Leveling Down: The Story of Hentai RPGs

Chapter 2. The FAQ goes on. It Gets Personal! Stay With Me.

I assume you need a break after so many important questions, so I generously provide it in form of an abrupt ending to Chapter 1. While you are resting, the suspense is building up. Great. Now let's continue!

Q: Pictures is all you get, right? They don't have animated sex, do they?

Unfortunately, they don't. Except those made by Illusion.

Q: So what kind of gameplay do those hentai RPG have? Same as in "normal" Japanese RPGs? Random enemies, turn-based battles, totally linear, that kind of thing?

More or less, yes. But just as there is variety in gameplay systems of "normal" Japanese RPGs, there is also variety in hentai RPGs. But as a whole, I would say their systems are generally less complicated than in mainstream Japanese RPGs. More old-school, less flashy gimmicks that became so popular in the late nineties.

Q: When you say "RPG", do you mean turn-based Japanese-style RPGs only?

Good question. And the answer is also good: yes. For three reasons: first, there are many more such RPGs than action-based ones. Now, I don't want to get into the "Is Zelda an RPG?" debate, but "Japanese-style RPG" applied to the turn-based species is an established term.

Second, it's also a question of personal preference. I write about turn-based RPGs because classic Japanese style is associated with them, and I like this style. There is no third reason. Aren't two reasons enough? Besides, there are a few exceptions to the turn-based rule of this article. I won't tell you which now, find out by yourself.

Q: But are they any good? As games, I mean? Are those hentai RPGs at least as good as some of the better Japanese RPGs?

Another great question. This is actually one of the main themes of this article. To answer it shortly: they were nearly as good once. They aren't any more. Why? Well, we'll try to find the answer from the information in this article.

Q: So the choice is just between those retarded no-gameplay "visual novels" and RPGs? No other genres?

There are other genres. Adventures with real movement, but since they don't have puzzles as per Japanese adventure-making rules, they are still kinda boring. 3D action games, mostly made by Illusion, including some good ones, like Des Blood 4. Turn-based strategy. NBA Live games where you can have sex with cheerleaders if your team wins. Just kidding about that last one. I just know much less about those than I do about RPGs. Probably because I like RPGs more as a genre. That's why this article is only about RPGs.

Q: Why should I even read your article? I'll just go and play some hentai RPGs.

Go ahead, but are you sure you can find some good ones? Most of them were not translated to English. You don't want to go and play trashy and tasteless stuff like the famous Rance series. You don't want to hope to play a real RPG and get stuck with a terrible fake like Guren: Shura. You don't want to miss an interesting post-apocalyptic RPG like Metal Eye just because nobody has ever heard of it. So better read on. Q: I just hate your obsession with those perverse Japanese things. Don't you have a life?

I do, check out my profile. For the record, I dislike the vast majority of hentai games, but I care for RPGs, and I think the concept of an RPG with erotic elements is interesting. I do believe that many Japanese eroge developers need to have their heads examined, but that doesn't mean they are unable to occasionally produce good games.

Continued: Chapter 3. The Golden Age Question. Where Did It All Start? Greatest Japanese RPGs.

Table of Contents: Leveling Down: The Story of Hentai RPGs