In recent times though, the vast majority of my free time has been spent guiding one Geralt of Rivia through the trials and tribulations of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and so my hard and fast opinion of role players has softened somewhat. And while I realise that The Witcher III is probably more of an action RPG than a hardcore, turn-based affair, I think it is testament to the quality of CD Projekt Red's game that someone who doesn't generally dabble in that type of experience has become fully absorbed in the adventure. Also, according to this Eurogamer article, the voice of Geralt lives just up the road from me so the experience is now extra special. I must also stress at this juncture, that the rumours of me camping outside his house and digging through his bins for discarded banana peels and samples of hair and/or skin are wholly unsubstantiated.
|"Get away from my bins!"|
|This isn't the meter in question. Just found this on Google.|
I started playing Grandia II last year and quite enjoyed the combat mechanics, but ultimately I got bored. I stopped playing Shenmue II about halfway through because I had to get a job in a warehouse. I stopped playing Evolution because it was far too twee for my tastes and I haven't even started Evolution 2. Lodoss I lost interest in after 20 minutes (see above). Skies of Arcadia? Never even been in my Dreamcast; and the same is true of Time Stalkers. But Silver is the one that bucks the trend for me. Why? Because it's the epitome of what I like to call 'RPG-lite.' It's an RPG without all the usual stuffy RPG crap I tend to dislike immensely.
"We get asked about the similarities to Final Fantasy VII a lot, and it is flattering to be compared to such a game. But the truth of the matter is that we weren't influenced by it at all. I can see why people would make the comparison but we'd started a good while before we'd even seen much of FFVII!"
Going from information divulged in the same interview, it appears that person behind the original idea for Silver, Warren Lancashire, was however a fan of Japanese RPGs:
"At the time of Silver's birth there really wasn't much out there that was like it. Warren [Lancashire] was into Japanese RPGs though and he was influenced by them I think."
Other than the visual trappings though, that's where the similarities end. And for me, that is a total relief. This is because I simply can't stand Final Fantasy VII. Turn-based combat is just not something I enjoy, and even less when the battles are random encounters. Probably one of the reasons I've avoided Skies of Arcadia to be honest...but there it is. The combat in Silver is completely real time and has more in common with something like Zelda than any other RPG I can think of. You can equip swords, shields and wands via the rotary interface that pops up when you press the B button. Once selected, the chosen weapons and defensive items are added to your character's visual avatar and you're free to hack and slash and fire projectiles as you see fit. The combat system itself is actually quite cool in that you can modify your guard and attacks by holding down the right trigger and using the analogue stick to unleash a whole range of moves - from slashes and jabs of the sword, to whirlwinds of attacks that will damage foes on all sides. It's a cool control system and I love it.
The voice acting in Silver really is what makes it so enjoyable. In recent times we've been treated to the fantastic vocal talents of actors like Troy Baker and Nolan North and the amazing banter that results when two similar personalities are placed together in the same game. Back in the early 2000s this wasn't the case and precious few games had decent voice acting - even less in the RPG genre. Silver is an exception to this rule. The voice cast does a stellar job not only with the acting itself but also the humour, timing and dead pan delivery. I know it's a cliche to say that a game made you 'LOL,' but I honestly did at times while playing through Silver. The character interaction is so cool and totally not what you'd expect from a game from the era.
Anyone got a pound for the telly meter?