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Default Are there any story-based RPGs anymore

August 21st, 2013, 12:11
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post

Skyrim took great strides towards giving players more unique content to find in dungeons - especially when you compare it to Oblivion which had almost nothing unique in most dungeons.
Very true. There's a good chance that any place you enter will have some sort of story element.

Skyrim's biggest problems with story seem to be due to cut content and a general lack of consistency amongst the designers regarding the lore, particularly when it comes to timelines (Dawnguard's a complete mess). Regardless, it's a vast improvement on Oblivion, and I was pleased to see the Shivering Isles ending stupidity was largely ignored. Too bad they didn't drop fishmalk Sheogorath, too.
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August 21st, 2013, 12:51
Personally, I'm coming from the "Adventure Games" side. ROGs have always been "extended adventure games" to me, with a few mechanics added (like experience points).

Adventures are about nothing but riddles & story - usually, at least.
Combat just doesn't exist there - at least in "pure" adventures, which don't exist internationally anymore.
In the international markets, there do exist only "Action-Adventueres" nowadays (Tomb Raider), as if Action was everything people wanted to have. (I guess it was instead everything the spin doctors wanted to have.)

Adventure games are - in my opinion - "pure storytelling". It's sad that they aren't produced anymore. And that real storytellers are pushed into game genres they don't really like (like Jennifer Hepler) with game mechanics that are often standing on the opposite side of "pure" storytelling.
In my opinion, Jennifer Hepler would have been perfect in early Sierra. As a storyteller. And the early Sierra Adventures were about story.
Jane Jensen is one of the only independent story tellers left. And even her "Gray Matter" game didn't sell well.
So sad that Jennifer Hepler had to work in an environment not really fitting to her - and that she had been bullied out of the industry, instead of giving her a place in a company exclusively developing adventure games.
But Dragon Age Lovers don't want adventure games. Or otherwise they had explained to her that an adventure games company was the better place for her.
But the crowd doesn't know what Adventure games are. I bet that no-one of those who sent those death threats out to her had EVER played an adventure game like Broken Sword.

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August 21st, 2013, 13:00
Adventure games maneuvered themselves a bit into a dead end, gameplay wise. Riddles became increasingly ridiculous, and often degenerated into pixel hunting or "try to use everything in the inventory on everything else". Also I disagree that Adventures were necessarily about story (more than RPGs anyway). Monkey Island e.g. wasn't about story, but about situational comedy, mostly - and that is true for many others of the humourous adventures. Myst was mostly about (then) breathtaking graphics and really hard riddles, etc.
And really all of Biowares and CD projects games are strongly focused on story, and so are several other RPGs.
That said, I'm enjoying replaying the Broken Sword games on my iPhone, so I agree that there is still something to be said for the old P&C Adventure format.
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August 21st, 2013, 13:04
Well, I certainly think Monkey Island was about story.

MYST was about immersion - to my mind. At the time, it was the most immersive game I'd ever played.

I agree that adventure games tend to center around story - and if they don't, I tend to call them "puzzlers".

However, I'd also say that traditional RPGs are about story to a degree - but there's no denying that combat is a huge part of most any RPG - old or new.

Then we have all those other elements representing the norm for RPGs like character progression and loot.
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August 21st, 2013, 13:14
I remember nothing regarding the story of Monkey Island so I doubt it was very impressive. I do however remember plenty of funny situations and good laughs (and a few hair pulling riddles). There are certainly Adventures where that's different - Broken Sword, the Indiana Jones games, Loom, and many others I can't recall the names any more. But equally for many others, like Monkey Island, Zak McKracken, it was not the story that pulled me in but fun situations and figuring out the riddles.
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August 21st, 2013, 13:24
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I remember nothing regarding the story of Monkey Island so I doubt it was very impressive. I do however remember plenty of funny situations and good laughs (and a few hair pulling riddles). There are certainly Adventures where that's different - Broken Sword, the Indiana Jones games, Loom, and many others I can't recall the names any more. But equally for many others, like Monkey Island, Zak McKracken, it was not the story that pulled me in but fun situations and figuring out the riddles.
I'm not saying the story is such that everyone would find it impressive. But it was certainly the driving factor when I played it - and I'm surprised anyone would say it's not story-driven.

That said - to me - dialogue and NPC interaction is part of the story content.
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August 21st, 2013, 13:33
A lot of this depends on how you define "story". To some people lots of text/talking means it's story heavy. A few years ago "story" was just a buzzword the "I'm Elfy Gorgeousblossom, the most beautiful super-awesome wizard who everyone loves" class of gamer equated with NPC relationship simulators.

I've never played a game for the story. A story is a bit of spice that can add to the gameplay, but I won't put up with bad gameplay for a story. For example, Portal's a fun little puzzle game, but the fairly simple story they laid on top of it to justify the gameplay kept it interesting.
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August 21st, 2013, 13:33
Actually, the major problem I had with Skyrim was that I felt I had little incentive to explore its huge world.

Once you've cleared out one cave system, they all start to blur into one. I was drowning in loot to the point that I found myself only looking at the "value" attribute of items before schlepping everything back to the nearest merchant. Similarly, there were a few interesting quests, but they were far too diluted by cookie-cutter fetch/find jobbies. The books threw so much text at me that I didn't know what was worth reading and what was just more bone-dry elf history.

Sometimes, less is more.

Don't get me wrong, I get see why some people adore the game. It's beautiful and leaves ample room to craft your own tale. But I play games to be swept along in stories others have crafted.
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August 21st, 2013, 13:44
The loot was mostly crap - I agree with that.

The reason I felt the incentive to explore was primarily because of the little touches they added to almost all the dungeons.

In Oblivion, they had a single guy creating all the dungeons (IIRC) - and they had 8 guys for Skyrim - which made all the difference.

I agree that there's a sense of recycling and boredom when it comes to the limited visual variety - but I really do think there's enough "unique" story bits to make exploration worthwhile.

I suppose it depends on what KIND of unique content you require for the incentive.
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August 21st, 2013, 14:39
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
You'll unfortunately mostly need to look at console RPG's these days for a good story or indie games.

On the other hand if you think Elder Scrolls series has a good story… I guess just about anything would do….
yes I was also surprised when I read that part
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August 21st, 2013, 15:48
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I agree that there's a sense of recycling and boredom when it comes to the limited visual variety - but I really do think there's enough "unique" story bits to make exploration worthwhile.
OH yeah, I must have sunk a good 40 hours into Skyrim, so something kept me interested! But I just never got that same sense of curiosity and anticipation about "what's in this chest, what's lurking in that cave, etc" that I get with some games (e.g., Gothic, Dark Souls).
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August 21st, 2013, 16:20
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
OH yeah, I must have sunk a good 40 hours into Skyrim, so something kept me interested! But I just never got that same sense of curiosity and anticipation about "what's in this chest, what's lurking in that cave, etc" that I get with some games (e.g., Gothic, Dark Souls).
I can appreciate that - because Dark Souls and Gothic are both games of a much smaller and tighter scope. I can't say I understand the appeal of Dark Souls in terms of exploration (it seemed so empty and bleak to me) - but Gothic is a masterpiece of its time.
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August 21st, 2013, 17:23
Addressing the original question and interpreting it as fairly pure RPG games with some depth to them, I can recommend the Avernum games. The first one's been remade as Avernum: Escape from the Pit and seems to show up on sale fairly often.

You might also look into Risen, which had a good setting and interaction with the world. In the end I found the gameplay to be very tedious and more like a generic third person action game, but lots of fans of classic RPG fans don't have a problem with it.
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August 21st, 2013, 19:56
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
You might also look into Risen, which had a good setting and interaction with the world. In the end I found the gameplay to be very tedious and more like a generic third person action game, but lots of fans of classic RPG fans don't have a problem with it.
If the final 1/3 of Risen had been as good as the first 2/3 of the game, it would have been a classic on the same level as Gothic 1&2 imo. The problem is that it basically turns into a giant dungeon crawl in the final act.

Risen is still a worthwhile game though. It's got that fantastic atmosphere and exploration that Piranha Bytes is known for along with a great soundtrack.
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August 21st, 2013, 20:22
Yep, spot on summary of Risen. Risen 2 holds it together a bit longer. The story is still centred on the hokey "ancient evil to be defeated by the legendary weapon constructed from pieces scattered to the four corners of the world." But there's a few fun plot elements and characters along the way.
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August 21st, 2013, 20:35
Maybe more strategy than RPG but Expeditions:Conquistador had good writing, definitively not stellar but good nonetheless and with setting that is different than most of games.
There are lot of good story driven games from other genres that came out this year.
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August 21st, 2013, 20:56
The total overhaul mod Nehrim for Oblivion has quite a good story. Nehrim has some interesting characters, a good overall plot that sends you to some very interesting locations and quite a few twists and turns that keep things fresh. Give it a shot and see what you think, just give it a good 5 or 6 hours at the very least to get going. Once you start unraveling the story a bit it really gets interesting.
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August 25th, 2013, 11:09
Jumping slightly to this thread to try and stop derailing the other one Early RPGs weren't story-based either. I think stories are best tied to the non-comic adventure game genre.

RPGs, just like other game genres, *can* have good stories, but I don't associate the two. Might and Magic series, Eye of the Beholder etc. were great, despite absence of story. Likewise Bioshock, FEAR, StarCraft, Dragon Commander etc. can have interesting stories despite them being other genres.

What story does for me in an RPG is help establish atmosphere, and give me an incentive to role-play my characters, but trying to combine story with the freedom to role-play and explore is quite tricky. I think it was done best in Ultima 7 and Daggerfall.
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August 25th, 2013, 11:48
Yeah, I think you're spot on there. Maybe another part of the issue is that one aspect we all love in our RPGs is the power progression that takes the protagonist from rat catcher to dragon slayer. That sort of development lends itself better to "saving the world," which is frankly more backdrop than story. The smaller, more interesting tales could in principle form nice sidequests within that backdrop, but are rarely are fleshed out enough to be memorable.
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August 25th, 2013, 19:07
Albion was quite nice, story wise.
They even had developed an whole own culture & language for the game, if I remember correctly.

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