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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The World of Western RPGs @ MobyGames

Default The World of Western RPGs @ MobyGames

July 28th, 2008, 17:42
Moby Games has posted an extensive look at the history of Western RPGs by their contributor Drunken Irishman. It spans the early days of the Eighties and series like Wizardry and Ultima, through the golden years of the Nineties and on to the present. Almost every conceivable crpg is discussed including the perennials like Fallout, Baldur's Gate and Planescape:Torment, but here's the author's look at a less frequently scrutinized game:
Westwood made a return to the RPG genre with the sequel to Lands of Lore. In the second game you step in the shoes of Luther, the son of Scotia who was the villain in the first game. The game essentially remains the same - a plot-driven dungeon crawler with an inspired character with whom you can look at objects like in an adventure game. Another thing of interest is that LoL 2 is one of the few RPGs to use FMV cut-scenes with live actors in it. There is much more interaction with the environment and you have control over the fate of your character; some of the decisions you can make nudge Luther towards the good or the evil path.

In many ways, the LoL series pioneered the visceral approach to RPGs of nowadays, because they are way more action-oriented, fluid and dynamic than the RPGs of their time. The last game in the series ditched the live-action actors in favor of CGI. It continues the kind of visceral gameplay of LoL 2 and the tradition of the LoL series to star only male characters as leads…
And a short bit on the Might and Magic series:
…The 6th has become the most popular Might and Magic game ever, though it did not do anything different from the previous Might and Magic games; it only delivered an updated engine and a more comfortable interface. Most likely it just hit the right time when the public's interest in RPGs was increasing. In a way, MM6 is the peak of Might and Magic games. It is also the last in the series to have that esoteric, mathematical equation feel to it.

The 7th and 8th lose the esoteric part of it. They cut the new age inspiration and went for a more straightforward fantasy meets sci-fi approach. The seventh title added a good and evil path and starting from the eighth game the series faded into obscurity. The ninth and final game was the last nail into the coffin, because by 2002, different things were expected from RPGs rather than the kind of 80's gameplay M&M dearly protected.
There's also an equally extensive article on Asian RPG's, which you can find here.
More information.
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July 28th, 2008, 17:42
Might and Magic 7 was the most polished of the newer generation games, and even 8 was fun if you were not burned out on the formula. Monster races were fun anyway. 6 was huge though.
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July 28th, 2008, 17:46
I agree—I thought M&M7 was an improvement on 6, what with the addition of the good or evil path choice, the increased and more organized masteries, and of course, Arcomage. But 6 was the base it was built on, and an outstanding game as well.

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July 28th, 2008, 18:07
My favorite (or saddest) quote from the Japanese RPG article: "there was a general tendency to neglect the actual role-playing, character-building element for more linear gameplay with reduced difficulty level."

Fave of the Western RPG: "And this is how the genre RPG was born. As a way for the lonely guy to feel mighty. Which means that these games were really meant for sad people."

I also loved this:"Immersion – marketing speak that no one actually understands and is considered a synonym for "cool".

Next-Gen – a synonym for "cool". See "Immersion."

Innovation – see "Immersion". "

I know I cringe and pause when I am tempted to use the word Immersion … but sometimes the context just works.

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July 28th, 2008, 18:29
I agree with Melvil and magerette - MM7 was the best MM. Still one of the best games I've ever played.
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July 28th, 2008, 18:46
It was a good article and fun to read as well!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 28th, 2008, 20:58
Few thoughts:
- He writes off the first two of the Gothic series with basically two lines, yet refers them to one of two jewels of European RPG's. And also calls G3 a 'major failure' despite the high sales we know about.
- He dumps DivDiv into the Diablo-clone pot, but then differentiates it, but doesn't then feature it.
- He talks about sex scenes an awful lot … but fails to note the tasteful - but not fade to black - scene in Gothic 2. (oops, missed the side-mention under Mass Effect)

Do like the article … I'm still back-filling my RPG collection from my years of FPS only gaming …

— Mike
Last edited by txa1265; July 28th, 2008 at 21:04.
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July 28th, 2008, 21:29
- He writes off the first two of the Gothic series with basically two lines, yet refers them to one of two jewels of European RPG's.
The book Dungeons & Desktops did the same thing, giving the games just a few sentences, while also saying they're overlooked.

Overall, this was a pretty entertaining read. I think people who write these retrospectives should go easy on the "Game X was the first to do Y" statements. One error I saw was saying Bard's Tale 2 was the first game to feature mini games, which makes me wonder whether he actually played Questron (a game he called "relatively crappy")
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