I can understand where the idea that party-based, Western-style RPGs have to be excruciating slow, turn-based affairs came from. Back in the dawn of computing, it was inevitable that someone would try and translate the old-fashioned pen-and-paper table-top role-playing rules into a computer game – and I’m not saying it doesn’t have its place. What I can’t figure out is why so many developers have clung to the idea for so long when we’ve had the facilities for more exciting, action-packed RPGs for… oh… 15 odd years.
Clearly I’m not the only one who thinks that way, and a handful of developers have tried their hand over the years at giving us RPGs which depict the more exciting, fast-paced battles these stodgy rules were supposed to represent. One of these developers is Bioware, the peeps responsible for several of the world’s most beloved RPGs. Their epic sci-fi series, Mass Effect, is a good example of how in-depth role-playing elements and team management can be reconciled with fast-paced action. Their well-received fantasy role-playing game, Dragon Age: Origins was a similar attempt, but was still bogged down by a lot of traditional role-playing elements, an automated but nevertheless unexciting turn-based combat system, and an interface that may have been a bit fiddly for the casual RPG fan.