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Thread: Action RPGs

  1. #1
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    ichigo Action RPGs

    One of the most popular sub-genres of RPG and one that has in the last decade started to overtake the usual idea of what to expect from the genre. I myself have some issues with Action RPGs, that largely stem from my needs for both genres never quite coming together when they're merged. I'll likely get to that later, in the meantime, I am curious to hear what other people think.

    Do you love the genre more than traditional turn-based titles? If so, why? If not, why not? What are your favorite games of the sub-genre and is the battle system the main draw in these cases or is it something else?

  2. #2

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    I usually can't stand most ARPGs, because I like the feeling that you can control your party rather than just you controlling one person and the CPU does the rest. I was honestly shocked that I ended up loving Sword of Mana so much.


    EDIT : Secret of Mana.
    Last edited by maybee; 02-18-2019 at 07:09 AM.




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  3. #3
    Do Myself a Mischief Vermachtnis's Avatar
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    I enjoy them about the same as turn based RPGs.

    My enjoyment of an aRPG battle system comes down to how good the dodge is. I like it in NIER Automata where I hit the dodge button, I dodge. It sounds simple, but I can not count the number of times where I'd not be in an animation, have full stamina, and I thought I hit the dodge button, but what I hit was the get stabbed in the face button.

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    I don't play a lot of them, but I absolutely should. Ys VIII was an absolute blast to play, probably my favorite PS4 game so far. I'm sure there's many more I'd enjoy a ton.

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    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    Like Vermachtnis, I like them pretty much the same as turn-based RPGs. They just happen to scratch a different itch. I do get incredibly annoyed if I canít jhmp in an ARPG though

  6. #6

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    I tend to enjoy them less than traditional RPGs for a few reasons.

    1. Combat is less deep. In fact, if they try to make combat in an action RPG as deep as a traditional turn-based RPG, I actually find it actively annoying. That kind of combat depth should be reserved for situations where you have time to think about your actions, not situations that largely revolve around reflexes and spamming attacks.

    2. Not necessary and there are certainly counterexamples, but action RPGs tend to have less plot focus than traditional RPGs. Maybe the concept of fast moving action in gameplay carries over to fast moving plot scenes so the stories tend to be a bit more minimalist.

    3. Much like traditional RPGs like SMT (main series, not to be confused with the glorious Persona) that I don't care for as much, action RPGs tend to stray toward constant combat with fewer respite areas. For example, not as many towns as traditional RPGs. Again there are counterexamples. For example, Secret of Mana, one of my favorite action RPGs has many town areas throughout. They might be a little smaller and more streamlined than traditional RPGs, but I think they were about par for the course for RPGs of that era.

    Of course, since action RPGs are kind of a hybrid to begin with, it's sometimes difficult to determine where the line is drawn between traditional and action RPG. For example, Secret of Mana has an ATB like bar and significantly nerfs damage done if you choose not to "wait your turn" so to speak. That said, I would still readily consider it an action RPG, because it is only in limited context menu-based and you can constantly swing your weapon in real time with real results with the press of a button (there's even some strategy to not waiting your turn in instances) and no battle transitions. Another one is the Tales series, which blurs the line with random battles (earlier games) or battle transitions for battles with creatures on the world map. The battle style still probably makes them action RPGs, but the battle transitions make them very different from what I usually conceive of as action RPGs.

    Secret of Mana is one of my favorite games and easily beats most traditional RPGs for me. Brave Fencer Musashi is another action RPG that I regard very highly (it also pretty much serves as the perfect example of what I generally consider to be an action RPG). However, the pinnacle of action RPGs still fall below several of my favorite traditional RPGs and, on the balance I prefer traditional RPGs.

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    Eggstreme Wheelie Jiro's Avatar
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    I'm certainly finding that my appreciation for action RPGs I'd increasing over time. But I also think that Nier Automata and Final Fantasy 15 are exceptions rather than the rule; I imagine there are plenty of games that don't quite hit the checklist of my tastes like they do.

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    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    They're both fine. The battle system doesn't play too hard in my appreciation of an RPG for the most part.
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  9. #9
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    To answer a bit of my own question, I've learned in the past few years that the biggest contributing factor to whether I'll like an Action RPG system comes down to whether it has a restrictive mechanic designed to prevent the player from just wailing relentlessly on an enemy. The best version always being a Stamina type mechanic. My biggest gripe with ARPG combat is that they tend to devolve into button mashing nonsense with an occasional use of a dodge roll mechanic to keep you on your toes.

    I prefer mechanics being implemented that punish players for being less methodical and going for unrelenting offense. I feel this is why Dark Souls resonated with me so well because the stamina mechanic forces you to be more tactical in combat and overall more strategic in your builds. I played Nier: Automata last year, and while the combat was certainly flashy and character death was common enough to keep you on your toes, I still found the combat to be kind of blah after awhile, generally preferring the bullet hell hacking mini-game over the actual combat. Meanwhile, I later tackled Dark Souls III, and while it's probably the easiest entry in the series, was far more at home and more engaged with the core gameplay mechanics. Beating Emil in Nier was amusing for story reasons, but the fight itself wasn't really a big deal. Finally conquering Darkeater Midir by finding the proper load out that suited my playstyle and ideal for exploiting his weaknesses was far more fulfilling for me.

    Hell this idea even worked for me playing through Secret of Mana, which still has my favorite combat in the franchise because the power meter works as I described above. The best way to play being to strike and then back away and stay dodgy while you recharge your strength to go for a full blow, yet attacking relentlessly can also be useful since it does little damage but often stunlocks an enemy long enough for your companions to fully charge their own moves. For a 27 year old game, the combat actually still has quite a bit of depth to it.

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