New CRPG vs old CRPG

I can’t believe what I’m about to write but… I recently bought Temple Of Elemental Evil from GoG, and… I didn’t like it anymore! Yes, the game that back in 2003 was considered by my brother and I (at those times we used to play CRPG together, sharing thoughts and impressions) as “the ultimate RPG”, right now, 7 years later… sucks.

Why? I think is because I aged up, am working full-time, and in general I’m used to a more “casual” gameplay (even if the right term would be “less hardcore”, not really casual). Just as example, I liked Torchlight MUCH more… and that’s an action RPG.

What does this means? I asked myself. Probably several things:

  • as I said, I’m no longer a teenager or young adult (I’m only 36 but well, I can clearly see that my interests,tastes are different from when I was 28-29 years old). Before, I had lot of free time, so reading a 100 pages manual for me was FUN, not a pain 😀 And a game like ToEE was fine, even if had lots of texts to read, even if had a complex inventory and spell management, and so on. Right now, that scares me off!
  • the gameplay of CRPGs evolved a lot. Now, you’re used to see several improvement/behaviour that if are missing really annoys you. Like moving the mouse over an item, and instantly see the difference with the one currently equipped in the appropriate slot (this was a feature requested from a user to my upcoming RPG Planet Stronghold and indeed, is very useful but also EXPECTED from nowadays players). So, there’s a long list of things, more or less important, that now players assume will be present by default in a game. And if they don’t find it, they feel frustrated/annoyed!
  • Party based vs single character and real-time vs turn based. Most old CRPG were party and turn based. Most of new CRPG are real-time and single player based (you can still have a party, but the NPC AI usually is good enough to fight in your place). When I was playing Mass Effect 2 in particular, I almost never cared of what my other companion were doing. I was just fighting on my own, assuming they would do their part 😀

Of course, not everyone will share the same thoughts as me. But I was a bit surprised to discover how much my gaming tastes have changed in just 7 years! And I can somehow understand why all the new titles are more action oriented, or have excellent GUI system that let you do most of the actions with very few clicks.

However, I think you can still have a good gameplay, rule system, and variety even using the good old turn-based or an hybrid approach like real-time with possibility of pause. A good example is Dragon Age, The Witcher and Drakensang. The last two in particular IMHO represent a very good example of “old-school approach” into a “new fashion” of CRPG. They have still many statistics, items, but the interface is not as clumsy as ToEE. They have lots of tactical challenges but still, you aren’t forced by a turn-based system.

Don’t get me wrong, ToEE is still a great title and I wish Troika Games would still be here today, I’m sure they would make a RPG that would kick Bioware’s ass 🙂 For my upcoming titles though, I think will try a more real-time approach, both for RPGs and also strategy/management games like the Heileen spin-off that I should start prototyping very soon.

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4 Responses to New CRPG vs old CRPG

  1. Druon says:

    While I do agree that personal taste does change as you age, I really don’t think that what you or me do like or dislike at any given time really relates to how other people feel on the same issue. It remains a matter of personal taste. Trying to tack an age-label on turn-based-combat or life-action-combat is futile.
    Quality of life issues on the other hand are something people usually can agree on. A good UI will help you no matter if things are turn based, life action or any kind of hybrid.

    Personally, I would prefer if you keep a mix of different kinds of games. This especially includes games heavy on good dialogue (because I happen to like to read and “Planescape: Torment” remains one of my all time favourites).

    • admin says:

      Yes I agree that is a matter of personal tastes, I don’t think that everyone over 60 play turnbased games and everyone from 18 to 36 play real-time FPS 🙂 I was just reporting my personal experience. And indeed probably my disappointment in playing ToEE again was the interface, where you have lots of common stuff from the modern RPGs missing. Probably with an up-to-date UI I would have enjoyed it again…
      As for kind of games, for sure. Actually I LIKE to write, the problem is my english ^_^; Even using proofreaders, often my writing isn’t really great (have no problem to admit it) even if I think the stories / plots are interesting. After PS I plan to make another RPG re-using this engine, but this time probably I’ll partner with some good native english speaker – I only need to take a break from writing myself. Planet Stronghold is over 45k words already, despite being a RPG and not a visual novel! This because has several paths and two different sides later after chapter 4.

  2. Druon says:

    If I was a native english speaker, I would volunteer right now. 😉 Nice to hear that you are going to create more RPGs in the near future, they are by far my favourite genre. And a special “Thank you” for adding same-sex romances in Planet Stronghold.

    • admin says:

      No worries, luckily have many proofread volunteers 🙂 About same-sex, is something that many people demanded and I figured out won’t be a problem (regarding what other people could think) since after all is optional and is present also on Bioware’s AAA games 🙂

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