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Parry, Parry, Thrust, Thrust

Josh Martz

If only I had been a blacksmith who specializes in swords. That's where the money is. Mom said I should be a doctor, but I've wanted to work with computers, although now I want to be a psychiatrist, but I need more of an education, but, but...


Swords are everywhere in RPGs and their presence is becoming more than trite. I guarantee, if you pick up an RPG in a store, there's a 90% chance that the main character wields some sort of sword, whether it's a broadsword, katana, or foil. It doesn't matter if the hero is male or female, he or she will probably be equipped with such a weapon. But really, is there anything wrong with this phenomenon?

Swords are massively useful weapons, there's no doubt about that, as they have two areas of variety - style and use. While swords have been prominent in entirely too many games, the way they look has been incredibly varied. For instance, in Final Fantasy X, Tidus was equipped with fancy one-handed swords, while Auron was outfitted with giant broadswords and katanas. In Romancing SaGa, characters can wield anything from 2-handed swords to foils and epees.

But for all of these styles, would it even matter if they all did the same thing? Well, luckily, it's comforting to know that these weapons can dispatch enemies in a variety of ways. You can thrust, stab, throw, slice, dice, and even shave your enemies to death! The possibilities are virtually endless!

Despite the popularity of the sword, it is becoming tiresome, as I mentioned. It's getting to the point where no matter how interesting or fancy a sword looks, I just won't care, and I'll move on to playing the game. I want different weapons! I want something new! I want...Sai! Yes, that's right. Sai. Where the hell have these things been? I remember seeing Raphael use them in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I can't for the life of me recall seeing them in an RPG anywhere. Sure, they can really only be used as stabbing weapons, but they sure look cool! Three-pronged daggers...I can see it now!

Spears aren't used nearly as much as they could be...and if they are, the character is some cliche Dragoon. Or Cid. Either way, we need more spears. And axes! Axes seem to only be wielded by dwarves or giants, and then they tend to have axes that are proportionate to their bodies, meaning HUGE. What I wouldn't give to see some little girl like Aeris running around, dual-wielding handaxes, slicing enemies to ribbons.

However, I can understand where developers are coming from. If a character is going to use a weapon, I want them to use it right. The stance for holding a spear is much different than holding a pair of daggers. While it would be nice to have the option of giving my characters whatever weapons I desired, the fact of the matter is that the developers would have to program the different stances and such to match the different weapons. If that isn't done well, then...I don't want to see what the end result is.

Please...give us our weapons. Swords are great and all, but I need my variety, and I'm willing to wait and see what happens in the future.

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