Console RPGs, Better Off, Offline.

by Massive Euphoria 

There is nothing quite like the interaction between people when enjoying a form of entertainment, be it a film, bowling, or a video game. Online play gives wonderful twists to games and instills in them an infinite level of replay value. And the prospect of many new RPGs going online was exciting at first. Enter PSO or Phantasy Star Online, a wonderful game, Diabloesque in nature (if you do not own a Dreamcast you are probably lost by now).

This to my knowledge is the first online RPG for a console. The beauty of consoles is the simplicity, the four buttons and a Directional Pad. The knowledge that you can walk in to a store, buy a game, stick it in your console and it will play flawlessly. That my friends, is the only reason people buy a PS2 and not a 300 MHz PC with a DVD drive. With online play the game loses its simplicity and beauty. First you need a keyboard to communicate with your fellow players, using the on screen keyboard for the Dreamcast is somewhat frustrating. Regardless, the simplicity is gone in a "QWERTY" package. You rest your controller while you type at your keyboard and then pick up your controller to play further, the whole reason behind playing a console is gone. But then the argument comes up, you don't need to talk online, well that might be true but without that verbal interaction you might as well be playing with a CPU. It is hard to tell between a sentient being and a CPU online when there is no communication. Another problem stems not from the game, or the console, but from the whole point of playing online, to have an interactive experience with other people.

Soon after beginning a game you realize that people are really not that great. You have one or two individuals who are talented at editing game software, and pretty soon you have a bunch of idiots running around with infinite health, weapons of mass destruction, and magic spells out the wazoo, all with a Level 1 character. At first it makes you frustrated, and then you spend hours trying to make friends with people who do not cheat and those bonds are fickle as well. You wait for a patch, and after 6 months it comes, but alas in a few more days there are people with powers of a Deity once again. RPGs online can be fun but on the whole are more trouble than they are worth, and that's my two cents.

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