Mac's Blog I just say what comes into my head…

4Apr/110

Kotaku guy has it right…

Was doing my lunch time perusal of the gaming news and stuffs, and I came across an interesting article mentioning how games have lost their immersion factor.

Why dont i lose myself in games anymore

I completely agree with a lot of the points raised, and have lots of new points of my own, which have caused me to dislike most of the modern day RPG games, as lets face it I only really care about RPG games...

Where did world maps go?
If you go back to the old NES and SNES rpg games you will see that most of them have some form of world map, where you can waste hours just wandering round into pointless areas and occasionally finding hidden treasures. One of my favourite 16bit rpg games was Dungeons & Dragons - Warriors of the eternal sun, which consisted of a huge world map and lots of multiple dungeons scattered round the world. You were rewarded for going off the tracks of the normal path and trying to explore the world they have given you. Same thing in Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX, you have a world map and you can go off investigating for lots of other hidden treasures.

Now jumping forward to modern rpg games, such as Final Fantasy XIII where there is no such thing as a world map. There is barely the idea of freedom, you are lucky if an area you are exploring has more than 1 path to follow. It makes me feel like the game designers think I am an idiot, and am unable to cope with free choice and many options. Final Fantasy X and the every other inbetween seems to have taken this sort of approach...

How do fancy graphics make up for shit stories?
Staying with FFXIII, my next point on the linear ranting roadmap is graphics. FFXIII is a graphical masterpiece as far as rpg games go, however this doesn't mean it is worth playing. I couldn't care how detailed the character is graphically if they are completely pointless as far as the storyline goes, and it makes me angry that almost all major rpg makers these days feel that they have to all compete on graphics and leave storyline as a minor addition to their technical demo.

If you think back to FFVII where they mixed 2d and 3d to make the game look detailed but also allow the characters to be animated in 3d, it looked great and the storyline elements were brilliant. I completely understand the argument that these days it is probably harder to get someone to make 2d style graphics than it is to get someone to do 3d style graphics, but that doesn't mean you should just try and go for the best possible graphics possible, just find a theme and stick with it... Even if it is a 3d game that *looks* 2d like Paper Mario. Concentrate on what makes an rpg game fun and immersive, the story and characters...

Why try and fix something that isnt broken???!?
How many different battle and equipment systems have you seen recently in rpg games? I assume quite a few... I don't mind them trying out different things, but what does annoy me is when I have to work with an equipment or battle system that makes no sense to a player. Take FFX as an example, there is no clear distinguishing factor as to if a new weapon is better than an old one... where are the stats?? This again is an example of where they think the modern gamer wants less information on the game mechanics, they cannot handle dmg or hit related information... I WANT MORE STATISTICS... why does Pokemon keep so many players coming back? It sure as hell ain't for the story, its because you can try to collect the most powerful pokemon and tweak them to be exactly what you want.

I spent hours on FFVII trying to optimise my equipment and materia, it was a simple system to understand but difficult to master. You could spend lots of time trying to make sure you have got all your blue materia with the right green materia and that you have the best possible slots filled while keeping the equipment quite damaging. It all made sense, even Suikoden had a similar sort of system with its runes and weapons, so you knew that your items would do X damage and the runes would enhance them, making them better against certain monsters.

Why get rid of all this information, maybe they think that it is less immersive as you have to break away from the actual gameplay to equip your items and tally up the numbers, but its completely the opposite and it gets you more immersed in the game, paying attention to all aspects of your character.

Voice acting and realistic animation ftw?
I am torn between if voice acting is really worth it in rpg games, part of me likes it and in games like Tales of Symphonia the voices helped make the game. However in others they just break everything, take White Knight Chronicles as an example, where you find a huge hog looking guy who sounds like a comedic Al capone. Same sort of thing for the animations, some games pull it off well, whereas others try to put in too much detail and just look silly. I really think less is more when it comes to character animation, FFVII and games of that era had it perfect for me, they did a few primitive animations and you as the player were left to fill in the blanks with your imagination. Allowing you to interpret the characters however you want, and this is one of the key things for me personally, being able to use my imagination in rpg games.

To sum up most of my ranting, I wish they would let the player use their imagination more. I don't want to be spoon fed every little detail and storyline arc, I want to have to figure out some of it for myself. I think this is why a lot of people think books are better than films, as the reader makes up a mental picture of the world and characters, whereas in films you see an actor who may not be who you imagined, making it different to what you would want.

Maybe I am wrong, as I am no game designer, but I really think that if things do not change soon the console rpg will be a dying breed... although I cannot wait for Skyrim :)

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