Tuesday, February 3, 2009

RPG should stand for Really Pissed Gamer

My first foray into gaming came from Frogger and Mario Bros. I loved those platform games but once I figured out the timing that genre lost a little of it's lustre. My real love of gaming came with RPGs. I absolutely love them.

Anyone can go "fire ball, fire ball, jump, fire swing, jump, jump, jump". There's no great skill involved besides looking for patterns in the movements of enemies or obstacles. When you play an RPG there's a lot of skill in involved. Do you want to win the battle without taking any damage? You can try for it. Do you want to win a battle while greatly over matched? Go for it. There are so many different ways to play the game, and let's not forget about customizing your characters, that the game can be played multiple times, and although you have the same story (most games), it's a whole new experience each time.

Unfortunately, I'm not feeling the RPG love right now. I've been trying to play Lost Odyssey for the last couple of weeks and have only moved the story forward marginally, at best. I'm not running around exploring every corner of the map or village. I'm trying to move the plot forward. I just keep getting my ass kicked in battle. I'm left with magic users only when all I want are my muscle guys. Or my muscle guys are getting pounded by magic and spend more time healing or guarding than fighting. And if I've got the right characters they always seem to have the wrong equipment for the enemies I face.

I've played several RPGs and haven't had nearly this much trouble even in the hardest parts. I have the strategy guide but I'm trying very hard to get through this all on my own. I know, what's the point in getting the guide if I'm not going to use it? You can play an RPG by using the guide but usually you end up stopping every couple of steps to think do I turn left or right? Do I cast fire or earth against that boss? While following the guide will get you safely through the game and to the end credits it takes away some of the fun at having figured things out on your own. I still have fond memories of bosses that were tough to beat but that I did without any outside help. The rush of the achievement (minus the gamerscore points) was enough for me. I can also remember battling bosses while using the guide as a reference. The battles seemed shallow and the victories hollow.

Sometimes I wonder if I've played too many FPS to really get back into the mindset for an RPG game. Have I given in to the fact action, run and shoot approach to plot development instead of the slower what do I need to do to get from here to there? type of puzzle solving? And have instant action and known points of engagement replaced random battles? I don't know.

I really want to play Blue Dragon. I don't know why, but there's something about that game that is calling me right now. Unfortunately I told myself I wouldn't play another RPG until I have finished Lost Odyssey. At least not one in the fantasy genre. Maybe I should go back to Mass Effect or even further to Knights of the Old Republic. Maybe a Star Wars game (and a really good one at that) would get me out of this RPG funk. Maybe it's Lost Odyssey's lack of a small mini game like Sabaac (KotOR) or Tetra Master (FF9) or Blitzball (FF10). I miss those mini diversions. Nowadays they would make great Xbox Live Arcade titles, but unfortunately they weren't released or created that way. The Pub Games from Fable 2 are the exception.

Well, with whatever happens that lets me get my RPG mojo back I'll still be playing FPS. I'm just going to have to sprinkle in some more RPG time. Or maybe a platformer or two just to break up the monotony. If I don't, RPG really will stand for Really Pissed Gamer. Or maybe Radioactive Psycho Gamer. But only if I get bitten by a spider.

1 comment:

Iron Lady said...

Hey Pengwenn, I tend to agree with you I remember the console games of old where every boss had a specific pattern, and killed the replay value instantly.
I'm a fan of the RPG as well, don't get me wrong shooting things until they implode is great too, but there are few things that can top creating your own plot line eg the many variations of game play in Fable 2.
Think I spent more time exploring the neighbouring woods and alleys of Bowerstone than I did following pushing the story along.