Before the Mass Effect Trilogy ultimately stole my RPG loving heart, I couldn’t get enough of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The characters were memorable, wielding colorful lightsabers able to cut down alien scum was a blast, and the stories that game told still inspire me to write to this day. And that doesn’t even cover the AMAZING score the two Knights of the Old Republic games nail to really complete the authentic Star Wars experience they so satisfyingly knock out of the park. If you haven’t yet noticed, this whole article is dedicated to my love and infatuation with Role Playing Games, more commonly referred to as some of the most amazing video games ever to grace this galaxy.
Fantastic writing is needed to really immerse the player in the world and convince them to become invested in the game. Games such as Mass Effect 2, Knights of the Old Republic, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are prime examples of excellent writing. Knights of the Old Republic introduces players to arguably the most badass character in the entire Star Wars Universe, Darth Revan. Darth Revan can be evil, force choking his victims at will, but also has that pull to the light side that Star Wars Episode VII presents with Kylo Ren (who is now canon in the official Star Wars lore). Knights of the Old Republic 2 is always amazing with the inclusion of Kreia, who isn’t who she appears to be throughout the whole game (only click the link if you don’t care about SPOILERS). That twist is one of the best, right up there with Darth Revan’s reveal in the first game.
Those games are fantastic, but what is even more impressive is the galaxy and lore created for the Mass Effect Trilogy. Commander Shepard is tasked with creating an elite group of aliens to defeat the impending doom the galaxy faces. Every 50,000 years a galaxy destroying force descends upon them to wipe them out and restart the galaxy. The player’s task: by any means necessary stop the galactic apocalypse. Your choices, both good and evil, have real consequences. Certain characters will leave your party permanently if you make decisions they strongly oppose. Likewise, you can earn their trust, and they will battle even harder for you in the fight to end all fights. One such fight, labeled the Impossible Mission, is one of the best experiences I have ever had and occurs at the end of Mass Effect 2. Seriously people, please play at least Mass Effect 2 if you love RPG’s. It has everything, amazing soundtrack, interesting characters, heart wrenching stories, exciting and fast pasted combat, and naked aliens!
The last example of why RGP’s are amazing is a slightly flawed but still awesome experience. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was well received, but like most games with a huge budget and not as much marketing, it failed to cover the costs it required and thus will most likely never see a sequel. Well, that and 38 Studios, the developer, unfortunately went bankrupt in 2012 after they were unable to pay back the state of Rhode Island the $1.125 million loan they owed. Regardless, that game is massive offering hundreds of quests, dozens of unique weapons to find, and R.A. Salvatore as the lead writer for the game. Tthat alone is enough to check it out in my opinion! (Did I mention there is a Chicken Overlord easter egg, because that is pretty rad.)
All the games listed above bring something unique to the table and remind me why I love games so much. To me, RPG’s have that special extra bits of lore; that link (see what I did there) of personal attachment to your character since you get to make the decisions for them. They are your gateway into these massive and wonderful worlds created by some of the most brilliant writers and artists in the video games business. In all the examples above, the combat goes above and beyond to create a memorable experience for the player, especially Knights of the Old Republic’s ending. RPG’s give you a world outside of your own to experience, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Let me know in the comments what are your favorite RPG’s and if you think there are some that I should definitely play!