Why are modern isometric RPGs shit?

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by maximaz, Nov 3, 2021.

  1. maximaz

    maximaz Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 2, 2006
    When compared to the ones from the 90s.

    They should be so easy to make from tech perspective, that the writing, the art, the combat should get all the time. But every one I've played so far feels inferior. Clunky, bland in many ways, not as rich in content and/or themes and even unfinished.

    Even Pillars of Eternity and Wasterland 2 (haven't played 3) were pretty underwhelming. So far W2 to me was the best but if you compare to the old ass Fallout 1, it's pretty shallow tbh.

    Speaking of, I hopped into Fallout 2 for a couple of mins the other day and man really want to find some time to dive into it again one of these days. That atmosphere compared to W2 or PoE or Diablo 3 is just the tits.
     
  2. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Snug Rubber

    Sep 11, 2010
    Which ones have played, specifically?

    However, I will agree to this. A lot of cRPG's are just skinsuits with no soul in it. But each is a case by case issue. When it comes to Wasteland 3 it is too consolified and doesn't address the issues of Wasteland 2. When it comes to Wasteland 2 it's like it doesn't know what it wants to be, is it Wasteland or Fallout? It tries to be a mix of both and fails. When it comes to Pillars 1 a big issue I had was all the fucking kickstarter NPC's that were around as nothing but references to backers, the infinite inventory which meant that there is no inventory management anymore just grab literally everything that isn't nailed down and finally the combat was too polished and balanced to the point that it didn't really feel like any class packed a proper punch anymore.

    To me it is clear that the "big" (AA) studios don't get cRPG's anymore and you should stick to indie (A(maybe B) studios. Like Underrail and Age Of Decadence. (also I'll shill for a shit game because I still love it; Dead State)

    The problem seems to be that they want to do AAA games so they focus on making the game as graphically good looking and consistent as possible that they don't work on the gameplay which is what should matter. Instead of trying to emulate the freedom of PnP in a digital format as they can they instead restrict themselves. I have a hard time explaining why I think this but I think that the better graphics you implement the more work you create for any gameplay function as it shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. In Wasteland 1 for example we had a climbing skill and it was easy to have a climbing skill as your party was a single dude on a screen, motionless, so just move him from x1 to x2, on top of the thing you're climbing. What cRPG's since then has had climbing or even swimming as a skill and gameplay function?

    cRPG's don't explore the potential of player freedom in how to deal with the world around them, they instead feel restrictive and don't learn from the past. And the reason for why I'll give any old cRPG a pass for things is because... They're old. They didn't know any better and still did their best. These modern cRPG developers should know better and still falls shorter than older cRPG's in a lot of ways. Choice in quests has gotten better in modern cRPG's but often times it feels like pressing coloured buttons at the end rather than as a result of your progress throughout the quest due to your PC build.
     
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  3. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    Try WL3. I found it to be much better than WL2. Definitely won't be for everyone but if you enjoyed WL2 at all and wanted it to be a bit better, WL3 is it.
    I feel like it did, at least tried to for certain parts and bettered other parts.

    I also found Underrail to be amazing. Great game overall but especially for build fanatics and anyone who enjoys more challenging combat encounters.

    I wouldn't really put Path of Exile and Diablo 3 in the camps of things to compare to Fallout and Planescape. I'd compare those more to Diablo 1 and 2. aRPGs are a bit different and you're not going to really find the same things in those as you would in a singleplayer nonlootfest RPG.

    People also love the Divinity Original Sins games but I couldn't get into them. Will try again one day.
     
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  4. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Snug Rubber

    Sep 11, 2010
    I thought DOS2 was better than DOS1, so might wanna try playing them in the reverse order. Not like it matters to the story anyway AFAIR.
     
  5. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign The Douchelord Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    The only thing to get into is the combat unless you are 12 and it is your first RPG or something then the story might appeal.
     
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  6. maximaz

    maximaz Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 2, 2006
    What are you referring to?
     
  7. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign The Douchelord Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
     
  8. Proletären

    Proletären Vault Fossil
    Staff Member Admin

    Mar 15, 2012
    Some good points above. I agree wit Mr Fish that the problem partly stems from trying to appease the console markets as well as trying to target the AAA audience. In doing that you remove a lot of depth and complexity that is necessary for RPG:s to be good. RPG:s have to target a niche audience to be good IMO.

    Have you played ATOM RPG, Underrail, Expedions: Viking, Age of Decadence, Titan Outpost or Shadowrun: Dragonfall? They are all released in the last few years and still fairly good.
     
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  9. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Snug Rubber

    Sep 11, 2010
    On that note, also try Shadowrun: Hong Kong.
     
  10. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Carbon Dated and Proud

    Nov 26, 2007
    I once told three InXile staffers (in Zots coffee shop) that Wasteland 2 was the closest thing to a real Fallout game that anyone had produced since; they had asked me my opinion of WL2.

    They took it...awkwardly. :hide: (I was amused)
     
  11. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Snug Rubber

    Sep 11, 2010
    I really don't get that at all, part of why Fallout is great is because it isn't really combat focused. The meat of the game is in civilized nodes and combat is an option but not a requirement whereas Wasteland 2 is designed around combat.
     
  12. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Carbon Dated and Proud

    Nov 26, 2007
    Yeah... It's not a Fallout game. :( (...but it's a closer one than FO3; it's essentially a Tactics spin-off in many ways.)
     
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  13. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    Yeah the story just was not grabbing my attention whatsoever. It was just a combat game.
     
  14. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Snug Rubber

    Sep 11, 2010
    That it is.
     
  15. ropetight

    ropetight First time out of the vault

    28
    Feb 7, 2020
    One thing we often forgot is that the Fallout and Baldurs Gate were not small indie games in their time.
    Baldurs Gate came on couple CD-ROMs, voice acting and lots of cutscenes - signs of big production then.
    Fallout had avantgarde stop-motion animation of the dialogs and top notch graphics - I still remember F1 demo on the gaming magazine CD, it looked great.
    And great buzzing sound of the Gatling gun, straight outta Predator. :D

    They were not WL2 either, budgetwise they had more in common with later AAA games like Mass Effect.
    Those games were made in time when sales and market research didn't know that you can earn much more money on Battlle Royale games than on single player cRPGs.

    But that is not only thing that makes modern Iso RPGs bad - modern designers and writers seem to have forgotten how to write compelling adventures.
    Especially American writers - everything is happening in allegory for modern day America, still remember the moment I stopped playing Pillars of Eternity 2: one of NPCs, fisherman from carribean-like village, started ranting about horrors of colonization, but from the position of progressive college freshman.
    It was so far from the character and its background that it spoiled the game for me, far from it being good before that.

    Wasteland 2 was half-finished product. I liked most of it, but it had serious flaws in the story and pacing.
    Arizona and LA didn't have much connection, and finale was rushed and weak in tradition of many cRPGs.
    And it was uncanny ugly: game that got million+ $ on Kickstarter kept Unity marketplace assets and free Daz3D models (or their equivalent) for characters.

    Wasteland 3 was improvement in almost every aspect, but tongue-in-cheek writing and merry, colorful world make it look almost cartoonish.
    It has some moments because of that juxtaposition, but mostly it isn't convincing as role playing in brutal post-atomic winter.

    ATOM RPG was the most enjoyable of the 3 spiritual successors of Wasteland/Fallout, original atmosphere, lots of Russian lore.
    Less atompunk/raypunk cartoon like Bethesda's Fallouts, more Fallout 1/2.

    Underrail is its own thing, which makes it even better.
     
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  16. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign The Douchelord Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Which is funny because Fallout 2 was the same way talking about goofy shit that was going on in America at the time like with the Scientology references. Those were the weakest elements of the game too.
     
  17. ropetight

    ropetight First time out of the vault

    28
    Feb 7, 2020
    Fallout 2 was made in simpler times, when pop-cultural references were still fresh, so it didn't look that bad at time.
    But it aged way worse than F1 - making it more contemporary made it less universal, less enjoyable without context
    I still play Fallout 1 from time to time, never occured to me to play Fallout 2 again.
    Some things are better never repeated.
     
  18. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign The Douchelord Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    I just skip San Fran for the most part.
     
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  19. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Snug Rubber

    Sep 11, 2010
    Because I don't know much about scientology I never had a problem with the Hubologists. :shrug:
     
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  20. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign The Douchelord Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Not only that but many of the computer terminal entries that dealt with lore in F2 were pretty mediocre. I would say on the level of Fallout 3 actually.