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Author Topic: Looking for a decent dark RPG  (Read 5880 times)

est

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Looking for a decent dark RPG
« on: 15 Apr 2008, 20:35 »

Hi all!

I know that Yahtzee gave the Witcher a panning, but I am sufficiently interested in it to consider buying it once the price comes down a bit & trying to ignore some of the pitfalls he talked about.  Does anyone really like it?

Can anyone suggest any alternatives for a relatively new RPG that fits the following criteria:

- the main characters aren't plucky young do-gooder kids, off on an adventure!!!1
- the back-story isn't shit

That's about it, I guess.  Here's a list of similar games I've already played and liked:  Morrowind, Oblivion, Diablo 2,

Here's a list of games I know about already: Mass Effect, the Witcher.

Here's a list of games I've played and either didn't like or while I did like them aren't what I am looking for right now: Final Fantasy anything.  Golden Sun.  the Mana series.  Neverwinter Nights 2 (have it & kind of like it, but it's still a bunch of kids)

Also, at this point a horror or suspense/mystery RPG would probably be good.  Silent Hill/Alone in the Dark crossed with Morrowind/Oblivion or NWN would be excellent.  A ye olde zombie RPG using steel and magic against the undead in a bleak, medieval apocalyptic landscape would also be great.

Can anyone help out?  Even mods for existing games would be good.
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Surgoshan

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #1 on: 15 Apr 2008, 20:45 »

I've heard good things about Indigo Prophecy.  Call of Cthulhu received generally positive reviews.

Then, of course, there's always the game of games, Planescape: Torment.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #2 on: 15 Apr 2008, 21:03 »

If you're not averse to oldies, Fallout's your game.

PS:T is a very deep game, but it can be really hard to get into, even for people who eat CRPGs up. Combat just isn't much fun. But the good stuff is really great.

Knights of the Old Republic 2 is really surprisingly dark and dense and made by the same guys who made PS:T (I guess they decided to go the Empire route for the sequel) sadly it's not a really "whole" game, but once The TSL Restoration Project is wrapped up, which should be within the year, there's really no excuse not to try it out. You might even have some fun with the unfinished version. The distance from George Lucas' trilogy really helps the game.

Indigo Prophecy was mostly good but really falls apart in the last third, most likely due to the episodic model they planned falling apart.

Call of Cthulu is more of a first-person adventure game. The fights are bang-your-head-against-the-wall hard, and some of the puzzles can seemingly take hours to figure out.

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl is a sprawling exploration game in the Oblivion mold with a lot of unique (sometimes frustrating) survival horror elements mixed in. Limited inventory, deteriorating equipment, invisible monsters, etc. A remarkable, if somewhat flawed and (in that Eastern European way) inscrutable game.
« Last Edit: 15 Apr 2008, 21:08 by Kid van Pervert »
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #3 on: 15 Apr 2008, 21:05 »

That HK-droid factory they mention sounds awesome.

What's the best way to get ahold of a copy of Fallout?
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #4 on: 15 Apr 2008, 21:07 »

Thanks for the suggestions.  Indigo Prophecy looks ok, but is more of an action-adventure title.  Call of Cthulhu looks to be a FPS/action-adventure game.  I am definitely going to check these out more, but at the moment I'm more in the mood for an RPG.

Also, I am certainly not overly adverse to old games and will check them out, but I would prefer recent ones as graphics date rather quickly.  The Fallout universe is something that interests me, and I am looking forward to upcoming Fallout game.

Even though it's mostly an FPS STALKER is something that I've been wanting to check out for a while now.  Now that it is getting cheap I might pick up a copy and check it out.
« Last Edit: 15 Apr 2008, 21:11 by est »
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KvP

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #5 on: 15 Apr 2008, 21:10 »

What's the best way to get ahold of a copy of Fallout?
It predates the era of copy protection, so you can easily nick an ISO from anywhere. If you want it legally, you might try online retailers (they used to sell both 1 and 2 for $10) I think in Europe they're selling a DVD with 1, 2 and Tactics on it.
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Dimmukane

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #6 on: 15 Apr 2008, 21:14 »

I've played the Witcher, it's not THAT bad.  Yahtzee tends to be a bit black&white.  It's combat is entirely timing based, but it's not too repetitive.  Not as bad as actual MMORPGERs in terms of pointlessness.  And using different stances actually makes a difference.  The alchemy part is probably one of the cooler 'crafting' systems I've seen, and the story is decently dark.  My biggest qualms with it are that the main voice actor sucks, and the rare bug.  

The other thing, I don't know if this has been fixed yet, is that a lot of quests can be missed/not missed depending on your decisions.  I opted to kill some villagers in part of the story quest, which resulted in me not being able to get any farther in the poker questline, as I had to play against the people I killed.  They leave it open, although you can never finish it.

And they just released a toolset and a short, free mod.  So expect to see more in 6 months or so.

The game should run pretty well on any computer that's a year old or so.  They've been optimizing it more in the patches since I've played, too.


Another game you may or may not like, is Shadow Hearts: Covenant.  It's a turn-based rpg in the style of so many Japanese games that also uses time-based attacks.  But it's got a really dark/funny storyline.  Cutscenes done with pencil and paper, giant pink cat bosses.  Vampire mexican wrestlers, gay shopkeepers, genetic mutation, russia, etc.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #7 on: 15 Apr 2008, 21:19 »

Also, I know about Bioshock's RPG-lite elements.  I was already planning on getting it, and it's not really what I'm looking for in this thread.  I am all about gear and stats and skills and so forth!

I have a feeling that I will wind up getting the Witcher in addition to any other decent RPG suggestions.  I actually like MMORPGs because they are so sandboxy and the main thing I find un-fun about then is being forced into groups once you hit the mid-tier, so a single-player dark MMORPG-like game might actually scratch my itch for now.

Oh man, thinking about Yahtzee's take on the Witcher reminded me that it's wednesday!  Woo!
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KvP

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #8 on: 15 Apr 2008, 22:28 »

Oh, and another one you might try is Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, if you haven't already. Made using a pre-HL2 Source Engine, if I remember correctly. Like all Troika games, it has its share of glaring flaws, but the main narrative is pretty involving and keeps you guessing and some of the design is really creative.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #9 on: 15 Apr 2008, 22:33 »

I am guessing you have a PS2, you might check out ShadowHearts (I havent played 2, so I cannot really comment on it) the first one was a decent and interesting RPG.  I remember resonably enjoying myself playing it.  Beyond that, I cant tell you much.

Oh, except the combat system takes a bit to get used to.

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #10 on: 15 Apr 2008, 22:35 »

As has been previously pointed out-

Fallout's your game. As is PS:T. And then, if you're still looking, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is awesome. If you've ever dreamed of stalking across a post apocalyptic wasteland, it's your game. If you haven't dreamed of that, it's still worth checking out.

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #11 on: 15 Apr 2008, 22:53 »

Man, who hasn't dreamed of stalking across a post-apocalyptic wasteland?

Unfortunately, that's 54% of the games out there.  And the wasteland is brown.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #12 on: 16 Apr 2008, 01:25 »

And then, if you're still looking, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is awesome.

^what he said. Stalker is immense, and a RPG/FPS-crossover. And I thought Bioshock roght away too. Both have rather good stories and good gameplay, though both are fps-like, which means that you have to have some skill at them. But they're not hard.

I guess all the old diablo-style rpgs are dark and gloomy. They don't have the best stories, but if you liked diablo2, you should try out sacred. It's basically exactly what Diablo3 would have looked like, if it got out when Sacred did.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #13 on: 16 Apr 2008, 02:53 »

I've heard good things about Messiah but I'm not sure if it is what you are after.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #14 on: 16 Apr 2008, 05:32 »

Dark messiah of might and magic?
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Dimmukane

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #15 on: 16 Apr 2008, 06:16 »

I am guessing you have a PS2, you might check out ShadowHearts (I havent played 2, so I cannot really comment on it) the first one was a decent and interesting RPG.  I remember resonably enjoying myself playing it.  Beyond that, I cant tell you much.

Oh, except the combat system takes a bit to get used to.



The second one is fucking awesome.  That's all you need to know.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #16 on: 16 Apr 2008, 07:03 »

Forget about new stuff. If you want a gripping R.P.G. with a really dark and engaging storyline then I can't recommend my beloved Ultima V highly enough. If incredibly out-dated graphics (hey, it was the 1980s) don't bother you, then I genuinely think you'll get a lot out of this. Even if you haven't played any of the other games in the Ultima series I still think it would stand up on its own. (For the record, here's all the back-story you'll need: you play a dude called the Avatar who is the sole annointed saviour of Britannia, a medieval alternative world presided over by a guy called Lord British. The religion of Britannia comprises the following of 8 virtues such as valour, honesty, and sacrifice, to attain true balance in life.)

Here's the story: a massive cavernous Underworld has mysteriously opened up underneath the surface of Britannia. Lord British, benevolent ruler, has disappeared while leading an expedition to explore this new world, and in his absence another ruler has taken his place, a seriously dodgy guy called Lord Blackthorn. Under his rule the virtues of Britannia have been twisted and bastardised, and everyone in Britannia is seriously scared - not least because Lord Blackthorn's ascension to the throne has coincided with the arrival of three Shadowlords, demonic entities who pop up randomly at night in the towns of the land, drive everyone insane, and are seemingly unstoppable. It's up to you to get in touch with the resistance, find Lord British, banish the Shadowlords and defeat Lord Blackthorn.

The game does an incredibly good job at evoking an atmosphere of genuine foreboding and fear, not just in the player but in all the characters in the game.  In terms of describing what it might be like for a whole population to live under a brutal and oppressive regime, the only game I can think of that's comparable is Half-Life 2. Personally I think Ultima V is one of the all-time great games, of any genre, and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

(You can download it free and "illegally" - it's been out of print for yonks - from Abandonia. Make sure you also download and read the manuals, because they spell out essential parts of the storyline, and one of the manuals is presented as the journal of Lord British's expedition into the Underworld, the details of which you'll actually need to follow when you get to the Underworld part of the game.)
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #17 on: 16 Apr 2008, 08:01 »

Dude, Persona 3.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #18 on: 16 Apr 2008, 10:20 »

You mentioned NWN2... did you try the expansion?  The campiness is removed for the most part.  Most your NPCs are rather dark (one's a red wizard so there's plenty of intrigue there, one is a hagspawn and rather elusive, another is a semi-fallen angel, and then there's the God Bear that you can potentially sacrifice as a host to 3 malicious spirits that go by One-Of-Many) and as an expansion, it's rather cheap considering you've already got the original.  I can't recommend Mask of the Betrayer enough.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #19 on: 16 Apr 2008, 10:28 »

I am guessing you have a PS2, you might check out ShadowHearts (I havent played 2, so I cannot really comment on it) the first one was a decent and interesting RPG.  I remember resonably enjoying myself playing it.  Beyond that, I cant tell you much.

Oh, except the combat system takes a bit to get used to.



The second one is fucking awesome.  That's all you need to know.

The second one is awesome, but it's also batshit insane. Like, you fight with a wolf and a vampire who's also a pro wrestler. If est is looking for a generally 'serious' RPG experience, which is what I am assuming from the descriptor 'dark', then I can't really recommend that.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant really is super great, though. If anybody else reading this thread needs a good RPG and is willing to dig up a copy online somewhere (it was discontinued over a year ago, so good luck finding a sealed copy in the wild), I can't recommend it highly enough. It's one of the most overlooked RPGs on the PS2, which is saying something because there are a fucking lot of obscure RPGs on that system.

Dude, Persona 3.

Ehhhh, as awesome as that game is (my copy of FES arrives in a week holy shit), I don't think the whole demon-slaying Japanese high schooler thing is what he's looking for.
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Surgoshan

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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #20 on: 16 Apr 2008, 11:22 »

I don't know if Shadow of the Colossus counts as an RPG, but it's beautiful, dark, and compelling.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #21 on: 16 Apr 2008, 11:35 »

well, if you're into stats and gear and all that jazz, may i suggest Lost Odyssey? it's got all that up the wazu, and it looks amazing to boot.
it's not really 'dark' in the traditional sense, but it certainly deals with some very dark subject matter which can actually get kind of depressing at times.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #22 on: 16 Apr 2008, 11:44 »

Oh, and the graphics really sucks, but avernum is goood like hell.

demo is a sixth of the game, so you'll get a lot of time to find out if it's "nah" or if it owns.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #23 on: 16 Apr 2008, 11:53 »

well, if you're into stats and gear and all that jazz, may i suggest Lost Odyssey? it's got all that up the wazu, and it looks amazing to boot.
it's not really 'dark' in the traditional sense, but it certainly deals with some very dark subject matter which can actually get kind of depressing at times.

I've heard much the same, actually.  It seems like everyone is all "OMG I WON'T PLAY IT BECAUSE IT IS 4 SQUAER FANSBOI" or actually sit down to play it and enjoy it significantly.
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Re: Looking for a decent dark RPG
« Reply #24 on: 16 Apr 2008, 12:06 »

I just have no patience for turn-based JRPGs anymore.  I tried really hard to like Eternal Sonata, but I just can't get around turn-based battle systems.  In a fight, you don't wait for the other guy to kick you in the nads, you go at it in a blur of denim until one of you falls and the other walks.  I have almost never taken advantage of the turns in d20 video games, I save that for pen-and-paper.
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