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Default 1Up - 2009: The Year of the Old-School RPG

January 2nd, 2010, 15:34
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
I do not think F3 advanced it's genré at all, but rather it was an attempt to resurrect what many modern games have removed. I still find Bethesda's questdesign inferior to that of games like Gothic, Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate and other free-roaming games. I was only disagreeing to the point that it had "no story".
I got that but didn't have time to reply and assumed the point would be missed … and it seems it was.

I think that you make a distinction between having a story present that is of some weight and doing a decent job telling that story that was lost. Most see the story, but find the writing and dialogue … not so great.
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January 2nd, 2010, 16:10
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I think that you make a distinction between having a story present that is of some weight and doing a decent job telling that story that was lost. Most see the story, but find the writing and dialogue … not so great.
Totally. But I always put a distinct difference between story and storytelling. You can have the most cliché story imaginable and still come out on top as long as your storytelling is good, and it can be the other way around. In F3 I saw the story, it's progression and it's components, and I saw it's execution. The story was fairly solid as far as it's design and components went as far as I concern, but it's execution was quite bad. Next game they make they should hire a director who know how to produce nice scenes that really capture the emotions and make whatever happens feel important. And they should probably skip the A-B-C-D-E quest design, it was bad in Oblivion and it was bad in F3.

When it comes to dialogue I have to go with the likeness of "going back in time" as I did in a previous post. The dialogue design in Mass Effect was terrible for example, however, the camera movement was far more cinematic.
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January 2nd, 2010, 21:27
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
The game industry as a whole - and RPGs as a genre - jumps forwards with leaps and bounds in certain areas - like graphics - keeps meandering on other areas - like AI - and is at a dead standstill in remaining areas - like writing. Take that enormous complexity of progression and regression on the rare pieces that can be measured on a linear scale - and really only technical execution is available for this - and then add the fact that most elements can *not* be measured on a linear scale, and the whole mess becomes clear. Less story and more exploration-focused action-RPGs like the Gothics or the Elder Scrolls do not represent a "regression" or "progression" of the genre, they just represent a different interpretation.

To me, it seems that denying that this is so places unnecessary constraints on RPGs as a genre, either by denying the validity of "old-school" concepts - be it turn-based combat or story-heavy gaming - or by turning up your nose at "innovative" concepts - be it simplified, gamey dialogue or action-heavy gaming.
This makes the most sense to me.

I think I tried to make it clear that I do like Fallout 3, but there were some serious problems in that game. I didn't 'turn up my nose' at what Fallout 3 did extremely well. Which was if you break it down to it's basics was a FPS/P game that had tremenous amount of mood to the game. Walking down those streets gave me the chills at times.

But what they did wrong they did wrong in a very big way. I literally had to do what I do with FPS games and just ignore the dialogue completely and go where I'm told. Or just run around and see that if I could survive on my own for awhile. Doing that was fun as hell.

Just the questing part made no sense what so ever and pissed me off beyond words at how dumb those vaults were. They only reasons the vaults were there was to store a hidden bobble heads and learn that they were doing this experiment. When they should of been trying to figure out how to survive.

I just wanted to say that Brother None Made a lot more sense.
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January 3rd, 2010, 09:40
The article has a point, like Drakensang is a good example of old school RPGs. Even though I like oldies,

I'm still sad that the whole RPG/MMORPG genre hasn't evolved that much in last couple of years. How about something revolutionary in storytelling, in NPC interraction (dialog) or a whole new character development system.

And why everybody is missing the fact, that Torchlight is a dirty copy-paste clone of Fate? Even the fish eating pet is there.
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January 3rd, 2010, 10:10
Originally Posted by Ergonpandilus View Post
And why everybody is missing the fact, that Torchlight is a dirty copy-paste clone of Fate? Even the fish eating pet is there.

Shhh

Don't get them riled up.
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January 3rd, 2010, 17:20
Originally Posted by Ergonpandilus View Post
And why everybody is missing the fact, that Torchlight is a dirty copy-paste clone of Fate? Even the fish eating pet is there.
Because it isn't true anymore than Modern Warfare 2 is a copy & paste of Modern Warfare 1 or Diablo 2 is a copy & paste of Diablo … in other words, there are vast amounts of similarities, but there is also an evolution.

As for why *every* review doesn't mention these similarities and discuss the differences .. I have no idea, but suffice to say mine will
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January 3rd, 2010, 18:39
Wow. Fallout 3 is way more of an RPG than Dragon Age. In Dragon Age somebody else gives you a script and you MUST follow it to play the game. No ifs, ands or buts. Fallout 3 just gives you an outline and then you roleplay your character. Some folks want an adventure game, not a crpg. Dragon Age and Baldur's Gate are adventure games with crpg stats. You cannot roleplay your own story in DA or BG. Fallout 3 was a wonderful blend of sandbox crpg with lite FPS. Great game. Played through it 3 or 4 times already with totally different foci in my playthroughs. The great thing about Fallout is that the quests are just there for those that need a little story to motivate them. For the rest of us, the world is incredibly deep and we write our own story.

Story spoilers below.



Some of the background vault stories are absolute gems. Vault 92 where the world's best musicians are to be saved for the future; or so they think. Instead they're a control group for an experiment involving white noise and subliminal suggestions. The horror of the scientist running the experiment when he finds out that he too is being used, is just precious.

What about the Kelly family? Wonderful! The anguish of a family desperately trying to avoid the Fallout by attempting to enter an army bunker. I loved the fear in the voice of the youngest daughter and the resignation in the voice of the father.

I also loved how once you completed the Wasteland Survival guide that Moira Brown credited the Lone Wanderer as the author and herself as the ghost writer. Good stuff! You then find the book being distributed by the caravans and wasteland merchants.
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January 3rd, 2010, 19:24
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Wow. Fallout 3 is way more of an RPG than Dragon Age.
PLEASE let's not get into a 'my RPG is bigger than yours' contest.

Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
the world is incredibly deep and we write our own story.
Most would say that a story-driven game where you have to write your own story fails before the starting line I think we all agree that Fallout 3 is a good game - but most also see it as over-rated and certainly not 'advancing the genre'. Not that we are saying Dragon Age advances anything either.
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January 3rd, 2010, 21:22
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
PLEASE let's not get into a 'my RPG is bigger than yours' contest.
Fine but… my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and their like… It's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours, I can teach you, but I have to charge.
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January 3rd, 2010, 22:06
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Fine but… my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and their like… It's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours, I can teach you, but I have to charge.
The sad thing is I recognized that right away through my kids …
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January 3rd, 2010, 23:04
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Wow. Fallout 3 is way more of an RPG than Dragon Age. In Dragon Age somebody else gives you a script and you MUST follow it to play the game. No ifs, ands or buts. Fallout 3 just gives you an outline and then you roleplay your character. Some folks want an adventure game, not a crpg. Dragon Age and Baldur's Gate are adventure games with crpg stats. You cannot roleplay your own story in DA or BG. Fallout 3 was a wonderful blend of sandbox crpg with lite FPS.

It seems to me that you just prefer a sandbox style of RPG more. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't make FO3 "more" of an RPG than Dragon Age or Baldur's Gate. Only by your definition.
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January 4th, 2010, 02:49
I agree overall with Brother None post and found the article linked quite blind and ignorant. I see different major points:
  • I think it's an error to see it as steps forward but it should be look at new steps made (that's totally linked to Brother None post).
  • Are new steps are also on the point of view of quality? Certainly but not on a general point of view like: "This game is better than this other", because this is a too complex approach. But this is easier to look at by focusing on a very specific point of view.
  • Is a new step is only a new element never seen before? I don't think so, I think that like in music, new mixes of known stuff really setup something different.

With those elements in mind I don't think F3 is more innovative than DAO. Both reuse old mechanics and try improve them. For DAO it's mainly reuse of BG and NWN series when for F3 it's mainly reuse of Fallout and Elder Scroll series. No difference between the two and none are more or less innovative because of their links to the past.

What modern CRPG really made new steps? For really new steps I consider that you should mainly look at new details in gameplay design. Like, new control schemes, sustained spells replacing buffer spells for making less heavy buffer managements, and more.

But also some more general elements could be look at but for modern games it's much more matter of new mixes than really new elements. It's still rather significant because new technology brought new expectation involving new challenges for merging the design of previous gameplay elements. And the new major technical elements that had to face modern CRPG was to manage and adapt to modern 3D engines and abilities.

Myself I consider that many modern CRPG made many steps backward in term of quality and only few made clear new steps and most of those new steps are only new mixes, few are new level of quality. I skip design details like sustained spells I quote, because it's rather hard to make a list of this so I focus on more general design elements. I can't guaranty that the list is right , but here is my attempt:
  • Deus Ex: On the bases of a fps shooter and a sort of unofficial follow up of System Shock, with few RPG elements, this game setup many bases of modern CRPG that followed. It's a little weird because you can't consider it fully as a CRPG, still it brought to full 3D games:
    • Extensive dialogs and story,
    • full 3D world with modern engine.
  • Gothic: Setup better than Deus Ex all the bases of most moderns CRPG that followed, but it's impossible to ignore it comes after Deus Ex. Still its list of new steps in the context of full 3D CRPG:
    • Extensive voice acting,
    • complex and deep sword fighting system,
    • over the shoulder view,
    • a deep focus on story and dialogs,
    • unlimited inventory.
  • NWN1: Make popular CRPG editor allowing users making CRPG scenario, not new stuff but make it popular.
  • Dungeon Siege:
    • Setup the bases and elements of in game Encyclopedia. Well some older games had most probably that, perhaps Albion? But I can't remember any.
    • Brings true RPG party into gameplay design à la Diablo. Brings more RPG elements into the Diablo like approach.
    • First Diablo like to use a modern 3D engine.
  • Divine Divinity: Brings deep and extended CRPG design into the Diablo like approach.
  • Morrowind: Setup a new quality level for CRPG based on Sanbox, nothing new, but new in context of modern 3D CRPG. Other modern elements brought was in fact already brought by Deus Ex and Gothic.
  • Gothic 2 + NOTR:
    • Setup in modern CRPG a new quality level of CRPG design in term of alternate choices to achieve goals,
    • and in term of dialog depth and tree complexity.
  • Kotor:
    • Brings back controlled parties of 3 in modern 3D CRPG.
    • It's not new stuff but probably has historical importance, it brings back CRPG to mass popularity (for the best and the worst).
  • NWN2:
    • Brings back controlled parties of 4 in modern 3D CRPG.
    • Setup a new approach of interaction with party members.
  • The Witcher:
    • Set a totally new level of writing in CRPG not only in term of adult writing following few games in the past like Deus Ex and the Fallout series, but just another level of writing quality much more mature and developed even more than the Fallout or Deus Ex series.
    • Also setup a new level of in game encyclopedia, the improved writing quality help a lot to make this step more significant.
Last edited by Dasale; January 4th, 2010 at 03:00.
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January 4th, 2010, 03:38
Nice list Dasale. Take away NWN, Dungeon Siege, and KotOR, and that's almost a "best of the genre" list for me.
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January 4th, 2010, 15:34
I didn't give fallout 3 a fair go, but I'm still going to have strong opinions on it and say that it's not what I want from an rpg. Dragon age was right up my street though, as was risen and (presumably if I ever get a chance to get playing it) divinity 2
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January 4th, 2010, 21:17
I totally confess to playing Devil's advocate regarding all things Bethesda. I enjoy baiting the Gothic-Planescape lovers To me, those were pathetic adventurish games that wanted to be crpgs. I realize that several folks here disagree. That's fine. I'd put Oblivion and Fallout 3 about anything released by Jowood/Pirahna Bites.
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January 4th, 2010, 23:52
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I'd put Oblivion and Fallout 3 about anything released by Jowood/Pirahna Bites.

Must…….not…….take……bait…..
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January 5th, 2010, 02:16
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Must…….not…….take……bait…..
Be strong!
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January 5th, 2010, 10:55
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I totally confess to playing Devil's advocate regarding all things Bethesda. I enjoy baiting the Gothic-Planescape lovers To me, those were pathetic adventurish games that wanted to be crpgs. I realize that several folks here disagree. That's fine. I'd put Oblivion and Fallout 3 about anything released by Jowood/Pirahna Bites.
There is no dispute about taste - either you have it or you don't.
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January 5th, 2010, 18:41
Originally Posted by Ergonpandilus View Post
The article has a point, like Drakensang is a good example of old school RPGs. Even though I like oldies, I'm still sad that the whole RPG/MMORPG genre hasn't evolved that much in last couple of years. How about something revolutionary in storytelling, in NPC interraction (dialog) or a whole new character development system.

And why everybody is missing the fact, that Torchlight is a dirty copy-paste clone of Fate? Even the fish eating pet is there.
I know you're talking PC RPGs but as far as JRPGs, Persona 3 & 4 really introduced fresh gameplay ideas to the genre. It's usually simplified in reviews as a social sim + dungeon crawler but that social sim aspect of it is directly tied to your overall stats and to your summoning power. It's pretty clever and also very entertaining. Aside from gameplay, the Persona series is set in modern times which also makes it stand out.

But Atlus is the only RPG developer that takes these kinds of risks. I guess it can afford to since it's not as huge as SquareEnix (look up sales for the Persona games, while decent they're nothing too impressive) and it really is their niche.

I'm enjoying Drakensang but it really is just more of the same. And that's why I haven't picked up Dragon Age. Even with all the glowing reviews all I see is more of the same. I'll probably get it eventually when it's $20 or so. Just not seeing anything impressive or fresh about it.

I did get Torchlight yesterday. Yes, it's a Diablo clone (never played Fate) but the price was right and I don't have any high expectations. It's also the kind of game that I'll play in short spurts and get some entertainment out of.

But I wish someone would make a PC RPG with some new mechanics or an interesting story.

At this point though what I would like even more is if RPGs would go back to turn based, lol.
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January 5th, 2010, 18:43
Originally Posted by bkrueger View Post
There is no dispute about taste - either you have it or you don't.
*whisper* He doesn't… but don't tell him… shhhhh…
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