And as you finally beat the last boss, looking proudly at your max level character in an epic armour soaking in demon’s blood, you tell yourself ‘Damn, finally completed it with every class!’ – Sounds familiar for you RPG fans, doesn’t it? And by any means I don’t mean that there’s some list of Must-Love RPG games, but every single of us has atleast one which is the favourite pick, and it simply never gets boring.
At the moment I can think of atleast two of them, surely Gothic and Knights of the Old Republic are the greatest experience I ever had in my long, long leveling career. There’s just some magic in them (Well, apart from fireballs, Force Lightning and stuff) that made me love them, and now the nostalgia and good memories won’t let it go… Where did it come from?
Surely from the childhood, when Gothic was the first true RPG I ever played. Once I installed the Demo version, started exploring the world, finding whole bucket of different ways I can complete things – I was approached by the amazing feeling of curiosity. I didn’t even care about the plot, as the game was in German version, so the only thing I was doing was finding out about the world. Killing random people in the village just to escape the guards by pulling them into forest where wild animals would eat them alive so I could pick up a nice crossbow and a sword for a good start. Stuff like that is stuck to my memory, as even now when talking with friends about good ol’ RPGs we get back to these funny ways we could play them.
But what’s the key, that makes that game so interesting while there’s a lot of others, with better graphics, storyline or engine? The answer is simple – Because of the atmosphere. Most of the current RPG games we play, make us feel like we’re exploring goddamn Tolkien’s world all the time (Look: Dragon Age) while people expect something new. Old games were indeed flawed in many ways (Bugs, small world, bad graphics), but they atleast had a unique feeling to them, making it special. Let’s check it on Gothic’s example: It’s a dark, or more like gray atmosphere game, where we get to play on a land cowered in a barrier. People are being kept captive together with dangerous, mythological beasts and Orcs. Even the weather is gloomy, it’s often raining and in the background you can see and hear thunders. NPCs act as if they had no hope of leaving the place, making camps who together try to survive. And now compare it to the nowaday’s Dark Fantasy game which is Dragon Age: Origins, which is all about the Blight(bunch of demons led by Dragons which want to wipe the world) and the blood on yours and your companions faces after every fight so you can feel it’s a bloody game. Not to mention all the killing! The game is scary.
Now THAT was scary
Another reason I’d rather go back to my classic games than try the new ones, is that they’re simple. I don’t need every NPC to have 20 possible dialogues or the world that I’m gonna never fully explore, but I’d like it to be simple, small, so I can complete it in 2 days if I know what I’m doing. The only important thing here is the matter of choices – I can play like a Warrior once, then another time as a Mage, but then again as a Mage that’s with the bad guys. That’s really all that’s needed, why would I care about playing several classes in one RPG when completing it takes atleast a week, with many boring sideplots and repeatable fights because it was supposed to be a long, long journey for your hero?
Truth is, RPG should have many choices, but be encouraging to try them all, not pick one and get bored to shit with it. It should have memorable places, plot twists, which bring you memories everytime you get to them. What current RPG industry lacks, is actually the understanding that we’re not going for BIG WORLD WITH MANY CREATURES THAT YOU KNOW…. EAT PEOPLE! AND .. UUH.. OH YOU KNOW, DRAGONS, YEAH, LOOOOOOTS OF DRAGONS!, but actually for something that’s unique, and makes you want to go back to it. But even if a game like that is born, suddenly the cash fever hits the creators and soon we get Gothic 3, 4 which turn out to be the worst game sequels ever.
So we heard you like Gothic, so we made it much bigger, more shiny, and removed the plot, enjoy!
So, what RPGs do you love going back to?