The New Generation of CRPGs

#1
Lately, it seems that the CRPG has been making a comeback. They never really went away, but their popularity seemed to dip for a while in favor of more action RPGs. But in recent years there seems to be a resurgence.

There's of course the evergreens like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, even though those both seem to have gone more the action route. But there's still a wealth of more traditional CRPGs like Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, Torment: Tides of Numenara, Shadowrun Returns, Wasteland 2, and Divinity: Original Sin II. And then there's the remasters of the old D&D games like Baldur's Gate.

Has anyone played any of these?
 
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Gandalf42

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Lately, it seems that the CRPG has been making a comeback. They never really went away, but their popularity seemed to dip for a while in favor of more action RPGs. But in recent years there seems to be a resurgence.
That is true. Back in the mid eighties to early nineties was really the heyday of the computer RPG. I was a big fan of the Ultima series (well 1 thru 5 at least) and also many dungeon crawlers such as Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore and Might & Magic. I think the genre was more popular when computer and videogame technology was still comparatively slow. As soon as high-end 3D gaming became possible, most games went off in that direction and left the slower more thoughtful genre of RPG's to fall by the wayside.

There's of course the evergreens like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, even though those both seem to have gone more the action route. But there's still a wealth of more traditional CRPGs like Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, Planescape: Tides of Numenara, Shadowrun Returns, Wasteland 2, and Divinity: Original Sin II. And then there's the remasters of the old D&D games like Baldur's Gate.

Has anyone played any of these?
I've played some of Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2... I've played Baldur's Gate I + II a fair bit of the way.... I'm currently playing Divinity: Original Sin II on a salvaged Intel Core2 Quad-core CPU system with 4 gigs of RAM and an old GTX 480 in it. Getting oddly good results on it at 40-60 FPS most of the time.

My main problem these days is down to time. Since I'm currently out of work, I've had a bit more time to play these games than I normally do.. but that will all change again when I land another job. These games were popular when we were kids because we had the time to kill.. and I'm not sure if todays kids really have a feel for the role playing genre like we did... also, I don't consider MMORPG's to be the same beast. If you ever try out AD&D 5th Edition you will quickly see that it shares a lot of the same traits as MMORPG's... and it makes sense because the developer of the 5E ruleset is a younger guy.

So while the long term stability of what I would say is a traditional RPG may be in question, there are still a lot of good modern implementations... Pillars of Eternity (and the upcoming Pillars II) are quality old-school FRPGs.. They've just updated Neverwinter Nights to make it more modern PC friendly, the The Elder Scrolls series can get annoying sometimes... but it's generally nice. The Divinity games have some definite new-school style rules and implementation to them but are very well made games with a lot of love put into both the story and the technology. If you're looking for a dungeon crawler- Legend of Grimrock I & II are both great.

So there are still some great options out there.
 
#3
My main problem these days is down to time. Since I'm currently out of work, I've had a bit more time to play these games than I normally do.. but that will all change again when I land another job. These games were popular when we were kids because we had the time to kill.. and I'm not sure if todays kids really have a feel for the role playing genre like we did... also, I don't consider MMORPG's to be the same beast. If you ever try out AD&D 5th Edition you will quickly see that it shares a lot of the same traits as MMORPG's... and it makes sense because the developer of the 5E ruleset is a younger guy.
That does seem to be the case as we get older. When we were younger, we had more time to kill. And even though neither of us have children, our responsibilities and our current lifestyles don't really allow us to get into these games like we used to.

I look back at some of those older games and think, "Wow! 100 hours of gameplay! I can't wait to get into this!" Nowadays I look at something like that and I go, "Ugh. Where am I going to find time for this?"

Like you, I really had time for those kinds of games during stretches of unemployment, as a break from looking for a job. So I could get into a game like, say, Kingdom Hearts, and really experience everything.

Since you mentioned 5th Ed D&D, yeah, that was my take on it too. I'd much rather go back to classic 1st edition ruleset, which you and I grew up with if I was to play D&D again.

Still, those self-contained miniature boardgames are nice for an afternoon. And they're making more of them: Tomb of Annihlation and Temple of Elemental Evil are the most recent.

Legend of Grimrock I & II are both great.
I have both. :) Played the first one, and yeah, it's great. And if you want something similar in a Steampunk flavor, there's the game Vaporum.
 

Gandalf42

Administrator
Staff member
#4
Yeah, I've been meaning to try out some of the Lovecraftian themed board games.. But it always comes down to time and finding players.