14 Mar Team Favorites: RPG Edition
TL;DR – Final Fantasy Type-0
I’ve played something like 100 to 150 different rpgs, so this would seem to be a hard question to answer. There’d be the amazing Fire Emblem series, the innovating Resonance of Fate, old love for Septerra Core and so many more. But out off all these I’d have to say my favorite rpg is coming from the Final Fantasy series and surprisingly it’s not VII, IX or XIII (lol). In fact my favorite rpg is Final Fantasy Type-0. For those who knows less ‘bout this title, it’s a real-time free movement action rpg that tells a story of exceptional child soldiers that change the war’s (and the world’s) course. Why I loved this game is its well-oiled fight system, the 14 lovable playable characters, the challenge system and the atmosphere of the war torn world. Not your typical rpg and won’t fit everyone’s taste, but a great game nevertheless.
TL;DR – Persona 3 Portable aka. P3P
It’s tough to pick your favorite rpg even if you narrow the selection down, but lately I have been enjoying games from Shin Megami Tensei series especially the latest persona games. While I enjoy most of them, I have to say that persona 3 is my favorite, even though the gameplay is a bit clunky. The game’s true fun comes from its blend of old school rpg and visual novel elements.
The game story sets the player to investigate an unexplained anomaly known as Darkhour that is an extra hour right after midnight. Only a few people can experience it and remember it afterwards. Many would refer to Shin Megami Tensei games as edgy Pokemon games, and they honestly wouldn’t be far off. You collect different demons (known as in this case as “personas “) to aid you in your battles and then fuse them to gain even stronger personas that are also powered up by your social bonds with people you talk and hang around with in your regular day to day life.
TL;DR – Gothic 2 with Night of the Raven add-on
Many gamers haven’t ever heard about Gothic game series. There are three official games in the Gothic series, one of which is not even an official title. Gothic 2 Night of the raven was released a year after Morrowind. So I decided to give it a try and was impressed. Every bit of dialogue is voice-acted, and the world is really immersive. Every NPC has their own duties, day and night. The soundtrack kicks ass. And with the add-on, this game is really difficult.
In Gothic 2, you must complete quests, and slay wild animals and monsters to earn skill points which are used to increase attributes, skills, and to learn new abilities. Killing animals will earn you some delicious “raw meat” which can be cooked and used to refill health. You can also collect plants to brew potions, learn magic, visit brothels (with success!), skin animals, cook food, make runes, forge weapons, mine ore, learn how to pick locks, pick pocket, sneak, and explore three hand-crafted worlds with no loading times.
The main city, Khorinis is full of life and secrets which will keep you occupied for hours. The world of Gothic is grim, and combat is ruthless. If you lose a fight in a town or city, you won’t die, instead your opponent will steal all your gold and your weapon while you are laying on the ground, licking your wounds. But if your health drops to zero outside of town/city then it’s game over.
Death can be real sudden when you stray too far from main roads and feel confident about your combat skills. If you need to to replenish health, be aware of that your character needs to drink/eat, so animation will play every time you need to take a sip of health potion. It means you rarely have time to drink potion during combat. Nowadays, Gothic 2 graphics are a bit outdated but there are some graphic mods which will increase texture resolution and add some nice DX11 effects to game. If you are not pushed away by steep difficulty in rpg games , you can get Gothic 2 Gold from gog.com.
TL;DR – I have no fucking clue.
If I just look at played hours, Pokemon Diamond might be my choice. If just chosen by best story (without the gameplay factor), first Bioshock might be my number one, or maybe Mass Effect -series, which is sadly ruined by a quite disappointing ending. It doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of the series, though.
Few weeks ago I stumbled upon a game which still has a just-lately-played-fresh-so-it-must-be-best-game-ever -tag on it, and that is Undertale, in which I love the combination of mystery, humor, twists and insanely hard bosses. Most of these elements are true to the final game to mention: Kingdom Hearts (first one). It combined most of the elements mentioned above in a certain Japanese-Disney mashup -style, which I am not too fond of, but the game pulled it off beautifully, which left me with nothing but good memories of it.
TL;DR – Undertale and Darkest Dungeon
While figuring out the best RPG is pretty much a matter of taste, I’ve always been a sucker for plot, characters, and intriguing aspects of an RPG game. RPG stands for Role Playing Game, after all, so having characters you fall in love with and can relate to is a surefire way to get me interested.
And that’s why I’d probably rate Undertale as one of my, if not all time, favorites. While the gameplay is quite simplistic (even if weird compared to most turn-based RPGs) the characters and plot drive this masterpiece up the wall. But wait, the game is way too new to be rated as the god-game! Pssht, I don’t believe in such beliefs that a game cannot be a masterpiece if it was made on this century. Every generation has their Mona Lisa and I’m more than confident that Undertale is one. I don’t have much else to say about Undertale, it’s a game that’s best experienced with as little spoilers as possible.
That being said for plot, I do love my RPGs with a lot of strategic choices and interesting mechanics, so I’m going to throw Darkest Dungeon up for a favorite mechanical game. Very recently released as a full version, this game boasts mechanics that reinforce the overall atmosphere of the game – despair, anguish and inevitability of death. Your heroes get stressed, your heroes go insane and luck is a cruel mistress, never giving you room the breathe. It’s very stressful, yet so rewarding once you defeat a Necromancer with all of your party insane, half-dead and screaming for help.
TL;DR – Dragon Age: Inquisition
RPG games are easily one of my favorite genres. If I get to wield a sword and a shield, even better. However, a game isn’t obviously good just because it’s an RPG. It has to differentiate itself from its competitors – and from the previous titles of the franchise.
As much as I do love the first of the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Origins, my current favorite is the newest Dragon Age: Inquisition. To me, DA:I delights with its a balance, amount of content and the depth of its storyline. The mounts, one of the added new features, are very charming and lifelike. Though my character is a human female, there is just something about riding a Tirashan Swiftwind in an Elven forest.
The game’s art style is simply beautiful – it’s more colorful than before and the characters and effects are up once again a notch. Configuring the graphics settings for my PC took a while (as it had quite a hard time running the cutscenes), but once that got done everything ran pretty smoothly 🙂 Especially some fine magic was done with water elements.
DA:I took a different route to more console-type gaming which seemed to be a good choice. If new Dragon Age franchise games will ever be made I will be intrigued to see how they can keep the gameplay fresh. Many characters could make a comeback from say, Dragon Age II. Also, reintroducing the Mabari hounds (war dogs) could be fun – though I’m sure the designers will have much more than that in their minds.
In the meanwhile, unravelling the story while exploring the continent of Thedas and saving the land of Ferelden from the forces of the Darkspawn is still awesome.
TL;DR – Stalker Shadows of Chernobyl
Stalker managed to suck me in right away. The first time I heard about the game , was in a magazine explaining how the game developers had been scheduling multiple sightseeing tours in the Chernobyl area.
The devs put their health at risk to build a believable recreation of the area, from the abandoned buildings to wrecked cars, (it’s also worth noting that I love the detail they put in digitally rebuilding the powerplant itself ). Investment like this I respect. A lot.
Given that bit of background info, my intrigue for the game was rising. Eventually I gave it a shot.
The visuals were for fantastic and the design language was spot on. On a personal note : the in-game “music” is dark and ambient which, on its own, would be a selling point to me already.
The gameplay was solid, a straightforward shooter with rpg elements, such as weapon upgrades, colorful NPCs to extend the story and supply side quests, artifact gathering, tons of cover-based shooting, multiple endings, etc.
Despite its technical issues , repetitive quests, and other problems the game still managed to keep me invested with its details and style, regardless of prior prejudice or preferences.
Give it a try if you that sounds interesting to you.
TL;DR – Neverwinter Nights
This is what started it all for me. My childhood’s games were just games for me, I didn’t know anything about different genres and such, and honestly I can’t remember all the games I ever played. But Neverwinter Nights was the first I recognized as an RPG, and – unlike for lots of people – it was my introduction to D&D RPG games.
Neverwinter Nights was released about six months after the first film in Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and I was soooo hyped over elves! When my good friend Atte suggested this game to me, I was instantly hooked. I wasn’t very familiar with the idea of dice rolls, and I was very confused when I tried to strike down my first enemy. I mean come on! I could see my character throwing attacks, but he didn’t seem to cause any damage! And the low number of attacks per turn just made the gameplay seem slow and uncontrollable. For a while I thought the game was broken, but once my friend explained to me how the game mechanics work, I started getting into character design and overall gameplay. But I have to shamefully admit I didn’t understand – or at least give a thought – to dice rolls (for example 1d6) and I actually figured it out not more than maybe 5 years ago. I know, I know… such a disgrace!
Nevertheless, Neverwinter Nights is still one of my favorites, probably because of the nostalgic value. There are many games that I like, there actually may be games I like even more than this, but Neverwinter Nights was the gateway game that introduced me not only to the game genre, but also to the concept of D&D, and sparked a growing interest to other fantasy games and universes.
TL;DR – Earthbound, Mother 3, Fallout 2, Chrono Trigger
I’m going to be honest. I’m not much of a classical RPG fan, preferring ARPGs like, for example, the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series. Therefore, most of my favourite RPGs are ones that shine despite the gameplay feeling unappealing to me.
The first RPG that really got me was Fallout 2. It was the first time I really managed to immerse myself in a game world properly. The writing was compelling, I personally enjoyed the lighter tone compared to the original Fallout. The character building options felt limitless at the time. It’s the game that made RPGs click for me.
Later on, I played Earthbound and recently the Mother 3 fan translation. These games were the first games that managed to evoke feelings for me. The 90’s nostalgia, innovative soundtrack and sense of childlike innocence combined with the far-out story and original enemy designs left an unforgettable impression.
The last classical RPG I’d count as a favourite of mine is Chrono Trigger. The soundtrack was amazing and really enhanced the story of this classic. It kept me playing for the plot despite having a combat system that made me want to rip my brains out. The teamup skills and the active time battle system slightly alleviated this issue but in the end, I simply love this game for the story and atmosphere.
TL;DR – Fallout 3, Skyrim
Someone here has to be anti-contrarian and unrefined, damnit! It might as well be me… Fallout 3 and Skyrim. THERE. I said it! Why, you ask? Because they’re entertaining, and nostalgic for me. Skyrim has an incredible crafting system (although it is entirely repetitive) and Fallout 3 brought me great joy when exploring new locations and dialogue options.
For all their imperfections, these games were the ones I played in some of the best times of my life (my senior year in high school I think I logged more hours in the Capital Wasteland than I actually spent in the classroom…) and some of the worst times in my life (Skyrim became my escape during my isolating and polarizing time in the U.S. Navy…) Overall, they may not be perfect works of art, but I enjoy them because of the gameplay. and the emotional resonance, Talos be praised. I guess I am probably the more emotional one here at Dreamloop, anyway… It fits.
TL;DR – Heroes III (of M&M)
I’m not a real fan or expert of the real role playing aspect of RPG games. I play those games for other reasons. But for the question “What is your favorite RPG?” I will answer Heroes of Might And Magic 3. It is the game of my childhood so it has lots of nostalgia to it, in addition to its great gameplay and replayability. Even though Heroes 3 (for short) is kind of an old game, it has remained very playable thanks to the modding community and the Heroes 3:HD version. It is a shame that Heroes 3:HD version doesn’t have any expansions coming thanks to the folks who lost the source codes…
Images courtesy of BioWare, Square Enix, Toby Fox, and Piranha Bytes/JoWooD Entertainment. All rights reserved.