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335244 Posts in 13726 Topics by 2200 Members
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6556  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: More characters need to die boring deaths... on: June 16, 2009, 05:48:48 PM
What about irrelevant deaths?

Usually when a character dies in a JRPG, it's some sort of noble sacrifice. What if they're gunned down in the line of duty... but... well, their death was meaningless and just serves to disturb the other PCs?
6557  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Super Game Journal Turbo II - The New Challengers on: June 15, 2009, 10:46:43 PM
I'm going to pretend that being a janitor is a videogame !!

Today I shampooed the remaining to (smallish) rooms in the office we started working on yesterday. My other party members were cleaning furniture and waxing floors. Afterwards I spent some time grinding on furniture cleaning until I learned a new skill: Changing flourescent lightbulbs. This is sort of a combo-attack though since you need two people to do it: one to change the lights, and one to hand the bulbs up. Unless, of course, you selected the race "Pole" at character creation, just because this whole setup wasn't quite long enough for a Richard Simmons joke.

In plamescape tournament I keep doing sidequests. Like, I did this quest for a guy looking for a guy looking for a ear cause he had his fork and it was a key and another quest that I don't really remember what it entailed. I don't really remember what I was doing this morning either. I like the tattoo system a lot !! I'm also interested in picking up the Warrior class for TNO for a bit so that I can use the swingy axe thingies. I got a ttatoo atht increases acuracy so punches connect now but Morte is my main damage. I really liked the sidequest with the guy that had to remember the scity. I can emphathize with that.
6558  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Western JRPG thread. on: June 15, 2009, 10:38:18 PM
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Very poor integration of gameplay and story, uneven & poorly balanced difficulties (normal is too easy, hard often ends up being more endurance than skill).

Sounds like it nails the essence of JRPGs right on the head.
6559  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Western JRPG thread. on: June 15, 2009, 10:21:44 PM
The hell LotR game are all y'all on about? I remember a few for the SNES and they were both pretty atrocitious as all get-on.

I think there's something with human nature that, if someone is provided with a puzzle, there's SOMETHING internal that compels them to solve it. WRPGs in particular tap into this.

This is particularly why Ultima 7 works. U7 HAS fetch quests, in different senses -- most literally you have some NPCs that pay you inflated prices for certain items like eggs -- but you also have more traditional get item X to advance plot/sidequests ones.

Except there's more to it than that.

In U7 talking to NPCs doesn't really trigger plot points -- not like in more recent CRPGs. U4's an even better example of this, as U7 does sort of use quest states to an extent where U4 is entirely based around WHAT you have and WHAT you, as the PLAYER, have learned.

But the dialogues in U7 are puzzles, or pieces of a puzzle. The point isn't to kill enemies. The point is to solve the puzzles. And you don't solve the puzzles because there's some in-game reward.

You do it because they're there.

In other words, the existence of a manhole necessitates a man.
6560  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Now even Hasidic Jews can buy shit online! on: June 15, 2009, 10:06:19 PM
Funny coincidence.

I now have an ad in the sidebar for something called "joomla."

Or rather "Jewmla."

Or rather "Zionist Conspiracy Theorymla."

I see you watchin', hatin', patrollin', trying to catch me ridin' furry.
6561  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Phantasy Star II on XBLA on: June 15, 2009, 08:00:48 PM
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yeah but i think it's better that way.

Sadly, I have to agree that PS3's boring-ass dungeons were better than the insanity-inducing clusterfucks PS2 had :L
6562  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: More characters need to die boring deaths... on: June 15, 2009, 05:49:42 PM
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Well, yes. But the question remains why getting hit by "mega spell of destruction" only causes you to pass out, versus some dude stabbing you in the back, which causes you to die forever.

It's because JRPGs rarely connect the gameplay side of things with the story side of things and trying to apply logic to it usually just turns out poorly.
6563  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Western JRPG thread. on: June 15, 2009, 05:33:02 PM
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And how many have been released in 20 years?

Several hundred? Abandonia lists 92 PC RPGs in its archives, which I know is pretty incomplete, and most of those are commercial, with a few freeware ones in for good measure. That's also not counting Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST and Mac exclusives. And they're also completely ignoring anything released after like 1998ish, and don't really list any shareware games. So personally I'd estimate that there are around maybe 300-500 extant WRPGs.

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MagiNation and Septerra Core could both have been much better if they weren't so slow,

MagiNation is slow in like, "Holy crap why is this thing running at 7 FPS?" sense, though. If the battle menues had decent response times and it didn't take forever to load up animations, it would've been much quicker and playabler.

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I never could find myself enjoying Wizardry or Ultima.

Battles in Ultima 4 and 5 were pretty quick, slightly slower in 6 but you didn't get into battles in 6 very often, 7 was real time and battles were automated and didn't last long and you hardly went into battles anyway, and Ultima 8 was an action RPG. Did you even play the games?

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focus too much on story to the point its like reading a book instead lol.

Ultima 7's focus was more on creating a big interactive world with lots of sidequests and interactive bits like baking bread and having NPC schedules and other little details like that.

Also Ultima 7 has a lot of puzzle solving and adventure game elements and a lot of it's just about exploring and getting information.

Also, personally, I have to admit that the only RPGMaker game I've ever liked was Yume Nikki, which I really like *a whole lot*. Ahriman's Prophecy just felt really unpolished to me, and while I readily admit to not giving Eternal Eden a fair shake there wasn't anything in that game that was drawing me in.

And, admittedly, the only other RPGMaker games I've played beyond those were shit like Phylomortis. Phylomortis does not need to exist :}
6564  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: More characters need to die boring deaths... on: June 14, 2009, 11:23:15 PM
Death isn't overdramatic. It's just there forever and nobody copes. Why don't you get RPG characters that are seriously bothered by their comrades dying? It's like, Oh no, character X dies! Long overdramatic cutscene! And we never mention them again unless drama is needed!

Have a character get so,me sort of genuine and long-lasting emotional upset from it. Jesus.
6565  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Super Game Journal Turbo II - The New Challengers on: June 14, 2009, 10:31:39 PM
Been playing Planescape: Torment, and I regret having written this off earlier, although it still deserves two swift kicks in the nad for having used the word 'ichor'. Twice. Which is why two k... y... Oh nevermind.

Everything about it shows a greater sense of clarity than BG2 so far. I mean, still really early on in it, but... visually it's cleaner, stylistically it's more constant, the battles aren't as... like, I don't feel like I need to be a DnD nerd to get it, and the non-linearity isn't nearly as uncontrolled as BG2 felt sometimes.
6566  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Western JRPG thread. on: June 14, 2009, 09:19:49 PM
I never really GOT the JRPG/WRPG split. I tend to blame the popularity of Final Fantasy in America, though, because... well, here.

The Dragon Quest games have ALWAYS been fairly Western in their sensibilities, even if they're also regarded as some of the most Japanese of the JRPGs. But storywise, they're very European classicist. From a gameplay standpoint, things like classes and the level of controlled open-ended-ness that the DQ games have is also very western, and the DQ battle system has a much more traceable lineage back to Wizardry.

Same with Phantasy Star. Wizardry-style battles, first person dungeons, and a degree of non-linearity and adventure gaming aspects.

Actually, you know, the first three FFs...

So let's say it was FFIV that caused the split.

And the notion of reducing a story's importance in a WRPG is... I actually have no idea where that came from. I blame Bethesda. Originally it was because of text limitations, like with the console counterparts, but later Ultima games were always story heavy, and Black Isle's games are DAMN story heavy, and there's also stuff like Krondor.

So in a sense it's hard for me to say what's distinctly Western about WRPGs. In general I guess they tend to be a bit more staid -- you're not going to see something really outlandish come out of them *generally*, whether it be a really bizarre battle system or character growth system, or just a particular visual style, like how early PSX Square RPGs were pretty dadgummed... well, you know how FFVII's pre-rendered backdrops were. Slightly wacky.

At the same time I wouldn't say WRPGs tend towards realism, although Oblivion kind of did (And that's one of the reasons I liked Morrowind better. More rich chocolate GIANT MUSHROOMS please!)

You also don't get a lot of action RPGs in the West, and when you do, the action elements are way more FPS than the uh... they're not so Zelda-ish. Partially I think this is hardware related, a little. During the DOS era, games tended to run kind of choppy which is suckish for an action RPG, and console controllers are a bit rubbishy for FPSes.

Summatively, battle systems in WRPGs tend to be a bit more integrated and seen more like interfaces to a particular set of gameplay mechanics whereas in JRPGs they're more like minigames, sometimes.

Maybe the biggest difference is aesthetics.

(Summary of deleted intro: MagiNation would've been funner if it hadn't been so damned slow; is Black Sigil trying too hard to be japanese or trying too hard to be oldschool?)

Commentary!

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The one thing that Western developers have not been able to get right is the turn based battle system.

Well, if you cherry pick three games out of a 20-year history of games, you can pretty much back up any statement you want to make. Septerra's battles, in particular, are noted as being usually slow even by WRPG aficionados, and Sonic Chronicles is, uh, irrelevant.

Admittedly, there HAVE been a lot of slow turn based battle systems in recent WRPG history -- Wizardry 8, for instance, although partially just because of how LARGE the battles could get, and even some old games like GoldBox were notably slower than other tactically-based WRPGs like Ultima 4-6 -- but, like, Might and Magic 3-5 (And 6 and 7 too if you view them relative to the fact that battles usually involved upwards 30-50 enemies), The Bard's Tale and its lot, Wizardry games prior to 8, Albion, and the entirety of the roguelike subgenre... Even the Fallout games, though they can have lengthy battles, aren't prone to a lot of down time like Septerra was.
6567  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: What makes for a good RPG sequel? on: June 14, 2009, 05:13:46 PM
You actually can't mod most Bethesda games much at all. Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3 are, uh, the only ones pretty much.
6568  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled for DS. Anyone have updates? on: June 14, 2009, 09:45:40 AM
Gen, funny you should mention that!

Despite what the status menu said, you didn't have any stats in Secret of Mana. You had attack power that reflected your current weapon and defense which reflected your current armor, but nothing like strength, speed, etc. And the game worked fine without it (well, except for the shoddy hit detection and bad AI and, and, and...). It also made grinding fairly useless, since only HP and MP would increase, and these things weren't hugely advantageous.

Here's something interesting, you know. In a lot of Square RPGs, what your stats do is fairly mystifying. Well, JRPGs in general. Maybe it's just because half the time they do odd things like "Name magic defense charisma!" but I swear that the SGF, Usaga, and the chrono games are the only square games where all those little numbers are meaningful to me.

Atlus is pretty good about transparency, here (and, well, lots of other places, really).

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And don't forget, Chrono Cross also allowed you to see your enemies beforehand so you could more easily pick and choose your battles.  In a throwback game like Black Sigil, you don't get to pick and choose your battles the way you can in some of the more modern RPGs out there.

See, if Black Sigil is basically a CT homage in every other sense, WHY did they go with random encounters? That's just odd to me. Especially since *set* enemy patterns in the non-random battles was entirely unique to CT and a really good idea.

Additionally, I think the main problem with save points is that they're inconsistent. In something like DQ, where you save at the inns, well, they're still technically save points, but you pretty much always know where they are, and never have to wonder something like "Well gee will THIS dungeon have a save point and where?"

Save points when specifically used as a checkpoint/progress pacing system CAN work but you've got to have a really steady hand at dungeon designs for that and I mean, modern-day Atlus, again, is the only company that's really doing that much lately. I mean like, the Obelisk in SMT:N probably had eight or so terminals in it, but they were all in reasonable places. Also there were eight of them and they let you teleport out if things got really bad making the two pass (Get items and explore, then go back and kill bosses) method really doable if that's what you wanted to do.
6569  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Phantasy Star II on XBLA on: June 14, 2009, 09:34:32 AM
Buck Rogers is a WRPG (and Goldbox, for that matter).

You know, though, the german made Whale's Voyage is fairly JRPGish and even looks a lot like an early megaten game.

http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/original/1075313750-00.gif <- See?

It also has a pretty Engrishy translation so you can pretend like you're playing an SNES-era JRPG!

http://members.chello.at/theodor.lauppert/games/whale_2.htm Apparently the sequel is freeware. It's also ugly and not in English so you might be playing it and yr mom'll walk and and be like "Oh my GAWD my SONS A NAZI" and then she'll go smash your Hummels.
6570  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFXIII: Shiva-Bike in battle on: June 14, 2009, 12:05:47 AM
They should have a transformer named BETSY ROSS and it turns into a John Deer tractor. Big ol' green one.
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