I was looking for a new RPG (role-playing game) for my xbox 360, and I couldn't help noticing that the selection was not only slim, it was loaded with heaps of garbage. Classic turn-based RPGs from my childhood like Breath of Fire, Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star, and Final Fantasy have gone out the window. These were games I particularly enjoyed because there was an element of thought and strategy, similar to playing chess, stories that sucked me into their worlds, and a whole lot of exploration that is simply lacking in most RPGs as of late.
Nowadays, turn-based has been replaced by button mashing. While it's understandable to try and revolutionize a style of play where one could go to the bathroom, run to the store, make something to eat, and return to a boss fight where you left it, games today give you a wide range of spells and attacks, yet you only rely on a select few, the strongest, because you're allotted a short window to react. Even in a game as rich and deep as Skyrim I found myself using a small portion of abilities in the 100+ hours it took me to complete it and get every achievement. Not that I have a problem with first person or action-RPGs; I am a fan of Dark Cloud, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Tales of Vesperia (the best RPG on Xbox 360), and Rogue Galaxy.
Speaking of Rogue Galaxy, what has Level-5 Games been up to? Their successful franchises seem to have gone the wayside. No sequel to Rogue Galaxy, Dragon Quest (DQ VII is one of my all-time favorites), or Dark Cloud. Like the rest of the industry, their RPGs seem to be delegated to handheld devices, which I haven't owned since the original Gameboy.
And forget anything amazing from Square Enix. That company is joyous squeezing out piles of shit and charging for the flies. The latest installments of Final Fantasy for consoles have been complete disasters. From what I see on their site, they're not in the process of making a new RPG outside of handheld devices either, forgoing Kingdom Hearts 3 any time soon. That company, once known for releasing jewels (FF3, FF7, Chrono Trigger, KH) one after another has been circling and sinking into the toilet since the merger. Final Fantasy XII was probably the last game they created that I enjoyed, but it really wasn't that impressive compared to previous installments. It appears they care more about cinematics than story or gameplay, less than a shadow of the mighty Squaresoft.
At this point, probably because I had to sell my SNES, Genesis, and PS2 along with games when I was scraping by in Denver, I'd take rehashes, revamps, or unaltered DLC versions on any of the classics. I'm even considering purchasing a Wii just for some of these titles, and it has the widest selection. I would play Indies, yet they're very difficult for me to find. Honestly, I don't even know where to start.
In a nutshell, the state of RPGs for consoles is few and far between, loaded with weak, lackluster content. I can only hope that once-adored companies such as Level-5 or Square Enix return to their roots or another company rises to take the industry by storm. There really is a market for RPGs, especially quality ones. Until then, I'll continue to scour my limited options and revel in the glory days.