View Full Version : Plot Driven RPGs Vs Open Exploration RPGs

Bahamut ZERO
06-02-2003, 11:04 AM
This is probably the broadest generalisation possible, but I see two main types of RPG...

(1) Plot driven. Events happen in the game that take you to a certain location and involve you to continue playing through that location, and you get carried along by the game with little chance to explore the world in question. (Grandia was much like this, as is the Final Fantasy series up until the end and the vehicles are all gained etc.)

(2) Open Exploration. You're free to go anywhere within the boundaries of the world, do anything you want, talk to anyone you want, and even ignore the main storyline completely if you do so wish. (Morrowind being the only example I can come up with.)

Which style of RPG do you prefer, and why? Do you think there are other RPG styles I haven't covered? Add them to the list.

I love Morrowind. I make no secret of that. I love the freedom of moving your character around and doing what you wish without having to worry about the main quest unless you want to. For this reason, I'm putting number 2 as my favourite style of RPG.

06-02-2003, 11:23 AM
I'm more of a fan for plot driven RPG's. There's enough room for exploration in my opinion. It might not be in the early beginning of the game, but once you get your own world transport verhicle there's a whole world to explore, especially when your verhicle is fully upgraded xD
Besides you get a lot stronger on the way too it. There's always sidequesting :) and mass leveling up ;)

06-02-2003, 11:56 AM
i'm not a big fan of open exploration RPG's. i just dont like them. i much prefer the more linear ones. and Tekno is right, there is plenty of exploring to do towards the end.

i actually prefer linear RPG's at the start. i think i'm just lazy and dont like looking around for stuff

06-03-2003, 07:49 AM
I tried some Might & Magic gaes in the past, and never got to finish them because I did not FIND the plot in the games.
So I am generally for plot-driven RPGs.
As long as they give me the time to take a break and do some useless exploring-the-landscape on my own.
Some modern RPGs are TOO plot-driven for that. They chase you through the game and leave you no time to breath. ;_; Maybe because the plot is TOO GOOD: I want to know what´ll happen next, so I tell myself: I´ll have a look around this town later, and next thing you see of the town in question is how it explodes in a huge fireball and you can never ever return to it. :(

06-03-2003, 09:12 AM
While I have never played morrowwind I have played several computer rpgs that sound similar to what you described (Might and Magic 6,7,8 and Wizards and Warriors). I much prefer the freedom found in those types of games. The only drawback is that the storyline is almost allways compromised when compared to console rpgs (Might and Magic 7 being the exception).

It seems that with console rpgs there is less and less exploring to be done as the graphics improve. I just love being able to choose between 15 an 20 quests at a time and when I want to do them.

I think most of the reason for the storyline is computer rpgs being inferior to console games is that you are able to create your characters at the begining of the game, choosing race, sex, class, what they look like, etc. so the designers have to make the story much more generic than console games where they know the main character will be 18 year old male swordsman with a personality dissorder and what all the other playable characters will be.

06-11-2003, 02:00 PM
I like a mix of both, my favorite RPG's are Planescape Torment and Baldurs Gate 2, both of these games are plot driven but also contain alot of open ended gameplay.

Neo Xzhan
06-11-2003, 02:26 PM
I like both, basically I like all kinds of RPGs. I love the plot driven RPGs like the FF series and the likes. But I am also abig fan of open RPGs like Morrowind and the Baldurs Gate saga. You get to do whatever you like when you want and how you want.

08-06-2003, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by Tekno
I'm more of a fan for plot driven RPG's. There's enough room for exploration in my opinion. It might not be in the early beginning of the game, but once you get your own world transport verhicle there's a whole world to explore, especially when your verhicle is fully upgraded xD
Besides you get a lot stronger on the way too it. There's always sidequesting :) and mass leveling up ;)

That's how i view it also. Open exploration can lead to confusion of what the main quest is also. Open exploration is not all bad. I Don't not play open exploration games, but i do prefer the plot driven.

08-06-2003, 05:57 PM
When I play an open exploration game, theres always some element that makes me get bored of it easily.... maybe it's because theres no real purpose to go to wherever except to level up that certain character. Plot driven drives me to some area and has a story to it, a reason to go on is to of course know more of the story.

I sorta like open exploration... but because of it's freedom without rules, it gets boring.

Evad D'Aragon
08-06-2003, 08:50 PM
I prefer plot-driven RPGs. Like some others said, I kind of get bored when all I have to do is "go somewhere without really knowing what you are doing" Plus I like good stories.

lone wolf
08-06-2003, 09:01 PM
I would say that i'm a fan of both, but i actullly prefer to be driven into the story more then i like being driven insane while walking around trying to figure out what to do(Shenmue). I like the final fantasy titles because they all keep my attention, hell, i even think about whats next at school when i'm not playing. but it just makes you want to push on, while open ended one's don't really give you an insentive to continue on, but i guess it's what your preference is :D

lone wolf

08-22-2003, 03:33 PM
Interesting topic. I'd definitely have to say I prefer plot-driven RPGS. It's just more fun because I really enjoy getting into stories and stuff. I think I even tried one of those more free-range RPGs once, but I couldn't get into it. So definitely plot-driven for me.

08-29-2003, 07:02 AM
I like them both. ;) They're both very enjoyable in their own ways.

Alice Wonderbra
09-08-2003, 02:29 PM
i would have to say i like plots better. the games that have plots (i.e. final fantasy, obviously) still have a lot of exploration, as was stated earlier. as a matter of fact, i think that it is side quests that make the ff games good. if it was just do this and go here then the games would be less than mediocre.

however, open rpgs can be very fun, but it just depends on how they are. for example, i LOVE the legend of mana, but i never really saw a concrete story: u just find stuff to do. it worked for that, but i dont think that it works for runescape. that game sucks.

are the sims an rpg? you do level-up your sim, so i guess it counts, right?

The Joker
09-16-2003, 10:16 PM
I've only played plot driven ones. I like them because RPGs typically have great stories and they should use that.

However, I'm sure that open exploration ones have great adventure elements that would likely razzle dazzle me and make me put down any other adventure game I have. :)

I think a balance would be best. One that lets you do whatever, while holding its own grand plot. You can play by it if you wish, or not.

Nanaki XIII
09-27-2003, 01:44 AM
Plot driven.

Open-exploration gets repetitive but a good plot keeps things interesting.

11-20-2003, 05:43 AM
I would prefer a combonation of both... For instance, you have a choice of different places to go early on, and that the game requires you to go everywhere, BUT, depending on where you go first and second, and when you choose to do so affects the storyline of the game... Can't think of any games that actually do this... But I hear that FFX-2 has less limitations (more open exploration) then typical FF games...

Tactical Error #5
11-20-2003, 07:30 PM
Wow, it's kida tough to say but I guess when it comes down to it I prefer plot-driven RPG's. I love a good story reguardless of the medium through which I recieve it(video game, book, movie, etc.) and I've definately found some in RPG's. Every now and then though I feel a bit constricted in playing a game, I want to cut loose and damn the consequences(there's allways a save file). Thats why I like Morrowind. There is a plotline to follow but there is so much more. You can interact with almost anything in this game, every person, every object, everything. Of course after a while this too can get boring. Then Its back to plot-driven good ole FF, Chrono, Xeno and the rest where there isn't so much thinking about the consequences of evry little thing you do.

11-21-2003, 03:23 AM
However, sometimes the feeling of its being 'on rails' can be just too much. I'm talking about X here. No world map, and certain areas just being blocked off... That really took from it, made it REALLY obvious you couldn't explore much. And there weren't even that many areas. It was so restrictive. Couple that with the VAs, and it feels far more filmic than I would like. I like plot-driven RPGs, but when they make it this obvious that there isn't much else there aside from the plot, well... that isn't fun.

12-08-2003, 05:54 AM
I agree...

Anyway, go for X-2!!! It's a combo of the two! the main plot is maybe 20-25 hours of game play, but including the MANY, MANY side quests/plots/stories you can end up playing 55+ hours!!!

Alice Wonderbra
12-08-2003, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by AdemA
I agree...

Anyway, go for X-2!!! It's a combo of the two! the main plot is maybe 20-25 hours of game play, but including the MANY, MANY side quests/plots/stories you can end up playing 55+ hours!!!

i finally played the game yesterday and i was thinking the same thing (although ive only played it for 2 hrs). it reminds me somewhat of legend of mana, in that sense only, of course.

this is off subject, but im already stuck. seems that i have to level-up. :whatever:

Safer Sephiroth
12-09-2003, 06:47 AM
Well up until I finally played Morrowind, I loved the Set plot RPGs like Final Fantasy, but I love the Freedom that Morrowind offers, I have spent over 90 hours in the game, not even following the main story! I am doing whatever I want, buy clothes, kill people, do Quests, join Guilds, this is somthing that most other RPGs don't really offer and I enjoy it. I wish that more RPGs were like this lol.

But don't get me wrong, I still love the Plot based ones to. I will never stop liking Final Fantasy games lol.

12-15-2003, 03:30 PM
One of my favorite RPG series ever, Fallout, is the "open exploration" one you describe, but it does have a pretty good plot. I really think integration of the two is the best way you can possibly go (and yes it is entirely possible, though you'd have to be more creative than if you were making a Final Fantasy style game or a PC RPG style game.) When I get a new computer I can put RPG Maker stuff on, I'm going to see if I can make a game like that.

I think the best example I can think of for an integration between the two styles is Planescape: Torment, which I hate a lot, but it does show how you can insert a really detailed plot into a very open role playing game, and since you can get it in one of those $10 budget packs in Wal Marts and Targets and whatnot, if you see it it's worth trying just to see how they accomplished that.

By the way, if Morrowind is the only RPG you can think of that allows you to "do it your own way," so to speak, you aren't very familiar with PC RPGs. That's how almost any PC RPG is. Most of them are crap, but there are some gems out there.

iconoclastic pastry
12-20-2003, 06:05 PM
If I had to choose I would go with the plot driven game. However, I prefer a good mix.

A great example in my opinion is FFVI. In the World of Balance, the story is almost constant, and there is never any confusion over where you need to go to progress. However, it isn't that linear, especially compared to later games of the Playstation era. If the relativly open world isn't enough for would-be explorers, the World of Ruin presents the perfect oppurtunity. The entire(altered) world is open once you have the airship. And if exploring isn't your bag, you can just go straight to Kefka.

So, that is sort of an insight into the kind of RPG I prefer. It could also be a FFVI review, but I digress.