So the last few months, I've been on this crazy GBA gaming spree. Even I myself find it weird that, with a PS2, GC, and a capable PC, I'm having the most fun playing some old school 2D sidescrollers and RPGs. I'm currently making my way through Final Fantasy IV, which is still a great game in this day and age.
It's weird, in a sense, that in a medium (videogames) that allows for so much innovation and creativity, the industry continues to fall back on tried and true formulas, time and again (with a few exceptions here and there).
I came across two items this morning that kinda got me thinking about how seriously the rehashing has become.
The first was The Grand List of RPG Cliches. It reveals how many of the RPG games today, while they certainly feature better graphics and some level of innovation in the battle systems, at the core, all contain the same recycled material. To be honest, this was always in the back of my head. Seeing it materialized in a list made it much more apparent, however.
I was more disheartened when I came across a preview of RF Online (yet another Korean MMORPG). Certainly, this game has some very nice art direction and slick graphics. I downloaded the gameplay video expecting to be blown out of my seat (I don't know why). But, to my dismay, I was underwhelmed and even disappointed by the gameplay. Basically, it boils down to the same "stand-hack-slash-repeat" combat system that has been so disappointing in so many other games.
It's not that such a battle system can't work, one of my favorite games of all time, Vagrant Story, used just such a system. But it was genius and quite unique at the time (and still is). The issue with RF Online, Guild Wars, WoW, Lineage II, and just about every other MMORPG to date is that they keep recycling the same basic principles and the same basic gameplay. Blah! The least that these guys can do is to copy Vagrant Story and add another diemension to the gameplay.
You would think that someone, by now, would have created a MMO/RPG that would truly break the mold and go off in a totally new direction and address all of the issues that make no sense in "classic" RPGs.