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February 15th, 2007, 06:14
Nice article, Corwin. I'm with you in infinitely preferring Tb in a party based crpg where I can utilize to the full my characters' best qualities rather than watching the AI pull out an odd and random assortment of behaviours which at best are boring and at worst often get everyone wiped out.

To me there's not much point in leveling up your characters, kitting them out in all the best, picking the spells and feats that appeal to you, and then watching the AI have them cast a 7th level spell at a goblin or fling your archer into the front lines.

And even if the AI were competent, you would miss most of the detail in all that flurry of activity. Combat like this might as well be resolved offscreen to me, and get on with the story or whatever other raison d'etre the game may have.

When it comes to a single character game, though, I have a lot less problem with real time action. There isn't as much to micromanage, and the strategy is usually more at the point and click level. That's why I prefer to call games like Diablo and Titan Quest, Dungeon Seige and even Morrowind action games rather than action rpgs, because that is the focus. Action, adrenalin, loot and leveling. I can't even imagine how dull a game like this would be if it were turn based.

About the only real time game I feel still qualifies as a full fledged action crpg is Gothic. You have to think when you play Gothic, and when combat comes, if you haven't prepared yourself for it, you die. But even though it's fast and intense, it's still strategically controllable.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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