owlmoose: (hp - monsters)
KJ ([personal profile] owlmoose) wrote2014-01-04 12:02 am

RPG thoughts: January Blogging Meme

Today's question comes from [personal profile] lassarina: "What one evolution in RPG gameplay in the last x years (you can define X) do you most enjoy, and what one evolution do you most dislike?"

As it happens, I'm not that broadly versed in RPGs. Probably 80% of the RPG games I've played since I started seriously gaming in 2001 are Final Fantasy games, and most of the rest are BioWare. So it's not like I have a large basis for comparison. (Aside from these two series/publishers, I play mostly puzzle, platform, and casual games.) And the FF games and BioWare games are quite different from each other, which makes it difficult to compare them. But a couple of thoughts.

Probably the evolution in RPGs I am enjoying the most is the move toward voiced protagonists. I generally connect more with the Final Fantasies that include full voice acting, and in Dragon Age 2, I found that Hawke having a voice added many more dimensions to the character. It makes their interactions with party members and NPCs feel more natural. And I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed the Mass Effect series nearly as much without the fantastic voice acting of Jennifer Hale as Commander Shepard. I'm sure it's a matter of taste -- I know some people prefer a near-tabula rasa protagonist, like the Warden -- but I find I prefer my player character to be a character, or at least the outline of one.

If that doesn't count as gameplay ;) then I vote for the emergence of casual mode. Sometimes, I just don't want to be stuck on the same boss battle for five million years. I want to hack and slash and move on with the story. So the ability to turn the game down to Casual, then bump it back up to Normal when I'm ready, is a lifesaver.

As for evolutions I don't like? That's harder to pick. Sometimes I miss the turn-based battles of Final Fantasy X -- the ability to move through battles at my own pace was so important to me as a gaming newbie. But everyone is moving away from that, including the FF series. This isn't a 100% dislike, though, because I also really enjoy some aspects of more modern system (I loooooved Gambits in FFXII). So I guess I can't really pick on any general trends I don't care for -- it really depends on the game, and on how things are specifically implemented.
sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2014-01-04 08:31 am (UTC)(link)
Going beyond Bioware's games, I like how story-based games in general are far more likely these days to allow the player to select difficulty level. This opens up a much wider range of game to me because some play styles just aren't my thing and sometimes I only want to play for story while moving through as quickly as possible. Although, for fantasy-style RPGs like the DA series I usually want my nightmare play-through too.

Unrelated: can you recommend a few good puzzle games? Preference for iOS because that's my primary casual gaming platform, but I own just about every other platform/OS under the sun so any good puzzler reco is welcome.
sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2014-01-08 11:24 am (UTC)(link)
I've wanted to play the Phoenix Wright games. So happy about all of the old games that are coming over to iOS.

I've been meaning to play Braid but … forgot what it was called. Now I won't forget.

Whenever you come across other casual games or fun puzzle games that are more involved/story-based, let me know!
pete_thomas: (Default)

[personal profile] pete_thomas 2014-01-08 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)
If I may interject, I would also recommend Puzzle Craft, Pixel This!, Alpha Zen, and Triple Town. :)
sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2014-01-18 02:51 am (UTC)(link)
Sorry for the long delay in my reply -- work dragged me away from the internet.

These recos look very interesting! Thank you. :D
pete_thomas: (Default)

[personal profile] pete_thomas 2014-01-18 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
No problem. I hope you find as much joy in them as I have. :)
caramarie: Icon of a magpie perched against a backdrop of the stars. (deve and alistair)

[personal profile] caramarie 2014-01-04 09:47 am (UTC)(link)
but I find I prefer my player character to be a character, or at least the outline of one.

I totally agree. Compared with my Hawkes, I don't have nearly such a strong sense of who my Wardens were. Even if the extra dialogue options you get in DAO supposedly mean you get to shape the Warden more. The voice acting just adds so much.

Plus it means you actually get to give the inspiring speeches! I always felt a little pissed off when Alistair got to give the speeches, when the Warden was the one in charge ...
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)

[personal profile] lassarina 2014-01-04 08:15 pm (UTC)(link)
I also love casual mode, which is funny given that my favourite FFs tend to be the hardest ones and also lol Atlus games. But still. There's a time and a place.
stealth_noodle: Close-up of Fran's face, looking fierce. (fran bike)

[personal profile] stealth_noodle 2014-01-04 08:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Huh, I didn't realize that the Warden doesn't have a voice. I think I had some vague expectation of more Jennifer Hale.

I loved FFXII's Gambit system, too, and would love to see it used again in the series. The whole reason I still haven't gotten around to Revenant Wings yet is that it doesn't have the battle system I wish it did!
stealth_noodle: The Wayward Vagabond hangin' with the firefly. (wayward vagabond)

[personal profile] stealth_noodle 2014-01-15 12:44 pm (UTC)(link)
In a perfect world, I would have the option of being voiced by Jennifer Hale. Everyone would come to my conference presentations!
pete_thomas: (Default)

[personal profile] pete_thomas 2014-01-08 07:28 pm (UTC)(link)
I, too, was a fan of the Mass Effect series where selecting an answer wasn't this understood "you just spoke" thing. The character customization was amazing (have you ever seen my ME character? He looks STRIKINGLY like me) but adding the voice was just icing on the cake. I also liked that his voice changed based on the mood (anger, empathy, compassion, and firm are just some of my favorites).

My ME Character: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=702485591728&l=8aa2e53003

Actual Me: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=752163406988&l=dcafd659e9

It's insane. I had so much fun making him too.