The RPG genre has come a long way in the last few decades as the genre has evolved from text-based console games to immersive experiences in a 3D world where players have the freedom to explore and make their own characters in some titles. Since WRPG is a subgenre of RPG. In this guide, we have written everything you need to know about this subgenre.
- Western RPG is a sub-genre of the ever-popular RPG genre.
- A few qualities that make this subgenre stand out are its realistic graphics, real-time combat, and a story with branching paths where every decision can have an effect on the world of the game.
- Unlike Western RPGs, JRPGs tend to focus more on the art direction, turn-based combat, and the writing of the story and characters while having a somewhat linear story.
- A few of the best WRPGs are Fallout New Vegas, The Witcher 3, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
What Is WRPG
WRPG stands for Western Role Playing Game and is a subgenre of the ever-popular RPG genre. The qualities that set the RPG genre apart from other genres are the existence of an open world where players are given full permission to explore every corner of it and a form of role-playing mechanic that allows the player to make their own choices and decisions in the game, which can ultimately lead to different endings in most titles.
Western RPGs, in particular, are role-playing titles mostly developed by Western developers, a prime example for a WRPG developer would be Bethesda as they are the owners of a few of the most iconic RPGs to ever exist such as The Elder Scrolls franchise and the Fallout franchise.
Features Of WRPGs
Unlike in JRPGs, most WRPGs allow the players to shape the narrative by themselves and this genre mostly focuses on realistic graphics and a story with branching paths while JRPGs focus more on art direction, anime-like graphics, and characters while also focusing on more of a linear story with unique writing. Some JRPGs even have multiple endings based on your decisions and choices.
As far as combat goes, WRPGs normally follow the approach of real-time combat while most JRPGs have turn-based combat. Combat in RPGs has evolved a lot in the last few decades. Older games used to have a combat system in their own mode of gameplay, distinct from the open world. In all the newer titles, you can see that players can very easily engage in combat at any time during exploration thanks to the addition of random world bosses or wandering enemies that you encounter in the world.
WRPG Vs JRPG
As you already know, both of these terms are subgenres of the Role Playing Games genre. WRPGs are mostly developed by Western developers while JRPGs are mostly developed by Japanese developers. So here we will write all the core elements of JRPGs so you can further understand how different this subgenre is compared to WRPGs.
JRPGs tend to focus more on a linear story and anime-like graphics while WRPGs focus more on realistic graphics, a non-linear storyline, character creation, and more. A better example would be that in a WRPG, you are forging your own story while in JRPGs, you are experiencing someone else story.
As far as gameplay goes, you have noticed that a lot of famous JRPGs such as Persona feature Turn Based gameplay where players are given control of one or more characters (generally known as a party) and where only one character can move at a time and decide which ability to use.
Turn-Based combat requires strategic thinking and appropriate decision making while WRPGs feature a more traditional combat system that is easier to learn and master.
If we move our attention to the open world, most WRPGs always make you feel like a wanderer in a new area and the NPC’s reaction to the way your character behaves is far more realistic. In JRPGs, your character is at the center of attention most of the time and your role in the plot is of utmost importance.
Now let us give examples of four different RPG games, two of them will be WRPGs while the other two will be JRPGs so you can get a proper understanding of how both of these subgenres differ from each other.
The Witcher 3- WRPG
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is the undisputed masterpiece created and released by CD Projekt Red back in 2015. It is an action role-playing game that is based on The Witcher novel written by Andrzej Sapkowski. This game ticks all boxes in being considered as a WRPG due to its gameplay and the amount of control players have over the narrative.
As far as the story goes, players’ decision-making and actions will impact the world around them, some actions will lead to you getting new allies while actions can have dire consequences. The ending of the game is the culmination of all the decisions you have made.
In terms of the open world, you are a Witcher in a world where only a few Witchers are left and everywhere you go, you are despised because of your profession. The overall tone of the world is dark and bleak. In this game, you are given a choice to fully explore every corner of the map and interact with different characters throughout the map.
Its gameplay/ combat takes place in real-time and is easy enough to master, with players given the option to craft and purchase new weapons, bombs, and crossbows; thus, more variety is added in the combat.
Persona 5 Royal- JRPG
Persona 5 Royal is the latest mainline game in the iconic Persona franchise developed by the Japanese developer Atlus. It is also considered one of the greatest JRPGs ever made as the game features all the things that fans of the genre look for in a game.
It is a game set in modern-day Japan Tokyo, with anime-ish graphics and turn-based combat. The story itself is linear but has multiple endings and the endings are determined by the choices you have made near the end of the game. JRPGs often focus on the story and writing as they are one of the selling points for the games of the genre. It is also one of the reasons why JRPG titles have blessed us with some of the most well-written stories in gaming.
In terms of gameplay, the game encourages you to think strategically if you wish to survive, especially in higher difficulties. It would simply be impossible to survive a boss battle if you act first and think later. Attacking is just as important as defense and supporting your team. Strategic turn-based mechanics are also one of the selling points of JRPG titles.
In terms of the world, the map is small and closed, as expected from a JRPG, and while players have full freedom to explore it, it is not huge or as expansive as the open world of most WRPGs.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim- WRPG
Of course, we cannot write an article on WRPG without mentioning the game that defined the genre, Bethesda’s masterpiece, Skyrim. This game is considered one of the greatest games of all time and it gained much critical acclaim for its character creation, variety, world design, and more. The game has everything a WRPG fan wants and more.
Similar to the Witcher, the game starts off with you on a massive map that you are free to explore. Your choices and decision-making affect everything around you. Some choices will lead you to get new allies while some will choices can turn NPCs against you.
In terms of gameplay, players have the option to choose their own weapons, which include bows, swords, and hammers. Players also have the option to learn magic thus adding variety to the gameplay and keeping things from getting stale. Everything takes place in real-time, as expected from a WRPG.
In terms of world design, the map is massive and filled with secrets to uncover. Players will find dungeons, caves, cities, towns, and whatnot while exploring. The map is filled with NPCs that will give your character optional side quests that you will have the option to complete. In a nutshell, Skyrim ticks all the boxes and is a prime example of what a WRPG is supposed to be.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon- JRPG
Like A Dragon is the eighth mainline entry of the long-running Yakuza franchise published by Sega, yet this game decided to do something different and stand apart from every other Yakuza game. Like A Dragon is the first Yakuza game with a turn-based combat system and this title ticks all the boxes for being considered one of the greatest JRPGs ever made.
The story of Like A Dragon is just like any other Yakuza game, it is linear with a single ending. The choices you make won’t matter much because you, as a player, are not carving your own destiny instead you are experiencing the story of the protagonist himself.
One of the reasons why Yakuza games are so beloved is due to their serious mainline story while the sub-stories are light-hearted in contrast to the story. It somehow blends perfectly with the dark theme of the main story and creates the perfect mixture of the two.
In terms of the world design, the map of the Yakuza games is not as big as you may see in WRPG titles such as Skyrim. But the world of Yakuza is always packed with different stories to uncover. Its graphics and art direction do not focus much on photorealism yet it has its own charm, like any other JRPG.
Not necessarily, while games developed by most Japanese RPG developers contain JRPG elements and games developed by most western developers have WRPG elements. It is not mandatory for a WRPG to be developed by a Western developer only, the same can be said for Japanese developers and JRPGs. A fine example of this will be Elden Ring, an RPG developed by a Japanese studio but is more close to being a WRPG instead of a JRPG. Another example will be Battlechasers, as it was developed by a Western studio but is considered a JRPG.
Few of the most popular WRPGs of all time are, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Fallout New Vegas, Mass Effect series, The Fable franchises and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
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