I love RPG’s very much: in fact, I’d go so far as to say that I love them more than a good majority of the experiences that life is capable of offering.
While consuming a varied diet of video gaming goodness is essential for a healthy & balanced lifestyle, there is nothing quite like a good role playing game. The epic nature of your quest, the huge world full of secrets to discover, the satisfaction of witnessing your character(s) slowly become stronger – gaming just doesn’t get any better than that. As a child of the 80′s who has been hooked on the genre since the first time he fired up Dragon Warrior on the NES, it remains this author’s opinion that the best RPGs easily rank with the highest tier of entertainment in any medium. The quintets of Miles Davis, the novels of Haruki Murakami, the films of Stanley Kubrick, and great RPG’s: they all stand on the same pedestal in my world.
So, why is it that some RPG’s are fantastic, memorable experiences, and others can feel like a chore? First, it would help to back things up a bit: what type of game exactly are we talking about here?
For the sake of simplicity, the focus of this article will remain on single-player games that primarily embody the traditional characteristics of video role playing games: character abilities determined by statistics, character growth through leveling, focus on narrative and exploration, and menu-driven interfaces. Specific styles of RPG’s such as MMORPG’s (World of Warcraft), loot and level action RPG’s (Diablo III), and first person dungeon crawlers (Etrian Odyssey) will not fall into this discussion.
After nearly a quarter of a century spent playing these games, I have come to believe that there are certain guidelines that an RPG should follow in order to effectively deliver a substantial and meaningful experience. Likewise, if an RPG stumbles in more than a couple of these areas, the game more often than not will wear out its welcome long before the end credits roll. So with that said, here are… (**Summons Bahamut, who drops through clouds and delivers 2 stone tablets **) …the 10 Commandments that all video game RPG’s should follow!
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