State of modern RPGs?

So where do you stand with the current state of RPGs? More than just big budget titles, but also with smaller indies and kickstarted projects.

Images are just there for examples, but do tell what are some of your favorites.

I’m going to be honest here, I’m a bit disappointed that no Eastern RPGs were mentioned. It’s my opinion that, at least mechanically, the best RPGs have been coming from the Far East, whether they be Atlus-styled combat systems or Korean MMORPGS basically keeping the genre alive outside of WoW or FFXIV.

I don’t like complicated RPGs or ones that have a lot of customization anymore. I tried playing Pillars of Eternity or Wasteland 2 and I literally could not get past the character creation screen.

Too many options for me, I can’t commit. I like more directed, less open experiences nowadays.

Honestly I was glad when I read somewhere that Divinity OS 2 was going to streamline the stat advancement mechanics. Having complete control over stat allocation is nice in theory but in reality only certain paths are really viable anyway and it punishes newbies to the genre who don’t have a goal in mind for their characters right from the beginning.

I would really love to see more of the old turn-based RPGs, to be perfectly honest. Single-digit Final Fantasy style stuff, y’know. The good ol’ days of Lufia, Earthbound, etcetera etcetera, so on and so forth.

Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy stuff like FFXIV and the more-actiony MMORPGs (seeing as I’ve been playing FFXIV daily for the last three weeks), but my nostalgia calls.

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You might be into Cosmic Star Heroine. I haven’t played it but it looks like a more modern Chrono Trigger from the videos I’ve seen of it.

It’s pretty good from what I’ve played so far. SGF did a stream of the beginning of the game if you wanna see it:

Pillars of Eternity is far from a perfect game but its still pretty good and the White March expansion improved on its problems a great deal so I’m really looking forward to Deadfire. BG2 is one of my favorite games of all time so I’m just generally happy to see its legacy continuing in some form.

I haven’t gotten around to playing it yet, and heard relatively little buzz about it, but I’m curious what people’s thoughts on Torment: Tides of Numenera are. Its got a cool setting and a big legacy to live up to.

I’m generally more into western RPGs than eastern ones but I recently finished my second playthrough of Persona 5 (my first foray into the series) and wow I really should have tried out these games sooner. P5 practically feels tailor made for my interests in so many ways so I will definitely be looking into the earlier games (3 and 4 at least) in the near future.

Can anyone vouch for I Am Setsuna? I finally got a Switch, and I’m thinking about buying that game for it. From what I know, it plays like Chrono Trigger but has a depressing story, so I think it’s worth a look.

As for modern RPGs I’ve actually played, the only ones I’ve played recently are Pokémon Sun and Nier: Automata, neither of which I’ve finished. I’m glad that the genre is so diverse in gameplay style now, but I kind of wish that there were more classic-style RPGs in non-conventional settings. I know there’s a lot, but if I say “RPG,” people immediately think of Medieval Fantasy settings and I dislike that.

I am Setsuna is basically a who’s who of RPG writing. Admittedly I’m basing this mostly on an LP of it, but pretty much every single scene came off like “Huh, I remember when Chrono Cross did this.” or “Hey, it’s the plot of Final Fantasy X!”

It’s not offensively bad in any way, it mostly just constantly reminds you of other, better games.

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I think it’s a case of SE forgetting how to make traditional JRPGs. From what I remember they were surprised when something like Bravely Default actually well. At some point you start re-inventing the wheel for its own sake and forget what makes quality, well, quality.

I think SE was just the publisher on I Am Setsuna though and weren’t really involved in the development. Much like they were for Life is Strange.

Bravely default had a real good combat system that expected and taught you how to break it.

The plot I honestly can’t remember except for the end fights.

Mass Effect: Andromeda was decent
Divinity: original Sin was fine
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was alright
Fallout 4 was fine
The Witcher 3 was excellent
Pillars of Eternity was alright

Please someone evaluate Tyranny because I’ve been eyeing it for like 2 months now, but it looks like it’s similar to the infinity engine games which I never really enjoyed.

I like it a lot but there are a few issues.

Bad Stuff
The magic system is super brokenly overpowered which makes some of the normal skills feel a bit useless compared.

Good Stuff
The magic system is super brokenly overpowered leading to real silly combinations where you shoot cone of flames out whenever you perform a melee attack. I really like the writing even if it’s sorta crude all the time.

On mac I had a ton of crashes but by this point they may have patched all those issues out.

Also this is neither good or bad but story paths in the game are chosen very, very early on and you might not see everything in one playthrough but the game is meant to be replayed and is short enough for it.

I just finished a indie JRPG called Ara Fell and I think it was pretty good. I wrote a review for it on Steam even:

Click for Review

Ara Fell is a competent little RPG that did quite a lot with RPG Maker 2003. The combat system is good, though lacking some variety desipte the unique mechanics that several of the bosses introduce, the music is really good, and the maps are gorgeous with lots of little secrets to find.

The game also respects your time. There are tons of prompts to save before cutscenes and bosses (since afaik this engine doesn’t support autosaves), and nearly every cutscene can be skipped outright. There’s also a story mode that gives you an option to just autowin any combat if you don’t want to engage with it.

It’s a solid 12-15 hour RPG with some cool ideas, and a plot that is mildly generic but has some high points. My only real complaint is the character portraits could use some updating to match better with the official art and maybe dump the default RPGMaker font for something prettier.

I think it was worth the ten bucks I spent on it and look forward to the next game Stegosoft puts out, as it should be a competent followup.

I bought it straight off (where I just stumbled onto it when I was browsing randomly) and generally I’m pretty sure the devs get more money if you buy from there instead of Steam, so I always take that option if possible. Came with a Steam key anyway. There’s a demo to try out too.

I feel like Western RPGs took a nosedive for a while, but are steadily getting to be really interesting again. Torment: Tides of Numenera has some really solid writing and great atmosphere, West of Loathing’s the first game in a while I’ve seen that remembers how to tell a joke, and Divinity Original Sin 2 has elves that cannibalize other creatures to read their memories, as well as generally better writing than Original Sin 1.
On the less eminently recommendable, but still interesting side of Western RPGs, Magic Wand is an interesting follow up to Space Funeral, and Age of Decadence is a mostly conversation-oriented isometric RPG that’s decently executed but really niche.

Meanwhile, Japan has Atlus doing better than ever, with SMT4 Apocalypse being the best entry in the SMT series to date and Persona 5 maintaining a gripping story for the first 60 hours or so. For teams that aren’t Atlus, Nier: Automata was really solid, but lacked a bit of the punch of its predecessor, and the Neptunia series gets marginally better with each release.
The rest of Japan’s RPG market’s in a bit of a weird place though. They’ve been getting some really aesthetically pleasing menus (ex: Nier Automata, Blue Reflection, Persona 5, Tokyo Mirage Sessions), but the writing in most current JRPGs is stagnant and trying less new things by the year.

e; forgot about the best parody I’ve played in years: Pokémon Edge Rising. It’s a game that plays heavily on the edgy teenager aesthetic and is easily one of the best releases of 2017.

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