Shreddoc wrote on 2021-01-21, 03:19:
Cheers, it's good to hear a candid overview of the situation from someone who was there, and still is. […]
Cheers, it's good to hear a candid overview of the situation from someone who was there, and still is.
Myself, I played a lot up until about 1995, then (for various reasons, none good) simply stopped using computers until the new millennium. After which, I've dabbled with CRPG's but never fully regained that degree of obsession with gaming which saw me easily devour all the Gold Box's etc, back in the day. However I have been a lifelong reader of Epic Fantasy, which no doubt fuels my continuing interest here.
Lands of Lore was perhaps the last 90's CRPG I played to the full, in it's year of release. Which, at the time, I remember being fairly mind-blowing - at the cusp of the so-called 'Multi-Media' PC revolution, when the sensory experience provided by computers was undergoing a sudden growth spurt.
Ironically, those games are the only important ones I've not yet been tempted to revisit in a Retro context. I don't even know why. Maybe it's the grind. Maybe it's the undefined feeling that some things are better left in the untarnished past, where they belonged best.
I've tried a few CRPG's over the past two decades, but nothing* really stuck with me the way such games did when I was young. And perhaps that's something we all struggle with, to some extent. *Diablo II doesn't count!
Despite having missed a lot over the years, the CRPG evolution remains of great interest to me. Almost like an old friend.
I'd like to provide a slightly different perspective on CRPGs (not to discount appiah4's thoughtful posts, but perhaps to complement them). RPG is and always has been my favorite genre, and I have many fond memories of playing the classics on my C64 then DOS PC—and even on my NES and SNES somewhere in there. I mainly stopped playing RPGs in the 90s, which was when the genre was revived with the isometric games (most notably, Baldur's Gate and Fallout). I felt disappointed at the time that these games seemed to focus more on story and dialog trees instead of combat and exploration, when I wasn't interested at all in the stories they were telling or the characters that were telling the stories. I clearly remember being annoyed at Baldur's Gate for its giant but empty wilderness maps and the lack of environment interaction or detailed NPC schedules—it seemed like a step down from Ultima VII to me, and it didn't help that the combat also seemed a lot like the real-time mess that was the combat in Ultima VII (in hindsight, of course, BG is a great RPG).
I didn't start getting back into the genre until just a few years ago, when I decided to go back and play through the RPG classics I had missed. This started with going through all the Final Fantasy games, and I had a lot of fun playing though and completing Final Fantasy I-III (NES/FC) for the first time.
I then turned my attention to the PC with Ultima 1, and I had so much fun with it that I then went on to play and complete Wizardry I-III&V, Might & Magic Book One, The Bard's Tale I-III, Wasteland, AD&D Pool of Radiance, and (finally) Fallout 1.
This also got me interested in newer RPGs, and I had a ton of fun completing Sword & Sorcery Underworld, Legends of Amberland, The Bard's Tale IV, and Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones.
I was overall very impressed with how a lot of the older PC RPGs had aged. The Wizardry games (specifically I and V) are very tightly designed, and Might & Magic Book One is really a stunning achievement for basically a single guy in a garage, that still plays great to this day with an excellent interface and a massive, massive world to explore. AD&D PoR is of course a classic, and rightly so.
I was less impressed with JRPGs. There are some great RPGs on the 8-bit systems, such as Final Fantasy trilogy (FC), Dragon WarriorII&III (NES), Mother (FC), and Phantasy Star (SMS). JRPGs definitely lost something for me in the transition to the 16-bit consoles, as they (mostly) became extremely linear with fixed parties and a boring "town 1->dungeon 1->boss 1-> town 2... repeat" structure aped primarily from Final Fantasy IV. I recently played through FFIV/VI/VII, Estopolis Denki, and Breath of Fire, and only really enjoyed FF VI (for the nonlinear "World of Ruin" section at the end).