Role-Playing (RPG)


Role-playing video games are descendants of pen-and-paper RPGs. In those games character development is the main driving gameplay mechanic. Typically one or more characters are created and shaped by the player, then embark on a series of encounters that increase the inventory, wealth, or combat statistics of said character(s).

A role-playing game is not just any game in which the player "plays a role", i.e. controls a character and participates in exploration and narrative. Rather, the defining characteristic of role-playing games is player-dependent character growth. A role-playing game can be seen as such when player-controlled characters become stronger ("levels up") because of the player's actions (usually depending on experience points received for vanquishing enemies), rather than being upgraded automatically as dictated by the storyline. The degree of the player's involvement in shaping the characters may vary considerably: some RPGs offer vast customization possibilities, while others tend to simplify and even nearly automatize the process.

Traditional RPGs have turn-based combat and a fantasy setting (Wizardry series, Ultima series, Roguelikes, etc.). Later, other settings were introduced, and many RPGs - such as Diablo - began favoring action-based combat. In these games, Action is used as a modifier to the RPG genre.

By the late 1980's, the genre has been distinctly split into two main sub-genres: Western and Japanese (sometimes called console-style) RPG. Western RPGs typically favored free exploration and player-made decisions, while Japanese RPGs focused on following a linear story line. Japanese RPGs also tended to retain simple turn-based combat mechanics, and in many cases also random enemy encounters.

In many early Western RPGs the player was given the option to create an entire party of characters (usually up to six). Ultima games introduced the possibility of recruiting initially non-playable characters (NPCs) with their own personalities from the game world into the party. Beginning with Phantasy Star, Japanese RPGs followed this template and even elevated it to their cornerstone mechanic.

Late 1990's saw a "RPG revival" in the West. Fallout greatly expanded the usage of non-combat statistics and moral decisions during gameplay, while Baldur's Gate popularized real-time party-based combat.
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Escape from Paradise City Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Paradise City is a cruel city ruled by a gangster-organisation more powerful than anything the NSA has seen before. Known...

Escape Velocity Macintosh Front Cover

Macintosh (1996)

Escape Velocity is an open-ended, role-playing arcade game set in a future where interstellar space travel has allowed mankind to...

Eschalon: Book I Linux Front Cover

Linux (2007), Windows (2007) and Macintosh (2007)

Eschalon: Book I is the first title in a planned series of independently developed RPG games. According to the developer,...

Eschalon: Book II Linux Front Cover

Linux (2010), Windows (2010) and Macintosh (2010)

The sequel to the 2007 role-playing game Eschalon: Book I takes the player out of familiar surroundings and into a...

Esper Dream NES Front Cover

NES (1987), Wii (2007), Nintendo 3DS (2013) and Wii U (2015)

Brick Town, a town within a storybook, is in peril! Evil forces have descended upon the land and kidnapped the...

Esper Dream 2: Arata naru Tatakai NES Front Cover

NES (1992)

Far beyond our world, there's a world that resides in the books you read. But the five areas of the...

PC-98 (1993)

The land of Estoria was peaceful for a long time. The Gate of Darkness was securely sealed, with the Guardian...

The Eternal Dagger Commodore 64 Front Cover

Commodore 64 (1988), Apple II (1987) and Atari 8-bit (1987)

This sequel to SSI's Wizard's Crown plays very much like the original. It's a fantasy RPG where you assemble a...

Eternal Eyes PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999)

Luke and his sister Elena are two orphans, living in a small house in the kingdom of Gross. They have...

Eternal Legacy Android Front Cover

Symbian (2011), Macintosh (2011), iPhone (2010), Android (2010), iPad (2011) and Fire OS (2011)

Eternal Legacy is a 3D role-playing game where the player takes control of Astrian and several companions with their own...

PlayStation 2 (2008)

In the Kingdom of Valdia, the Princess is kidnapped by demonic forces of the Realm of Besek, known as Majin....

Eternal Quest PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Eternal Quest takes the player to the land of swords, sorcery and maze-like underground lairs, in which they must defeat...

Eternal Ring PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2000)

Cain Morgan is the adopted son of the leader of the Security Force in the kingdom of Heingaria. One day,...

Eternal Senia Windows Front Cover

Windows (2015)

Eternal Senia is an RPG created as a tribute to Ragnarok Online. It uses characters and other design elements from...

Eternal Sonata Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2007) and PlayStation 3 (2008)

The hero of Eternal Sonata is a real historical character, the famous 19-century Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. The game begins...

Etrian Odyssey Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2007)

Far away in a vast fertile land lies a small town called Etria. Peaceful and serene, Etria became famous when...

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard is a role-playing game from Atlus, it is a dungeon crawler similar to the...

Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2010)

Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City is a role-playing game in the Japanese style. The heretofore advanced city of Armoroad...

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan Nintendo 3DS Front Cover

Nintendo 3DS (2012)

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is the sequel to the 2010 game Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City....

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl Nintendo 3DS Front Cover

Nintendo 3DS (2014)

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl is a remake with lots of updates and enhancements of Etrian Odyssey game for...

Etrom: The Astral Essence Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

In this sci-fi action/rpg, you take the role of Etrom, an officer in a futuristic dystopia world of Syghundia. During...

EVE Online Windows Front Cover

Linux (2007), Windows (2003) and Macintosh (2007)

EVE Online is an online RPG which is set in a futuristic galaxy. The main focus of the game is...

Eve Online: Commissioned Officer Edition Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2010) and Macintosh (2010)

The Eve Online: Commissioned Officer Edition is constructed to assist new players to the second-generation massively multiplayer Eve Online universe...

EVE Online (Special Edition) Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2009) and Macintosh (2009)

A collection of all ten free updates to EVE Online, up to early 2009's Apocrypha expansion. The Special Edition includes...

Evergrace PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2000)

A young swordsman named Darius and a homemaker named Sharline grew up together in Solta, one of the villages in...

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