Thursday, April 7, 2011

The best cRPG game ever created

Computer rpg games are one of the most prominent genres and have been for about twenty years now; they probably are also the genre most commonly combined with others - mostly action games, but also adventure and strategy. This happened due to two factors:
  1) never was there a clear and widely agreed upon cRPG definition, so use of the term was arbitrary, and
  2) cRPG was considered one of the 'thinking' genres, so for an action game to be classified as rpg was very ennobling, suggesting that a game about slashing monsters is something more; traditional, mostly turn-based cRPG fans opposed such activity, naming diablolike games hack n' slash.


Now you understand that being named the best of such a noble game genre puts you in good position for being named the best game of all. By now you could have also predicted that 'action rpg' (as the 3D hack n' slash with some more rpg games are called) is not my type. I have nothing against them, really, but they are just something to rest hands and mind on, not the adventure that slower rpg games offered. Action rpgs are centered around optimized entertainment (based on enjoyable fights, breathtaking views and satisfying quests), while classic crpgs offered genuine entertainment (based on a great world or storyline).



Without further wait let's announce the winner: Betrayal at Krondor. Vast and really serious storyline (interesting political plot), lots of absolutely unique characters (you often didn't know who will play a significant role later on), fantastic music. Generally huge storyline background (several books by Raymond E. Feist), which was mentioned at all occasions, but since it wasn't required for the main plot to continue, it wasn't insolently given to the player. And that rule applies even to the main plot - on several occasions you just had to think a little on your own, find a clue. Another time you needed to decide whether the story you just heard is a quest for you or just gossip (there was no questbook). In typical rpg games side quests might also be hard as the game does not require them done, but in BaK the main plot had such difficulty, and with side quests sometimes you almost had to be lucky to find the right clue.
Also never again in the history of my gaming was I so attached to a character as I was to Gorath and Owyn, BaK's protagonists, probably because they had their personalities, history, but they were basically ordinary people. They weren't too handsome, weren't princes or gods, and did not wear super-looking armor.
Listen to some of BaK's exquisite music (the game is also a strong candidate for the Best Game Music title):
Note that this is the cd version; I'm more familiar with the midi version that did not sound so epic. Now have a look at the game:






We all have our desired graphics/imagination (the better the graphics, the less imagination is required and used) ratio. This '93 beauty fits mine perfectly, but is probably far too weak on graphics for current players to gain interest, and all graphics/no imagination for 80s' players. We'll have to live with that.

Other notable cRPG games I thought of at this moment: 
Fallout 1 and 2
Daggerfall (Elder Scrolls 2)
Gothic 1 and 2
Avernum
Vampire: the Masquerade: Redemption

cRPG I did not play, but might be good from what I know:
The Witcher
Arcanum
Oblivion
Gothic 3
Ultima (especially part 8)
Krondor sequels (Betrayal at Antara & Return to Krondor)
Darklands

cRPG games that I know are really good, but did not come to my mind:
Themselves

22 comments:

  1. You are right about the graphics, I can't play those old games, I need a certain level of graphic quality.
    And I don't think those old games are bad, but I grew up with better graphics.

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  2. The Witcher is awesome. You should give it a go.

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  3. I can play regardless the graphics, all I need is an entertaining game. Now, because of this, I stray away from games as a whole. I get addicted way too easy.

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  4. love the witcher!

    http://all-around-toto.blogspot.com

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  5. That theme music was kick ass.I Havent even heard about that game.

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  6. I was probably too young when i attempted any time at Betrayal at Krondor, but I wouldn't be against the idea of giving it another go. Especially after your post. Will definitely keep it in mind!

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  7. I agree completely about that graphics dont matter that much. I can play a game with pixel graphics and with a "bird's view" of the character. My imagination does the rest. Plot, interesting ideas and music are more important.

    Following! ;P

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  8. I have to say more: my dream game should be made in a 2D pixel sprite graphics and midi music, but all the rest with unrivaled ingenuity and cool style. This would be... perfect.

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  9. @Gregorius and D4: we're alike.

    @Kaneda and Endless: I understand.

    @Banacek and Toto: I highly regret that I didn't play the witcher before I stopped playing, especially since I loved Sapkowski's books, where Geralt was originally introduced.

    @duffboi: hah, my first go with BaK also occured when I was too young to fully appreciate it (also my english wasn't good enough back then), so the great adventure I had with it happened two years ago and again last year :)

    I enjoyed writing this comment because I could create a mini-habit of adressing you in twos, and then broke the cycle at the perfect point. I must be autistic or something :)

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  10. I've never heard of this game before, I'll check it out

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  11. hmm. and i've never even heard of it.

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  12. I used to be very much into RPG's I kinda took a step back for awhile. Taking FPS for a few weeks anyways. Need random action

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  13. This is really nostalgic stuff, old school is the best!

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  14. Wow this looks awesome. Even for an old school game

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  15. I'll always be a runescape player. I refuse to play any other rpg

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  16. You should try Drakensang: The Dark Eye, the graphics are pretty good, and it's based on a pen'n'paper role play. The story is fantastic.

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  17. Still by far the best RPG I've ever played. In fact I've bought the game 3 times over the years, as I would lend mine to a friend then a few years later would never remember who borrowed it. So I would buy it again. They are currently selling it on gog.com

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  18. Ultima VII Part 1 and another by Neal Hallford, Planet's Edge (less well known).

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