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RPGs-A Cornerstone of Gaming Part 3.2 - Action-RPGs

Hello TAY, and welcome back to ACoG! This time around, I’ll be writing about ARPGs, the hyper youngster of the RPG family, and why they’re still RPGs, and of course, bring in the recommendations!

Image from Metal Gear Rising : Revengeance

So, What’s an ARPG?

An acronym for Action Role Playing Game, ARPGs are a sub-genre of RPG that has aspects of action mixed in. This usually means that the game has RPG-like progression and development, but instead of duking it out by turn, it happens with the player in direct control of the character.


The defining aspects of ARPGs are definitely the fact that the combat happens in intense bursts, and being action based, there’s usually little time to strategize, forcing the player to devise a plan on the fly, or just whack them till they die. ARPGs can also play out in first person and third person, and on the whole, are way more fast-paced than other RPGs.

ARPGs include many shooters, action games, and the like, but only if they have some semblance of a character progression system, i.e. Leveling up. But now, as more and more games include these systems, the ARPG genre may eventually fall into disuse.

Definition of ARPG (by ACoG)

An ARPG is an Action game with RPG elements, (not the other way around) and includes shooters, first and third person action games, side-scrollers, and to a certain extent, racing games as well.


The First(?) ARPG


Behold the glory of Dragon Slayer! Arguably the first true ARPG, it was developed by Nihon Falcom for a few old-school home consoles and also the Game Boy back in 1984. It was the first game to have entirely real-time action-oriented gameplay, while also including RPG aspects.

Read more about it here:

Hardcore Gaming 101

Here, Have some Recommendations!

Here are some games that I felt were great, and deserve to be played by everyone!


Crisis Core : Final Fantasy VII - PSP


What is it about Final Fantasy games?! Again, one of my first ARPGs was a Final Fantasy. But again, Square Enix’s insanely expansive IP was able to wow me. Both strategic and sort of fast-paced, Crisis Core combines great story and great gameplay to form a complete whole. It does have a few problems, though nothing game-breaking, and as a more strategic ARPG, it was a great gateway drug game to the sub-genre. I actually played this before I played FF VII, so playing VII was a pretty weird experience for me. And one more thing.


Metal Gear Rising : Revengeance - PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC / Mac


Yes, this is an RPG. Why? You level up and stuff. RPG elements. So in any case, MGR Revengeance is one high-octane blood-pumping hyphen-forcing game. You’re in all senses a robot samurai, plus the fact you’re a secret agent, so you’re a robot samurai ninja? I played this on PC when it came out, and it practically melted my eyes as well as my PC. It was the fastest game I ever played. It’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t yet, everything is great, sound is solid, visuals might be slightly dated, but it’s still amazing. Here’s hopes that there’ll be another one!

Diablo 3 - PC / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PS4 / Xbox One


Diablo 3 is an amazing game. If you’ve never played it or a similar game before, think of it as a single player MOBA where there are a LOT more creeps and there’s actual character progression. Sanctuary is once again under assault, although at this point it’s practically just a background to the amazing amount of senseless killing you will do. Demons? Check. Bandits? Check. Angels? Check. Rainbow Unicorns? Chec- Wait What?!

And that’s probably one of the greatest things I think Diablo does. It knows how to make fun of itself. Adventuring as one of 6 classes, you get to beat up the lords of hell after grinding for exp. for millions of hours, but it never gets boring. Bored of a class? Just try another! The amount of depth Blizzard has put in this game is just brilliant. And entertaining.


Freedom Wars - PS Vita


A PS Vita exclusive no one expected, Freedom Wars does what it does very well. A Monster Hunter clone at heart, you perform Spiderman-worthy kills on titanic enemies with your Thorn and Blade. (F**k Guns.) Honestly, this game is a better AoT simulator than the AoT game is. But its not without its flaws. Human on Human combat is really clunky sometimes, and the camera goes crazy when you jump around too much. But I honestly like this game, but it’s sad, cuz it’s probably gonna be one of the last few AAA first party titles from Sony. Thanks a lot, guys.

Those are my favourites, which have only been selected from the games I’ve played. Here I’ll also include some honourable mentions, which include games that have had wide acclaim. You’ll probably know them.


Monster Hunter Series


Spanning more than 10 games across pretty much all of the consoles from the previous generations to the current one, this massive IP from Capcom has very surprisingly only been around for 11 years! This monster-mashin’ titan-toppling behemoth-battling ARPG has changed so much, and improved in so many ways. I personally find it hard to get into, but then again, I haven’t really tried too hard.

Devil May Cry Series


The Devil May Cry series, also from Japanese giant Capcom, chronicles the escapades of the half demon, half angel, all badass demon slayer Dante. Originally a spin-off of Resident Evil, this IP was popular enough to become an entirely different series on its own. I’ve regrettably only played the newest one, DMC, which was pretty good to me, though it wasn’t the best thing I’ve played.

Bethesda and Bioware Games


Most games from Bethesda and Bioware can be classed into the ARPG genre, from Skyrim to Dishonoured, Mass Effect to Dragon Age, these WRPGs are some of the best examples of AAA ARPGs. You should try at least one. And play Fallout Shelter. Next best thing to happen to iOS after Hearthstone.


Again, I shall ask this question, and also put out a reply!

What is an RPG to you?

If you have the inclination to do so, please answer this question! I would love to reads what others think of RPGs, as I love them so much, and of course, recommendations would be great!


This time from Novibear:

Personally my time with SRPGs may wait I actually think I have played quite a few. I am playing one now in fact on my Vita. I think all of the final fantasy Tactics games are great, the original and PSOne remake had a great story and the Tactics Advance games had fun gameplay with a nice light story. I have been meaning to play Valkyria Chronicles and finish Fire Emblem Awakening though. Also I am eagerly awaiting the release of Disgaea 5 for PS4.

To answer your question as what an RPG is to you. I have to say the term has been muddied with things like J and W as dividers because honestly they both use a ton of numbers, they both may contain a padding and time’s where you have to grind as well. Hell you can technically say Dynasty Warriors is now an RPG because of all the equipment set up you do with skills and leveling up now. I know DW8 even added some sort of weapon triangle but it was more Heaven vs earth vs man instead of fire emblems triangle of sword, axe, and polearm. An RPG isn’t just a strategy based or turn based game surrounded by a story. I only say this because I had a friend who swore up and done that Mass Effect was not an RPG because it was a third person shooter because he hated the connotation that liking RPGs made him a nerd. In fact I am not even sure where I am going with this now but An RPG is pretty much all games to me now in which I play a Role of a character. So every game is an rpg unless I have no impact over the game’s outcome kind of like a kinetic novel.

Terribly odd way to think of it now but what games do you know of now that don’t use or have RPG Elements? They are kind of everywhere now except for maybe puzzle/adventure games. But they have been in sports games where you have a character you make and assign base stats to and improve through training and winning at the sport can be considered RPGs if you think about it.


I fixed the grammar a bit. Just a bit.

Tell your friend that unfortunately, he’s a nerd. Too bad for him. Maybe he should also know that nerds are the people who make the most money in our current economy. Chew on that, nerd-hater.


And definitely, the term RPG is becoming more and more ambiguous, as more and more games outside that genre take in the elements of a good RPG. Only time will tell if it is a good thing or bad, I guess.

There are puzzle RPGs, look at Puzzle and Dragon! And Tomb Raider/Lara Croft games are adventure games, and the most recent one was really RPG intensive as well.


Thanks for reading, and check out the Index for the other ACoG articles!

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