Rampant Games - RPG Design Post
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May 7th, 2009, 08:30
Oh yeah, I couldn't agree more.
Generally, intellectual challenges are few and far between, and among those few who DO implement them - they tend to make them overbearingly easy, so as not to actually challenge anyone - but merely delay them for a bit.
Whether it be traps, puzzles, wordy riddles - or anything like that, I continuously lament the lack of them done properly. I love to be challenged like that - as long as it makes sense in context, and is a fair test.
Obsidian did some "decent" ones in Neverwinter Nights 2, but again - it's rare these days.
I'm not sure when it went truly out of fashion - but I guess it's around the same time games went from enthusiasts to casuals gamers. Not a date set in stone, but probably the late nineties or something.
I long for even the simpler challenges, and I recall with sweet nostaliga the stuff you had to figure out in games like Dungeon Master and Black Crypt.
One of the best examples of this done right is Realms of the Haunting, though it isn't a CRPG in the strict sense. It has plenty RPG elements though, and it's still pretty playable if you haven't already tried it. There are some excellent puzzles and traps in that game, that really fit with the context of the stuff going on.
Oh, and I know people love to bash Ultima 9 (most of it well deserved), but that's an example of dungeons done RIGHT. It may not be a particularly good game overall, and I'm sure it isn't very Ultima-ish - but the dungeons were some of the best in many years, and I definitely recall some great puzzles.
I'm getting the urge to replay that one just for the puzzles.