#1 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -


#2 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

I'm writing an essay that involves genres. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. The games mentioned in the topic (at least ME and Borderlands) ought to be better described as a role-playing shooter rather than an Action RPG though at this point the term Action RPG has gone away from being synonymous with hack & slash games and moved more towards the ME-type games.

Are you guys still calling it an Action RPG? Maybe you are calling it that but feel like the second term is better suiting, you just haven't heard of the latter option until now.

Let me know!

#3 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1974 posts) -

Fallout 3 and Mass Effect are RPG's, Borderlands is a FPS.

#4 Edited by Tennmuerti (8100 posts) -

Game genres are iffy at best. RPG related stuff even more so.

First two might be classed as action RPGs I guess, or more simply they are RPGs with shooting mechanics, so call them whatever, doesn't matter. It's all broken and muddled as shit at this point. But Borderlands is a completely different beast, it's basically a diablo like shooter, a dungeon crawler with guns, no RP involved. The only people who would call Borderlands an RPG are the philistines who would call Diablo an RPG, and that's goddamn videogame blasphemy to me!

If you want to go down that rabbit hole. Different people have different definitions of what is an RPG.

#5 Posted by themangalist (1735 posts) -

I think role-playing is a name really needing of change. I role-play in almost all my games, so I kinda see all games as rpgs. Problem is, the original roots of the genre were dug so deep into a specific type of game that I find the name no longer indicative of a category anymore...

#6 Posted by JasonR86 (9707 posts) -

Genres for media mediums don't work anymore.

#7 Posted by Red (5995 posts) -

They're different. I define an RPG as something that requires dice rolls to make an attack. Hence Mass Effect 1 and Fallout 3 are RPGs, while Mass Effect 2 and 3 are not. Not sure about Borderlands.

#8 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

Game genres or even genres in general shift constantly (albeit game genres more than others) since new games may poke at the boundaries of a genre or even redefine it.

I'd say CoD is a genre-defining game as genres have been argued to include not only the characteristics of its content but also the opinions and conventions of the people involved in it. (And CoD is a trend setter, no doubt)

#9 Posted by Bane122 (789 posts) -

Borderlands - Shooter with RPG elements

ME series - western RPG

#10 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

Genres are dumb. I don't like this essay. Classifying game genres are such an extremely subjective thing when everyone defines the game as what parts they think are most important to the game.

#11 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

I'm not of the school that believes stats/levels/xp/chance equate to RPG. It's role-playing game, not roll-playing game. I'd say a game like Battlefield or Arma or Stalker make me feel like I'm playing a role, more than something like Borderlands, even though the latter is definitely more dice-rolley.

#12 Posted by captain_clayman (3321 posts) -

@RollingZeppelin said:

Fallout 3 and Mass Effect are RPG's, Borderlands is a FPS.

is diablo an rpg by that logic, or just an "isometric hack-and-slash point-and-click"? some say it is, some say it isn't. I think this is the biggest issue with genre definitions, because the definition of "role playing" can be reduced so much that technically every game in which you play as a character is a role playing game. I am playing the role of mario in super mario bros etc.

I think labeling game genres by their core gameplay mechanics is doing video games a disservice. For example, Final fantasy games have the core gameplay mechanics that define a traditional JRPG, but outside of the moderate level of choice you have in the combat system, your choices do not come into play or define your character's progression at all. Cloud Strife will always be a melodramatic angsty kid whether you want him to or not. He was specificially written to be that way. There's nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes they'll give you a dialog box, but it doesn't matter whether you choose "yes" "no" or "...", the story won't change a bit. So really, you're not creating your own character or doing what you want, you're just hitting the A button until you get to the next pre-determined cutscene.

Borderlands does, on the surface level, have the core gameplay mechanics you would expect out of a modern first person shooter. You strafe, you sprint, you aim, you look down sites, you shoot, you reload, etc. HOWEVER, you do actually have an immense amount of choice on how you play the game. While it still may not have the same level of choice on story events, you can still select skills and perks and guns that fit your own style of play. The way I play a commando may be completely different than how someone else plays commando etc, so there are aspects of role playing at least on the gameplay level; AT LEAST as much as in final fantasy, if not more. Yet Final Fantasy is an RPG, but Borderlands 2 is just an FPS.

#13 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5479 posts) -

You named 3 games in 3 different genres/mixes. Fallout 3 is the closest to just being a standard open world RPG, Mass Effect is a Shooter heavily mixed with a traditional RPG, Borderlands is an FPS mixed with an Action RPG.

#14 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

RPG is the worst genre to define. ive given up on it because everyone has their own weird definition of an RPG.

#15 Posted by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

@Clonedzero said:

RPG is the worst genre to define. ive given up on it because everyone has their own weird definition of an RPG.

Indeed.

#16 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

The problem is that you have several games. Fallout 3 and Borderlands are RPG shooters, where as Mass Effect became an action RPG in its second installment. In any case, Fallout 3 is most certainly not an action RPG.

#17 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1974 posts) -

@captain_clayman: I suppose I should have stated, to me, first. Obviously there are no hard definitions of genre which makes this essay pretty much useless and founded on quicksand. The reason I classify them as such is that you spend a much more significant amount of time on story and conversation aspects of the game in ME and F3, where as the majority of time in Borderlands is spent shooting.

#18 Posted by VirtualE (26 posts) -

Definitely in agreement with the above on the fact that "RPG" is a pretty loose term now-a-days. I mean "Role Playing Game" could really be applied to anything that utilizes the EXP system, some other form of leveling system, or any customization whatsoever. I've come across folks who claim that Halo: Reach has elements of RPG-ness due to customization of armor and the load-out abilities that the player can choose before spawning.

For the sake of the poll choices however. I'd say those games like ME, and Fallout would be in the realm of Action-RPG and not Role playing Shooter because they have melee weapons in them. Haven't played Boarderlands though, so I can't speak to that.

#19 Posted by FreakAche (2953 posts) -

What's the difference?

#20 Posted by Encephalon (1262 posts) -

I hope your essay isn't specifically about genre delineations, because the RPG is probably the most nebulous genre there is. Good luck making any sense.

#21 Posted by Gahzoo (361 posts) -

It kind of irks me when people take the literal definition of "role-playing game" when that's not what people talk about....

Really, NO ONE does this.

When people say RPG they usually mean a game in which stats play a large role especially in progression, hence why pretty much any thing with stats is said to include "RPG elements" (like Borderlands).

And you know what I mean by stats, heart containers in LoZ aren't what I'm talking about.

If you fight things and level up, it's probably an RPG of some-sort, although that definition is so broad that it's a very vague term.

(theory for why it's called role playing: many traditional RPGs, especially tabletops, actually had you role-play, however people took to naming the genre off the mechanics)

#22 Posted by adam1808 (1496 posts) -

Videogames.

#23 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Gahzoo: Clearly there are enough people who do for you to get annoyed by it.
#24 Posted by Ares42 (2663 posts) -

@Red said:

They're different. I define an RPG as something that requires dice rolls to make an attack. Hence Mass Effect 1 and Fallout 3 are RPGs, while Mass Effect 2 and 3 are not. Not sure about Borderlands.

This, and Borderlands is an FPS with RPG elements (as you're playing a pre-defined role). The fact that you can play through Fallout 3 without ever doing anything actively (just making desicions through VATS) means it's not an action RPG. As for helping you define action RPG better, it's distinct property is that you in real-time pick between several different combat options, which tends to make anything with shooter mechanics not fit too well. While you do have grenades and a single ability in Borderlands, I'd say your options are too limited to call it an action RPG.

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#25 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6398 posts) -

The genre lines have become so mixed and blurred that trying to call any single game part of only one genre is doing a disservice to anybody trying to approach the game, not having played it already.

I also don't understand the difference between "role-playing shooter" and "action RPG". They both seem like they categorize the exact same type of game, perhaps the latter being more broad, but can still encapsulate a "shooter" aspect to the game.

#26 Posted by Zekhariah (697 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

@Red said:

They're different. I define an RPG as something that requires dice rolls to make an attack. Hence Mass Effect 1 and Fallout 3 are RPGs, while Mass Effect 2 and 3 are not. Not sure about Borderlands.

This, and Borderlands is an FPS with RPG elements (as you're playing a pre-defined role). The fact that you can play through Fallout 3 without ever doing anything actively (just making desicions through VATS) means it's not an action RPG. As for helping you define action RPG better, it's distinct property is that you in real-time pick between several different combat options, which tends to make anything with shooter mechanics not fit too well. While you do have grenades and a single ability in Borderlands, I'd say your options are too limited to call it an action RPG.

While you can play through fallout 3 in just VATs, isn't that a bit pedantic of a way to differentiate it. You would still have to do a ton of running to wait for VATs to recharge, which is still an action even if you are not shooting while things are live.

I think the genre labels are more of a convenient short hand, but RPG tends to be confusing as it tends to break apart between the relevance of mechanics in actions (vs dice rolls or strategy by turns) or character personality and story characteristics (does the agenda extend beyond kill all the Strogg). At the moment RPG is thrown in when there is enough to say that the extra story impact or character customization is a notable feature (vs. getting better weapons over time or limited % upgrades in a standard FPS).

Games are at least not as bad as music on genre definition at least, but they come up just short of it.

#27 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11736 posts) -

Borderlands is a Shooter with RPG elements. Mass Effect and Fallout 3 are RPGs with shooter elements.

#28 Edited by Oscar__Explosion (2298 posts) -

Fallout 3, Open world RPG. Borderlands, FPS with RPG elements. Mass Effect, Action RPG.

#29 Posted by Village_Guy (2577 posts) -

Genres are broken these days, the RPG genre have flown into almost everything and as such have become so hard to define in many cases.

I would say that Fallout 3 and Mass Effect are Action RPGs, while Borderlands is a First Person Shooter RPG.

#30 Posted by probablytuna (3660 posts) -

This is why genres in video games should be completely rewritten/categorised.

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#31 Posted by mlarrabee (2955 posts) -

The Mass Effect series is sort of singular in my mind. It has RPG elements, and it has shooter elements, but the focus (at least for 1 and 2, which I played) was the story. It was more like TellTale's The Walking Dead. Yes, you do play it, but the story is why and how you experience it.

We'll call it a STory-Driven RPG. STD-RPG for short.

#32 Posted by Hippie_Genocide (579 posts) -

Fallout 3 is the only rpg of the bunch. The other 2 are shooters. Skill trees and extensive inventory management does not an rpg make. Mass Effect is a good story driven experience with mediocre to bad gameplay and a horrific loot system. Borderlands is pretty much a solid straightforward fps with stats based equipment and far too blah of a story to be considered anywhere near an rpg.

#33 Posted by Ares42 (2663 posts) -

@Zekhariah: Hmm, looking at what I wrote I realize I poorly described my point. It wasn't intended as "you can finish the game without doing any real-time action", but rather "you can at any point pause the game and have the game automate your actions".

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#34 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1807 posts) -

I think they fall in the same genre as Skyrim and Minecraft. They're all about building your character and exploring.

#35 Edited by Vigilance (270 posts) -

Fallout is a RPG with shooter elements, Mass Effect is a shooter with strong RPG elements, and Borderlands is a shooter with strong RPG elements.

Edited to add: RPG elements are EVERYWHERE these days. Even Civ V's unit progression has RPG elements.

Yet another way in which game designers the world over are ripping off Gary Gygax without even a "how you do".

#36 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming: I disagree that fallout 3 is a shooter. Unless you count my arms as guns and my supersledge as bullets.

#37 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

In my eyes, the games listed adhere to the genre of "RPG plus ___"

#38 Posted by OldGuy (1557 posts) -

Must. Pigeon-hole. Everything...

#39 Posted by Warchief (657 posts) -

plain and simple they are RPG's

#40 Posted by Linkster7 (1025 posts) -

Borderlands is a FPS with RPG elements, ME and Fallout 3 are RPGs with FPS elements. That's how I see i atleast.

#41 Edited by BoOzak (922 posts) -

@Gahzoo said:

It kind of irks me when people take the literal definition of "role-playing game" when that's not what people talk about....

Really, NO ONE does this.

When people say RPG they usually mean a game in which stats play a large role especially in progression, hence why pretty much any thing with stats is said to include "RPG elements" (like Borderlands).

And you know what I mean by stats, heart containers in LoZ aren't what I'm talking about.

If you fight things and level up, it's probably an RPG of some-sort, although that definition is so broad that it's a very vague term.

(theory for why it's called role playing: many traditional RPGs, especially tabletops, actually had you role-play, however people took to naming the genre off the mechanics)

Thing is most games these days incoporate some sort of persistant leveling, and perks but that doesnt make them RPGs.

I dont consider 'Loot Based RPG's' like Borderlands or Diablo/Torchlight etc. to be RPG's despite the fact they have a heavy emphasis on stats and skill trees. To me that doesnt make an RPG. Choice is what makes an RPG. Fallout is an RPG because you're given choices besides how you want to 'spec out' your character. They may not be as obvious as the ones in Mass Effect but simple things, like whether you decide to kill the quest giver to recieve your reward as apose to going on an errand for him/her. This is why I like the Elder Scrolls games, most RPG's incentivise you to go on quests to get XP and level up, rinse repeat. Whereas in TES games quests are there to point you to something interesting as apose to being your sole reason to exsist.

Honestly to me Heavy Rain is more of an RPG than Borderlands or Diablo, there are stats in all games whether or not you're beaten on the head with them. (I dont have anything against Loot Based games I just hate how the term RPG has lost all meaning)

EDIT: Re-Read what you said, I missed the part where you acknowledge how the term had changed, sorry about that. My point still stands though! If people dont stop calling games RPG's because of leveling and stats the term will no longer mean anything and it'll be harder to differentiate between games that focus on freedom of choice (Mass Effect, TES) and games that focus on their mechanics. (Borderlands, Diablo) And before anyone starts flaming me I know these are just my opinions. I'm not saying anyone else is wrong I just dont like how everything is called an RPG now.

#42 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Fallout/ Mass Effect are RPGs. Mass Effect 2/3 and Borderlands are shooters.