Since buying a Retron 5 nearly two years ago, I have invested a great deal of time and money into acquiring many of the great Super Famicom exclusive titles that we were not fortunate enough to receive in North America. Thanks to the Retron's ability to apply translation patches to the games (assuming that someone has gone through the trouble of translating the text and creating the patch for said game), not being able to understand text-heavy games because they are in Japanese is no longer an issue for those of us who don't speak the language.
Unfortunately, despite my ambitions of playing through all of these newly added imports in my collection, I have only played through a couple of these titles so far. However, I plan on putting forth a more solid effort toward playing more of these games in the future, starting with what will hopefully be the first of many Japan exclusive titles that I will be reviewing for this site: Alcahest!
I'm not a huge Pokemon fanatic. I have dabbled in the series on and off since Blue and Red though. I've beaten and enjoyed Pokemon Blue, Diamond, Y, Snap, Trozei, and Stadium. I've played several others like Gale of Darkness, Mystery Dungeon and the more recent Pokemon Go, and found myself satisfied with the experiences. Heck I've even occasionally enjoy a few games of the Pokemon TCG.
My son is now 8 years old and is in prime Pokemon territory. After hearing some good things, I decided to get us a joint Christmas present of the Pokemon Sun/Moon double pack (which has both versions of the game). It took a few weeks after Christmas to get some attention from either of us as we were pre-occupied with Lego, comic books, and life for a while. However, we finally decided to jump in and I've had a very interesting experience playing through this game alongside my son.
Many longtime fans of the Final Fantasy series have lamented the direction Square has taken with their beloved franchise, forgoing the classic turn-based battle system (or rather the active-time battle system) in favor of a more action-oriented approach featuring real-time combat. While this rapid evolution of the series is no doubt an attempt by Square to garner new fans and compete with other AAA titles currently on the market, it has left some diehard fans feeling alienated and disinterested with the series. Enter World of Final Fantasy, a new title in the Final Fantasy series that harkens back to the games of old, featuring a slew of familiar characters and mechanics that should make any old-school fan of the series feel right at home.
Posted on Nov 12th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (Pam) Posted under video, rpg
This video was inspired by the recent Playcast conversation about The Legend of Zelda and whether or not it should be classified as an RPG. While I don't think it should, it does have some elements common to RPGs. Here I take a look at the genre's roots in tabletop games and examine how video games let us develop characters in both mechanical and narrative ways. I also compare western and Japanese RPGs in how they tend to favor one type of character development over the other.
Check out the video and let me know how you define an RPG!
The vast sea of forgotten tales long buried in the sands of time can seem insurmountable to one looking for a place to dig. Sega's Saturn is a system that has been pushed to the wayside for the entirety of its existence in the West, while it enjoyed a brief success as the great black gaming box of the East. Some of its games made their way over to the West, but the overall ratio of those that came compared to those that never made it is sad to look at, especially if you put yourself in the mindset of a Western Saturn fan who sees the press talk about new Japanese games that only had a tiny chance of being brought over. Some of the ones brought over were excellent, like Dragon Force, GunGriffon and the arcade ports that I have previously discussed. Even the weaker titles brought over were at least something to whet the appetite. With all that in mind, which category of quality does Dark Savior manage to fall into, or is it just another futile voyage along a sea of the endless sands?
Steambot Chronicles, or Ponkotsu Roman Daikatsugeki: Bumpy Trot as it was originally named in Japan, is a Playstation 2 game developed and published by Irem in Japan, Atlus in North America, and 505 Gamestreet in a few countries in Europe. There is also a spin off on PSP named Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament, and an odd tie-in puzzle game on PS2 and PSP named Blokus Portable: Steambot Championship (one of only four games published by Majesco on the PSP in the USA).
A quick look at the back of the case of Steambot Chronicles shows the game being marketed as an open world RPG, and that is correct in a way. The game starts off as linear as any other RPG that's been made and then opens up. It's similar to the opening dungeon in Elder Scrolls, but drags on much longer. In this long opening sequence, you'll visit all three of the main towns, many of the back areas, and explore most of the world by the time it's completely opened up. Once an area is open, it may be visited at any time afterwards, and as a result, money can be hoarded this way.
If you play Super Nintendo games you know what to expect. A Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy III are fantastic games, which many of us hold close to our hearts. Perhaps these were games you played as a kid or during your teens, but you at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you've experienced these essential pieces of gaming history. What we played in North America is only the tip of the iceberg though. There are so many great role playing games that we never got to see because they never left Japan. Here are five games that, thanks to translators and/or repro developers, we can finally add to our backlogs.
I have been excited about the release of Tales of Xillia 2 since I played and reviewed the first one a few months ago (http://www.rfgeneration.c...-Tales-of-Xillia-2755.php). I greatly enjoyed the main characters and writing of the original game and thought that the plot took plenty of nice turns that were not as predictable as an RPG veteran would expect.
I recently started playing Far Cry 3 to see what all the hype surrounding the game was about. The game took some getting used to, since the first-person shooter genre is still very new to me, but there's one mechanic in this game that I'm very familiar with, the skill tree. However, I this mechanic wasn't the right choice for this particular game.
Suikoden Tierkreis was the second Suikoden game made by Konami for a non-Sony system and was the first to be released outside of Japan. The first, Suikoden Card Stories, was released on the Game Boy Advance (Japan exclusive) and is basically a retelling of Suikoden II as a trading card game. Though I have no idea what I'm doing in that game due to the language barrier, I do know what's going on in Tierkreis. Tierkreis was the first Suikoden game released since Suikoden V on the PS2, and was anxiously awaited by fans of the series, since there was about a three year gap between these releases.
There's a current trend in the video games scene to abandon the strict conditions synonymous with large-scale major name development studios in favor of smaller teams that focus on projects they are highly passionate about. This one of the major shifts that's currently changing the way we look at RPGs.
Once role playing games were associated with developers like Square, Atlus, or BioWare, but now smaller teams, some the size of a household family, are making names for themselves. They are the new trailblazers who are defying today's RPG status quo. They are the passionate creators who work on projects that are labours of love. Whether the game is the result of artistic expression or love of the bygone golden era of RPGs, these new names in the gaming market are generating a lot of buzz.
In Part 1 of my critique on video game categorization I posed the question "Can the Zelda games be considered RPGs?" My stance is that these games cannot be labeled as Role Playing games on the basis that they do not depict the character growth, statistic building, and depth of narrative required of games of the genre.
The Zelda series no doubt presents many enthralling story lines, but the characters are subject to the direction of the narrative. Consider these games to be akin to a Greek myth in which the hero is a victim of the fate determined by the gods. Like Odysseus, Link must take up arms, embark upon a journey of epic proportions and cope with an unalterable destiny. The characters of Adventure games are driven by the story. RPGs display the opposite. The characters push the narrative forward.
Despite this critical fact that separates Adventure and Role Playing games one cannot argue that both involve playing the role of a hero on an adventure. This is why I am not comfortable with the term "RPG." Modern video games, and even many retro titles, cannot be pigeon holed into just one genre category. A game such as Secret of Mana is rooted in the RPG basics and incorporates gameplay elements from the Adventure genre. Titles that merge these two genres are too conveniently labeled as Action RPG. This does provide insight on the game's play style, but does not accurately identify the game as a whole. My solution to this is to look at the adventure itself, the context in which it takes place, and whether characters grow as the game progresses.
This is the typical RPG whether it is turn based or played out in real time. These games depict stories which are driven by the protagonist and his or her companions. Character development is illustrated via statistics, but more so in the dialogue or cut scenes. As the characters grow the story becomes deeper much like a film or novel. These games tend to be longer as more time is spent allowing the player to experience the characters and setting. The structure of the narrative often follows Joseph Campbell's Monomyth.
Fantasy Adventure/Action Adventure
The story is set in a fantastical world which has power over the hero. The protagonist's shortcomings do not impact the story; in this case the story predetermines his or her weaknesses. The focus of these games is directed more to the player having to adapt to and overcome challenges presenting by in game obstacles. These games also follow the Monomyth structure, but take the shortened path which is shown in the upper portion of the diagram.
I've enjoyed looking at what constitutes an "RPG" and like that there is no definitive answer. My solution for the categorization problem uses the characters and storyline of the games, as I feel they are integral to a great gaming experience. What are your thoughts on these labels? How do you identify what is and isn't a Role Playing game?
The first article in my new RPG Analysis series sparked some great conversation about community members' thoughts of the pricing of Role Playing games. We discussed some of our favourite titles and touched upon the timelessness of the genre. One comment, however, stood out from the lot. Addicted cited The Legend of Zelda as the first RPG he had played to completion.
There is no doubt that Zelda series boasts many great games in its catalogue. The debates lies here: can the Zelda games, which commonly accepted as Action Adventure games, be considered RPGs?