How do you feel about rpg elements in a visual novel?

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How do you feel about rpg elements in a visual novel?

#1 Post by blurazbery » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:41 pm

This could be leveling, stats, equip-able items, or even combat.
Do you believe that too much of these elements take away from the visual novel aspects of it, or that they don't belong in vns at all? Or do you think they enhance the game play in some way? Are you generally neutral on the subject?
Let's start a discussion on this, I am genuinely interested in you guys' opinions.

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Re: How do you feel about rpg elements in a visual novel?

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:53 pm

If done appropriately, I enjoy such things.

I don't play visual novels because they're visual novel, I play them because they interest me. How they are played, is mostly irrelevant in my opinion.

If I'm being completely honest, I'm actually tired of the click to read text, choose an option to influence the narrative.
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Re: How do you feel about rpg elements in a visual novel?

#3 Post by Chiagirl » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:31 am

I feel like if you overdo it it becomes more of a RPG than a visual novel. And while that's certainly not a bad thing (RPGs are definitely more popular) you might end up with some angry customers if you advertised it as a VN and then sold what's basically a RPG instead. Many RPGs have VN type sprites and dialogue going on when out of combat, but are ultimately still a RPG. While Serment - Contract with a Devil does have a visual novel tag on's basically just a dungeon crawler RPG, at least from what I've played in the demo. I wouldn't try to market it to others as a visual novel because the VN elements are minimal compared to the combat, crafting, and dungeon crawling. The best example of a VN/RPG blend I've played that doesn't almost completely cross into RPG territory would be The Tavern.

The artstyle and interface would definitely make you think RPG at first glance, but the gameplay is actually far more similar to a visual novel as the story progresses not through combat, but through choices. And the "combat" included is done completely though VN type choices as well; there's really no RPG element to it other than money and a very limited item screen. (You can get some extra options or live through additional stuff depending on what items you have.) It also has multiple endings just like a VN, 11 in total.

So I guess the short answer is that while I don't mind it, I find it difficult to pull off without turning it completely into a RPG instead. And since you mentioned stats, I also want to say that I find games that are primarily stat raisers or force me to grind for exp to be boring. Duplicity - Beyond the Lies demo turned me off enough that if I wanted to see the end of the story I'd just youtube it instead. Way too much work, boring repetition, and not enough fun doing it.
Last edited by Chiagirl on Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How do you feel about rpg elements in a visual novel?

#4 Post by trooper6 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:09 am

I'm not super invested in genre boundaries. I like RPGs, I like VNs. You want to mix the two? Go for it.
All I care about is if the game is done well.
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Re: How do you feel about rpg elements in a visual novel?

#5 Post by Mammon » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:11 am

Everything can be good, if done well. Even the best idea or plot can suck when it's executed poorly. The same applies here; RPG can definately make a VN better or worse. It's all about whether it fits. Here's some general things I think would define what would have which effect:

-Switch out any combat scenes with encounters. Don't write out the fighting scenes, have the player fight the battles themselves.
-Pace by means of rpg and show growth by means of rpg. The change from the weakling at the beginning to the powerful hero at the end is a lot more believable when it's in rpg levels than when you're supposed to believe that this kid who fought maybe three times in their lives and had some mostly off-screen training sessions defeats the demon king.
-Make choices based upon your combat or load-out. The characters you selected as your party members will grow, and the ones you don't will remain lvl1 and fade into obscurity. The weapons you selected may affect the story, such as equipping the cursed sword for an easy but evil game. The manner in which you defeat the enemies has an effect. That's more engaging than a simply choice screen.
-Defining (part of) the characters through their stats and mechanics. A dps tsundere rogue who actually does a lot of dps feels more as a contribution to the team than one that either always complains in her tsun ways or does a lot of damage in the written form. Either she'll be useless plot-wise or too powerful and thus taking away from the MC's relevance. And that applies for all characters. By their contributions in a party actually fighting however they can become more relevant.

-Having to grind at any point. This shouldn't be a rpg, you shouldn't be spending more on the rpg than the vn aspects.
-Having to spend a lot of time or understanding on the game, and not having a super-easy mode to skip the rpg parts.
-Having the rpg feel forced in or not belonging. If it has no purpose or when it feels tacked on, then it's just adding rpg for the sake of the gimmick.

One rpg vn that I really liked the rpg parts of was Sunrider (the first one), who did all of the positives above except for point 3. And them fighting against all odds and becoming important freedom fighters was much more believable when you yourself had to fight pretty difficult battles to progress. However, no grinding and some story relevance to all encounters.

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