On RPG Elements

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Well, I don't know if this has been brought up, but Deus Ex back in 2000 (or was it '99?) implemented the point system for raising abilities. So Resident Evil 4 can't really be the first game with these sorts of RPG elements. In a way, the elements work as you'd think a real life education would. You go to class, you assign points in certain skills, and you improve those skills. Which I don't know if the industry is trying for that, but in a simple game where the point is to just beat people up, I don't want to be sitting there figuring out where I want to put my points. I just want new moves to unlock with new levels so I can kick ass.

RexoftheFord:
Well, I don't know if this has been brought up, but Deus Ex back in 2000 (or was it '99?) implemented the point system for raising abilities. So Resident Evil 4 can't really be the first game with these sorts of RPG elements. In a way, the elements work as you'd think a real life education would. You go to class, you assign points in certain skills, and you improve those skills. Which I don't know if the industry is trying for that, but in a simple game where the point is to just beat people up, I don't want to be sitting there figuring out where I want to put my points. I just want new moves to unlock with new levels so I can kick ass.

Some of us, on the other end of the spectrum, enjoy that kind of thing. I did, anyways, but I'm a little off kilter by gamer standards. While it doesn't belong in every FPS- despite what the baboons that man most the industry seem to think- it works well in some games. The Deus Ex series is one of them. Well, the original, anyways. Not so much Invisible War.

Well, I actually liked it in Deus Ex, but since that's a game about conspiracy and supercop work it worked well. But games like the Bouncer, Spiderman, or any other beat'em up shouldn't have this system. Certain fighters should just have certain moves that come automatically at levels, instead of me freaking out over too many decisions to make and regretting it later. In other words, when there's a set number of skills for a single character hero it works well. In actually RPGs it works well, but in everything else where there's multiple classes...just give'em preset strengths and weaknesses and get the fuck out of the way. So what I'm saying is...I agree with you. lol

Yahtzee:
But the point is, they really, REALLY want to do this. And if they can do it here, someone could do it ANYWHERE. Like, say, YOUR country.

He's right you know.

I don't really see the problem in the filtering! As to bypass it u just replace your DNS's with some that aren't filtered!
Like here in Denmark www.thepiratebay.org was blocked by all ISPs, yet everyone that want to use it just changed their DNS's!
A good provider is www.opendns.com
There problem with internet filtering solved... next question! ;-)

I wouldn't say that "upgrades" equals "RPG." Putting upgradeable guns/moves into an action game is just another way to reward the player and add depth to the gameplay, and that's never really a bad thing. Sure some games do it better than others, but that's the way it is. It's funny that Yahtzee mentions Saints Row 2 because that game has a whole slew of upgrades you earn from doing the various missions... Guess he forgot to mention that in his denouncement of all things RPG.

Amigo.. i currently live in a country WITH a blanket internet censorship. yes, the mighty Facebook is blocked for all its 1.3 billion occupants. as is youtube. internet lovers.. you must surley know how painfull it is to be deprived of facebook for a few hours. now imagine years :(

that's beside ANY adult content, even lingerie adverts are heavily scutinised. If Australia takes one step towards this, it is a sad day for all 'free' democratic countries. Afterall, isnt freedom what democracy prides itself on? =(

internet speeds vary from poor to downright awful here as a direct result, its not something the government should even be considering if it wants to be seen as progressive. One step forward- four steps back?

Anyhow, rant over. I just wanted to share my pain for a lingering moment

mollemannen:

MR T3D:
customization is nice in almost any game, RPG elements, however, not so much.
there is a world of diffence between the two.

not really a big differens. unlocking parts for a gun is customization. earning money to unlock parts for a gun is rpg element. i think thats what he meant with the re4 part.

the differnis that the RPG element mean that the player needs to collect and spend points to keep weapons in line with the developer's intended difficulty curve, while customization is simply looking cooler/adding minor convience to your playing.
think RPG elements in a game vs. MGS4's customization of weapons.

xscoot:

Uncompetative:
Well Deus Ex 3 sounds great, I'm really looking forward to it.

The lead designer on the project announced that Deus Ex 3 will focus more heavily on shooting than on the other aspects that made the original game great.

The Deus Ex sequels don't exist, because I don't want them to.

I like shooting stuff, but I also like first-person non-linear adventure games... I'm hoping for a mix of both genres.

But if Australia bans online porn, how are you supposed to rub one out for free? O_o

RagingScottsman:
But if Australia bans online porn, how are you supposed to rub one out for free? O_o

I wager that this legislation was actually sponsored by the Offline Porn Industry.

Every govement in any nation are becomign tighter on secrirty and censorship. The UK is slowly on its way to becomne a China & Australia.

He makes a pretty good point about JRPG's I hadn't consciously thought of when I explain why I avoid them. It's lack of choice. If everyone did everything in FF.. well, whatever, at the end of the day your final saved games will look strikingly similar. Now say you do everything in a game like morrowind, wizardry, or the other more western games you could have completely different end game experiences and results. I like that. It's keep me entertained. If in final fantasy XII you go talk to the guy at the fighters guild equivalent to advance the plot and you then die you have to go back and repeat the entire conversation cut scenes and all. In morrowind you could just kill him and find another way to advance the plot, or forget about it go a different route entirely. In a way this problem extends to mmo's as well. Everything is kind of forced on you and theres not much choice in what you want to be. Youre a beast master or a mage or paladin or what not. What if I want to be a janitor warrior who keeps the commode safe and knits in his spare time? An exaggeration yes, but admittedly the only game that ever let me loose to do whatever I wanted to do was SWG. ie a droid engineer/farmer. Yes I'm boring, but you still killed 200 cats to get 10 tooths to finish that inexplicable quest in WoW didn't you?

Cortheya:
That thing with the Australian government really frightens me. The internet, while filled with a lot of crap, Is as I have often said the greatest tool of free speech ever invented. If it is censored or controlled, then we are truly lost. Say I'm dramatic all you want but I can't imagine a worst dystopia. This is only the beginning.

You can't? Because I once imagined a world where we were ruled over by lions that had human legs and were two feet tall. They carried lazer guns and made humans work in their evil alcohol mines, killing the old frail and weak while raising the children as their own.

Anyway, I can't imagine the Australian government being allowed to go to far with this. Mr. Hitler was just in the right place at the right time, and I don't think Australia's in that place at the moment.

What he said about internet censorship is true... When China and Google did it everyone called them communist Nazis, but now Germany wants it, too... (Well this sad excuse of a country has a long tradition of Nazis, so it might not come as a surprise, but anyways)

It'S nice how they began with "Let's block the child porn", and then just weeks later people demanded to filter neo-Nazi pages, and only shortly later left extremists as well...

Well, nothings lost yet, and we just got a new government (the one I didn't vote for) so let's see...

So...to summarize the whole article, it's basically "Only do it if you can use it and it works"?

guessing there will be no ZP review of RISEN then either.

I find it somewhat amusing that lackluster shooters like Wolfenstein have these upgrade elements, while games like BioShock that could really benefit from things like upgrade trees and customizable character development paths are lacking in that regard.

It'd be funny if it weren't so disappointing.

I will argue for the RPG element as defined by Yahtzee. You are right that there is too much of it. When the RPG is integral to the game, not just slapped on as an item on a checklist. It can be great. My personal favorite examples of good RPG in a non RPG game are Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (Xbox) and Battlefield 2 and 2142.

LordCuthberton:
It's interesting how his, arguably, more insightful collumn has far less comments than the video series. Then again some people just love the penis jokes.

Plus most of the escapist followers don't know how to read. They just watch videos and comment like parrots. Repeating whatever they heard recently.

It seemed to work with ratchet and clank way back on the PS2.

Distorted Stu:
Every govement in any nation are becomign tighter on secrirty and censorship. The UK is slowly on its way to becomne a China & Australia.

Old people are trying hard to hold onto their silly outdated values before they die off and the youth "ruins it all".

The same system has gone on for centuries. Basically a group of older folks gain power and fight really hard to stop change from happening.

Change leads to the unknown which makes conservative folks nervous and scared.

That's why God and the Afterlife are so popular, they are infinite and absolute, there is no unknown to create fear. Censorship and strict law is no different, it is just people trying to create a heaven on Earth for their own simple minded selves.

Even though I live in the states, It still makes me angry when a government comes in to try and decide what's right for their people. We are all individuals with different tastes and points of view, No government should have the right to tell people what is and isn't ok for them. When I pay my taxes, I only expect the services that come with it: Military defense, hospitals, public libraries, public schooling, the FDA, Police and Fire departments, EMT's, the prison system, social security, the postal service, and medicare. I wouldn't want ANY government telling people how to run their lives. Rise up against authority, and take back what's yours.

nomzod:

ThePeiceOfEden:
Some RPG elements in shooters fit. Like in Ratchet and Clank

Insomniac (the company that brought us the achievement system) gets sidelined again. The upgrade system in Ratchet and Clank is awesome! When my hot lava gun kills enough robot chickens and suddenly starts spewing flaming hot meteors (with Poison!) We've got a Painkiller situation on our hands.

(and yes, R&C has a gun which shoots shuriken and lightning)

I honestly think that Ratchet and Clank games are the SOLE reason why these RPG eleiments have become so popular. I would even go so far as to say that RC2 was the first game to develope the idea. You know it really annoys me how Yahtzee hasn't done at least one RC review, the games have enough popularity and fun in them for him to notice them. I get a feeling that he completely missed the whole PS2 platfrom games period (as in Jak&Daxter; Sly Cooper; Ratchet and Clank)

BTW, that thing about restricted sites by the Australian government is pretty upsetting in my opinion, and it really is starting to look like the country is turning into Ociana.

Also,

OMG BEAR!11

But in a shooter, if you're faced with snipers and have been plugging all your points into shotguns and pistols, then you get to eat shit on toast.

In Deus Ex, I ended up upgrading the pistol to the point that I was using it as a sniper tool.

That was fun, especially given how ridiculous it all was.

I totally missed that they're fighting the Internet down in Oz too. Once again, the situation in Germany is very similar. Our minister for youth, family, women and senior citizens ( I am not making this up) introduced some sort of Online stop signs just a few months ago, which was one of the major reasons, the "pirate party" got surprisingly much support in the last elections. This of course, also happened to fight child pornography, or to be more precise, the "child porno industry", because there are 'thousands of children getting raped and people making millions with it', that's at least what the politicians say.

I've personally got nothing against rpg elements in my games, they add depth and variety not to mention replay ability, when they're done right that is. I haven't really played a game that's utterly skrewed them up so far.
Resi 4 did kinda bug me when I was forced to exchange my awesome shotgun for a crap one I didn't like using just because it was more powerful.

As for the internet filter, yeah if that goes through I'm leaving the country.

Oh yeah, the Resident Evil 4 weapon upgrading thing really got on my nerves when I had a nicely upgraded pistol and the merchant suddenly offered me an upgraded one. Why can't I dual-wield them at least?

I'd say this really started with Deus Ex, a game I still hold up as the best FPS ever made. It utilized RPG elements really rather well- you could buy skills in a whole range of areas and although some of them were almost useless (swimming for example) you could shape J.C Denton's abilities to become the kind of character YOU wanted to play as. You could also select from an array of nanoaugmetic biomods to give yourself a selection of superpowers and also personalize your weapons to have improved stats- this is MY goddamn silenced assault rifle with reduced recoil and enhanced clip size, got it? A large part of the fun was exploring all the nooks and crannies of the game for all the hidden weapon and biomod upgrades and seeking out the optional side missions that would give you more exp for skill levelling. In other words, Deus Ex WAS an FPS RPG, not just an FPS with the RPG elements tacked on. The RPG elements were fully implemented into the game and they worked.

Dark Messiah: Might and Magic (the opening of which is currently being lampooned by Unskippable as I write) was an even more extreme example, if comparatively simplified. While your choices in Deus Ex would adjust how you played with J.C, in DM:M&M your levelling choices would transform Sareth, making him a warrior, archer, assassin or battlemage. You could double his health or triple his magic, learn a considerable array of powerful spells, or master stealth skills that would allow you to hide in the shadows and backstab enemies. These features weren't perfectly implemented and there were a lot of balance issues (Dark Messiah was a pretty hit and miss game, although definitely worth a look, especially at current reduced prices) but it does show how to completely integrate RPG elements into a fundamentally non-RPG genre.

Let this roleplay fad proceed along it's natural course to over-familiarity and finally extinction. It is fine for fantasy-based strategy games, but wears thin with good solid RTS though is tolerable for, say, the hero character in single player. It would be innapropriate for shooters. It is innapropriate for any ranked play but fine for gearing up in unranked play.

The underlying problem is that we as gamers want imbalanced gameplay that favors us to the disadvantage of others, and roleplay elements caters to this basic need. Being an MMO fan I have to admit it is fun to be emowered in this way, but it comes at a cost of respectable gameplay.

MR T3D:

mollemannen:

MR T3D:
customization is nice in almost any game, RPG elements, however, not so much.
there is a world of diffence between the two.

not really a big differens. unlocking parts for a gun is customization. earning money to unlock parts for a gun is rpg element. i think thats what he meant with the re4 part.

the differnis that the RPG element mean that the player needs to collect and spend points to keep weapons in line with the developer's intended difficulty curve, while customization is simply looking cooler/adding minor convience to your playing.
think RPG elements in a game vs. MGS4's customization of weapons.

aha you mean customization necesserily doesn't have to be an intergrated gameplay mechanic. well in my experience games were this kind of customization occurs its absolutely pointless. good examples it the need for speed games. sure some people like to paint their cars but its better to strive for more money to unlock better cars.

In wolfenstien though they implemented both unlock by completing levels and a currency system wich is just stupid. this didn't destroy my gameplay experience though me being a complete and utter optimist :P

I must agree with you tough. A system with lots of small stuff that adds minimal effect on the gameplay or none at all like the new army of 2 weapon editor thingy is a really good system. But i must wonder how far away is it that we get randomly generated stuff, like the item tables in diablo and clones, into every other games there is? ooh and btw bordelands comes out in 20~ days ^^

Excellent and thoughtful as usual. The biggest reason I come to The Escapist.

rayman 101:

I honestly think that Ratchet and Clank games are the SOLE reason why these RPG elements have become so popular. I would even go so far as to say that RC2 was the first game to develope the idea. You know it really annoys me how Yahtzee hasn't done at least one RC review, the games have enough popularity and fun in them for him to notice them.

I really like to talk to a game historian, 'cause my guess is that Insomniac invented the acheivement system. The story goes that during the development of Spyro the Dragon the Director came in to find his whole development team playing starcraft. He started making fun of them, and pining postit notes with "geek points" to the players backs. The next day the Geek points found their way into the game.

I know that the kind of childish fun to be had in R&C is not yahtzee's thing seeing as fun making him swell up and convulse, but he played the Halo RST for chrissakes, he could at least induldge a little.

Down with internet ban! This country is far too conservative.

To summarize, don't do something half ass just to include it. It is pretty much his "trying to give handjobs to too many people equals a lackluster experience for all." I think that was in his Tabula Rasa review and it still remains true.

Great job, Yahtzee. The nail of reality has been struck mightily by your hammer of truth. And now I need to purge my brain as that sentence burned my brain.

warrenEBB:

Makes me think of old firefly game ideas that were tossed around when the MMO was rumored (one idea was to have you start off with a shiny new ship and perfect reputation - but the enjoyment would come from your sense of pride in how you've managed to hold on while your people die, your ship falls apart, and people start treating you like a filthy pirate. - that is an role i'd like to play).

hmm.

Now THAT sounds like it would be my kind of MMO. One where you start by having access to the whole world and access slowly gets shut off to you based on your actions etc. First MMO idea I've heard of lately that has piqued my interests. The reverse levelling would certainly keep the uber-l33t away.

I have to say that I completely agree with Yatzee on his take on the classic JRPG. IN THE BEGINNING it was FF-I, you had complete party control and a lot of the challenge lie in experimenting with party combinations (working through with a FTR, 2x BB, and a WM at the moment). By FFVI (still my favorite of all time) the GAME had near complete control (though you still had some control over which characters you used what points, for the most part). FFVIII seemed to say, "we have a story to tell, its OUR story, and YOU the player better not get in the way of it." Most other JRPGs seem to have evolved in the same way (actually, it seems a lot of games from Japan have followed suit; see Metal Gear, Devil May Cry and now Lost Odessey).

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