An unfamiliar gamer might wonder: “what is an action role playing game?” While its definition varies depending on the video game, generally speaking it refers to RPG games with real-time action gameplay and engaging storytelling, character development, and decision making that affects their world. They usually feature a central quest where gamers take on the roles of fictional characters within an imagined reality.
RPGs also typically incorporate an experience and leveling system, which enables players to unlock additional abilities and skills. This element gives RPGs their signature element: control over characters’ lives while providing a sense of progression within a narrative arc. Unfortunately, many refer to “action role-playing game” interchangeably with “cRPG,” “JRPG,” “ARPG,” and “wRPG”; however this leads to confusion for developers as well as gamers due to overlooking key characteristics of each genre.
Early RPGs were typically turn-based, requiring players to take control of a predetermined character and make decisions that affected the game world. Due to limited 2D graphics on early computers, fixed camera isometric perspectives were necessary. Over time however, RPGs evolved more complex gameplay mechanics and features, including customizing character attributes so more dynamic characters could be created that allowed for deeper immersion into the world of the game world.
Early 2000s saw the introduction of action-RPG video games that combined RPG gameplay with real-time action features. These new forms are commonly known as action-RPGs and have since become the predominant form of RPG video gaming, providing an experience more akin to an action adventure than typical RPGs while still including elements of an immersive world and character progression systems.
Though combining RPG and action gameplay may appear strange at first, it actually works exceptionally well. The games can be great fun to play, providing gamers an escape into fantasy world for just a short while rather than worrying about gas bills or bills coming due.
Some may consider the term ‘action-RPG’ to be inaccurate; others view it as essential in RPG terminology. It helps distinguish these types of games from others that have fallen under its banner such as role-playing shooter or action-adventure titles, and should remain an effective means of describing video game genres; though keep in mind that games evolve, so many characteristics previously exclusive to RPGs – like leveling systems and intricate storylines – have since found their way into other types of video games.