Role-Playing (RPG)

Description

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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Phantasy Star IV Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Genesis (1993) and Wii (2008)

The Algol star system is in troubled times. Many thousands of years ago, it was a peaceful world. Three planets...

Phantasy Star Ø Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2009)

Phantasy Star Ø (pronounced Zero) is a Japanese-style RPG that borrows elements from Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe....

Phantasy Star Online Dreamcast Front Cover

Windows (2001) and Dreamcast (2000)

Welcome to the first worldwide console RPG!Features: Up to 1,000 players per server. Real time combat with many weapons from...

Windows (2005)

Phantasy Star Online makes its way to the PC in this download only edition. You play the role of a...

Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Xbox Front Cover

Xbox (2003) and GameCube (2002)

The epic Phantasy Star Online gets revamped for the Nintendo GameCube. Both the Sega Dreamcast titles, Phantasy Star Online and...

Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2004)

A new substance has been discovered that can clone any item or creature on the planet. Called C.A.R.D. technology, any...

Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II Plus GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2004)

A re-release of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II with two main changes: Items and quests previously available only...

Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2 Dreamcast Front Cover

Dreamcast (2001)

The world's first online console RPG gets an update with PSO Ver. 2. New items and weapons, new online games...

Phantasy Star Portable PSP Front Cover

PSP (2008)

Phantasy Star Portable is based on the Phantasy Star universe and it features a single player mode (including a Story...

PSP (2009)

Phantasy Star Portable 2 is the sequel to Phantasy Star Portable and most of the action RPG gameplay features are...

Phantasy Star Universe Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006), PlayStation 2 (2006) and Xbox 360 (2006)

Phantasy Star Universe can be considered the sequel to Phantasy Star Online with hack-and-slash RPG gameplay. Once again, there are...

Xbox 360 (2007)

Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus is an expansion to Phantasy Star Universe. It offers more customizable options for...

Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007) and PlayStation 2 (2007)

Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus is an expansion to Phantasy Star Universe. It offers more customizable options for...

Phantom Brave PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Phantom Brave is a strategy RPG which takes place in the world of Ivoire. Ivoire consists of vast seas and...

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle PSP Front Cover

PSP (2010) and Wii (2009)

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle is a single-player turn-based tactical role-playing game, and a re-imagining of Phantom Brave. This version...

Windows (2003)

Two years have passed since the mysterious Phantom Labyrinth emerged in the desert. One day, a young adventurer seeking for...

Windows (2000)

The sudden emergence of twisted labyrinths in the midst of the desert was called the "Phantom Phenomenon". Adventurers and researchers...

Windows (2005)

This Platinum Edition is an enhanced version of Phantom Knight: Mugen no Meikyū Trilogy DVD. It contains visual scenes that...

Windows (2004)

This compilation contains: Desert Time: Mugen no Meikyū Phantom Knight: Mugen no Meikyū II Phantom Knight: Mugen no Meikyū 3...

Pier Solar and the Great Architects Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (2010)

The story of Pier Solar tells about Hoston, a young botanist who is on a quest to save his father...

Pier Solar and the Great Architects Linux Front Cover

Linux (2014), Windows (2014), Macintosh (2014), PlayStation 3 (2014), Wii U (2014), PlayStation 4 (2014), Xbox One (2014) and Ouya (2014)

Pier Solar and the Great Architects is an enhanced remake of the 2010 Genesis game Pier Solar and the Great...

Pillars of Eternity Linux Front Cover

Linux (2015), Windows (2015) and Macintosh (2015)

Pillars of Eternity is a role-playing game crowd funded as a spiritual successor to the Infinity Engine RPGs like Baldur's...

Pillars of Eternity (Collector's Edition) Linux Front Cover

Linux (2015), Windows (2015) and Macintosh (2015)

Pillars of Eternity: Collector's Edition is a special edition of Pillars of Eternity and was exclusively available for backers (participants...

Windows (2001) and Macintosh (2001)

You are the Master of the Royal Riding School of Gidolan Keep working for Queen Ariana on a quest to...

Pinball Quest NES Front Cover

NES (1989)

Pinball Quest is billed as a pinball role-playing game, though the term is used loosely, as you only earn gold...

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