What is it with role-playing games? Why do they envelope us so? In the video game world, RPGs have been around since the dawn of...well...video games and I imagine they will be around long after we all turn to dust. But what makes them so appealing and/or hated?
I'm trying to figure this out at the moment. Is it the chance to play a character in a incredibly in-depth fashion? Designing everything from how awesome they can fight in battle to how rakish an angle they place their hat? Probably. That said, how much of it can we handle? Do we really need 30+ types of facial hair? Surely beard, moustache or clean-shaven is the limit that we require. I mean, do we really spend much time looking at the facial hair of our character anyway?
A handlebar moustache on an Asian dude? Talk about science-fiction.
Long answer, no with an if. Short answer, yes with a but. I have found myself concentrating on such trivial matters many a time. When I first played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it took me hours to decide just how much yellow/blue tone my Wood Elf would have in his face. But by the time I actually started tackling quests, I couldn't give less of a fuck. So was it a waste of time? Yes? Then why do we think it necessary to begin with?
Here's the dilemma that brought this on. Since finishing Fallout 3 (50 long hours of it), I never again wanted to build up my charisma or upgrade weapons in a game for months. Possibly years. I'd had my fair share of the Capital Wasteland and never wanted to see another burnt out house in my lifetime.
Do. Not. Care.
All I wanted was simplicity. Either chainsawing the faces off Locusts in Gears of War 2 or triple-dragon-punching the shit out of Zangief in Super Streetfighter 2 HD Remix sounded like just the ticket. But then I caught a glimpse of another game in my library.
Oh no. Oh Christ, no I can't...please...
When I played it last year, Fable 2 was great. Since finishing it though, I've thought more and more that I may have rushed it a bit. I suspected I may have run around chopping bandits up a little hastily, overlooking some of the intricacies of the game. So like a glutton who loves that goddamn punishment, I fired it up just to see if it looked as good as I remember. After only about 30 minutes of play, I realised how amazing it was in the first place and now have resolved to restart it with a brand new character and check out every nook and cranny that the world of Albion has to offer.
Now, why would I do this to myself? Why on earth have I reached my limit of levelling up in Fallout 3 but quite prepared to rent out houses and improve my physique in Fable 2? Is it just because they are different games? Do the exhaustive trappings of RPGs not matter anymore when they are presented differently? Well, I'm going to finish Fable 2 again, so I'll let you know if I find out...
My new Fable 2 character will look something like this.