I consider myself more of an old school gamer, I don't exactly like the term but that's what I am. I haven't jumped into the newer consoles that much yet I own a single Xbox 360 game which is the mindless destructive fun of Mercenaries 2, an impulsive yet enjoyable buy. A large factor that keeps me into older games is that there are still a huge amount of games from the old generation that I haven't played yet, it would be a shame to skip out on some of the greats from the last generation. Also it is useful to add that, it's not that I don't like the new games that continually come out, there are some brilliant and innovative games out that explore more than a simple rehash and sequels, heck some of the sequels seem really to place some incredible effort into making their experience worthwhile even if they have a safe fanbase already established with their series. I also don't believe the whole bullcrap that people are spewing that developers are taking too much effort into graphics over gameplay. Some games have amazing graphics as well as amazing gameplay.
There's just one game genre that keeps confusing me they don't seem to want to change, not only the company but the fans either don't want to change. Both sides seem to be in a full nostalgic mode, unwilling to accept the fact they the gameplay is dated. Even me, I've been avoiding it because it doesn't change or innovated in something new, yet I still hypocritically enjoy the older titles even sometimes I go and pay some of the games just because of that nostalgic feel in a new game. I'm specifically talking about RPGs, from Final Fantasy, Tales of ______ or to the newer Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata.
Turn based action seems horribly dated to me, we've been using since forever and even today it's a major game mechanic for almost every RPG. Seems also that every time I mention that I find turn based RPGs dated, there always the same response “Alright go play you Western RPGs then!”. What!? No way, most of western RPG are horrible by themselves and can't even substitute for anything. Adding a few RPG elements into a mediocre action/adventure game isn't fun or innovative, you simply added two mediocre experiences together and got an even more mediocre gaming experience. Even worst is when and japanese company tries to makes and american RPG (see Super Paper Mario). Also, this whole region deciding the type of game needs to change, same thing with animation, come on people Teen Titans and Avatar are anime even if they were made in america get over it, now back on topic. Nobody seems to have been able to find a perfect mix of both, apart from Oblivion and Fallout 3, yet the eastern audience still doesn't appreciate it. The huge problem is that I don't even know what I want seems I'm looking for a sublime RPG experience mixed with a more modern gaming feel, but what is that exactly? I have no fucking clue.
I Might be sounding a little harsh while at the same thing don't know what I want but when Final Fantasy the flagship of RPGs innovated their gameplay and aren't even using the turn based gameplay, there's something deeply wrong. It's FINAL FANTASY they could simply market the same bland game with the same story over and over dumping them out each year like they used to, but now they are making some genuine effort (yet they are still milking FF7). A whole new position and command non-turnbased was supremely refreshing to see in final fantasy, its fast paced and really forces you to make the right decision quickly. You know what was pretty awesome too? No random encounters either, there no more excuse for random encounters, we have the technology. Yet Dragon Quest 8 was surprisingly refreshing, it was nothing innovative, turnbased, random encounters it had it all. It had all of the old school mechanic and this huge nostalgic feel to it, sure it had a few new mechanics like alchemy and monster battles but all of that is borrowed from other games.
There are a few games that amazed me and some I haven't played but from what I'm seeing and reading they're are innovating. First example is Valkyria Chronicles, a tactical RPG with live action positioning. I absolutely have to mention Tales of Symphonia, which I found amazing. The story is really horrible but it's the gameplay that shines, outside combat even. You have a ring that can do various things so you need to unlock puzzles and other stuff to progress, ala Breath of Fire. Plus the combat isn't turn based you have control of your character, you equip the spells and weapons before match each is unique and you see the difference. The one major factor I love is that it is multiplayer, yes a multiplayer RPG, it is only in battle sequences but for me it did the game.
I love to hate on Final Fantasy 7, the reaction is always priceless. I personally think it is a great game I didn't finish it back when because even then I found it boring turnbased game, but last month I finished it completely and it was good. Not amazing, I don't know if everyone knows this but FF7 is said to be the best Final Fantasy made. I completely disagree, it is only fueled but pure nostalgia and timing. The people who didn't played it when it came out won't enjoy it as much. There nothing really innovative, simple turnbased combat but cut down to 3 characters instead of 4 and a clunky materia system (materia is the poor man's esper). Even the story line disappointed, most of the time it was “because I said so” elements kinda like anything from Kojima from the Metal Gear fame. Again pure nostalgia exactly like this right here : http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2376/storyip4.gif
The simple fact is that games made 12 years ago were innovated in the most simple way, Chrono Trigger is a perfect example, you have positioning to think about, combining moves, which character would be better for the situation, semi-turned based, aesthetic changes in weapons and no random encounters. That was 12 years ago! Even now modern games still hold on the old RPG crutch. I always feel hypocritical when talking about this, I always supported simple fun games, you don't always need to innovated, but for RPGs I feel like they need to do something fast.
SIDE NOTE: Now that my school is done for the summer an my weekend decompression is over I have a full week until work so I'll try to post twice a day this week to compensate for lack of effort. I don't promise anything, I'm not good with commitments. Actually I'll be busy tonight so one post for today...