Tuesday, 20 November 2012

On the Comparative Merits of RPGs

So I finally beat Legend of Grimrock this weekend after a long period of being obsessed with other games.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience from end to end with few exceptions.  Looking back at my Steam library I can see that it took me approximately fourty hours.  Fourty hours filled with edge of your seat combat, mind twisting puzzles and riddles, and stupid twitchy timing based movement challenges henceforth referred to as "quick-time events lite".  On the whole, I would say I got my fifteen dollars worth out of it and then some.

This got me thinking about why I would rank it right up there with other modern RPGs.  I am going to alarm people a lot here by saying that I have not played Skyrim yet, but I have played Oblivion and all of the instalments of the Fallout series to date so I will use them as a comparison.  Basically in order to make it seem like I have some credibility, just mentally replace the word Oblivion with Skyrim for me.  Grimrock is modelled after really old dungeon crawling adventures such as Eye of the Beholder. However it brings those concepts of game play into the modern era with much smoother real time action and an absolutely stunning visual display.  It is a really well put together and polished game.

However there are some areas where it is lacking in comparison to bigger modern titles.  Areas such as vastness of world and presence of story.  Games like Oblivion and Fallout sport vast open worlds begging to be explored.  A cursory browsing of the intertubes says that the equivalent of a 100% completion of Skyrim would take upwards of 200 hours.  Since the world is so large, it is an excellent and varied place in which to tell stories and both of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises are known to have good storytelling.

For for these features we sacrifice much in the way of game play.  I do not remember genuinely difficult brain teasers as part of Fallout, and I never found the combat in Oblivion to be much more than rock'em sock'em circle strafe.  The end result is that we get a decent sized entertainment package, but not the mental challenge that I am beginning to demand out of the games that I play on my own.  When I play games, I want a mental workout.  When I don't want a mental workout, I watch Top Gear.

The first poll results are in!  It seems like a majority of my readers want something resembling daily updates at this point in time so I will endeavour to do that, while still making things enjoyable to read.  I am putting up a new poll asking about blag content.  Don't forget to vote, and don't forget to tell your friends.

1 comment: