Colin Campbell: Like millions of others, the game I'll play more than any other this year is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The only reason this is worth mentioning is because I really, really don't like RPGs.
this comment i couldnt agree more with: ''The reason why I can't wait for Skyrim is that it is not an RPG, it's an escape-hatch to another world."
Oblivion and Fallout 3/New Vegas weren't RPGs either, so I suppose it's expected that Skyrim would follow suit. Not that I don't enjoy playing any of Bethesda's games, or Mass Effect 2 either, but they aren't RPGs. Here's a tip for anyone who might think otherwise, if you've always hated RPGs until you played Oblivion/Fallout 3/Mass Effect 2 then that should have been you're clue that maybe these games you like aren't really RPGs, no matter how much they want to be. "But they have stats!" Yeah, so does Madden. "But you play a 'role'!" You play a role in every game that's ever existed. Is PacMan an RPG because you "become PacMan" every time you play? If you said yes then you're probably "wocca wocca".
Please, elaborate on what an "RPG" is.
An RPG "traditionally" involves a character, or group of characters, on a quest of some kind. In terms of video games the gameplay is typically done in a turn based combat system usually separate from other aspects of gameplay. In some instances it is strictly turn based, as in the Final Fantasy series, while other times it can be more tactical, as in Disgaea. A more action style of gameplay can also be used, as in the Tales of games. In "Western" RPGs, such as Diablo, a combination of the tactical and action style with other elements is used for gameplay, while X-COM is a "Western" RPG in the strategy style similar to Disgaea. All of these elements originated from Dungeons and Dragons, and similar original RPGs that traditionally used dice to determine whether or not an attack was effective or not or how much damage it did. This "chance factor" is present in all true RPG video games, yet it is strangely absent in all of the games I've listed as not being RPGs. In Fallout 3/New Vegas/Mass Effect 2 when a player shoots a character in the head that character is automatically dead. The same method applies in Oblivion with the use of bows, but depending on the choice of weapons the player selects the only real factor in whether or not an attack is effective is if it connects or not, which is entirely up to the control of the player. In a true RPG the player's character can have appeared to have struck his opponent, yet due to what I called the "chance factor" may not have caused any damage to the enemy at all. Enemies also have certain strengths and weaknesses in a true RPG, usually linked to elements, and may also require a certain item or weapon in order to defeat them. The complicated rules and traits of RPGs usually cause players who dislike games that "cheat" to become frustrated with them, which explains why, like the author of this article, some people don't like them. I really don't care if people disagree with my definition or what I said in my original post or not, but as someone who has enjoyed playing RPGs for a long time it frustrates me to see what is being praised as "the best RPG" these days when the games being touted aren't even RPGs. I haven't played Mass Effect so I won't judge it, but ME2 is a third person shooter, Fallout 3/New Vegas are FPSs, and Oblivion is a first person action game on par with Thief: The Dark Project ect. My gripe isn't just with Western games either, as some people think the Yakuza games are RPGs too when in reality they're just Brawlers on par with River City Ransom. Don't get me wrong, I like all of those games and enjoy playing them, but they aren't RPGs. I don't know how else to explain it to someone than to say it would be like if people started saying, "Half Life 2 is the greatest puzzle game ever" when it's not a puzzle game. Tetris, Dr. Mario, and Catherine are puzzle games. Does Half Life 2 have puzzles? Yes. Do those games have RPG elements like leveling? Yes, but Half Life 2 isn't a puzzle game and those games aren't RPGs.
@Tuxedo. By your definition Dark Souls isn't an RPG as there is no 'chance factor' involved with hitting a enemy. While I approve of your detailed response I don't agree with it. For me, an RPG is defined by deep customisation of a PC, about assuming the 'role' of another person/entity and then affecting the world around you with that character. Games such as the FF series force you to play a pre-defined character whilst games like ES and FO allow you to create your own which seems to me to be more like an RPG. Also, I don't think you can define an RPG purely by the way you kill an enemy.
Actually, I really don't consider Dark Souls/Demon's Souls to be a "true" RPG either. I know you can't just define whether a game is an RPG or not based on solely what I said, but those are just some things that I've grown accustomed to expecting when I see a game labeled "RPG". Also, while I understand where you're coming from in your definition of an RPG, I think you can't just focus on customization or assuming a role either in defining a game as an RPG. You can customize your character in a lot of games, sports titles included, and as I stated in my original comment you play a role in every game, even if your avatar is a mere pixel in an Atari game. I suppose in the end my definition and the definition anyone states concerning the definition of an RPG is really just an opinion. It would help if the RPG genre was more recognizable and followed a definite set of rules, but maybe I'm really just complaining for nothing. It's not like the games that I don't consider RPGs are bad games, on the contrary, they're some of the best games released this gen. Maybe I'm just holding on to the idea that RPG gamers are a different breed when I should really be embracing the fact that they've become more popular with gamers in general. Who knows, maybe someone who "hates RPGs" yet likes Mass Effect 2, or any of the other games I mentioned, will be more likely to give Persona 5 a chance when it comes out since they've come to find that just because a game is labeled an RPG doesn't mean they can't enjoy it.
Sometimes people over define things, and have a set of personal ideals that separate them within a sub-group. An RPG is just that a role playing game. People will play it how they want or how they are made to play it. It is what it is. It is just that.
RPG to me has always been creating a character, gaining levels, experience, equipment and spells to make your character better. You're given a story i.e. module for the D&D fanatics, which you have to complete. Skyrim meets all of these criteria. I would say Dark Souls would be the purest form of an RPG in the sense that you can't even pause and figure out what you want to do, everything is fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best. The purest form would obviously be if once you died your current story ends. I would use Heavy Rain as an example but of course that isn't an RPG, but it definitely has choices that permanently effect your story.
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