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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MagnaCarta 2 Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2009)

MagnaCarta 2 is a role-playing game that mixes real-time elements during exploration with turn-based combat. The game stars Juto as...

Magna Carta: Tears of Blood PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

The land of Efferia is a huge continent, where five different races co-exist - alas, not always peacefully. At present,...

Windows (2001)

Calintz is the adopted son of King Helios and a famous hero known as "The Phantom of Avalanche" due to...

Linux (2004), DOS (2004), Windows (2004), Amiga (2004) and Atari ST (2004)

The heirless King Ardashir I of the Magocratic Kingdom of Persis is falling ill, and before dying intends to name...

DOS (1995)

Magus is a Korean-made hybrid of a role-playing and a real-time strategy game. The game is set in the medieval...

PC-98 (1994)

As gods created the Earth, a divine woman, blessed with three powers, descended upon it. These three powers were: the...

Mahōjin GuruGuru 2 SNES Front Cover

SNES (1996)

Mahōjin GuruGuru 2 is an action-RPG from Enix that stars two children, Kukuri and Nike, a brother and sister. It...

MSX (1991), PC-98 (1991) and Sharp X68000 (1992)

Mai is a little girl with cat ears who studies the art of magic. Unfortunately, she doesn't always do her...

Majesty: Heroes of Ardania Browser Front Cover

Browser (2002)

Majesty: Heroes of Ardania is a fangame based on Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, however this time you play as...

Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000) and Macintosh (2000)

Majesty is a fantasy real-time strategy game. You have just been crowned King of Ardania, the land is in chaos,...

Majesty: The Northern Expansion Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001)

Expansion pack to Majesty, with New Epic Quests, New Kingdom Buildings, New Monsters, New Lairs, New Player Cast Spells, Freestyle...

Majin Tensei SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994), Wii (2011) and Wii U (2015)

Majin Tensei is a tactical role-playing game that incorporates many elements of other Megami Tensei games into a different genre....

Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995) and Wii (2011)

The sequel to "Majin Tensei" is a strategy RPG that takes place in an alternate Tokyo of 1996. You control...

TurboGrafx-16 (1989) and Wii (2007)

The story of this game is loosely based on the 19th century Japanese epic novel Nansō Satomi Hakkenden ("Tale of...

Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

Makai Kingdom is the fourth Nippon Ichi-developed tactical RPG on PlayStation 2 and it follows closely in the footsteps of...

PSP (2009)

This first print limited edition includes: Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days game A two-disc soundtrack Original Maxi Single disc

PlayStation 2 (2006)

This first print special edition of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories comes in a collector's box and includes the following: Disgaea...

PlayStation 3 (2008)

This first print limited edition contains: Disgaea 3 game Two-disc Disgaea 3 soundtrack Setting source book

Makai Senki Disgaea 4: Fuka & Desco-hen Hajimemashita PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2013)

This compilation includes the base game and the additional scenario starring Fuka and Desco: Disgaea 4 game The Fuka &...

Makai Senki Disgaea 4: Fuka & Desco-hen Hajimemashita (Sūryō Gentei Append-ban) PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2011)

This limited edition includes: The Fuka & Desco Show append disc A Desco figure Original Maxi Single disc

PlayStation 3 (2011)

This first-print limited edition of Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten contains the following: Disgaea 4 game disc A Soft-cover artbook...

Makai Senki Disgaea (Genteiban) PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003)

This limited edition of Disgaea includes the following: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness PS2 game A softcover artbook A two-disc Disgaea...

PSP (2006)

This first print limited edition includes: Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness game A two-disc soundtrack Original Maxi Single disc

Makai Tenshō PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003)

Amakusa Shirō, leader of the Shimabara Rebellion, was put to death by the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, in his final moments,...

Makeruna! Makendō Z PC-FX Front Cover

PC-FX (1998)

Makeruna! Makendō Z takes place in the same universe as Makeruna! Makendō, known outside of Japan as Kendo Rage. However,...

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