John (zandev) wrote,

A great time for computer based RPGs

I've been playing several great video game RPGs recently. What's particularly impressive is that they are all extremely different, which is good for diversity in the genre.

As I mentioned before, I've been playing Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. This is a fairly purist JRPG, but with MMO influences. I'm approaching the end, and it's maintained a high level of quality, and is genuinely massive. The only criticisms I have are that some of the side quests start to get a little tedious, and the Wii is rather underpowered for what it's trying to do.

I've also mentioned that I've been playing some Glitch. This is a browser based MMO. It's really cutesy, but quite playable. Despite having no combat, it does have most of the other things you'd expect of an MMO. I've had a lot of fun with this, but it's a bit lacking in content so far, and I feel I've seen most of what it has to offer in a few weeks' of play.

At the opposite extreme, I've also been playing some Dark Souls on the PS3 (though it's also out on the 360). This is in the action-RPG sub-genre. This is a great game, but it isn't something to play for relaxation. As has been commented extensively on the net, it's one of the few properly hard and unforgiving games there are. It's been a trend for a while for games to be carefully tuned to not be too difficult, and to be forgiving of mistakes. Dark Souls goes to the opposite extreme. It autosaves, so you can't try out other options, so decisions and mistakes are permanent. There is nothing to stop you attacking merchants (so be careful when using the controller), and if you kill them you'll not be able to trade with them for that game. There are a few surprisingly interesting moments due to the permanence of decisions: for instance, there is a very convenient magic trainer in a central area. I then found a more advanced trainer. On talking to the first trainer he asks where you got such advanced magics. I selected the option to tell him, and he left to find the trainer, and I can never use him again for training.

Like many people, I've also just started playing Skyrim on the PC. This is a classic in the Western RPG tradition. I've not yet got very far, but I've liked what I've seen up to now. It runs surprisingly well on my ancient PC. This is good for playing it, but means I can't use it as an excuse to upgrade my PC...

I've not got it yet, but Skyward Sword (the latest Zelda on the Wii) is also getting stellar reviews. This is again wildly different from any of the above games, but still in the broad RPG category.
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