Thursday, November 6th 2008

Why I don't like fantasy RPG's

For as much as I play games, people are often surprised that I don't play/like a lot of RPG's.  Personally I could care less when a new Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior comes out.  It's not necessarily the RPG elements themselves that turn me off from these games (though thats a big part of it), but rather that I can't really feel attached to any of these characters.

Taking a setting like Final Fantasy's or Warcraft's in which magic and ninja-elite warriors are norm, I fail to see how I can feel personally involved in any of it.  I don't feel a personal struggle with the characters when the solution is to "Fight more monsters til you fight better and also buy better weapons and spells".  Not to mention that most RPG's are very linear storyline wise, and the outcome will eventually be the same regardless.  This tends to confuse me when people say how RPG's have such amazing stories.  I would say they're elaborate, but they're not dynamic in the least.  Whats going to happen is going to happen, and because of this, games like Final Fantasy feel more like storybooks with a few minigames thrown in (of which I am talking about the battle system).
On a related note, I generally hate the battle systems of Final Fantasy (yes I know you've heard this one before).  It's not necessarily the random battles that irk me (though thats part of it), but rather the fact that they actually pull you away from the main game.  FFXII fixed this a bit, but even since the early days when you encountered an enemy, you're taken to a different background, different layout, and in some cases (especially in FFVII), your characters' models change drastically.  If you're going to use a menu-based fighting system, look at games like Chrono Trigger on how to handle your encounters.

I think, more importantly though, I don't feel like I could ever BE the character.  I myself am a very tall, lanky, and physically weak fellow, who just happens to be human.  Therefore, I'll never relate to a 300 lb Orc with a super-mega-explosive-fire-death-axe who can also summon a giant dragon from space named Bahamut.  Games like Fallout and Ace Combat are much more my style.  They make me believe that I, in some parallel universe, COULD be that person.  Playing through Ace Combat 4 or 5 and listening to fellow pilots raving about how much more confident they are in their planned victory with you at their side is just such an awesome feeling that I wish more games were able to contain. 

Fallout is also similar in this respect.  The leveling system in Fallout makes sense to me.  Your guns don't suddenly do more damage just because you're a higher level.  A low-level character with a plasma rifle and hardened power armor stands just as good a chance as any.  Plus, you're able to make your own decisions and determine your own outcome, adding very much a human element.  Plus, the enemy encounters never take you away from the current screen you're in (unless you want to count encounters on the map screen, you nitpicker ;) )

I don't at all blame people for loving RPG's and Final Fantasy and Warcraft.  I can certainly see their appeal.  I'd just rather stick with my guns (literally).

Comments

  • Your post brings up a good point about myself.  Whenever I play video games, I never even think of connecting myself to the main character.  I had a WoW stint and I never felt like I was that guy.  Maybe if I'm playing Tiger Woods where the character actually looks like me, then I'll believe that it could be me.

    It's totally true though that most RPGs are pretty linear.  Some games try hard to pretend like they aren't linear (Fable) but in the end, it's just a linear story line wrapped in sidequests and minigames.  But I like that.  And sometimes I just want an excuse to play a fun game for 60 hours, so linear RPGs set that up nicely for me.
    justin
    justin  Level 29It's All RelativeJournalistExtra CommentaryWeblog CommenterAlways Right
    11/6/2008 6:11 am
  • You seem to dislike jRPGs. I find that jRPGs handle storytelling by telling you the story, which I'm fine with. Western RPGs, however, usually let you become your character, usually by appearance or attribute customization. I like this too (I like RPGs). While jRPGs focus on the plot and the characters involved, it's not unusual for their western-style bretheren to be more about the loot, riches, and in general other rewards besides levelling up.

    In the end, though, every game is going to be linear. Most will, of course, try to hide this, usually by producing a variety of sidequests that can distract you from the main storyline. It's all really a matter of how well it's done.

    If you liked Fallout, you might also like Jagged Alliance and its improved sequel, if you have yet to play them.
    Morpheus
    Morpheus  Level 7
    11/13/2008 8:11 am
    • You are very correct in that it's mainly what some would call "jRPGs" that I dislike.  However there is another point about why I don't like those storylines that I neglected to mention earlier. 
      I can not at all feel intrigued by the storyline when the enemy can suddenly turn into a giant crystal battle tank with a giant cannon that shoots dragons, and all it takes for the protagonist to overcome is using a few spells that any young kid can learn.  It's hard for me to feel a concern for conflict with your 9 year old neighborhood kid is capable of casting Ultima and destroying Shifrimut (I like to combine Shiva, Ifrit and Bahamut).
      It's really the same reason why I don't care for most anime.  I can enjoy DBZ and it's wacky cast of chracters, but I really love Cowboy Bebop, Lupin, and Speed Racer moreso myself.  I guess I have very American tastes in things.  I could eat burgers and hot dogs every day, but if I need noodles or cashew chicken, I puke.
      I don't at all mean to be critical (I've been accused as such), but I just know what appeals to me.  I will say that the FF series does have some of the most bright, vibrant beautiful cutscenes every, even if they are whores for particle effects ;)
      Stone
      Stone  Level 26JournalistWeblog CommenterIt's All RelativeAlways Right
      11/13/2008 9:11 am
      • Ohhh yeah, I hate it when they get all "Haha! I am more powerful than the gods themselves!" and four snotty kids come along and kick their ass. I mean...really? Sometimes there's a good story every dozen games or so though.
        Morpheus
        Morpheus  Level 7
        11/13/2008 7:11 pm

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