Long ago, in an age where swords and sorcery reign supreme, one young hero must answer the call of fate to defend their home and rid the world of evil once and for all!
If you've played one of the many RPGs in recent times, it should; this is the plot to many beloved titles, such as The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Golden Sun, to name a few. While I absolutely LOVE a good RPG, I feel that the story lines have been overplayed for far too long. Like many movies, these games often feel like a retelling of a tale that was a retelling of another tale, etc, etc.
Games have made absolutely amazing jumps in regards to content, visuals, and audio effects. The Final Fantasy series is an amazing example of just that; from the good 'ole 8 bit days of the NES to the powerhouses of today's Xbox One and PS4, they've shown that games have no problem adjusting to new platforms and audiences. The series even lead the way with some of the first and best voice acting in a game (Final Fantasy X) and most certainly set the standards for nearly every RPG that has come after in the game mechanics department.
However, the one thing that hasn't seen much deviation is the plot. We're almost always playing as a character that fits the title, "reluctant hero," who has to square off against the world's biggest baddie to protect their home and loved one(s). In the core games, we're coming up to the 15th installment which, as I'm sure, will feature a similar plot line as described above. And, as I've done for the past 14 titles, I'm going to buy it, play it, and enjoy the experience for many hours. But I'm sure I'll still be disappointed in knowing that the story itself has already been told countless times.
I would like to see RPGs do more original stories and landscapes. How about a story that has you conquering kingdoms and defeating foes, just to find out that the villain is YOU?! Or, instead of the mandatory desert area or frozen mountain, you're propelled to a craggy, desolate planet, trying to fight your way home? Hell, lets rework how magic is done while we're at it and turn it into something that requires ammo instead of MP (kinda like Caster Shells from the anime Outlaw Star) or the use of a familiar/special ingredients to cast spells (not just for special summons, but for every spell.)
Let me be clear; I'm not saying that there aren't original concepts at all in RPGs. Final Fantasy has blended medieval elements with sci-fi like technology for some time, and Legend of Zelda has made sure the title character has a more active role than, "helpless damsel," more than once. But, despite these changes, there has yet to be any huge shake up with the core plot. I've become exhausted of investing 40-80 hours of my time to get the same sort of ending I've seen a million times before. Regardless of how much fun I've had playing, the same story is getting old.
Honestly, I'm not going to avoid RPGs based on the premise that I feel the same plot is being done over and over, but I will definitely be more choosy with my money and purchase the ones that have the most unique and original concepts going forward. So, while I'm going to still play the likes of Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda, I probably will be waiting until there's a sale for them, because I refuse to pay $60 for a game (I feel like) I've already played before.