Nikhil TanejaMar 20, 2007 15:35:37 IST
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve come across an action-gaming buddy, who detests role playing games (RPGs). Most of them keep away from this awesome genre, due to the click-fest control system and the isometric view most games have. So if you’re one of those action-gamers that I speak of, here’s a list of RPGs that you should try out, and I’m sure that it'll at least change the way you look at the genre, if not make you an RPG addict like I am…
If I made a list of my favorite FPS games, and another one of my favorite RPGs, you’d see this game on both. Deus Ex takes the best from both worlds, fusing the genres to a point where you can’t distinguish between them, and at the same time offering an experience that will leave you breathless. You start off as a nano-augmented super-agent for a United Nations anti-terrorism organization named 'UNATCO'. As you progress through the game you learn more about a twisted government conspiracy, which you’re bent on uncovering. You can complete your objectives in many ways – you can choose to enhance your stealth skills as you level up, so that you move around unnoticed, you can become an electronics expert and manipulate sentry guns to make them kill your foes, or you can become adept at using weapons and use a rocket launcher to blow up anything that gets in your way. You’ll come across nano-augment canisters every now and then, which you can use to enhance different parts of your body (before you get any wrong ideas, NO! you cannot enhance that part!). You can even modify your guns to become more stable, or attach a scope to help you pop some skulls from miles away. All in all, Deus Ex is an experience that will please anybody… an action fan too, since the RPG elements are so subtely placed that they become one with the action. So either play it now, or stab yourself in the head with the next sharp object you find for missing one of the greatest games ever.
Freelancer is an RPG/Space Simulation that hit the market in 2003. Now I’m sure that a lot of you are pretty skeptical about space sims as they seem kinda geeky but if you play Freelancer, I’m pretty sure that you’d change your mind about both - RPGs, as well as Space sims. Freelancer is a free-roaming game that puts you in the shoes of Edison Trent - a rookie space pilot who’s trying to make it big in the vast universe. The game world is formed by a network of different galaxies and space ports, tied together via a series of jump-gates. In this huge space that you get access to, you can choose what kind of role you wish to play; you can become a rogue pirate who pillages unsuspecting civilian cargo-ships, or you can choose to become a cargo-carrier to churn in the space bucks… the possibilities are plenty, and in some ways, limitless. The best part about the game is that you can pilot your ship around in this vast universe, using your mouse and keyboard (WASD). Indulging yourself in dogfights is a very pleasing experience here, since you can tweak every aspect of your ship to make it the way you like it. If you don’t like the way your ship moves, you can buy a new ship or upgrade your existing afterburner for that extra edge. If you feel the need for more firepower, you can buy yourself a new Laser Cannon or a nice long range Missile launcher to bore holes through those pesky pirates. Other than that, you can even ally with certain factions and wage war against others, depending on your ideals, your likes and your dislikes. The game gives you a lot of freedom in each and every way; after all, it is called Freelancer, you know. So if what i've said sounds even mildly fascinating, I suggest you give this game a shot; you won't regret it!
If you like Asian martial-art styled action games, you’re gonna love this RPG. In Jade Empire you start off as a student of a martial-arts school, who’s all set to change the mythical world around him by kicking some serious ass. The specialities of this game include a very well designed mouse and keyboard control system, using which you can execute some blurringly devastating combos that will bring out the little Chinese kid in you. The game’s got a pretty linear storyline compared to other RPGs, but this is a good thing for most action gamers who’re probably used to playing along a set path, not worrying about the choices they make as much as the action. Regardless, the story is incredibly captivating from the minute you start off, and I guarantee you that you’ll be blown away by the whole experience in the end of it all. A few things you can look forward to in Jade Empire, are the game’s battle system which is pretty innovative and satisfying; it allows you to pick from different combat styles depending on the way you've behaved throughout the game. If you decide to be a good boy, you can pick from combat styles of the ‘Open Palm’ philosophy, and if you’ve been bad you can pick from what the ‘Closed Fist’ has to offer. After all, RPGs are all about options right; and although the storyline is linear, the action isn’t, and that’s what matters in a game like Jade Empire.
Unlike Jade Empire, the whole appeal of Oblivion stems from the large number of its extremely well crafted side quests, each of which tells a different and interesting story. The province of Cyrodiil, where a major chunk of the game takes place, is a vast and gorgeous setting that will bring out the explorer in you. Every now and then you’ll come across many small villages, as well as some really large cities from where you can pick up a ton of vastly different quests. You can explore the areas around each one of these cities if you like, and every now and then you’ll come across a small settlement, some ancient ruins, or a small cave which leads to an extensive labyrinth that’s yours to explore. This game is sure to bring out the wanderlust (the stuff that is the bread and butter of all RPGs) in the most jaded RPG haters. And the best part about all of this is that you can play the game in the first-person or third-person (whichever you choose) perspective, using the WASD+Mouse control scheme. If you wish to fight using a sword, there’s a really nice parrying system in place which makes swordplay very responsive and addictive. If you love casting spells like I do, you’ll find that there are some pretty bad-ass spells in the game, using which you can destroy your enemies. If those spells aren’t enough for you, you can even make your own from scratch, from an extremely sort after school of magic, called the Arcane University. During your travels, you can even pick up rare herbs and plants to make potions from… the possibilities are endless. If you’re not an RPG lover, this game will make sure that you become one.
Fable started off as a very ambitious project by developer Lionhead Studios, but gradually boiled down to a pretty standard light-weight RPG. Regardless, the experience this action-RPG has to offer is quite satisfying at the end of it all. Fable: The Lost Chapters has all its RPG elements simplified, making it an ideal title for any new-RPG gamer… even action game fans. For instance, you don’t have to go through the whole time-consuming character customization you do in other RPGs. Instead, you can get into the action directly, and the choices you make throughout the game craft your experience; if you eat too much - your character becomes fat, if you increase your strength – your character becomes muscular, and if you’re bad through out the game - your character grows a set of horns and hooves! Apart from these trivial features, the game excelled in its major areas as well, such as the combat system. You can slaughter your foes using the familiar WASD+Mouse system, which is very well implemented considering this game is ported from the Xbox. You gain access to a vast array of weapons such as swords, crossbows, bows, axes and maces, which all play similarly. If you want to try an RPG that’s easy to pick up and action-packed, give Fable: The Lost Chapters a shot and you won’t be disappointed.
After reading my list, I hope and pray that at least a few of you action-fanatics give one of these games a shot, and discovers the rewards of playing RPGs.