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April 24th, 2007, 14:06
What bugs me a bit in this discussion is that everyone takes the bits and pieces from the article and interprets them in a way he or she likes. Fact is however that the article is generalizing to an extent that is hardly bearable. The same goes for the wrong/right dichotomy that the author brings up at the very beginning of the article which undermines his own argumentation (which might even contain some valid points).
To be a bit more precise: You cannot claim that you're right if you're talking about personal preference or taste. For many people character building is an integral and essential part to the rpg genre. Therefore it is only natural that rpgs that feature a true "hero" right from the start will most likely be the exception.
In his argumentation Jeff Vogel is also somewhat hypocritical. On the one hand he vehemently argues in favour of breaking old patterns, but on the other hand he very much relies on such patterns. I for once find that the cliché of the mighty protagonist that is able to perform heroic, almost epic deeds is used in an almost inflationary way. As you can see - it all comes back to personal preference.

The author has many valid points, but again and again he seems to draw conclusions that are so far off that one is inclined to just stop reading. Trash for example. I can see his point, and in a way I agree with him. Although I doubt that even the classics of the rpg genre could get along without some trash - but anyway… let's just say the author has a point. And now comes the conclusion:

One solution to this tedium is the extreme one - get rid of everything that isn't a boss. The excellent action game Shadow of the Colossus does this. It's just 16 boss fights (with tedious but relatively quick horse rides between them). It's awesome.
After having a read a passage like the above one, I was not entirely sure if Vogel is serious or not. How the hell can you compare Shadow of the Colossus with a rpg. It's a totally different genre, and it gets rid of one problem by creating several others. And how can you argue that today's rpgs do not feature interesting quests and then praise a pos like that?

Same goes basically for the rest of the article. At some point he talks about God of War and GoW2, both some fairly nice action games that I had the pleasure to play on a friend's playstation. But these games do simply not compare with the rpg genre. They are action games, linear, with a simple story, without character development, and minimum of dialogue. It's easy to make a game that excels other games in just one or two aspects if the rest of the game is that simple.

Look at Fallout, look at Baldur's Gate, look at other great rpgs - most of them have their fair share of repetitive combat and enemies… but they have elements which make up for certain deficiencies in other areas. The more complex a game the more complicated it gets to make a game that excels in every single aspect.
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