What RPGs do I consider good?

Do you play JRPGs? If so have any favorites?

Not anymore.

I’d probably go with SMT3 Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga. Outside that, maybe Paper Mario Thousand Year Door.

I don’t really want to play JRPGs anymore. They take up a lot of time and, being menu based, they’re not very engaging. Eventually I want to play some Zeboyd ones, like Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves The World, because they showed a lot of promise, and I know they’re worth a second look.

I’ve played a huge number in the past, and I don’t want to spend time on that anymore.

What would be your criteria for a good rpg game? what rpg games do you consider to be quality?

I list some RPGs I like here. I assume you mean like, JRPG with Menu Combat. The answer could differ depending on the style of gameplay.

Basically, to make a good RPG, it’s gotta be about something other than just attacking and healing. Good gameplay is built on interesting decisions. If all you’re doing is attacking and healing when you’ll die on the next hit, then you’re following a script, or gambling (when you’re attacking because you’ll think you’ll luck out and not die). Interesting decisions are decisions where you don’t always make the same choice. To build interesting decisions, you need to create tradeoffs between choices and avoid simple strategies that can be followed to always succeed. You gotta make your players think. Random chance gambling can invoke this, players pick either the risky but high reward thing, or the more safe but low reward thing.

Another factor that goes into interesting decisions is situationality. In good games, the precise state of the game is composed of a multitude of different things interlocking with each other, so choosing the correct choice of action can be tricky. You gotta make a “fuzzy evaluation” or a “heuristic evaluation”. It’s a test of skill about how well you can perceive the game state and predict what will happen in response to your actions. Adding randomness is a shortcut to this style of thinking that undermines consistent play. Basically, good RPGs (like Pokemon and SMT) have the situation shift over time, so you’re making decisions based on different circumstances, so what might be a good option 5 turns ago isn’t anymore.

Realtime components can help make this sort of evaluation easier to implement, such as in Penny Arcade’s altered ATB combo system. It’s hard for people to compare lengths of time in their head, so it’s an interesting skill challenge.

SMT: Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga both succeed by having a variety of factors that differ over time. You have buff/debuffs that have a huge effect but only last 3 turns. You have attacking enemy weaknesses to gain extra press turns, and you have enemies with a variety of weaknesses.

Pokemon has a schmorgasboard of attacks and abilities that do all kinds of weird shit. Every pokemon has types that have a range of different possible interactions with various attacks, including the Same Type Attack Bonus on top of the better known weaknesses, strengths, and immunities that are sprinkled across the board semi-randomly. A lot of this dynamism only comes out in multiplayer though, and it’s still pretty random unfortunately. It’s a system with a lot of irregularities that prizes people’s ability to exploit irregularities. Which does more damage? A move with STAB that has a high attack power, but the enemy is strong against? Or a move the enemy is weak against with a high crit chance, but only average power? Is it better to just poison them and wall them out?

Have you played cosmic star heroine yet? I think it has pretty interesting battle system.

It came out!? They didn’t even announce it on their homepage! I’m kind of surprised.

Well, I’m trying it now, and it feels a lot like a refinement of their previous systems. They have a TON of situational factors that affect how much damage various characters do.

There’s hyper mode, which activates once every 2-4 turns (different per character), adding a buff, there’s the style meter that increases as each turn progresses, there’s buffs that can last X number of turns, there’s debuffs you can put on enemies that last a certain number of turns. If you have more than 50% style, then you’ll survive with negative health, but healing is less effective and your final attack does extra damage. Then there’s elemental weaknesses as expected, but most attacks are expended after use and you need to spend a turn defending to recharge them all. Then items can only be used once per battle. So you’re juggling all this stuff and trying to use it at the best times for the most damage, which is pretty great.

Because of all these situational factors, and the fact that enemies will increase in attack power as the battle goes on, you need to play efficiently, make good use of buffs and debuffs. Battles feel a little more like a puzzle than a normal RPG, but there’s clearly multiple valid solutions.

Good shit on their part. They’re really following through on making RPGs more tactical. Kind of a shame it’ll probably be overlooked because the theming is rather generic.


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