Gaming Rant

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.

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3 Responses

  1. Those clichés, well, yes, they are. But then again, they’re also the exact reason why I play RPG’s. I like seeing the new stuff, you know, but I love getting more of the old stuff as well.

    FFIV: I’m waiting to get that one. I have it on my SNES, but since I hardly have any time to play on console here anyways, the GBA version is just what I’m looking for. However, there is a remote possibility of getting my mitts on Skies of Arcadia Legends – depending on whether the guy who ordered it before me is willing to pay the steep price I’m willing to pay for it – so it might have to wait that little bit longer.

  2. Chuck says:

    I would definitely go for FFIV. I haven’t reached the new content yet, but the graphics are updated a bit and it’s great for long rides on the train or bus (or even sitting on my butt at home).

    As for gaming, it’s not that I’m not nostalgic. There are ways to integrate the "classic" elements of gameplay without rehashing. For example, Mario 64. It was, in general, a rehash of the same concepts that have existed since the original. However, it innovated tremendously and created an entirely new and unique gaming experience at the time.

    I dunno…maybe it’s just me. But I find myself playing console games less and less.

  3. Oh, and one more thing about that list – no. 163: All the time in the world.

    Unless there’s a running countdown clock right there on the screen, you have as long as you want to complete any task — such as, say, rescuing a friend who’s hanging by one hand from a slippery cliff edge thousands of feet in the air — no matter how incredibly urgent it is. Dawdle or hurry as you will, you’ll always make it just in the nick of time.

    Come on – I love this one! I actually make it a point to make sure I milk as much time as I can in these cases, strolling back and forth between villages (healing up, collecting XP), before I finally decide it’s about time to go and save my friend.

    I love the idea of the guy hanging for 12 days, only to finally see him fall to his doom in the cut-scene as soon as I get near him (or, alternatively, save him – depending on the game). Besides, falling to one’s doom isn’t all that deadly anyways, as Rule no. 143 illustrates.