I’ve gone a little RPG crazy of late. I gots the fever! But, in general, I won’t play just any RPG. For me, and RPG needs to have at least two or three key features for me to pick it up and give it a play. What key features might they be? I hear you ask. Well, here are five of em’.
So the single most important feature for any RPG, in my opinion of course, is character customisation. Maybe it’s because of my narcissistic tendencies, or maybe it’s because I like having the ultimate control of my character… what more can I say? We all know what character customisation is, right? Well, for me at least, I like to have a good level of control over editing my character. For example, choosing from a number of pre-made heads is OK, but using sliders to scale the size of anything from your character’s ears to the length of their legs, is far better.
A gripping story
Second on the list is a good story. Not every game needs a story to be good – I don’t need to know why my ‘pro’ in NHL 15’s ‘Be a Pro’ mode decided to become a hockey player, for instance. But a great RPG needs a great story. This story needs to transcend the entire game, and overlap in different elements of the world. If an RPG is to grab my attention, 90% of the time it achieves it with its story. For me, a good story is more important than the length and look of a game – I’m happy if it’s short and ugly, as long as I’m encapsulated in the world I probably won’t even notice.
Lots of quests
Content, content, content! It’s not a necessity, but I do like to be immersed in an RPG for as long as possible. I sank hundreds of hours into Oblivion, completing all of the side quests, collecting all of the collectables and just generally exploring the world. Obviously, a good story is paramount – I don’t want to be faced with hours of boring content. I think that Dragon Age: Inquisition, struck a good balance between content and story. Yes, there was a hell of a lot of content, but a lot of it was wrapped around the main story, or around its own miniature story. So yeah, if the content is good content, I’m all for sinking my teeth into it!
A living world with player impact
I like to know that my decisions have played a part in the development of the story. Even if it’s just in a small way, like with Inquisition. I just enjoy seeing my little impact on the greater schemes of things – it makes it feel as though those tough decisions were tough for a reason. But I’m fully aware of how difficult it is to create a game with multiple endings, even if the changes between them are only slight. So I’m happy to settle for a living world that will react to my character, and their accomplishments. In Skyrim, for example, I liked hearing the whispers of “it’s the Dragon Born”, as you strolled through villages. The same goes for Oblivion, when NPCs would refer to my character as the “Champion of Cyrodil”, after I had completed that part of the story. These sorts of things help to immerse you in the world, but they also make you feel as though your character (and by extension, you) is part of a far bigger picture.
Loot and gear
Like a virtual kleptomaniac, I like to take stuff in video-games. In general, as long as it’s worth something (either for me to use, or for me to sell), I’m a happy bunny. I like to find items that represent my character, mainly weapons and clothes, and I love the fact that the better your character gets, the better their gear gets. There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a cool sword, for instance, that’s level locked to level 30, and then finally reaching the required level to use it. One of my favourite RPGs for gear was actually Dragon’s Dogma. That’s because you really noticed the difference that it made to your character, to have the right combination of weapons and armour – plus most of it looked pretty awesome.
So there are my five key features for a great RPG. Do you agree with me? Or do you look for something else in your RPGs? Let me know in the comments below!