Greetings, Lusi-sprites. May the Great Potato bless and smile upon you. While we here at Lusipurr.com did miss the UN’s International Year of the Potato in 2008, it is never too late to praise the Great Potato’s many glories.
I must confess that I find myself sorely lacking in any inclination to play, think of or write about video games, I want to read Austen novels, or moon over the likes of Jonny Lee Miller and David Morrissey. I will do my best to refrain from brevity – which is the soul of wit but in my case tends to be the symptom of laziness.
The point of these ramblings is that I cannot help but notice the rather tiny stack of games in my “recently complete” pile compared to the teetering pile of books in my “recently read” pile. Austen, Dickens, Harris and even Swarup can hold my attention more firmly than Namco, Blizzard and even Squeenix can. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the thing which most draws me to the games I play (the plot and dialogue) is the very thing that now repulses me. The inane and often ill-translated banter of a JRPG pales in comparison to the painstakingly crafted words of even the most modest author. Even games with the most finely-tuned plots and characters do not bear up well when compared to a book.
Please, for the love of the Great Potato in his Buttery Palace, do not think that I am trying to persuade our readers to put down the controller and pick up a good book. Besides, I have the feeling that my taste in literature is as much at odds with our readership as my taste in games. Meh. Terranigma and Legend of Dragoon are still awesome.
What I am trying to say is that I am, well, disappointed. I am disappoint! An RPG offers such an opportunity, and that opportunity goes to waste time and time again. A good RPG can be like reading your favourite book, but with the added benefit of getting to control the heroes. Rather than read about the noble Knight saving his Princess from evil, we can read/hear their words and actually control their actions as they go through the motions of the aforementioned saving. However, this is never the case. Can you compare Tidus and Yuna to Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? Not favourably. Game characters lack that extra depth which inspires that extra level of interest from the audience.
My recent purchase of Eternal Sonata is what really cemented these feelings for me. I find myself quite taken with the characters and the basic premise of the story. However sloppy execution and inadequate dialogue leave me with this feeling that I could get more enjoyment by daydreaming about the game than actually playing it. My imagination seems to produce dialogue with more depth and texture, more of the subtle nuances in words and expressions that games tend to lack. The only thing that my imagination cannot provide is gameplay, and unfortunately RPGs, Eternal Sonata included, suffer from poor execution in this matter. The gameplay tends to be either too dull by virtue of being the same thing we’ve seen a hundred times before, or the developers try too hard to be new and exciting and wind up creating something incredibly frigging stupid. (Paradigms anyone?)
In summary: makes RPGs more better. Either embrace the plot and dialogue and pay considerably more attention to these elements, or make the gameplay more enjoyable and therefore offer something that other mediums such as books or television do not. Otherwise I see little point in playing these games for more than a few minutes at a time, when otherwise bored. Oh, and I want to make babby with Jonny Lee Miller. David Morrissey or Dan Stevens will do in a pinch, though.
Now go read a damn book.