I’ve played dozens of computer role playing games (RPGs) over the years and recently have been very surprised and happy to see the games become far deeper, and the story lines rely on my choices rather than pre-set story lines. Not only does this make the game more satisfying, but it also makes the game re-playable adding a lot of value. As the graphics improve, and the sound and voice acting moves towards ‘Hollywood’ standards, the immersive quality of these games is amazing, and the combat element becomes less important.
These modern games are beginning to capture the excitement of traditional paper based RPGs and also are becoming more mainstream, allowing for more innovation and investment in the Genre.
With the resurgence of RPGs in the video game market, two of the biggest games of recent times are releasing sequels. These mammoths of the RPG gaming world will be both released in March 2011, and thus March is shaping up to be a bumper month for fantasy role playing gamers everywhere.
Dragon Age II (release date 3/8/11)
Dragon Age (See my review here) was the 2009 game of the year; it moved RPGs to the next level, providing amazing graphics, but also creating an adaptive and choice based plot that was very detailed, multi-faceted and above all immensely re-playable. It really showed the world the way in which the whole RPG genre was moving away from simple hack and slash games and into the realms of adventure and moralistic choice type games.
In Dragonage II, the sequel, you play a character who has survived the destruction of his/her home and now must fight for survival, gathering allies, fame and fortune as you try and change the future of the world, and ultimately gain power. It’s a multi-year adventure that you shape with your decisions.
The game promises to update the graphics making them more cinematographic; but more than that elements of strategy and combat enter the game, as the mechanics place you in the center of battle giving you far more control than any other RPG game (even more than the already detailed combat mechanics of Dragon Age.)
If the designers deliver the detailed and stunning graphics they promise, as well as keeping the game play as good as the original, then there’s no doubt that this is going to be a brilliant game!
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (release date: 3/9/11)
The Witcher was a gem of a game, that produced an amazingly atmospheric plot, with graphics and sound to go with it. It is one of the most adult, thought provoking games I’ve played and redefined the way in which RPG games should be played.
Witcher 2 promises to build on this by producing a mature and engrossing story that ‘re-defines’ non-linear narration and game play. With a new original combat system that combines tactics and dynamics, it promises to be at the cutting edge of RPGs.
You continue the game as Geralt of Riviabuild in a totally new storyline; it builds on the first game, but you do not need to know anything about the original plot to enjoy the game.
The game is promising a better role-playing experience, giving you deeper quests and a non-linear storyline that develops as you make choices and complete multi-faceted quests.
Again, if the makers can deliver on their promises, making the RPG elements deeper and more satisfying while still managing to capture the mood and atmosphere of the world (as they did in the original Witcher) game then this will be a hit for 2011!
It’s a great time to be an RPG. So many companies are investing in this genre, and these two games represent the best that is on offer at the moment – hopefully, as more and more companies enter the market, these games will get better and better. It’s looking like a great 2011 for RPG fans!
Other notable RPG games in 2011:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – immersive story create by R A Salvatore; vast open world;
Diablo III: a new update to the classic franchise – no release date yet, but promise to be the ultimate hack and slash rpg!
Two Worlds II: a sequel to a pretty decent traditional computer RPG