Heaven and Hell
April 13, 2005
After my insane marathons of Devil May Cry 3, I decided now would be a good time to replay the original. Bad idea. The controls are so different, I have to wonder how I ever managed to play through the first game. I mean, the jump button is TRIANGLE, for God's sake.
I suppose I should be playing an RPG since I, you know, work at a RPG website. :P Of course, one of these letters has inspired me to pull out an old gem just as soon as I finish this update. So let's get to it, shall we?
|I hope the guy who wrote in last time isn't a Mac user. :P
I would like to write a letter in response to the
person who would like to see more RPGs with more
adult-style writing and scenarios. I'm an older gamer
myself (I turn 27 this year) and while I enjoy RPG
romps with teenagers, I often do prefer scenarios with
characters more my age who are properly written.
I too am a little put off by the fact that a "Mature"
rated title mostly means wanton and gratuitous
violence and over-the-top sleaziness.
That is one reason I loved Persona 2: Eternal
Punishment so much. The characters were all adults
and the dialogue was written in a mature adult
fashion. Even Persona 2: Innocent Sin- though its
cast was primarily teenagers, the writing was very
mature and these kids had the kind of insights and
deeper thinking with each other that you don't often
see in teenager-adult interactions. And though Shin
Megami Tensei: Nocturne may have been lacking in a
focused narrative, it unabashedly presented morally
ambiguous themes that really made you question your
own senses of right and wrong. If you want to know
more about those games, check out my reviews
(shameless plug, I know.)
I do not know how much you play PC games, but there
are PC titles out there that are more for mature
gamers, but earned their ratings due more for writing
than OMG BOOBIES or OMG BLOODY GUNFIRE! Graphic
adventures such as The Longest Journey come to mind.
The writing was really strong in that game. Syberia
is a graphic adventure whose protagonist is a
30-year-old female attorney. I only played the demo,
but from what little I played the writing was solid.
EVE: Burst Error is a Japanese digital comic with a
very cool storyline and adult characters. Granted,
yes, this was originally a hentai game and the version
I played was devoid of the H content, but there was
still plenty of sexual tension and some relations
throughout the game. The overall plot was killer as
well. There is some peurile humor in places, but it's
more for comic relief.
I cannot really say much about PC RPGs (i.e.
Planetscape Torment) since I've not played many, so
I'm sure others can help you out there.
Still, I just wanted to chime in since I thought it
would be helpful to the reader if I pointed him/her in
a direction of games that do feature more mature
writing and content.
I agree that PC games cater to the older gamer more than most console games do these days. One of the best examples of this is the aforementioned Planescape: Torment. There's no fancy "save the world" stuff going on here, that's for sure. It's a dark quest in a dark world full of thieves, thugs, and prostitutes. I highly recommend that game to anyone, if only to experience Morte, your character's wisecracking sidekick...who happens to be a floating skull with a prediliction for freshly dead female zombies. :P
Speaking of point and click adventures, the Gabriel Knight series has always been a favorite of mine. The writing and story in each of these games is absolutely superb. I'm sure they're incredibly hard to come by these days, though. It's a shame. That series certainly targets those of us who are a little longer in the tooth.
|The curse of being "hardcore".
In response to the last letter from the 3/31 mailbag, I do think we are
seeing some shifts toward adult-oriented RPGs from some developers. Case in
point: Digital Devil Saga. The game certainly isn't oriented to children
and has a very interesting story with some great undertones. With the
standard Shin Megami Tensei formula of religion, you've got a pretty adult
game. The only problem with this is, the majority of the RPGs that you see
that sell well are directed toward a more open audience.
Digital Devil Saga really seems to be the key game for us 20-somethings that
grew up playing the first Phantasy Stars and Final Fantasies. An
adult-oriented plot and a classicly-styled battle system with a bent toward
the hardcore. Unfortunately, that's just what we are: the hardcore. Most
publishers don't see the point in having a Fallout 2 or a Digital Devil
Saga. "Adult" simply means violence to these publishers, where the top
three selling games for the PS2 - GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, are
thought of not for their open and entertaining gameplay, but their violence
and questionable material.
Certainly, we'll have titles that break the mold. Mercenaries features free
action like Grand Theft Auto, but without the needless bloodshed. We'll see
titles that are meant for us, but, let's face it, guys, we've got Atlus and
Agetec looking out for us, but they're quite possibly our last bastion of
Sometimes we have a tendency to forget that the RPG business is still a niche market. As such, you can't really blame companies for not deviating too far from the norm. It's hard enough for a non-Square Enix RPG to make a profit, anyway. Why take too many risks? People seem to be under the impression that developers are interested solely in creating a work of art, when we all know (deep down, anyway :P) that the video game business is...well, a business. :P
With that said, I keep hearing good things about this Digital Devil Saga. Even though I've had a major problem with the two Shin Megami Tensei related games I've played before, I may have to end up giving this one a shot.
|Puffy > Sephiroth
I'll be honest. I loved Grandia. Really. It's one of the few games to ever
instill any real sense of adventure into this RPG-hardened brain of mine.
As soon as I saw Grandia III's announcement, I did two things -- I cried with
joy and screamed at the top of my lungs in horror, both at the exact same
time. Sure, Grandia Xtreme had a battle system, but the entire game felt rather
amateur, and the series has gotten to the point where I can only pray to dear
Reorx that they either make up for it, or lay the bloody thing to rest.
Where's the ADVENTURE?! Where's PUFFY!? Okay, fine. Screw Puffy... the point
is... I don't want another Grandia Xtreme or another Grandia 2, but I also
don't want another one strictly after the original, either(Yeah. Suikoden 4, I'm
looking at you. You know you tried to imitate the first two. Confess), as much
as I love it... but will it succumb to the idea that every sequel should be
like the predecessors? Will it, indeed, have a flowing storyline? And will we
see more crude references to the past games?
Only time will tell, but...
What are your thoughts on it? =p
Ah, Grandia. What a fantastic game. Like you, I've never played another RPG that made you feel like an actual adventurer, where entering every new area made you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Unfortunately, I can't comment on the series as a whole. The first game is the only one I've played. I HAVE heard a lot of people griping about Xtreme, so maybe that's a good thing. :P
The little snippets of information I've heard about Grandia III sound interesting. The emphasis on exploration seems to be intact, as is that completely awesome battle system. I'm officially keeping my eye on this one.
Well, time for yet another run through Fallout 2. While I proceed to take out power armored troops with a spear, you should proceed to send me some letters. :P
~ Daniel Stringer (firstname.lastname@example.org)