Tag Archives: role playing game

Just What Kind of Game Is Cyberpunk 2077 Going To Be?

CDProjekt RED this week showed off Cyberpunk 2077 at length for the first time in months in its first “Nicht City Wire” stream with more to come later this year before the game launches in November. A bunch of previews from different websites followed it this week, and after taking it all in I feel like I’m only just now getting a somewhat coherent picture of what it’s actually going to feel like to play the game.

There’s so much mystery surrounding Cyberpunk because it’s a kind of game CDPR has never done before — first-person and futuristic, and because surprisingly few games have really put players in open-world cyberpunk settings. All the previews I’ve read seem to be trying to figure out where this game is going to fall on the venn diagram between Grand Theft Auto V’s urban action, the cyberpunk themes and stealth gameplay of Deus Ex, and the role-playing options of a game like Fallout New Vegas.

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Late to the Party: Breath of Fire II

breath_of_fire_2_snes_449878After finishing the first Breath of Fire for the first time I went right on into Breath of Fire II. Generally, I think Capcom’s Super NES RPG sequel handily upgrades every aspect of the first game, but still exemplifies all the flaws of that era of console role playing games.

My blog post on the original Breath of Fire was pretty much just my getting reacquainted with my preferences and pet peeves regarding Japanese RPGs. But that game in 1993 was so basic and boilerplate essentially because it was part of the “first wave” of 16-bit JRPGs. Breath of Fire II on the other hand, released in 1994 in Japan and in December of 1995 in North America, is contemporary with some of the titans of SNES JRPGs — games like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, and I’ve seen people list it among their top RPGs of its era. I haven’t gotten to FFVI and Chrono Trigger yet to compare them, but in many ways BOFII does feel almost as polished as a SNES RPG could’ve been. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Breath of Fire (1994)

breath-of-fire-snes-rpg Before my Nintendo Online subscription from that free Twitch Prime promotion a while back runs out (on the same day Doom Eternal comes out actually) I thought I’d try to get through some of the Super NES games included with the subscription, and I just wrapped up the first Breath of Fire game. I’d bought Breath of Fire IV on PlayStation Network for like a buck and wanted to check out its predecessors first. This is the first “traditional” Japanese RPG I’ve completed in several years (since people don’t like to count the Dark Souls games), so it’s let me take my first look back in a while at why my relationship with the genre is so complicated.

JRPGs can be some of my favorite games (my definition being “a role-playing game developed in Japan”). Building a good character or party with good tactics, exploring a vast world, and following a meaty story are the kinds of things I easily drop dozens of hours into. But the ones people include in the most traditional sense of the term — usually turn-based games where you travel from town to town across a world map until you beat the final boss (and even then I keep thinking of games JRPG fans include in the description that make exceptions to it) can be slow, bloated, and repetitive, and are so uncomfortably often. Continue reading

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The Outer Worlds: Where Are The Space RPGs?

outerworlds

I’d actually seen almost none of the promotional material for Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds before playing the game. All I really knew was it was the next RPG from the people behind Fallout New Vegas and that the setting was sci-fi. I guess I went in expecting another tabletop-inspired RPG with entertaining characters. What I did not expect was a space outlaw game.

BioWare’s Mass Effect series got close sometimes but never really went for that Han Solo-esque fantasy. The only other video games that even think about trying to be space crime simulators are actual simulation games like Elite or Rebel Galaxy Outlaw which are more about totally open sandboxes with no concrete main story. Really, there aren’t enough conventional RPGs with any kind of space opera setting. Continue reading

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The Gears 5 Campaign Added Just The Right Amount Of RPG Elements

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I only fully understood the details of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate $2-for-2-months deal and took advantage of the subscription a couple days before the deal ended, so I only just used it to play through the campaign in Gears 5 a couple weeks ago. Overall Gears 5 has a much more exciting campaign than the good-but-relatively-safe freshman attempt from developer The Coalition in Gears of War 4. The two central new ideas in Gears 5 — the open-world portions and your robot companion, in my opinion make it feel a little more like an RPG, but not in the way so many other blockbuster action games have. Continue reading

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How Nintendo Software Droughts Disappeared

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If you aren’t one of those people who only owned a Nintendo 64 or only owned a GameCube during their respective console generations, let me tell you, it was pretty tough. Thinking about the difference between back then and the situation with the Nintendo Switch today puts into perspective how good we have it these days when it comes to the number of good video games available. Continue reading

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Yakuza 7: Why Turn-Based Gameplay Is Such A Big Risk

yakuza-7-like-a-dragon-rpg

So SEGA finally blew the lid off Ryu Ga Gotoku 7 — Yakuza: Like A Dragon, with a trailer and some gameplay. It’s turn-based. This is a shift unlike any I’ve seen, and reactions suggest this has already been a divisive decision. Whether or not I’m personally fine with it is gonna depend on a lot of subtle details when the game is finally in my hands, probably more than a year from now. Continue reading

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Diablo Immortal: Where, And To Whom To Announce Mobile Games

diablo-immortal-mobile

Last week I did a post about mobile gaming and now there’s the anger surrounding Blizzard’s announcement of a mobile Diablo game. Let me just say I’m down for a mobile Diablo, and in fact have been waiting for such a game for quite a while. Continue reading

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Me And Pokémon At 20 Years

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Someone might notice I already did a 20th anniversary post about Pokémon in 2016, which was 20 years after the franchise’s original Japanese debut. Well, people seem to be making a bigger deal out of the 20th anniversary of the North American release of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. Sites like Polygon and USGamer are doing a whole lot of features about it. It got me thinking about what got me into Pokémon in the first place, why I haven’t touched it in years, and what it would take to bring me back. Continue reading

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What Actually Makes For A Good Old School RPG?

Octopath Traveler, a JRPG for Nintendo Switch.

Octopath Traveler is out now, critics are receiving it well, and it’s even doing well commercially, as Nintendo Switch owners wax nostalgic about Japanese RPGs and hail the coming of them to another Nintendo handheld. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the genre. Some of my favorite games are JRPGs, but it’s actually been some years since I’ve played one to completion.

The common criticisms some people levy at JRPGs might center on things like turn-based combat being obsolete, or shounen anime tropes, but my issues with them are a little more complex. There are games where those things will get on my nerves, but at the same time some of my favorite JRPGs feel very old and traditional. I think it’s less about specific features and more about a general feeling each game tries to impart upon players. Continue reading

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