Well, I don't think RPGs have an appropriate title. You should expect to see how their story unfolds and not expect to be part of it. The only story you are part of is your own life.
That's a novel. That's what VISUAL NOVELS do. RPGS are games where, while the story unfolds, you can ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN IT, and even influence how it ends in some cases. FFXIII-2 is one of those cases - there's one true ending, yes, but depending on player actions, you can also cause a massive paradox and change the story's end completely. Like if you actually beat Atlas up without resolving the paradox first... RPGS let the player influence the story, visual novels do not. Hence, I expect more from a RPG than a straight goddamn line with no options to influence the story at all.
Even in older games like Chrono Trigger you could influence how history went. Beat Lavos without ever visiting Prehistory? Ayla dies against the Tyranno and Reptites take over the world. Beat Lavos without reviving Crono? His friends later embark on a journey to save him. Beat Lavos without defeating Magus? Crono, Marle and Lucca go on a power trip and take his place as the Maou.
Your actions directly determine how the story ends. That's what sets a RPG apart from a visual novel. And it's not just true of games with multiple endings, but also of games like Fallout where your decision to help someone or not actually affects how they will fare in the future. Actions and consequences, that's what a RPG is about.
Even Dragon Quest offered you a choice at the end. Join Dragonlord or fight him. Former was a bad end, but still a choice for an end.
**PS3 ID: GenocideHeart - Vita ID: VR-Jaguarandi** "You forgot to buy Warp Wire, didn't you?" --Nevius
Totally agree with you TC. I liked the experiment they tried in XIII. They were trying to blend the experience of a movie and a game by immersing the player in story progression for the majority of the game, without the distractions of sidequests, or towns with NPCs that are nothing more than space fillers. If XIII's dialogue hadn't been so embarrassingly bad, I think it might have been better received.
Funny that everyone loves to rag on JRPGs for being stale and unimaginative, then Square introduces some great innovative ideas in XII and XIII (yes I'm arguing that linear story immersion in a cinematic package was a form of innovation), and those same people lose their minds.
I think because open world games and WRPGs have gotten much more popular recently, people forget that the vast majority of JRPGs during the 90s and early 2000s were just as linear as XIII, and nobody every complained.
Agreed--Square remains one of the chief innovators of the genre, with each game having a unique identity to it. Every fan has his/her own idea of what would make a FF "perfect", but Square isn't going to--and can't--make that game. What they do produce ends up almost always to be an incredibly high-quality product, with fresh mechanics that may or may not go over well. Nonetheless, it succeeds far more than many developers who try to reinvent their series or modernize its gameplay offerings.