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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Dincrest on Today at 07:50:35 PM »
My obvious answer would be Planescape: Torment. 

My complicated answer would delve into the crux of what is it that makes a story "good" to us?  Events/event scripting?  Compelling characters/relationships?  Pacing?  Comedy?  Tragedy?  Philosophical bents? 

Is it a bombastic larger-than-life epic that compels us (e.g. Xenogears) or something more subtle and introspective (e.g. To The Moon) that moves us? 

Is it the storytelling that compels us more than the story?  After all, a good storyteller can make even a mundane story engaging, right? 

Even the concept of "writing" is pretty nebulous.  Take a look at Lost Odyssey.  The "Power Point" scenes were the most compelling because they were written by a novelist, whereas the majority of the game was JRPG cliches written by a JRPG scenario writer. 

And though we're focusing on RPGs in this thread, bear in mind that RPGFan also covers graphic adventures, both western point-and-click style and Japanese visual novel style.  I would argue that those genres of games are more driven by story than RPGs, which are also highly dependent on combat gameplay/mechanics.  After all, during an RPG, we spend more time in battle than anywhere else.  Grandia Xtreme and Grandia III both fell flat in the story department, but their combat mechanics were incredibly fun.  Some of the most compelling video game stories I've experienced come from graphic adventures, like Gabriel Knight or Ever17.  Not RPGs, but still games within RPGFan's coverage. 
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Grainofariver on Today at 07:31:12 PM »
The thing I find depressing about the number of games like that advertise themselves as "like Chrono Trigger"

Oh, this caught my attention, do you have examples of games  that self proclaim as Chrono Trigger? Of course, if there are games not far from this level, I'd like to play them. Speaking of which, I've purchased Radiant Historia which may be a similar concept, even if distant in style.

I mean, the whole advertising campaign for "I Am Setsuna" was, "Look at us, we're making that Chrono Trigger game again!". That didn't work, so they tried again with Lost Sphear. It's really hard to get a good pin on the quality of either, because the developer/publisher created an insanely unreachable expectation. Lost Sphear seems to be better than Setsuna though, so perhaps if they keep it up they'll produce something quite good, regardless of its relativity to CT. There are also a couple of indie games that have tried to sell themselves as "inspired by CT", to varying degrees of quality. It's not that most try to bill themselves as "the next CT" so much as drawing the comparison in the first place is probably not the best of ideas.

In general I find the  attitude toward trying to create a "retro RPG" somewhat contradictory. You're trying to capture something from the past, yet the forward-thinking aspects of those games are a big part of what makes them so special. Most modern games that ape the retro style have you thinking, "this reminds me of CT/FF/DQ". Yet when playing CT, FF or DQ, you don't think, "This feels a lot like X". At least to me that represents a fundamental difference in approach, philosophy, and actualisation that leads me to conclude that if you set out to make "the next Chrono Trigger", you're pretty much doomed to fail. Chrono Cross at least did its own thing, and while you can debate its merits as a sequel, I think it at least succeeded in this respect. I'm probably one of the few people who is very happy that the Chrono series remains dead, because while I think it's already a borderline-impossible task to create a new game worthy of the legacy, modern Square-Enix is barely above Compile Heart/IF in terms of studios I believe would get it right.

I do want to make quick mention though that this refers solely to JRPGs. When I look at something like Divinity: OS, I feel like they're doing an excellent job of capturing the older style of an isometric CRPGs while doing enough new things to forge a unique identity. Still couldn't finish it because the animations and walking took forever, but it held my interest for 40 hours.

I've had Radiant Historia for the past few weeks, and I've been dying to dig into it because the somber atmosphere is just giving all sorts of amazing vibes. It's a game I really waffled on getting back when it first launched, so having the opportunity to play it now that I'm better versed in ATLUS is fantastic. I've been trying to get through Xenoblade 2 first, because with games that long you have to ride the momentum while you have it.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by PandoraWizard on Today at 06:58:02 PM »
The thing I find depressing about the number of games like that advertise themselves as "like Chrono Trigger"

Oh, this caught my attention, do you have examples of games  that self proclaim as Chrono Trigger? Of course, if there are games not far from this level, I'd like to play them. Speaking of which, I've purchased Radiant Historia which may be a similar concept, even if distant in style.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Grainofariver on Today at 06:16:28 PM »
This feels like one of those exercises I could spend eons reflecting on and get nowhere, so if you don't mind, rather than a list, I'd like to talk about 5 series and what I think they do well (sorry, no WRPGs here. Nothing against them, but they aren't my jam).

SMT/Persona: I'm actually in the middle of a discussion with a friend about how much I enjoy SMT and Persona's take on God/gods. It's not uncommon for a JRPG to conclude with the main characters fighting God/god, but these two games always take the concept a step further. Because both series often see God/god as a manifestation of some kind of human element (or, as SMT will often argue, vice-versa), oftentimes conflicts against them have a metaphorical undertone regarding the clashing ideologies. Occasionally this can go a step further, such as in P5's finale:
Spoiler: show
It's  always interesting to see discussions about when Satanael shoots Jaldabaoth. Do you take it as a statement against the very concept of a higher authority (God/gods), or do you assume the Gnostic interpretation in which Jaldabaoth is a false god?
Occasionally it can also take a step back, such as SMT4:Apocalypse
Spoiler: show
in which a bunch of kids can slay God with the power of friendship, which for me pretty much cemented the story as pure garbage not good for SMT.

Tales is interesting because it often takes on some really high concept ideas, but the writing itself can never live up to them. For instance, Abyss generally does a decent job at exploring the themes of predestination, life, and identity, but it spends way too much time repeating the same concept and lines. It's as if the game is afraid you might not be getting it, and damages its own point by being so blatant. Vesperia has a solid theme of the nature of justice,
Spoiler: show
until the third act when all of that gets abandoned mid-stride for a less-than-subtle message about environmentalism.
Most recently Berseria actually did a pretty dang good job with the dynamic between Velvet and Artorious, constantly challenging the morality of Velvet's rampage and Artiorious' salvation
Spoiler: show
until again, the third act tosses that all aside to make Artorious the undeniable villain. More than any of the others, this one hurts the most.
I feel like there's potential to get something really great out of this series, but it has to keep its pants on until the very end.

Dark Souls gets a lot of love, so I don't want to talk about it for too long. The thing I really want to bring up here is that it does such a great job with its visual presentation, and that's something that more games need to really take note of. Video games are a visual medium, and the amount of information you can convey without speaking a word is incredible. If part of the fun of RPGs is exploring a variety of locations, then there's a lot of untapped potential in terms of designing those locations to tell a story.

Trails, to me, is an example of the importance of characters. I personally don't believe the plots themselves do anything revolutionary or original (aside from the scope, which huge props to Falcom for taking on something this large, and seemingly keeping their budgets in check to actually see it through to the end). Even the characters generally begin as some kind of trope. Yet, tropes aren't bad things -- they're just commonly seen story elements that frequently recur because they resonate well. Trails does the right thing by taking that common foundation and building into rounded, likable characters. Cold Steel 3 is among my most anticipated games, but given the apparent necessity for playing the Crossbell arc first, I've dubbed XSeed to be in a "localisation paradox". Still waiting to see how that plays out...

The thing I find depressing about the number of games that advertise themselves as "like Chrono Trigger" is that, in making that attempt, you've automatically failed to grasp what made Chrono Trigger so special. Chrono Trigger came from the mind of two JRPG masterminds at the top of their game, and rather than try to go one way or the other, they took the best elements of both series and made something new. Yet, the most amazing thing about CT is the momentum the story carries. In an interview, the game's writer, Masato Kato, said:

Furthermore, when making a game about time travel there’s a high chance of it not being done well and becoming like a chore for the player. Like planting a flag in the past and checking on the effects of it in the present and future over and over again, for instance. This could be said about RPGs in general, but if you think it through, whether it’s “do this,” “take this,” “defeat these monsters,” or “plant this flag,” it can become just a long string of errands.

It reflects clearly in the game. While not completely free of back-tracking, there's such a powerful sense that everything you do lends itself to the game's primary objective. The game's side-quests only become available at the very end, further strengthening the pacing. It's not just that you're almost always doing something interesting in CT, it's that what you're doing almost always has a clear and direct tie to the ultimate goal of the game: defeating Lavos.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Arvis on Today at 05:10:17 PM »
1. Trails in the Sky: First Chapter
2. Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter
3. Trails in the Sky the 3rd
4. Trails of Cold Steel
5. Trails of Cold Steel 2
6. Trails of Cold Steel 3
7. Trails of Cold Steel 4
Single-Player RPGs / Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by PandoraWizard on Today at 05:05:19 PM »
Although it's becoming harder to find RPGs with deep storytelling in this day and age, what are your top 5 best rpgs that fully deliver on the storyline side. A series can be included as one item if the story feels connected.

My list, games with lots of dialogues or cut-scenes.

  • Final Fantasy 7
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Final Fantasy 10
  • Xenogears
  • Shadow Hearts 1&2
  • Persona 5
  • Suikoden 1&2
  • Final Fantasy 6
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Xenosaga Series
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« Last post by PandoraWizard on Today at 04:48:42 PM »
How about games where they have  visible encounters, but the enemies are so fast that you practically have to be near the end of the area to escape them.

edit:  If you escape the battle  the enemy just blinks for a very short bit, and then attack you again.

I've just purchased Chrono Cross on Vita, and although it's a great game, I always hated the battle system because visible enemies feel like random encounters and there's no rewards (experience, etc) from fighting, so it's just repetitive in vain.
Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by Mickeymac92 on Today at 05:03:40 AM »
Day 15 of Warframe. Finally working on Saturn. I've been putzing about trying different weapons and Warframes out. Everyone seems great so far...except Nyx. I really need more ability-enhancing mods before that one will be viable. On that note:

Rhino is a great tank when I'm dealing with high level enemies and/or Survival missions. He alsao just feels great to use with a Shotgun, and I've gone through a lot of them to find the right one, with the 4-barreled Hek currently wiping out everything I come across.

Excalibur is still my main Powerhouse. He's just too well-rounded, so I wind up defaulting back to him, along with my Attica (which is still mulching literally every boss so far, while being reasonably effective at dealing with groups now that I've upped its ammo count. It's reload time and travel time for the bolts are the only drawbacks so far)

Everyone else seems to die too quickly, though, and like with Nyx, I just don't have ability-enhancing mods to compensate with sheer damage. I don't know when or where I'm supposed to get those from. :/
General Discussions / Re: Humble Bundle
« Last post by kofvscapcom on Yesterday at 07:45:00 PM »
new bundle up, if you haven't played any  of the  new Shadowrun stuff I do recommend them. The combat is kinda meh so I generally just play on easiest difficulty but the stories are usually very good. Wasteland 2 I haven't played before but I'll give it a shot. Xenonauts is supposed to be classic XCOM so curious about that also.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom announced!
« Last post by Electricb7 on Yesterday at 07:44:54 PM »
Crap. They are hiding the artbook behind the collectors edition. I really dont need all that extra crap. Just the music CD and the artbook.
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