The Decline of Quality RPGs

DualShockers writes:

"RPGs (Role Playing Games, for those of you who aren't too fond of acronyms) have been a major part of the gaming industry. Anyone who's been around for the past three decades will probably tell you that RPG's defined, for the most part, a large portion of the industry during the times of the most memorable consoles (SNES, for example). It was the genre that kick-started most of our lusts for gaming. Games like Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Terranigma, Earthbound, Lunar, and Secret of Mana, just to name a few – titles that became more than just a game, for some; titles that birthed fanaticism in storytelling and left memorable imprints in the back of our minds. These were the times when games had meaning – where deep stories were of abundance and kept you at the edge of your seat anxious to reveal what happened next. But as newer generations of consoles began to spawn, storytelling began to change dramatically, and RPG's became a withering breed conquered by western first-person shooters and the practical need to choose graphical prowess over a valuable storyline."

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GWAVE3274d ago

It depends on what you consider to be "quality". As for me, the height of RPGs was not with FF7 (I actually think that game is mediocre), but rather with Ultima, the SNES RPGs, the Baldur's Gate and Fallout series, etc. But it all depends on taste. Many people (obviously) adore FF7, but I don't, just like most people aren't going to share my love for Dwarf Fortress, Incursion, and Nethack.

Chris3993274d ago (Edited 3274d ago )

They were fresh and innovative and clever; with a mindset and game-play that was foreign and inviting. Spend hours learning complex systems and involving ourselves in the melodrama of tiny digital beings!? What could be more fun (for some :) )?

There are tonnes of great RPGs nowadays. Oblivion, Vesperia, Valkyria Chronicles, Demon's Souls, Lost Odyssey, and that's without even mentioning the DS' library. Those titles are just as classic and captivating as FF7 (I preferred VIII myself) ever were.

I've never been happier being a gamer (and RPG nut) than I am now. There is a veritable FEAST of titles to choose from across varying themes and platforms - take your pick! We have SPRGS, JRPGS, First Person RPGS, 3rd person RPGS, Sim RPGS, and the list goes on an on.

I think the greater issue facing us is the spoiled, seen everything, been there, done that attitude that reviewers and some gamers seem to thrive on.

iiprotocolii3274d ago

I would agree with you on some points. Not all games this generation are bland. Games, as you've mentioned, like Valkyria Chronicles and Demon's Souls are, in fact, great. Those are games, like the author was stating, that leave a mark on you. Lost Odyssey? I wouldn't call that game mind-blowing.

It's all relative to each person's perspective/opinions. I, myself, enjoyed the games of the past because they always TRIED (keyword) to relay some sort of message with the game. Gamers nowadays are spoiled, yea. But they're spoiled more by the graphics a game can put out. It's a constant argument that occurs every day here on N4G.

taz80803274d ago

I like the Baldurs Gate reference, that was a great coop RPG that was heavily underated

iamtehpwn3274d ago (Edited 3274d ago )

Not counting Valkyria Chronicles and Demon souls, which pwn ass, however, they aren't what you'd call "Traditional" RPG's.

Lost Odyssey was a very quality game (technically burdened by 4 DVD9's and technical down falls of Unreal Engine).

Applegate3274d ago (Edited 3274d ago )

When it comes to jrpg's I think people are overrating the PS2 era, They weren't so many AAA jrpg's at all, simply a handful plus a lot of good ones and the usual crappy ones
This gen there's only "good" ones plus the usual crappy ones.

And I think that if theres less jrpg's this gen its because of the non-succes of the PS3 in Japan where jrpg's sell the most.

As for jrpg's the situiation is a lot better in my opinion: Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fable 2, Mass Effect etc.

DragonWarrior_43274d ago

@ Chris, "The only reason why those classic JRPGs are thought of as "quality", is because at their time, we (North Americans) had never been exposed to the genre before." Says the noob who's first console was a ps2. You have no clue what your talking about. Great RPG's have been around since the 80's. Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, and many others started on the NES. BTW, I too think FF7 is overrated. For me its FFX and FF4 all the way.

ud3274d ago

I totally agree with Dragon Warrior 4, my most memorable moments were in the NES / SNES days for the exception of the final fantasy series. I think FF7 was one the the best, but I have to say that FF6 was the greatest RPG I've played, followed by FF4. I'm also a big Dragon warrior fan (playing the 7th right now)

I bought Oblivion, Fallout and Mass effect. Haven't finished any of em. Oblivion was AWESOME at first but wayyyy to repetitive, level scaling was also stupid. Pretty much the same thing happened with fallout. They're great games! but I just can't keep on fighting the same monsters in only a couple of different landscape.

Best recent RPG is Demon's soul imo

FamilyGuy3273d ago

I always think of FFX when great RPGs come to mind. Everything about it was enjoyable but one of its biggest pluses was the exploration. Being able to go anywhere and find all sorts of new things and unlock abilities. The story was good the the main characters voice acting was bad (at least in English). The mini-games and so much was packed into the game the hundreds of hours could be spent and enjoyed.

Star Ocean III for some, minus the story was great for similar reasons.

iamtehpwn3273d ago (Edited 3273d ago )

I've played Final Fantasy X English, and Final Fantasy X: International entirely in Japanese (Text and voice. You gotta go all in. Don't puss out). Honestly, They're about the same.

English Tidus actually a more passion then Japanese Tidus has.
But I think Japanese Yuna display her more Asian styled personality better then English Yuna, and her constant use for formal speech for example.

And Yes. Final Fantasy X in My VERY personal opinion, is the greatest JRPG of all time.

dragunrising3273d ago

The title should read: The Decline of Quality JRPGs. Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Fable II say hi. Western RPGs seem to be picking up the slack. With that said, Lost Odyssey and Star Ocean 4 are good imo.

Chris3993273d ago (Edited 3273d ago )

I sunk well over 100 hours into Rygar and Deadly Towers on the NES and I had a C-64 long before that. That said, I don't feel that having played old or retro games makes you "cool" or gives you "cred" or the justification for mouthing off to other people. We're all just here to enjoy what gaming can offer regardless of our age or history, so you shouldn't be so judgmental. In my experience, people who use terms like "noob" are usually the most immature and socially under-developed of the bunch.

The games I was referencing came from the discussion in this thread. And Dragon Warrior was hardly a commercial success in the Americas. Whether you like it or not, FF I, IV, VI and especially VII put JRPGs on the map (VII in particular set the stage for epic cinematics in a game). These were the games that opened the floodgates and created mass exposure for the genre.

Careful reading of a comment before posting your opinion is KEY. There's a reason why you have 3 bubbles.

@iamthepwn. I completely agree with your assessment of Lost Odyssey. It's a shame that the game got slammed for being too traditional when it was so well crafted. I also think that it would have benefited more from an engine other than Unreal.

starvinbull3273d ago

I think Fallout was genuinely a one in a million game that hasn't been equalled since. Take away all notion of graphics and fallout can compete with any game of any generation.

----------------------------- ------------------------------ - ---------------
Final Fantasy 7 rant.

FF7 is often ridiculed for not being hardcore enough but where FF7 trumped earlier games was in it's expression.
The towns and villages are all unique having their own style, their own shops, their own view of the world. Go to Cosmo Canyon and you'll meet hippy types huddling round a camp fire looking at the stars, go to Midgar and you'll see extreme depravation bustling cafes and bars and even a brothel. Yes Midgar is probably the best town in a game ever.

The characters are one dimensional but they are full of expression and convey their differences through body language.
The characters crucially all have backstories and all take place in tangible settings with links to the present events of the story. Barret for instance wants to take down Shinra because they destroyed his home town, Cloud has little memory of his life and starts to believe that he may be nothing more than a clone, Red XIII never knew his father and finds out that not only is he the last of his species but that his father was a great hero that laid down his life for Cosmo Canyon.
Whilst in each individual scene or dialogue exchange the characters are one dimensional, across the whole game they are well developed and round out the core plot very well.

The Materia system isnt just there for the sake of it, it's alluded to in every plot element in relation to human cloning, the lifestream of the planet as well as the huge mako reactors that dot the planet. The materia system is shown in graphic detail as either a spruced up power point presentation in cosmo canyons observatory or as a luminous subterranean soup in gorgeous CGI.

I think one of the best things that is often not mentioned is how much in the game you don't have to do. Major plot points, entire islands with villages and even an entire CGI sequence can all be disregarded.
Something like riding chocobos best highlights my point. The act of riding a chocobo is never mandatory, not once, yet if you exploit everything chocobo related in the game you can spend about 15 hours breeding, racing, exploring with your chcobos.
Golden Saucer only requires you to visit it once yet if you attempt to get every major prize there you could be spending more than 6 hours of you time doing it on your second visit at the earliest. There's more than 12 (guess) mini games there and all of them can pose a challenge to a seasoned RPG vet.
Last but not least I should mention the Weapons. No not the sort you hold in your hand, the giant world ending sort.
Try to beat all three and you'll be grinding your characters for hours and that's if you got the right equipment along the way. If you try killing them with a sub ultimate weapon or grinding without a double or triple growth weapon and accessory then you'll be looking at double or triple the alternative.
Again this is absolutely an optional part of the game and should you choose to do it all you can expect to spend more than 6-10 hours grinding and fighting the Weapons.

Fallout was a genius RPG but FF7 was a genius work of fiction.

starvinbull3273d ago (Edited 3273d ago )

What you fail to realise it that RPGS are in decline, citing the games you did shows this to be true because Fallout 3 is not as good as it's predecessors, Oblivion is not as good as it's predecessors, Mass Effect is not as good as KOTOR of course Fable 2 bucks the trend.

DragonWarrior_43273d ago

You fail again man. A game doesn't have to be a commercial success to be a good game. Also, the only reason why I singled you out was cause of your "The only reason why those classic JRPGs are thought of as "quality", is because at their time, we (North Americans) had never been exposed to the genre before.". That right there proves that you have no idea what your talking about. What the hell do you mean when you say we never been exposed to the genre before? This is the year 2009 man. Ive played 100's of jrpg's in the past 20 years. Where have you been?

+ Show (11) more repliesLast reply 3273d ago
Antar203274d ago

Nah. I have faith in Bioware.

TheColbertinator3274d ago

Western RPGs are great especially the bioware games.The Japanese RPGs this gen are lacking in quality like in the old days.Last Remnant,Infinite Undiscovery,Cross Edge...ugh pure garbage.

taz80803274d ago

I hated Infinite Undiscovery, but I usually get dirty looks when i say that

rukia_chan3274d ago (Edited 3274d ago )

are you fu**king retarded???? square enix is garbage not japan rpgs idiot.

look for namco bandai tales of vesperia is great jrpg, your moron.

Montrealien3273d ago

I dissagree, the DS alone has a crap tonne, PS2 is still has decent ones being published on it, MS is trying to get some great ones made, Sony is working on it, the PSP has many out, and coming out also.

I guess what I mean to say is that we dont need to look at the current gen consoles anymore, the core jrpg style can be found on many consoles, including portables. And this is something the writer of the article is completly ignoring.

NegativeCreepWA3274d ago

Western rpgs are getting better, while jrpgs are declining.

Keowrath3274d ago

That's exactly what I was thinking when I saw the articles title.

taz80803274d ago

They tried to bring games like Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata but those tanked

3274d ago