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The basis of most Rpgs have three important factors. One, they take place around a war of some sort. This includes fighting an evil organization, fighting another country, or fighting invaders. I define a war as something that is fought with a great amount of people. War is a good theme for an Rpg but is used too much for it to make any differnce. Second, normaly all the main characters and the fight start out as underdogs. Nothing stronge about them till they find some magical weapon or gain some power. And lastly the final factor is the hero and heroine that have a romantic interest but never fully get together till the bitter end dispit all odds. I am an avid RPG player. I find that the story and the characters of games are the most interesting part of a game. They are what make the game, not gameplay not graphics not music. I will be using quite a few games as examples for my views on characters and story lines.
A story line is what makes the game the game. Can't have a game with out it. Everyone loves to read and get lost them. As I said before the story lines these days have had the same themes. Namely the last two Final Fantasy, Seven and Eight, Final Fantasy Tactics, Suikoden, and Breath of Fire. Each of these games deal with wars at some point. A war has something to do with the main story line, but each offer something new and innovative to the story line. Final Fantasy 8 offers you one of the first romance games, but in the end the player may lose interest since that is all it seems to be. There is no real focus on secondary characters past the hero and heroine, and the war in the story quickly changes who is who. The one good thing it offered was an idea about a school for mercinarys. Final Fantasy 7 delt with a rebellion against a company. It delt with secondary characters nicely, but it as well had a flaw as its predicessor did. It changed the reason for fighting. Instead of fighting to save the planet from a company who wishes to be wealthy, you intern save it from a mad man who wants to make sure no one harms it. The game kept me on my feet. Hardly no flaws in the story except for there was no big climax to keep you settled. It was like Final Fantasy 8 leaving you with an empty feeling of "That's it?".Going away from thoes two types of story lines, dealing with rebelions and mercs. You go to the more war based games. Suikoden, Front Mission 3, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Saga Frontier 2. Suikoden offered the best story for war. It had a classic theme, rebelion fighting against a huge kingdom. But offered a more war like feel offering plenty of characters. It always kept you knowing your goal. The second edition of this game surpassed the first. I couldn't see any flaws in the storys except that the hero's reason for being the hero was mostly being forced into it. No reason for him to be there. Final Fantasy Tactics had another good war theme. Instead of you facing a huge nation you were in the background trying to stop the war. Facing a shadow enemy. No big flaws to this story either. Finally Front Mission 3 took the same approach as FFT but did a boo boo I am getting too for Final Fantasy 8. It had a shadow war but foolish reasons for the hero to be involved. This is the basis for story lines. If you take a good look this is how it is, but not all games have this. The two games I feel use this method of SL and a differnt type is Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger. FF6 delt with a war, but ended up being a fight to survive. The shadow enemy becomes the people's worse fear. Chrono Trigger had you finding your history and what happened in the past. People discovered how and why things took place.
The final part to the basis of RPGs are characters. Three games come to mind that take place in our "generation" of RPGs. Namely the 32 bit generation. What I have described above. The characters are the second main part to any game. You have the hero and support. The three games that come to mind are Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8, and Suikoden series. FF7 offered new characrer we haven't seen. The silent warrior in Cloud, hyper active Yuffie, innocent Aeries, bad mouth beer guzzling smoking Cid, and quiet intelligent Red. I didn't mention Tifa or Barret because they were not that big of accomplishments. Each of these characters had their spot light in extra quests or for the main story. Each was useful and liked. Final Fantasy 8 offered very much alike characters, make that almost identical. Except these characters deserved more. The entire game revolved around Rinoa and Squall gaining love for each other. While the more interesting characters, all of the secondary characters, were left in the shadows and ignored. This was a waist of a good game and good characters. Clearly needed to be redone.
The Suikoden series offered over 100 characters for each game. Each having their own personality, and at times a little back ground. The wide number of characters even had special things for each one, only they could offer! Go figure. Characters that are actually all needed and cool in differnt ways. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6 had the best characters overall these games. All of them had their spot light and it was big. Each was unique with good skills, and were needed at some point. These two games have or are going to have squals. Which I am sure will keep what they did going.
[Editor's Notes: This editorial has excellent points, but a few flaws. First of all, paragraphs are our friends. If we have one every few sentences, and one for each new idea, then we can read them more easily. Second of all, I wish that I could edit this for grammar. My usual recourse when I get an editorial like this is that I'll e-mail the author asking them to fix the grammar/paragraphs or if I can, and then post it if/when I get a reply.]
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