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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting Back into RPGs

When I was a teenager, I really got into RPGs on the SNES. I spent countless hours playing Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Lufia & the Fortress of Doom and a plethora of other titles. This would continue on the PlayStation with Wild Arms, Final Fantasy VII-VIII, and Grandia. RPGs ended up becoming my favorite genre. Since the 32/64-bit era of gaming, I've got into a lot of other gaming genres, many of which I never even played through my adolescent years. These days, I play almost any type of game and while I still like RPGs, I don't always jump at the chance to play them like I once did.

I picked up Xenoblade Chronicles weeks ago but have
yet to play my copy.

So how did one of my favorite gaming genres get reduced to one that I barely even touch? A lot of it has to do with time. I already have an enormous backlog of games and RPGs require a lot of hours to play through. When I'm thinking of starting a new game, I usually steer clear of RPGs because even when you aren't veering off the beaten path, these games can be very time consuming. There's the inevitable level grinding to make the party stronger just so you can progress further. Of course even when you don't take grinding into account, just going through several dungeons, going through town A through town D, having several key events take place to advance the story, it all adds up to a lot of play time. I work a full-time job and blog on a regular basis, which is another job in and of itself. I hate to say it, but sometimes playing RPG can seem more like work than play.

Lately, though, I've been thinking how to get back into playing RPGs because I still have much admiration for this genre. I know it sounds like I was not a fan of them in the previous paragraph, but the fact remains that RPGs have given me some of the happiest, fondest memories in all my years of gaming. The battle with Magus in Chrono Trigger was awesome considering the history the character had with Frog. Oh and that epic musical piece certainly didn't hurt. Final Fantasy VI has some of my favorite characters in any video game along with having an exceptional story to tell. The bombshell revelation near the end of Lufia & The Fortress of Doom? Man, that was awesome! Thinking of these things reminds me of the stuff I'm missing out on by not playing RPGs. What's the story like in Xenoblade Chronicles? How developed are the characters? What's the combat system like? These are all questions that I need to find the answers to on my own.

I'm very much stoked for The Last Story.

If I can invest 70+ hours into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I should be able to do the same or similar for an RPG. Granted, one could make the argument that it's easier to play a fighter an RPG, but that's beside the point. Brawl isn't the only game I poured a ton of time into. Super Mario Galaxy, one of my all-time favorite Mario games is a title I've probably spent more than 100 hours playing. When I got all 120 stars as Mario, I ended up staring a game as Luigi days later and again collected 120 stars. It may take more effort, but if I can do that with a platformer, I should be able to crack down on an RPG.

Getting back into RPGs will probably be easier said than done. I can't remember the last RPG I actually finished. I got Dragon Quest IV on the DS for my birthday in 2009 and it was a great deal of fun but I never did finish it. I think I was nearing the end of the game, too because after hours of playing, I finally switched back to the main protagonist. Maybe it was a case of losing interest or getting discouraged because those later dungeons were getting tougher. And if one has been away from an RPG for a long time, it can be tough to come back and remember what you have to do. All the more reason to keep playing.

Its a bit easier for me to go back to an RPG I'm familiar with. I've played through Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger several times so I could play through those again to get me warmed up. Chrono Trigger, even when going on side quests isn't the longest RPG and I did download it on the Virtual Console months ago. I could probably finish that game in under 40 hours. FFVI would take me longer, though. What I should do is just start a new RPG and go from there but I'm worried about everything I already mentioned happening *Sigh* This is gonna take some work. I'll let you know how I'm doin'.


(mymoonlog) said...

The best Blog..

Chris Clash said...

I know exactly what you mean. RPGs used to be one of my favourite genres but I realize I'm having a very hard time commiting myself to a new one these days. There are plenty of games I started but never finished these last few years : FF XII, DQ VIII, DQ VI, DQ IX, Zelda Orcales, Pandora's Tower, and so on... I've finally managed to finish Wind Waker and Twilight Princess after several years, and I've yet to finish Skyward Sword. RPGs are really time-hungry games, and when you have a work life, a social life, well... when you get home you might wanna do something else than spend hours on tedious RPG leveling-up. On the other hand, I still enjoy familiar games, these days I'm replaying Seiken Densetsu 1 (my very first RPG) and Seiken Densetsu 2. That's because familiar games (action-RPGs especially) are much less tedious than new ones : no new mechanics to learn, no riddle unresolved, no new place to explore.