There is nothing like a challenging game to get a gamer pumped -- or sometimes stumped. Atlus games in particular are known for their insane difficulty. Games like the Shin Megan Tensei series are often seen as unforgiving and brutal. So for this category I'll provide Persona 3 as a prime example. Unlike my other games, this one was tough to beat -- and thanks to that I've found that I receive the game much better than games that lack any challenge. Call me an adrenaline junkie, but I find a nice challenge as a key component to whether or not the game is worth playing.
Most of the time a lot of games have some really cliche setting or premise, but when great stories come along it's always great to follow along and watch it all unfold. Games like Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth both tell stories that are far from what would be expected of a video game. Whether it is of the world being crushed by a terrifying moon or of a mother following God's words (despite however increasingly schizophrenic and serendipitous they seem), stories are the reason for playing the RPG in the first place. A great story usually means a great RPG and as with all the other kinds of media that tend to come from Japan, our reason for playing the game in the first place is for the plot.
In this day and time there is a lot of controversy over whether or not graphics can really improve the experience, but, from my experience, I have found that no matter how great a game may be (*cough cough* Final Fantasy 7) games with stunning graphics tend to be better received. Perhaps being able to differentiate doors from walls or seeing the individual hairs on the character's head are important to making the game better as a whole. Still, I do find myself going towards the aesthetically pleasing games. With new games with stunning graphics in development, such as Final Fantasy 15, the standards for graphics are going to be raised. As the generations of gaming continue so do the enhancements to graphics.
There is always something refreshing about killing hordes of enemies in beat em'ups, but RPGs can definitely achieve the same thrill. In games like Diablo II/III, the player is able to beat up loads of enemies while still embarking on their journey. By having a unique, fluent combat system a game is easily capable of making up for an awful story or even terrible graphics. A strong focus on combat tends to be very common in MMORPGs due to difficulties that could arise from creating lore around a game that is constantly changing. On the other hand, there are also more casual, portable RPGs like Pokemon that focus not on the animations, but on the strategy – and that is what is next, strategy.
Effortless beating up everything in your way is amazing, but there are those times where you feel like there has to be more, there has to be something other than killing enemies by the dozen. Well, there is. Games franchises like Fire Emblem and Warcraft (not the world, but the original trilogy of games) stress the strategy behind every move that is made. In other words, they allow the player to do what they think is right, but if the player is too rash or makes a mistake then the game will punish them badly for it. In Fire Emblem, units will be killed off and lost for at least the rest of the chapter, the level. In Warcraft, the units are lost and all the materials, time, and effort put into them goes with it. By making players concoct a strategy, games are able to make the player think and become part of the game.
Last but not least, any decent RPG needs to be thrilling, or at least kind of interesting. Series like Rune Factory and Animal Crossing are not really known for their thrill, but they are actually masters of thrilling their audience. Every plant harvested, every fish caught, every new friendship created, they all give the player a sense of satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment. Games that award you for jobs-well-done or gift you a world that you can leave your mark on are thrilling, captivating. Role playing games are, in the purest form, all about playing the role – and that's what thrilling games allow you to do, be part of that world.
What is your favorite part of an RPG? What about your favorite RPG in general? Leave a comment down below for us to read and maybe even write about sometime.
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