Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 01, 2014, 08:13:10 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
RPGFan Community Quiz
Next Quiz Date: January 11, 2014
Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
For more information click HERE!
327941 Posts in 13428 Topics by 2169 Members
Latest Member: KopeAcetic
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  RPGFan Message Boards
|-+  Media
| |-+  Single-Player RPGs
| | |-+  An appreciation of RPG stories, east and west
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 Print
Author Topic: An appreciation of RPG stories, east and west  (Read 3042 times)
Summoner Yuna
Posts: 39


Member
*


View Profile Email

Ignore
« on: April 10, 2011, 09:38:27 PM »

One of the main drives why we play RPGs is the story. The RPG is probably the most story-focused genre in existence compared to platformers, shooters, action-adventure games, etc. It's a feature that made me love them in the first place, aside from gameplay.

But, as with most things in life, RPGs are not homogeneous, especially those coming from Japan and those coming from the West. Neither one is better, they just have different approaches and aesthetic sensibilities.

When you look at JRPGs, you feel that Japanese writers try to take more risks with the themes they explore, however they're not always successful. Let me take a very quick look at some famous JRPGs. Most of these I've played, others I'm merely acquainted. Take for example Xenogears and Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. I'm aware that they are a generation apart but my point will still stand. Xenogears could be called the gaming equivalent of Evangelion, another successful product of Japanese media. However, there is such a thing as trying too hard, and both Eva and Xeno try too hard to be complex but end up being convoluted and a mish-mash of religious references and ends up being a poor man's Nietzche (that we need to kill God in order to free ourselves.) However, on the other side of the spectrum, there's VP2: Silmeria. It treats themes of redemption and a second chance at life. But I think it does so well. Many people dislike Cloud from FFVII and Shion from Xenosaga because they are what's in vogue to call "emo", or rather brooding.

I do like both of the aforementioned characters, but that's beside the point. The point is that though there are tragedies aplenty in Valkyrie Profile you never get the feeling that these characters are self-defeating. In spite of all what has happened to them, Rufus and Alicia press on, determined to achieve their goals, even joking and relying on each other to continue. If there are two moments of gaming that will stick with me are the desperation of Rufus' voice when Alicia decides to become the vessel for all three Valkyrie souls, and when he tries to embrace Valkyrie as she fades away. Here is a man who has love in his life for the first time and now he learns he will lose it.It baffles me when people praise Rinoa and Squall's romance in FFVIII as if it were Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. JRPGs generally don't do romance well at all, because it involves the girl going all gaga over the guy. Something as portrayed in VP2 or, I'd argue, FFX is much more effective.  Lezard may be a very generic I-want-to-become-all-powerful villain, but his mannerisms and personality are so well delineated that you can't help but like the guy. Other games have arguably better villains like Suikoden V and Final Fantasy XII with their Machiavellian political intrigues.

On the other side of the spectrum there are WRPGs. I must confess that I'm a WRPG virgin (to borrow and expression from on of the wonderful editorials on this site.) But I've become somewhat acquainted with them through short playing moments and from continuously watching my friend play them. They are a completely different beast so why some people claim superiority of one over the other baffles me. WRPGs borrow heavily from Tolkenian fantasy, but that's ok, since being 100% original in a world where almost every story has been told is difficult. WRPGs rely on choice so you can see the effects of your actions in the world your characters inhabit. It's a fascinating approach to storytelling and if done well can be immersive. That's the extent to which I can discuss WRPGs.It's a limitation which I readily acknowledge but hope to remedy soon.

Feel free to agree disagree, etc. but please don't just say "blog it". This is a discussion topic not a blog.
Logged
Parn
Posts: 2340


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 10:04:42 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMvUEmZ_TMA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FESOPPP5YEQ
Logged
Yggdrasil
Posts: 5924


Member
*


View Profile Email

Ignore
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2011, 10:52:14 PM »

One of the main drives why we play RPGs is the story.

More or less, yes.

But I still believe that the premise of the story is what draws a person to play an RPG, don't forget that an RPG has to be a game first and not only a story with "things to play along the way".

Story integrated in the gameplay is something that not much people know how to differentiate sometimes it seems to me.
Logged
Alisha
Posts: 2714


Member
*

Z0eila@hotmail.com Z0eila
View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2011, 11:01:57 PM »

battle system >>>>>>>>story >> everything else
Logged


“Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.”
Arhkaos
Posts: 134


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 11:14:23 PM »

It's a little bit of many factors, and I think it's really a matter of taste. What I like in a RPG is indeed mostly good level-design, especially fun dungeons/puzzles, good music, and an interesting story. I insist on "interesting". I did like Golden Sun, for example, for all of those reasons, but the story isn't really original or surprising. Same thing for Dragon Quest, I enjoy these a lot but I don't really remember the story. It's interesting enough to push me forward, but I don't remember the story of most of them. Even if I don't really care about the combat system, a tedious one could be a big drawback and keep me from fully enjoying the game. So I think that the most important thing is that those aren't bad, and that it has at least one factor that is especially good. As to which is the most important, I think it really depends on who you ask.
Logged

I have fury!
Lard
Posts: 5665


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 11:48:30 PM »

battle system >>>>>>>>story >> everything else

No. Though to be fair, the only battle system I've really disliked were Legend of Dragoon's and FF8's.
Logged

I avoid online multiplayer because my brain still works.
Sagacious-T
Posts: 2381


Official Pony Thread

Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 11:58:24 PM »

battle system >>>>>>>>story >> everything else

Depends on the game. Some RPGS genuinely have good enough story and character development that combat isn't even needed. Hell, some older games were designed with combat being optional.
Logged
Eusis
Administrator
Posts: 11792


Member
*


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 12:12:18 AM »

gameplay >>>>>>>>story >> everything else

This is how it is for me. Actually, a game with a compelling enough story and SERVICEABLE gameplay (think NieR or Killer7) can be really liked by me too, as long as the gameplay isn't torturous I can get by on story, but if I had to choose between "awful gameplay but great story" or "amazing gameplay but awful story" I'll go with the latter just about any day. Unless said story has too much of an overbearing presence, in which case fuck it.
Logged
Dice
Super Happy Fun Super Girl
AMG A GIRL
Posts: 10205


Tawdry Hepburn

Member
*


View Profile WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 01:20:47 AM »

gameplay >>>>>>>>story >> everything else

This is how it is for me. Actually, a game with a compelling enough story and SERVICEABLE gameplay (think NieR or Killer7) can be really liked by me too, as long as the gameplay isn't torturous I can get by on story, but if I had to choose between "awful gameplay but great story" or "amazing gameplay but awful story" I'll go with the latter just about any day. Unless said story has too much of an overbearing presence, in which case fuck it.

Star Ocean?
Logged

http://society6.com/Dice963
Support your local Dice (and pitch her ideas)!
Alisha
Posts: 2714


Member
*

Z0eila@hotmail.com Z0eila
View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 01:24:15 AM »

story never trumps gameplay. NEVAR!
Logged


“Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.”
Lard
Posts: 5665


Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 01:30:25 AM »

story never trumps gameplay. NEVAR!

Just because you keep shouting it doesn't make it true. :P
Logged

I avoid online multiplayer because my brain still works.
MeshGearFox
Posts: 8368


HERE ON RUM ISLAND WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN RUM!

Member
*


View Profile

Ignore
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2011, 02:11:10 AM »

Quote
One of the main drives why we play RPGs is the story.

I play RPGs to kill things with MAGIC MISSILE.

Quote
WRPGs borrow heavily from Tolkenian fantasy

Not really, most fantasy WRPGs had some sort of sci-fi component (particularly the Might and Magic games*). The heavy Tolkien-ness only really started after the LotR films got popular. Sort of.

WRPG is way to broad of a term. French/German RPGs are rather different from North American RPGs. British RPGs sort of exist in between. Russian/Ukraine/Czech RPGs are pretty distinct as well.

So when I say there wasn't a lot of Tolkien-ness I guess I'm talking North American and some British RPGs that were on Apples/PC. There were a lot of more Tolkien-styled high fantasy games for like, the Amiga, coming out of Britain and Germany but fuck if I ever played those. There were just as many straight-up sci-fi ones as well.

The main hold-outs for more LotRih gameplay were the Gold Box games, sort of, but not really, and that's more because the Forgotten Realms setting was inspired by Tolkien in general.

* First five games take place on research stations in space, 6-8 involving battling demons which are actually space aliens also you have laser guns.
Logged

o/` I do not feel joy o/`
o/` I do not dream o/`
o/` I only stare at the door and smoke o/`

Yggdrasil
Posts: 5924


Member
*


View Profile Email

Ignore
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2011, 02:15:51 AM »

Star Ocean?

Yeah no.
Logged
msg
Übermensch
Posts: 59


Member
*


View Profile WWW Email

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2011, 02:24:52 AM »

The RPG is probably the most story-focused genre in existence
I think adventure games are more story-focused, Monkey Island, Broken sword etc.
Many people dislike Cloud from FFVII and Shion from Xenosaga because they are what's in vogue to call "emo", or rather brooding.
I see that quite often but I always thought Squall was much more emo than Cloud, ive never heard anyone say Squall was emo.
Logged

FlamingR1ft
RPGFan Editor
Posts: 4305


Member
*


View Profile Email
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2011, 02:27:51 AM »

The RPG is probably the most story-focused genre in existence
I think adventure games are more story-focused, Monkey Island, Broken sword etc.

Agreed.

RPGs usually place importance on stories.

Traditional adventure games live and die by them.
Logged



Pages: [1] 2 3 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!