A Plot So Common It’s Like Coming Home - Familiarity in RPGs

A sensitive, clockwork knight; an innocent, prepubescent, heir to great weapons of unwieldy and unimaginable power, a hermit scientist/wizard, a washed up mercenary, and a busty thief all thrown together against the faceless shadows of evil and their monstrous henchmen. Battle Chasers, Joe Madureira’s jump into creator owned publishing, pulls all the most loved themes from Japanese RPGs into the pages of a comic. And did the comic industry ever need this genre explored! RPGs are so analogous to comics that comic creators should be kicking themselves in the pants for not thinking of this sooner. I can’t wait until the rogue’s gallery of Battle Chasers take their first ride in an airship, call upon spirits kept in precious gems embedded in weapons and armor to vanquish an enemy boss or grow tired of the endless random battles that they must endure just to build some experience and earn some cash. I anticipate that every Square or Capcom plotline and original inventive device will be exploited by the folks at Image. But who cares? Battle Chasers is still well worth the $2.50 simply because it is completely unoriginal, it gives the fans what they want–familiarity.

RPGs just wouldn’t be RPGs without their total disregard for leaps and gaps in technology, sibling rivalry and love tensions to base all plot twists on and a devotion and disregard to honor. Main characters that you have built up in experience points and have grown to love die horrible, over-dramatic and always honorable deaths by the hands of the RPG gods. The Final Fantasy series is the grand example of giving the fans exactly what they have come to expect and enjoy while still making it fresh and fun for 50 hours at a time. The player can anticipate Sid, MIDI music, Chocobos and, after you’ve earned it, a feeling of complete freedom to move about the planet that you are fighting to save. Without these ties the new reincarnation is something else, it falls aparrt without the glue of familiarity.

So it doesn’t matter that Battle Chasers appropriates all of its points of interest from the most successful video game genre in Japan, because RPGs are the most rich and exciting entertainment concept in the late 20th century. I can’t live without a ride through the grassy plains on my rented Chocobo while randomly encountering monsters and making them evaporate when their HPs hit 0. Battle Chasers needs to eventually have its own video game if it proves strong enough to support the already long established foundations of anime RPGs and hopefully expand on them.

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