There are thousands of games available for gamers to play on a number of different consoles that branch into a variety of separate genres; naturally, it might be hard to keep track of all of the types of games that can be enjoyed, or even simply know what type of game style to begin enjoying. Those involved in the gaming world already would undoubtedly have heard the term CRPG or RPG mentioned before. Yet what exactly do those terms mean and what style of game does it include? Look no further than this article for a detailed explanation on what a CRPG is, the different variations of a CRPG, and recommended CRPGs for both beginner and veteran gamers alike!
So what exactly is CRPG? The acronym stands for computer role-playing game; in these types of games, people can play as a character living in this separate, unique world. The idea is that the player’s own identity then becomes the character in this universe. Oftentimes, a CRPG can be referred to as just an RPG, or simply a role-playing game. Essentially, no matter the style of the world or the type of game, players must control a character or group of characters as an extension of themselves in this immerse alternate reality. Naturally, the game is computer or console based, and does not involve any direct action by the player themselves, other than to work the controllers.
SUBHEADING 1: Committing to the Role
In this genre of games, players control a character (or a group of characters called a party) and attempt to complete objectives, which can also be done while following through a main storyline. The main appeal of a CRPG is not in testing physical coordination or reaction times, but rather in fully exploring this fabricated alternate reality. The enjoyability of the game stems from the ability for in-depth immersion, and a leisurely involvement in unwinding the specific CRPGs nuances. The level of interaction with NPC (non-player characters) in CRPGs is also unmatched. These background characters, while scripted and controlled by the computer, possess an artificial intelligence that offers a dynamic ability for conversation in the game.
This type of video game differs from other video games in how the player is immersed into the world. For instance, in a first person shooter game, a player is inserted into the world but does not get to experience the same amount of exploration in the video game fantasy universe. In that genre of games, a player only controls the character to complete an objective or destroy an enemy, and does not spend time interacting with different NPC characters or honing their own personal skills. Occasionally, first player shooter games will weave a narrative in as well, such as the different Call of Duty games, but regardless, does not possess the same level of development and freedom as in a CRPG.
GAME 1: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Released: November 11, 2011
In Skyrim, a player controls the Dragonborn, a character possessing unnamed powers and abilities, and guides them on their journey through this alternate world. In Skyrim, the themes can be quite serious and involve a lot of objectives that include violence, while also including the freedom to design a character’s type and decide who they marry and where they live, as well as where they travel during the game. This sand box type game, where players can build their own narratives, may or may not be a certain person’s favorite style of playing. However, itis one of the most appealing factors of these Western style CRPG games. Skyrim is a great example of the RPG gaming and the creative format that can be taken.
A CRPG is different from other genres of role-playing games as well. For instance, tabletop role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, occur in reality where players take turn rolling dice and acting as their characters accordingly. As one might imagine, a computer role-playing game (CRPG) only takes place on a computer or other video game console. However, CRPGs have their origin in tabletop role playing games, and many of the same mechanisms found in CRPGs first began in their table-top counterparts. Game aspects such as the terminology and mechanisms are quite similar between the two.
This type of role playing game can also be known as a pen and paper role playing game. The player’s must use their own selves as the characters and act solely as the character. One player, known as the game master (GM) dictates the rules and assures that they are being followed correctly. In a CRPG, the GM’s role is taken over by the computer, which assures that the reality functions in a way to suspend the player’s disbelief. Above all, the most important aspect in both of these games is creating a believable world where the player can momentarily forget they are themselves, and fully commit to acting as their selected characters.
Game 2: The Witcher
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems
- Developer: CD Projekt, CD Projekt RED
- Publisher: Atari, POL: CD Projekt
- Released: October 26, 2007
An action RPG, The Witcher allows a player to control Geralt, a monster hunting mercenary, and one of the last remaining ones at that. A player can decide their own morality in the game based on the choices they make as Geralt, which affect the storyline as well. The player’s commitment to the role of Geralt therefore has direct consequences in the game, blurring the line between fiction and reality. The advancements in games such as The Witcher showcase the link between the computer and the role of the GM in creating a believable reality. Programming as intricate as in The WItcher is a prime example of the level of interaction CRPGs can offer.
SUBHEADING 3: Different Types of CRPG
Within CRPGs, there is a noted distinction between Eastern and Western styles. For instance, Western based CRPGs use more realism in the game design and feature a heavier usage of freedom when playing the game. For instance, the usage of in-depth character design is more prominent in the Western computer role playing games, and allows for a complete customization in most cases. There is generally more freedom to explore the environment and act outside of a narrative in the Western style games, whereas the Japanese based CRPGs seem to prefer a story line that does not allow for as much deviation. The intended audience for these types of games is generally older, and therefore the gritty style and use of violence is more prominent. An Eastern (or Japanese based role playing game) is influenced heavily by visual novels or adventure novels, which can be seen in the manga style of cute, chibi game design. These games often have a brighter feeling in them, as compared to the Western CRPGs, and are marketed to a larger audience. There is generally less freedom given to the players in these types of games to explore or develop their own storyline.
Delving even further into the CRPG genre, there are a variety of different game styles that can be played, regardless of the country of origin. These variations include MMORPGs, tactical RPGs, Action RPGs, and Roguelikes, all of which have their own distinct and unique flavor. Of course, there are hybrid genres as well, which weave and dip into multiple different categories, but those cases defy categorization. Roguelike games feature term based gameplay and permanent death of the character. The style is named after a popular computer game of the 1980s, not surprisingly named Rogue. In action RPGs players generally control a single player through combat, and where the interaction with other characters is limited. Tactical RPGs involve more of a focus on puzzle-solving and use of strategy. In these games, it is not as much combat, but wit, that determines the progression. And finally, MMORPGs are massive multiplayer online role playing games, where players can interact with each other in an alternate universe. In this type of CRPG, the highlight is the sheer amount of content and multiplayer interaction available. While often overwhelming, this style of role playing game truly feels the most like a separate reality in which the original player merges with their character. As it can be seen, there are a variety of different styles within the genre itself that interested players should try out!
GAME 3: Final Fantasy XV
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Released: November 29, 2016
Final Fantasy is a perfect example of a Japanese CRPG series, in which a character controls a group of characters battling evil. In each separate game, the plot and characters are different, but the level of narration and depth of the backstory remains the same in each iteration. In this version, Noctis Lucis Caelum rules a kingdom in Eos, and is attempting to keep it free from an oppressive regime that have captured all other nations.
In Eastern RPG, a more streamlined narrative that reaches a finite conclusion is preferred. The game style is often described as more cinematic, specifically games such as Final Fantasy, with extended video scenes explaining significant details in the plot. Additionally, a turn based system is used more frequently in role playing games with a Japanese origin. While a Japanese CRPG, it is not strictly chibi despite possessing a softer game design, and is suitable for conveying serious themes to players of a variety of backgrounds. Players interested in trying out a CRPG should try one of the games mentioned in this article, or search online for one that suits their tastes!
While there are a variety of terminology involved when playing video games (which can be daunting to tackle at times), CRPG is undoubtably a must-know term. These type of in-depth games, packed with character development and NPC interaction and freedom to explore, are a genre of game that must be tried at least once during any person’s gaming career. Yet gamers are advised to proceed with caution, as this genre is dangerous; once you immerse yourself in this addictive, alternate reality, it can be difficult to want to ever return to your own! Is your definition of a CRPG different or do you recommend different CRPG for others to enjoy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!