All Swords Are the Same YKTTW Discussion

All Swords Are the Same
In a video game, all variants of one type of weapon will look and play identically.
(permanent link) added: 2011-10-26 23:34:08 sponsor: ThePope (last reply: 2011-11-11 12:27:45)

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There are lots of different types of swords. There's katanas, kukris, scimitars, swords that should be logistically impossible for any human to wield, and many more. Yes, the sword is certainly a unique and varied specimen.

But not in video games.

You see, when a game has loot and upgradable weaponry, it won't do to carry around the same dinky sword for the rest of your journey, so you're bound to get a new one. But in a game filled with oodles of weapons, developers can't always be inclined to make each and every one specifically different from the next. I mean, come on, a sword's a sword, right?

In other words, a lot of games have the tendency to give you a "better" or "new" version of a weapon that you already own, but while it may statistically be more powerful, it looks and plays almost exactly the same as your previous weapon. You'll be amazed by how much more powerful your Ultimate Warrior Blade is in comparison to your Trainee Sword, but then you'll realize that when you swing it around in-game, it's pretty much exactly the same.

While this can be occasionally justified by the character simply gaining swords of the same style as their previous ones, in games where you control a party of characters, and more than one wield the same type of weapon, they will be able to interchange between each other. We'll ignore the fact that The Hero wields a katana, while The Lancer swings around a broadsword; you can just give them both an "Iron Sword" and be done with it.

This tends to be much more common in older or sprite-based games, before developers really could finely detail weapons to look differently. However, even in modern games, just because a weapon has a slightly different hilt or a chip on its edge doesn't mean it'll swing any different from your last one. It's also common in Tabletop Games.

See Every Japanese Sword Is a Katana for this generalization of swords in Real Life.


Hack and Slash
  • Blatant in Devil May Cry 2: you get a normal sword, a BFS and a fencing sword, but only the look and damage differs, the combos are exactly the same. That's one of the reasons this episode is considered the black sheep of the series.

Role-Playing Games
  • Averted in Morrowind since each weapon (and thus different types of sword) had different values when they're used for hacking, slashing or thrusting. Played straight in its sequel Oblivion where every sort of sword (apart from a few token katanas) was basically a variation on a basic crucifix sword made from different materials.
  • In Radiant Historia, both Stocke and Marco can wield swords, and despite the fact they are clearly two completely different types of swords (a katana and a short one-handed blade), they both can equip any and all types of swords. This also applies to armor, since Stocke, Raynie, Marco, and Rosch can all equip the same types of armor. The first three are somewhat understandable, but Rosch fitting into the same pieces of armor is a tad ridiculous.
  • RuneScape:
    • In RuneScape Classic, whose graphics were on the less-advanced side, all melee weapons had the exact same fighting animation: you just bash your opponent with it and that's that.
    • The modern game has a wider variety of stances for different types of weapon, but there are still a limited number of animations for slashing, stabbing, or bludgeoning--the stabbing animations for a bronze dagger are the same as the ones for a mithril shortsword or a pair of gardening secateurs.
  • In Shining Force, giving a character a different weapon swaps the weapon you see in their battle sprite, but otherwise, the animations are exactly the same. The only exception is the Chaos Breaker, which has fancy fire effects.

Tabletop Games
  • As far as Tabletop Games, a long sword is a long sword, a two-handed sword is a two-handed sword, and an ax is an ax. Once a player character can use a kind of weapon, he can use all of those weapons with equal facility, never mind that there was never anything like uniformity in weaponry with a single smith let alone a single nation or an entire world. And that's how things stand now. Forty years ago, most game makers didn't give a damn about the differences between swords, maces, axes, or flails as far as warriors were concerned.

Turn Based Strategy
  • Averted in Final Fantasy Tactics. Precise classes have precise types of weapons, and they don't mix.
  • Taken to absurd lengths in the Fire Emblem series. Non-magical weapons are broken down into four categories: swords, lances, axes, and bows. Not accounting for all of the different styles and variations of weapons that different classes can wield, any character that can use a weapon type can use every weapon of that type. It's absurd enough when a "Wo Dao" used by a Hero can be a claymore while it becomes a katana when wielded by a Swordmaster, but when it gets to where equipping it to an Assassin turns it into a pair of knives, it starts to get just a tad silly.
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