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I play mostly RPG's, and seeing how I have 90+ it should kindof be easily figured out that thats usually what I play. Just like someone else stated in your column I play them because they are fun, even though on every RPG I play, even if not liked, I still play through and force myself to finish the game and get as many/all secrets as I can. So as stated before, I play all RPG's, where as I enjoy alot, but sadly, the newer generation of systems is releasing very bad quality RPG's that I haven't been interested in other than Wild ARMs 3, Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter, Legaia 2, Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis, and then a bunch of games rereleased for the GBA(like the BoF series; also, many games that most people count as RPGs, like any Castlevania, I don't, and while the Castlevania series is my favorite series, I don't think of any of them as RPG's.)
RPG's are a mixture of music, storyline, and gameplay of course, just like every other genre as well, but the storyline goes deeper and the gameplay is very different, and played certain ways is either more difficulty, or easier. Alot of RPG's are good enough that they are great with even a minimal or even boring story, where as others can lack on the music or the music quality and still be great. Although, gameplay is a more important factor when judging an RPG, just like every other games genre. Taking Xenosaga for example, after you get past the beggining, the storyline gets better, and farther into the game the storyline gets really good(until the very end where it truly sucks,) although, the gameplay is severely lacking and even with as great as a storyline as it has, the game is very disappointing. This same type of problem goes along with Chrono Trigger, FF7, FF10, Kingdom Hearts, La Pucelle, Grandia 2, and Tales of Symphonia for examples, except that these games are not only lacking in the story department(meaning, sure, they have storyline, is it good? HELL NO) but they are also have very disappointing gameplay.
Lastly, for you needing help on the part on Xenosaga, it's no challenge getting past the two guards, just run away around the item in the center where they follow you, and then start running back the other way, which will get you past them(which is very stupid if you ask me, but like I said, the game sucks.)
And for all you who were paying close attention before, or even those of you who weren't(because you will all see it now.) Yes, I think Tales of Symphonia sucks, and I could easily name off many reasons why. The gameplay is a disgrace to every other Tales game I've played(which is Tales of Phantasia and the US Tales of titles,) add to that an extremely boring storyline, with no means keep the player interested, and also included, a very badly done world map system.