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The term "Western RPG" can be used in two different ways:

A Computer Role-Playing Game developed in the Western world, specifically North America and Europe.

Or a Role Playing Game following a style popularized by Western computer developers, which can be differentiated from Eastern RPGs by having several or more of the following features:

  • Usually made in North America or Europe.
  • Often released on the PC instead of on consoles (though recently they have been on both).
  • The game rules resemble (and are often licensed from) Tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Often has a Wide Open Sandbox game experience, but can be a Dungeon Crawler, or in recent years, a plot-based game focused on the Character Development of both the customized PC and the NPCs.
  • The main hero is generally customizable, and is more of a "blank slate" than a predetermined character. This bases the games more on actual role-playing.
  • Some non-boss encounters can be resolved (at least, in theory) without combat, through diplomacy or stealth.
  • The art style tends to be more "realistic" and "gritty" than in Eastern RPGs.
  • Usually enemies are fought on screen rather than cutting to a separate "battle screen".
  • Dice rolls are often visible, and stats are directly shown as they interact with the rules.
  • In the past they were often turn-based but now more action-based.
  • The difficulty factor is most often reduced from what would have been done in an Eastern RPG for various reasons including broader audience appeal (this is mostly true with the newer and more commercial games), though still targetted mainly towards a male audience.

Computer RPGs can have a flexible format. Some games are more like "dungeon crawlers" (a more forgiving version of Roguelikes), while some others are more akin to Hack and Slash with experience and levels. During the past decade, a number of Computer RPGs have also begun resembling Wide Open Sandbox games.

Some games created in the West transcend this genre and overlap with Console RPGs in terms of feel (such as Summoner, Sonic Chronicles and Anachronox) and this is reciprocated in Asia with games that utilize elements of dungeon crawlers and Roguelikes, which have become more popular in the East than they are in the West.

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