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What do you need to know about Action RPGs?

by Katherine Shawney

One of the most exciting subgenres of role-playing games is the Action RPG. Do you really know what is so special about th9is particular type of games? If you wish to learn more about Action RPGs and understand its major differences with classic RPGs, this short article will definitely shed some light on the topic.

What is an Action RPG?

First of all, let’s try to understand what exactly an Action RPG is. Usually, Action RPGs are based on typical RPG mechanics and encompass a system of missions that is so popular within RPGs.

Still, this genre of computer games has a modified combat system which is no longer using a menu-based system or a turn system. Instead of that, it provides the player with an opportunity of participation in a real-time battle during which the player will have the direct control over the main character or the party. Thus, the combat system of an Action RPG is more similar to shooter games or hack and slash games. Note that some Action RPGs can also include an advance combat system typical for MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). Even in such a case, the character’s experience or level still determines his or her abilities that have a great influence on the outcome of the battle just like in classic RPGs.

Common variations of Action RPGs

As you have already learnt, battles are especially crucial for Action RPGs, however general interactions with a character are rather limited. Although these features are common for Action RPGs, there are might be essential differences between their combat systems.

For example, one of the popular combat mechanisms used in Action RPGs is so-called hack and slash combat that can be found in such early RPGs like Dragon Slayer or The Legend of Zelda. As a player, you will control the actions and movements of the character with the help of a game controller or a keyboard without using menus.

Diablo released in 1996 introduces another combat system that was based on mouse clicks in the first place with the use of several hotkeys on the keyboard for applying learned spells.

Role-playing shooters

Action role-playing games have their own subgenre that is known a role-playing shooter. Such games have the majority of features typical for Action RPGs, however, their battles are similar to those used in first-person shooter games (however, sometimes, they also use the mechanisms of third-person shooter games).

The 3rd Birthday, Mass Effect and Borderlands 2 are among the most recent role-playing shooters.

Some issues connected with Action role-play games

Action RPGs are focused on battles so the major amount of content they include is connected with fighting with enemies. In some cases it is rather difficult for game developers to maintain a storyline with some deep ideas that will help players to get more absorbed into the game and enjoy a really unique experience.

In order to avoid this type of a problem, randomisation of solutions can be introduced just like it was made in Deus Ex released in 2000. This was achieved by creating several layers of story options that were available in dedicated individual environments. Thus, a player was able to use one of several possible solutions to the same problem and see different outcomes. Undeniably, this made the gaming process more advanced avoiding simple linear development of a story.

Examples of Action RPGs for PC

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most famous Action RPG for personal computers was Diablo that has a great effect on the market of computer games. The game had such a tremendous success that it lead to the creation of a variety games mimicking its style that are popularly called “Diablo clones”. The Diablo series had four titles and three of them were included into Diablo Battle Chest that appeared on the market ten years after the release of the first Diablo game.

Some of other popular Action RPGs include Sacred, Hellgate: London, Dungeon Siege and Torchlight.

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