The original point is though, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an action-RPG. It has all the right elements, particularly the equipment and levelling structure which makes it so different from what came before it in the franchise.
Yes, I'll give you that. but on the same note. because C-SotN is an "action-RPG". God of war and all the rip off of GoW games also can be labeled the same. and that's a long ass list of games. They are very similar.
And every post and article i read about this (thanks for the links) says the same thing. the classification of games in the industry is fucked up, and no one give a shit about it.
slow down rockstar. I'll give you that God of War and Devil May Cry are part of the "slippery slope" of losing any definition of what an RPG is. But SotN has about 20 times the amount of "RPG-centric" things than God of War. God of War has: kill enemies, gain magic orbs (let's just call it exp), and then put exp into one of 5 or 6 categories to level up certain skills.
What does SotN have that God of War does not have?
1. swappable equipment (many weapon types, shields, helm, armor, boots, etc)
2. inventory (consumable items: TONS of them)
3. backtracking (GoW is a "level by level" stage-based linear experience. You can't go back to anywhere, ever)
4. Visible, knowable statistics (STR DEF and the like)
5. Numbers on-screen when you hit enemies or when they hit you (this may seem neglible, but for many people, this is key!)
6. Leveling the ENTIRE playable character. Not just assigning points to leveling up my weapons or my thunder spell, but ME going up a level.
7. Status effects, and the ability to cure them (again, with consumable items)
I thought I stopped caring about this debate. But look, there's definitely a degree of RPG-ness that SotN *clearly* has which many other games don't. There are plenty of games that are on the borderline of RPGFan's coverage. In my opinion, SotN isn't one of them.