I don’t actually like Role-Playing Games.

Well, maybe that’s too harsh. Let me rephrase it: I am forced to like Role-Playing Games  (henceforth “RPGs”) because they are the only type of game which provide the things I want in games. These being: interesting, complex and realistic characters, well-written and intelligent dialogue, and a deep, thought provoking story.

The games that have all these things are all RPGs; the only possible exception to this that I am aware of is the Metal Gear Solid series. It seems that if you want anything other than a boilerplate storyline, you have to go play an RPG. Which isn’t bad, but the whole building stats/feats/abilities thing I could do without.

There’s no actual reason this should be the case, that I can see. You could make a game that played like Call of Duty except with some sort of dialogue system and give it a really interesting story and deep characters. But this never seems to happen. (Half-Life is a step in the right direction, but not a terribly big one.)

Mass Effect 2 was, technically speaking, almost exactly the sort of game I am describing; its RPG mechanics were almost non-existent, and it had an excellent character interaction element to it, coupled with great graphics and voice-acting. It only fell down in the “deep, thought provoking story” area. But it fell badly here, enough to knock it down from “one of my favorite games ever” to merely “a very good game”.

It’s true that, in games like Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, you can specialize your character for combat, but this comes at the expense of having the dialogue skills needed to find out the subtleties of the characters and story. Again, I want to stress that this is not a bad thing; it is a fine style of game and I would not want people to stop making games like that. But where is the alternative type of game; that lets you essentially “have it all”?

What's your stake in this, cowboy?