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:: RPG Source :: View Article :: Why does the caged bird sing?

Why does the caged bird sing?
By Zurukai [20/7/2004]
When I popped in Super Mario Sunshine I was ready to be as revolutionized as I was when I first played Super Mario World and Super Mario 64.

I was wrong.

When I popped in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker I was ready to be taken to an extremely deep world only the successor to Ocarina of Time could bring me.

I got 4 islands.

Isn’t there something a tad bit wrong when the evolution of games starts to go backwards instead of forwards? When worlds get simpler, and budgets get smaller? Or simply when the game gets crappier and crappier with each succeeding sequel?

Yeah, there’s definitely something wrong.

But why is it that these games are just less appealing? Maybe it’s because we’ve played the adventure before, and it feels old to us. But tell me, why can’t we just have another big leap like the one from Super Mario World to Super Mario 64? Both were great games, and they both revolutionized their genre. Many of you may argue that the only reason that happened was because it was the leap from 2D to 3D, but think again. Take a look at the original NES The Legend of Zelda and compare it to the SNES gem A Link to the Past. Don’t you see the evolution there? The evolution that The Wind Waker could have made? Imagine, a world where all 49 islands on The Wind Wake were bustling cities and port towns. But rather, it decided to go with one in-depth city, and three shallow ones, compared to Ocarina of Time’s 2 in-depth cities and three shallow ones.

I would like to lead you to this link: http://www.rpgsource.net/viewreview.php?id=33. I was planning on writing a similar (well, actually a more bashing) review of Golden Sun: The Lost Age, but I felt Shinan summed everything up pretty well; the game had no soul. But guess what? IGN, Gamespot, GameFAQs, they all consider it one of the best RPGs ever, and especially on Gameboy Advance. This game is horrible. In fact, I think Sword of Mana, which is considered the worst RPG on Gameboy Advance by the Golden Sun lovers, was a great adventure! To simplify things, let me post an argument I made on GameFAQs not too long ago:

Alright, sorry I'm a bit late with this one. Let see why I didn't like and liked with the Golden Sun series, things I didn't like and liked in Sword of Mana, THEN lets see when makes a good RPG, and then what is simply a welcomed addition, but definitely not necessary to make an RPG good:

Golden Sun cons
- Too many puzzles, leave puzzles to puzzle games, thank you.
- Characters had little to no depth, besides Shiva whining once in awhile "I HAVE NO FAMILY WAWAWAWAWA"
- NPC interaction more like hints, then actual NPCs.
- Cliche "save the world" story, and then some plot twists to make it seem original (but infact made it hilarious.)

Golden Sun pros
- Huge replay value with Djinni.
- Nice indepth battle system.
- Nice graphics.

Sword of Mana cons
- Graphics weren't all that great.
- The Hero's(not the Heroine's though) often contradictions with himself got annoying.

Sword of Mana pros
- Fun battle system.
- NPC interaction logical.
- Characters had depth, and the story was run more by personal gain then the cliche "save the world" thing.

What Makes a Good RPG
- Nice, uncliche story ( though sometime cliche stories are welcome to an extent).
- Character depth.
- Fun battle engine.

What DOESN'T make a Good RPG
- Great graphics aren't necessary.
- Replay value isn't necessary as long as the first time through is fun.

Makes sense, no? Now it’s no wonder that the gaming industry is doing nothing about itself going downhill. Because the newer generation is buying it. I remember back in the day, it was a rare treat to have to Zelda games on the same console (The SNES and Gameboy each had one; the exceptions were the Nintendo 64 and the NES). But how many are coming out for Gamecube? Around three, maybe even more. Oh, that’s not counting the compilation titles they’ve been pumping out either. I haven’t even started on the Final Fantasy series, sheesh. Oh, and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is really just a Seiken Densetsu game in disguise, I’m so sorry.

So, let's see, Final Fantasy. Everything up to IX has been decent. Now we hit X. It was a decent game as well, but the ending made everyone want to cry (you'll have the you wonder why you even bothered playing cry, not sad ending cry). Well, that ending was open for a sequel. We get a mission-based RPG, with a bunch of girls in short skirts. Sex sells, especially to the newer pimply-faced generation. And then, Square-Enix goes cheap again when they release the heir to the famous Final Fantasy Tactics: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. This too was mission-based. Hello? Guys? Do you remember what an RPG is? I think I'm going to have to write an article on that as well.

Am I little to pessimistic? Maybe a bit too old school for my own good? I really don’t think so. Why? Because much of the older generation agrees with me. In fact, it was Sheex who prompted me to write this article, and he’s like forty something. The RPGSource staff is composed of relatively people in their late teens and early twenties, so compared to most sites our staff has quite the love of the old games. We have members who enjoyed The Matrix: Revolutions, and The Last Samurai, like Kagom for instance, but we really just ignore them. They’ll die young anyway.

Then why does the caged bird sing? Maybe because it’s afraid of crappy games, old rehashes, and another Namco Arcade Collection.
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