Odyssey to other JRPG and tell me why that game is much received than other RPG's.

      Demons Souls is an RPG created by Japanese developers that doesn't even relate to your everyday cartoon JRPG!

      In reality I prefer real time JRPG battle over to WRPG but prefer WRPG settings and characters more than JRPG because JRPG consist of the same over used formulas!

      And the final complaint about RPG is the battle system. They are incredibly deep that every new RPG you pick up forces you to spend time learning its curves. I mean if you play other genres such as FPS or Action Adventure; if you've played many of those games you can simply pick up and play even without taking notice of the control scheme. However with every RPG you need to learn the controls, character stats and battle systems. This is something that seriously needs to change in the future.

      Why should every RPG consist of Character Stats- HP, SP, intelligence, dexterity, charisma, strength, defense, luck, power, etc
      Useless garbage!

      From the comparison images above, what are the difference? Well the difference is that they are 'copy and paste' and use the same OVERUSED methods. RPG are becoming games that now require a steep learning. I can never pick up an RPG and just jump in and play without worrying about the Stats. I do know that many of the attributes are important to the actual gameplay and feeling of the character.

      Charisma: But do we really need a level up Stats for Charisma?  Can't the developer create a function that adds  a hidden charisma to your character? Like if you help NPC with side quests, you earn their trust, much like Fable. Fable allows you to verge on a path towards good or evil, if you are evil what NPC would talk to you or provide side quests?
      Charisma can be fixed by developers allowing the game to keep track of how you speak to NPCs, something Fallout uses. It can only be fixed by how you approach NPCs; if you attack an innocent NPC they would run away and cry out for help, all that adds to your charisma.

      Strength, HP, Level Stats, SP, Power: Why do I need to keep track of my Strength? when I level up doesn't my strength increase? the Strength stats is linked to your overall Character Level so what ever level you are should determine your characters strength or Power. In fact we can say that your level is the sum of HP, SP, Strenght and Power! The more you level up the more your HP, SP, Strength and Power increases. Don't you think it's incoherent that a lvl 49 character who levelled up his speed, charisma and SP has the HP gauge of a lvl 12?

      Luck & Critical Hit: Why do you have Luck and Critical Hit separate? doesn't critical hit act like Luck? Why don't we merge them together? Your critical hit is your luck, luck is used to perform critical hit in battle and gain dropped items from enemies after battles.

      Speed: Why do we have speed? when creating your character or choosing a pre-set character from Mage to Theif, shouldn't the class justify your Speed? If I choose a Heavy character for my class, why should I worry about it's speed? When I know he wouldn't be as fast as a Thief.

      Attack: we can even say your Attack is the same as Strenght, why do we have attack and strength separate? all broken down attributes stats are not actually needed in RPGs!

      This is how next generation or Easy Pick up and Play RPG should contain in terms of Attributes:

      NAME: Black Xino
      CLASS: Wanderer
      LEVEL: 49
      STRENGTH: 200
      DEFENCE: 160
      LUCK: 5

      How simple is that?
      My class determines my power, skills and speed.
      My Level determines my health, spell, SP and power so I don't need to level up those mentioned just now
      My strength should be separate because I need to level it up so I can be stronger than a Heavy character. For an example in lvl 1 a Heavy character would have higher attack melee damage. A mage would have higher attack damage in spells but very weak melee. Basically the Strength is just your melee attack and how strong you are. Strength is there to help balance out the classes.
      Defence is obviously your defence level, it needs to be separate.
      Luck is your luck to getting items dropped by enemies and performing critical hits.

      After solving this jumbled up character stats attributes, the next problems lies in Weapon uses:/

      Wow, making RPG is a TON of work because it is so deep in developments. Making RPG is just as hard as making MMOG. It contains so much dialogues for NPC that changes during events, dialogues for main characters and protagonists. Deep dynamic gameplay and stats. It's crazy, but all these can ease the development if developers learn to change the way we play RPG.


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