The RPG Is Gaming At Its Best, Not Linear Single-Player Adventures

Elden Ring beating the awards haul of The Last of Us 2 brings to light how RPG titles resonate more with gamers.

Video games are divided into a myriad of genres, giving players numerous options to get into. The industry has always taken pride in the diversification of its products and the different experiences it provides. Even genres themselves have stark contrasts within, leading to sub-genres and making gaming more heterogeneous. 

It’s only natural that so many different genres will lead to a lot of competition in the gaming world. Most of the popular AAA titles are pretty uniformly spread among all of these classes. Call of Duty, GTA, Pokemon, FIFA, and Resident Evil constitute some of the biggest gaming franchises, and as you can tell, none of them are similar. 

Only a few genres rule the industry in sales. Shooting titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty are major money-makers. On the other hand, open-world sandbox adventures with a focused storyline, like Grand Theft Auto, also sell like hotcakes. 

But, only two genres not only make record profits but also compete for Game of the Year every time. Role-playing games constitute one of the genres we are talking about. No matter what year it is, you will always see a role-playing open-world title like Elden Ring in the top 10 games of the year. 

Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok
God of War Ragnarök (linear single-player) and Elden Ring (RPG)

Secondly, single-player adventure games with no open world and a linear narrative focus are also big players in the industry.

The storytelling in these games has gone up a level since Sony started making such action-adventure titles. God of War, Uncharted, and The Last of Us are just some examples of best-selling games with remarkable tales.

Video games that fall into any of these two categories are the best examples of the medium as an art form. They take gaming outside the basics of gameplay and prove how much more they can be, indie or AAA. Every year, either a story-based action-adventure game or an RPG wins the most Game of the Year awards.

People have different preferences, and one might prefer both or just one of them. But, Such tough competition between the two does bring up the question: which genre is the better one?

Of course, everybody has their personal opinion regarding this, and mine is that role-playing games are much better, and Elden Rings’ record-breaking award sweep proves that.

Role-Playing Games Give Players More Freedom

What made video games so popular in the first place was the control they gave to players. In other forms of media, you can’t decide who dies, how something unfolds, and when it ends. However, you have the freedom to do this and determine much more in video games. 

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The best example of this liberty is present in role-playing games. Sure, RPGs lead to one ending as linear single-player games do. But, the path your character takes depends on you, while in the latter, the arcs are already set.

You also have only one protagonist in 90% of single-player adventures, limiting your point of view. In RPGs, however, you can be whatever you want and play the game from different perspectives. 

Most role-playing titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Elden Ring, Diablo, and Fallout allow you to determine how your player character will be. From choices between life and death to opting between contrasting dialogues, they allow maximum freedom in building your character.

Hence, you can be a nice person, or a complete douchebag, depending on what you like. 

A lot of role-playing games allow you to build your character from scratch. You can choose what “character class” they have, what clothes they wear, and what abilities they possess. Elden Ring is the most recent example of such a system, like most other Soulsborne games. 

By picking a specific character class, which pertains to abilities, you can decide from the start how you get to kill your bosses. So, you can customize your gameplay experience any way you like in the game. If you want to be a hero with no armor on and help struggling players, no one is going to stop you.

As you keep playing RPGs like Elden Ring, you get to make more and more choices. You can choose your weapons, obtain better attire, and become the fantasy warrior of your dreams. Living scenarios not possible in the real world is what gaming is all about, and nothing sums it up better than role-playing titles.

Ability To Explore

Of course, some games aren’t like Elden Ring or Skyrim, and you get a protagonist you can’t change. The Witcher series, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Horizon Forbidden West are some popular examples of such games. But, even with the protagonist already set, they still give you a lot of autonomy.

For example, you can still decide what kind of dialogue Aloy says in the Horizon games. So, you can shape the character in your image, just not make them from scratch.

Even if you remove the character customization angle, RPGs still beat out single-player titles in exploration. In these games, you have the freedom to explore breathtaking worlds you can only call mythical. Role-playing games like Elden Ring and Assassin’s Creed allow you to experience these fantasy worlds in-depth.

You can go anywhere on the map, talk to any NPC in the game world, and do much more. From helping out people to riding different animals, players can fully expose themselves to the game. If you don’t want to do any of that, you can just find a beautiful spot in the game world and look at the beautiful sights. 

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Single-player games are not open-world and hence don’t allow you to explore like this. Players can only move in restricted areas and go from one mission to another. Games like God of War Ragnarok are also breathtaking, but they just don’t afford this kind of freedom. 

Elden Ring Beating The Last Of Us 2 Furthers The Point

In the last few years, many amazing role-playing games have come out. But, none of them have left a mark on gaming like Elden Ring in 2022. The game was a success on every front, critically and commercially, and broke records all over the world. 

FromSoftware‘s new IP took the Soulsborne formula and made it perfect. That is probably why the RPG also holds the most coveted record in the gaming world. 

At the end of every year, many publications, websites, and award shows reveal their Game of the Year. And there is always one game that sweeps the majority, and last year it was Elden Ring.

In 2022, Elden Ring won a total of 331 Game of the Year awards in total. Ranging from reader polls to the popular Game Awards, the RPG got the top spot everywhere. In doing so, it beat the previous holder of this record, which is a single-player story adventure. 

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Before Elden Ring, The Last of Us Part 2 held this record with 322 Game of the Year awards. One of the reasons it won so many was the creativity it brought to its genre. The Naughty Dog game is one of the only story-based titles with heavy gameplay that is played from two opposing perspectives. 

Besides the amazing story, this way of expansive storytelling made it the best game of 2020. You can argue whether it was the pinnacle of single-player games or not, but it did elevate the genre and did something new.

The game achieved this by taking a page out of the role-playing book and allowing players to play the game from contrasting standpoints and make their own choice. 

Elden Ring beating such an amazing title lends more credence to this opinion. Both are amazing genres with amazing games, but role-playing titles will always have that little bit of edge. Neil Druckmann, the director of The Last of Us Part 2, also believes the storytelling in Elden Ring is the way to go. 

Hence, even the visionary behind the most decorated single-player game of all time believes role-playing games are slightly superior. There is no doubt both of these genres are great on their own accord. RPGs, however, will always have that extra edge over single-player games. 

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Ahmed Mansoor is a News Writer who has a deep passion for single-player adventure games. He loves to keep tabs on the gaming and technology industries and loves to break stories that interest his audience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and several years of experience writing for games. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Written 600+ News Stories.

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