deconstructing dungeons

Had a chance to play several fun RPGs recently including Dragon Age: Origins, Torchlight, and Desktop Dungeons. If you haven’t seen these games let’s just compare them based on how they look:

First up, Dragon Age – Bioware’s soaring epic RPG that has been years in the making.
DA:O
Then, dialing back the graphical fidelity and lowering the amount of characters to control from 4 to 1 we have Torchlight:
Torchlight
And finally, taking video game rpg’s back to an origin point, the concise roguelike, Desktop Dungeons:
Desktop Dungeons

So what can one learn, especially from a designer’s perspective, after playing 3 really great games within the RPG genre. Firstly I should address the sub-categorizers, who will want to point out that DA:O is a full-on classic PC rpg in the Baldur’s Gate tradition, Torchlight comes from a different legacy – Diablo’s “action rpg” roots where the mouse 1 button takes the brunt of your attack damage, and Desktop dungeons is a roguelike – randomly generated maps, permanent death, difficult learning curve. These games do have differing origins, but from my perspective, they all scratch that rpg itch that a player like me has from time to time.

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