We all have the image in our head of the "perfect" game. The one which we can imagine sitting down with, from now until eternity, and continuing to play until the flesh separates from our bones, the controller falling limply from our dead hands. The one game which would make us forswear all others, presuming a wave of "Me Too"s didn't follow in its wake.
To be honest, for me, that game would be something that combines the length and scope of a JRPG with the occasional choice of a WRPG, with a combat system that takes a look at Final Fantasy Tactics on PS1 and says "Yeah, that's a good start, but the battlefields need to be five times as big and have twice as many combatants per side".
I could only fit two of those three concepts in one screen.
To be honest, as much as I like JRPGs, there can be times when I find myself itching for the ability to decide things for the player avatar
. However, at the same time, I can't help but admire the games for the way they challenge the player to assume a specific role. I'm not asking for total freedom, but branching paths, even if it's just at certain points.
One of the things I think a lot of WRPGs do wrong is they present the player with TOO much choice, which tends to rob each decision of its impact (as well as forcing writers to write a script a dozen times over). I'd be perfectly happy with Mass Effect 2, for example asking me specifically about decisions when my decision has some plot-related weight, instead of for every little thing.
I mean, as amusing as it is for me to explore dialogue trees, why not just assume if I've been playing a generally good, decent guy up to the current point, why not have the player avatar spit out the dialogue of a generally good, decent guy until I get to the big decisions? It's an illusion of choice at that small a level. Yes, I can have Shepherd be a dick to someone completely randomly, but it tends to break the immersion by breaking character and forcing me to react to everything instead of sit back and enjoy the story.
And to be honest, the game suffers from these schizophrenic choices on offer. Dialogue loses its impact when the character I'm speaking with praises my kindness during one moment and then damns my bastard soul the next. I'd rather the scriptwriters be able to focus in on the broad aspects of my character (saved a village vs letting it burn, killed a villain vs letting him bribe me, etc) while filling in the blanks based on an interpretation of my acts rather than having to try to accommodate the myriad choices I can make. It'd also allow the developer to get rid of Good and Evil points, since the path I've chosen becomes more and more fixed as the game progresses.
Anyway, that's my explanation. Feel free to just comment with "I want Modern Warfare 2 meets Banjo Kazooie" (aside: don't try to think of that, it'll hurt your brain), though I'd honestly prefer to see something with a little more meat on it in response. Either way, let me know.