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Videogames: All Valves on Deck


IlyaP
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Baldur's Gate III is certainly in the conversation as Best RPG Evaaaah and I think "recency bias" is a silly reason to dismiss it. It is, very clearly to everyone familiar with the genre, an absolutely stellar achievement in terms of writing, characterisation and reactivity, if within a somewhat constricted envelope. It certainly isn't perfect though, and has various issues that do not make it a total slam-dunk for the position (if less than at launch).

Deus Ex: Human RevolutionCyberpunk 2077Tyranny, Fallout: New Vegas, the Mass Effect trilogy and The Witcher III I think are all in contention, and that's games released since 2010. There's a plethora of other games that I haven't played yet but am willing to accept from overwhelming critical positivity that might be in there was well (Pillars of Eternity II: DeadfireDisco ElysiumPentimentWasteland 3, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader).

Their genre is somewhat debatable, but the Banner Saga Trilogy is certainly up there.

For older games, Fallout 1 and 2Planescape: TormentBaldur's Gate IIAnachronox, OG Deus ExKnights of the Old Republic I and II, Neverwinter Nights II: Mask of the Betrayer and Dragon Age: Origins I think have strong arguments in their favour, but decreasing accessibility is an issue.

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25 minutes ago, Ran said:

I know it's a JRPG. I know nothing else about it, other than the fact that it's a game from 1995 that appears on multiple and relatively recent "greatest RPGs of all time" lists, which is pretty remarkable.

 

 

There are obviously some of-the-time issues, but honestly remarkably few compared to other JRPGs of the time. It's incredible how well it's aged.

 

Was just watching this video earlier. I wouldn't necessarily watch the whole thing, but the opening half hour gives a good insight into what makes it so special even now, and certainly at the time, if you're interested.

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I should add that I meant not that Chrono Trigger appears on multiple lists, but rather that it's #1 on multiple relatively recent lists. On top of that, a poll of JRPG fans from 3 years ago on Reddit listed it as the 7th most played game (!!!!) despite it being 26 years old at that point, and it was also the #1 RPG in a separate poll there 4 years ago. There seems to be a zillion articles and blogs and forum posts touting it as the all-timer.

Sadly, not a JRPG fan, but I'll check out the video to learn more about how such an old game has kept people enthralled.

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39 minutes ago, Ran said:

I know it's a JRPG. I know nothing else about it, other than the fact that it's a game from 1995 that appears on multiple and relatively recent "greatest RPGs of all time" lists, which is pretty remarkable.

It's a great little game with a neat time traveling-based plot with some good characters, an interesting world, great music, and pretty damn good gameplay. Best of all, it's not some overly long, 200 hour bloated monstrosity of a game like so many RPG's nowadays (or games in general). I think it could be finished in like a good 20-25 hours.

That said...

15 minutes ago, Fez said:

Chrono Trigger is a lot of fun, but I'd certainly agree that its been surpassed by a number of games since; and mostly retains it's place on a lot of lists simply from how great it was comparatively at the time.

I do think this is fair even if I don't agree. What was once innovative often becomes old hat as time passes, that doesn't make the original any less good.

Chrono Trigger, IMO, holds up better than some of my other favorites from that era of gaming. Even FFVI, a game that probably has even MORE nostalgia bias for me, honestly.

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55 minutes ago, Werthead said:

There's a plethora of other games that I haven't played yet but am willing to accept from overwhelming critical positivity that might be in there was well (Pillars of Eternity II: DeadfireDisco ElysiumPentimentWasteland 3, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader).

You haven't played Disco Elysium? And there I thought I was a late-comer for playing it 6 months ago. I can't wait to read your reactions when you've played it (or probably when you've played it, then re-played it).

Which also makes me ponder: would Divinity Original Sin be considered RPG (I suppose so), and where would either of them rank in the "best RPGs evah" field?

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I am adding Pentiment to this list, as I have had a more meaningful and thoughtful rpg experience from that game than anything in years - in part because I can't savescum my way out of a "maximising" situation. The game doesn't let me do that because it learned all the right lessons from Deathloop.

And the choices/consequences allow for numerous divergent narrative and character relation outcomes - eg "Your statement will be remembered" and whar background history choicea you choose decides how certain secondary, tertiary, and quaternary stories play out. It's vunderbar and has made for a meaningful and rich experience. 

This is one of the most interesting and dialogue-rich games I have seen in a long time. 

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1 hour ago, Clueless Northman said:

Which also makes me ponder: would Divinity Original Sin be considered RPG (I suppose so), and where would either of them rank in the "best RPGs evah" field?

Even Swen thinks poorly of DOS1. It's...fine?! But the DOS games are more about mechanics exploitation, multiplayer co-op, and emergent gameplay than roleplaying.

And DOS1 is also pretty railroady, with no real build choices and very meh gameplay. It's...fine? But not spectacular.

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7 hours ago, Werthead said:

For older games, Fallout 1 and 2Planescape: TormentBaldur's Gate IIAnachronox, OG Deus ExKnights of the Old Republic I and II, Neverwinter Nights II: Mask of the Betrayer and Dragon Age: Origins I think have strong arguments in their favour, but decreasing accessibility is an issue.

I remember when Fallout came out and reviewers yelled out "best RPG ever!". And then BG2 came out in 2000. "BEST. RPG. EVER!" And then KOTOR landed in 2003. "OMG! Most amazing crpg of all time!" And so on. This "best rpg ever!" routine is nothing new - it's just history repeating itself. In a few years' time, some new RPG will come along that will outshine BG3 and we'll hear the same thing all over again. 

And for those of us who've played an absolutely massive amount of RPGs, we know there's nothing new in BG3 that we haven't seen before in Ultima VI or Ultima VII, as @Derfel Cadarn mentioned. Or in Dragon Age: Origin, which is what BG3 really feels like very often to me. (And turn-based combat? Automatic point against BG3.) Hell, the game can't even do day/night cycles (which many of us observed was missing in Dragon Age III after seeing it in DA1/2), while many of its contemporaries can, because it would cause scripting issues, as stated by Swen himself. 

There's really not a whole lot in BG3 that's unique or new, it's just all done *nicely* and with a banger of a score that's basically DOS2 v.2.0 by Borislov Slavov. But in terms of build options? Pathfinder 2 beats it hands down. Better lore? Pillars and Morrowind. Other games with emergent gameplay options? Ultima VII. Better writing? Planescape: Torment, Fallout: New Vegas, NWN 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Better UI? BG2/Pillars 1/2/Solasta. Better interpretation of 5th edition rules? Solasta. Better plots? Chrono Trigger, Anachronox. Better ending outcomes (eg variety of Actually Different Endings): Wolf Among Us, Walking Dead Game. Better meaningful character roleplaying options? Disco Elysium by a mile and a half. 

BG3 is a perfectly entertaining game, but there's nothing in it that players of a wider range of cRPGs haven't already seen, and sometimes seen done better. It's a fun game, but I've lived enough to have seen this "best rpg" shtick several times in my life. It's happened before. It's happening now. It'll happen again. 

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24 minutes ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

How about 180 hours of cinematics to account for even the 0.01th of a different permutation chosen by the player ? @IlyaP doubt you saw that :P 

What about them, exactly? I've seen them in several other cRPGs. They're fine, but they don't affect the minute to minute mechanics and narrative options in the gameworld space in any real serious way the majority of the time, unless you've done something that leads to a party member leaving.

(Also, I noticed that trying to have a hireling-based party? It's basically just a bunch of rag dolls Withers controls, which is narratively intruisive, and basically telling the player "don't use them", which I found irksome, given the number of cRPGs that let me make my own party.)

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4 hours ago, IlyaP said:

I remember when Fallout came out and reviewers yelled out "best RPG ever!". And then BG2 came out in 2000. "BEST. RPG. EVER!" And then KOTOR landed in 2003. "OMG! Most amazing crpg of all time!" And so on. This "best rpg ever!" routine is nothing new - it's just history repeating itself. In a few years' time, some new RPG will come along that will outshine BG3 and we'll hear the same thing all over again. 

 It's a fun game, but I've lived enough to have seen this "best rpg" shtick several times in my life. 

Going a bit hard in the grognard angle there, BG3 is a great game - it does a whole bunch of things really well and is extremely ambitious for a game with its production values in the current era. You might not like it but it deserves the massive popularity it has achieved. It may not literally be the greatest RPG ever (not that we can ever know one way or the other) but it's deserving of being in the conversation and it's certainly a worthy candidate to be anyone's favourite RPG ever.

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23 minutes ago, Poobah said:

Going a bit hard in the grognard angle there, BG3 is a great game - it does a whole bunch of things really well and is extremely ambitious for a game with its production values in the current era. You might not like it but it deserves the massive popularity it has achieved. It may not literally be the greatest RPG ever (not that we can ever know one way or the other) but it's deserving of being in the conversation and it's certainly a worthy candidate to be anyone's favourite RPG ever.

Would be quite something to say I dislike a game I've already played through 3 times over the course of 200 hours.

 

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28 minutes ago, Ran said:

I've got no issue with the idea that it's in the conversation. I think anyone who has decided that it is in fact the greatest RPG of all time, especially when they lack much knowledge of RPGs from before they were a gamer, is suffering recency bias, and I stand by that.

Yeah it’s kind of hard to declare something the best OF ALL TIME when one is unfamiliar with most of the relevant competition.

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56 minutes ago, Ran said:

I've got no issue with the idea that it's in the conversation. I think anyone who has decided that it is in fact the greatest RPG of all time, especially when they lack much knowledge of RPGs from before they were a gamer, is suffering recency bias, and I stand by that.

It's also just a weird thing to try and quantify full stop where art and personal preferences are concerned. No one asks "what's the best painting of all time?" because that's a preposterous and fundamentally useless question. Why does one thing have to be The Best Thing? This sport-like competitive drive isn't fundamentally germane or relevant to the domain of art and aesthetics. (I blame you, capitalism!) Pull the camera back, and instead, enjoy the tapestry of things we've created, rather than zooming in on one thing and one thing only and planting a flag on it. 

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12 hours ago, IlyaP said:

I am adding Pentiment to this list, as I have had a more meaningful and thoughtful rpg experience from that game than anything in years - in part because I can't savescum my way out of a "maximising" situation. The game doesn't let me do that because it learned all the right lessons from Deathloop.

And the choices/consequences allow for numerous divergent narrative and character relation outcomes - eg "Your statement will be remembered" and whar background history choicea you choose decides how certain secondary, tertiary, and quaternary stories play out. It's vunderbar and has made for a meaningful and rich experience. 

This is one of the most interesting and dialogue-rich games I have seen in a long time. 

 

Have you played Roadwarden? Graphically it's barely a step above text-based games but it's very committed to offering meaningful choices over time. I haven't finished so I can't say exactly how it comes together but it has a good reputation and might be of interest to you.

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4 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

 

Have you played Roadwarden? Graphically it's barely a step above text-based games but it's very committed to offering meaningful choices over time. I haven't finished so I can't say exactly how it comes together but it has a good reputation and might be of interest to you.

Downloading the demo right now, as I think I'd heard of it but never really investigated it. It looks like it has a more complex UI than Pentiment (which I honestly found the need to use) but will definitely give the demo a whirl tonight! Thank you for the recommendation!

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20 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

So I’m accused of having recency bias, dare I say you guys who are naming all these decades old ancient RPGs are suffering from rose tinted nostalgia glasses ? 

The Witcher III is a recent game (at least for oldies like me) and I'd include it in my top 5. Significantly superior to Baldur's Gate III IMO.

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Depends on your definition of RPG really. You 'play a role' in a lot of games. Personally my ideal RPG would allow me to create a character in anyway I wish and then go out and live a life as that character and feel like I am able to play a game really differently because I am someone else, and the choices I make can link back to that character.

In some ways Crusader Kings 3 is more of an RPG than a lot of RPGs. 

Something like The Witcher, I am literally just playing Geralt.. so there isn't really any freedom there. I tend to not enjoy that so much.

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