14. When is Free too Free in RPG Gaming?

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For those of you who don’t know what RPG stands for, let me define… 🙂

R.P.G. stands for Role-Playing-Game. It’s a game where a player assumes the role of a character, and makes decisions throughout that effect the game’s outcome. So it’s basically like real life. Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s what I want to ask, though: the freedom in RPGs are great, but when is the freedom too free? When do the choices become so tedious that they annihilate the story altogether?

There are two kinds of RPGs: there are games like Fable (a personal favorite), where the players determine how to go about the story; and then there are games like Skyrim, where the player literally dictates the plot for himself. For example, in Skyrim, you can choose to join the Imperial Army or the Stormcloaks. Before you know what you’re getting into, though, you have to decide, through hours of investigation, which side to fight for.

I personally prefer RPGs with set stories, whose conclusions are the same regardless of choices. Too much open-world stuff requires hours and hours of time, and (IN MY OPINION) little satisfaction.

Although they have cool concepts and fabulous art, Skyrim and Dragon Age just don’t satisfy my gaming preferences. I need games with interesting plot and relatable (solid) characters. In large open-world RPGs, story and character are as bland as the players who create them.

But then again, this is only my opinion. These elements are what I value in RPG gaming; and open-world RPGs (like Skyrim) jeopardize these values.

What do you guys think? What are the pros and cons of RPG games? What should gamers be looking for in them?



2 thoughts on “14. When is Free too Free in RPG Gaming?

  1. I love a good RPG, and I’ve noticed how some offer much more freedom of choice than others. Western RPGs (e.g. Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, Mass Effect) tend to be non-linear and malleable, whereas Japanese RPGs (e.g. Final Fantasy, Paper Mario, Ni No Kuni) tend to be linear and scripted.

    Both approaches are valid, but I prefer a powerful, carefully scripted RPG story over a weaker, choose-your-own-adventure RPG story. The latter offers more freedom, but the former typically offers better storytelling.


  2. I agree that both approaches are valid. Most of this post was influenced by my experiences with Skyrim, a game that sold millions of copies after only a few days. I have no doubt that open-world games are great… but to get the most out of them, hours and hours are required. Which is sorta something I don’t have. HAHA!


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