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Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
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Author Topic: Best RPG based on writing quality, alone...  (Read 7983 times)
Prime Mover
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« on: April 25, 2007, 08:31:33 PM »

MeshGearFox had a great thought, and I'm going to run with it. I typically hate these "best [blank] in an RPG" types of threads, but this is a pretty respectable gaming community, and I think we can handle this topic without it getting obnoxious, so let's do it.

Best RPG based on writing quality.

This means regardless of actual story content. Be it cliche characters and plotlines to the wicked badass, fuck-with-your-head-till-you-start-shitting-BetaMax tapes, kinds of material, what RPGs demonstrate the best use of language and storytelling? Concentrate on the "why", instead of just chucking us a laundry list. The actual list isn't as important, after all, as being able to come to terms with what, exactly, leads to a good creative endevour. Let's hear your thoughts.
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Eusis
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2007, 08:32:45 PM »

Vagrant Story.

Next.

Edit: Though for why... It managed to be fitting for it's setting, yet not incomprehensible like DW1 was. And the pseudo olde english way of saying 'when pigs fly' was just classic.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2007, 11:35:13 PM »

Not an RPG, but since RPGfan covers it...  When it comes to top-notch writing in a video game, the first that comes to mind is The Longest Journey.  The way the dialogue was written was impeccable.  It's very fluid and genuine; I can see these things as being said by actual people in these situations.  

I've played some video games with excellent writing (EVE: Burst Error, Persona 2: both, Hourglass of Summer, Phantom of Inferno, Ever17, Never 7) but the writing in The Longest Journey was exemplary.  

Super immersive.  The Longest Journey wouldn't be as exquisite as it is were it not for the top-notch writing.
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Dade
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2007, 11:52:35 PM »

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest.
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2007, 12:40:13 AM »

And I will, as I always do, say Planescape: Torment. Play it, you bastards.
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2007, 12:49:32 AM »

Quote from: "Eusis"
Vagrant Story.

Next.


Indeed.  This thread is already over. :P

I can't think of another game where the script draws as much inspiration from literature as Vagrant Story does.  Most other RPGs take a more cinematic route with the script (as it should, since video games are visual mediums), but this game's words have a certain heft and weight that wouldn't seem too out of place in a 300-level English Lit course.  Hell, while I was playing it, I remember the sentences having a vibe and overall feel that was damn similar to "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus".  Vagrant Story isn't a play obviously, but the similarities are there.

Man, I need to replay this fucker.  If it just weren't so damn long and complicated. :P
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2007, 03:49:54 AM »

Quote
If it just weren't so damn long and complicated. :P


Remember that time VS came out and at release everyone was like, "You can beat this in seven hours?!?!?! Teh fux?"

Yeah, what the hell?
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Eusis
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2007, 03:52:55 AM »

It wasn't even out when people were saying that, I think that was some stupid crap from SE or previewers jumping the gun (I recall PSM saying FFIX would have floating continents, when it was really just that the lower lands were shrouded in mist). However, even then it's not really a long game - it takes only about 30 to 40 hours, and I managed to tear through it in a week back in July, though I didn't do side stuff like the Iron Maiden. However, it's still a somewhat complicated game, and half the time is spent dealing with the loading and saving of putting items in the chest and taking them out, I swear.
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2007, 07:35:39 AM »

I own Vagrant Story and I have just never been able to get into it.

I've tried about three times but that god awful dungeon where you start out just kills me everytime.

Is it really worth another chance?
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2007, 02:56:36 PM »

I don't know if this counts as an RPG, but Dreamfall: The Longest Journey had excellent writing and story.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2007, 03:10:13 PM »

I've thought about getting VS... but I'm a bit affraid of all the fanboyism that I've heard, shrowding it... especially in regards the music. I've absolutely hated everything I've heard by Hitoshi Sakimoto (FFT, FF12, specifically). Everyone seems to go on and on about how amazing the music is in VS, but something in my gut tells me that it's "amazing" in a way that I really am not going to like. People said the same about FFT, and the music in that game bored the shit out of me. I may be a classical music connosseur, but I really like my non-traditional film-scoring, FFT and FF12's soundtracks just felt timid and status-quo, to me.

The attitudes I hear towards Vagrant Story seem suspiciously familar to what I heard about Xenogears and Chrono Chross before I played them... two games which I absolutely abhore (well, not so much of Xenogears, but I still was dissapointed). People around here seem to have a bit more sophistication than most, though, so hearing these things about VS is starting to peak my interest.
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2007, 10:18:47 AM »

Speaking of Xenogears and the Chrono games, there was some awesome writing in those as well. Xenogears was incredibly text-heavy, and being able to keep a gamer engaged while also balancing all of the history and character terminology is quite impressive. Also, while I don't have a strong memory of specific lines of the Chrono games, I don't remember any particularly bad or obvious lines in the scripts of those games. With the series, it seemed like the writers had developed an understanding of elegance, in this case meaning saying the most in the least amount of words. This prevented unnecessary words that didn't go in some sort of direction, at least when story was concerned.
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2007, 05:48:39 PM »

Quote from: "Merkava"
Speaking of Xenogears and the Chrono games, there was some awesome writing in those as well.

THAT IS NOT GOOD WRITING. The translation just reads horribly. You could possibly say they knew how to deal with the material in a serviceable way, but the /writing/ is not good.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2007, 08:38:16 PM »

Quote from: "Eusis"
THAT IS NOT GOOD WRITING. The translation just reads horribly. You could possibly say they knew how to deal with the material in a serviceable way, but the /writing/ is not good.


Thank you. I think Xenogears is an excellent example of a game with a decent plot with terrible writing... or more specifically, terrible "story-telling". I'm not just talking about the last disc, either... although that is most obviously the most flawed, but the entire game has pretty piss-poor writing. When it's not hitting you over the head with obvious things, it's purposefully trying to screw you up.

Good writing contains subtlety, doesn't try to hit you over the head with ideology, and any complexity and mystery stems from the nature of the plot... not from ambigious writing. Xenogears fails misserably at these specific things. It doesn't help that character portrayal is shoved to the background in exchange for dazzling fantasy mechanics and armchair theology (quite litterally, in its case).

All of Xenogears twists and turns came from ambigiously worded material, characters that simply didn't give out information when it was not in their character to withhold that information, and various forms of Dues Ex Machina... which is thought to be one of the worst litterary habits known to modern writers.

As for the others. CC suffers from the same problems that Xeno does... in fact, a lot more so. Although CT has a much better picture of exactly what it is that it is, and was able to communicate quite well. I wouldn't say that CT is a stellar piece of litterature, but it's execution is pretty good for what it sets out to accomplish.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2007, 08:56:25 PM »

CT didn't really set out to accomplish much, though.
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