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#1 Edited by BoG (5181 posts) -

A recent topic discussing Ni No Kuni's battles has me thinking about my favorite battle systems in RPGs. I wanted to ask all of you, what are your favorite battle systems?

A few of my favorites, all from JRPGs:

Active-Time Battle from Final Fantasy: I don't think any discussion of JRPG battles is complete without mentioning the ATB system. From what I understand, it was a bit of a revolution when it was introduced in FFIV. Clearly it's a good system, as Square used it for six games. Having completed the six games that use the system, it is my opinion that it's a lot of fun. It's real-time, forcing you to think on your toes, but character's static positioning doesn't make it unwieldy.

Conditional Turn-Based from Final Fantasy X: I was initially in doubt of this system, as I didn't see how it was anything but a turn based system with something thrown into the HUD to indicate who would attack next. I was wrong! The battles were fun because you could see how your actions would effect turn-order. This added a layer of depth to your attack strategy. Furthermore, the game allows you to switch your characters at any time. Most enemies are weak to a certain type of physical damage, so swapping on the fly would allow you to take them out in the most efficient way possible. It's a shame that the CTB system was only around for one game, it was a lot of fun.

Press-Turn from Shin Megami Tensei: The great system introduced in SMT III is a whole lot of fun. The emphasis with this system is weakness. You must protect your party's weaknesses and exploit those of your enemy. Doing so will grant you additional actions, allowing you to pummel the enemy. If you're not careful, your enemies can exploit your weaknesses and punish you. Different games in the franchise applied this in different and fun ways (like GB's beloved Persona games).

#2 Posted by Icicle7x3 (1173 posts) -

FFX-2

Dresspheres baby!

#3 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -

I'd say Chrono Trigger probably has the best JRPG combat system, simply because of its speed style, and varied enemy design. While I'd probably argue the greater customization and choice of games like Final Fantasy VI, Golden Sun or the Persona series make them far more addictive and perhaps better in the long-run, I put Chrono Trigger ahead of them for pure, isolated battles.

#4 Edited by ThunderSlash (1545 posts) -

Press Turn is great. It made exploiting weaknesses much more satisfying.

Although not a traditional RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics' battle system is also pretty good.

Edit: Some more that I've remembered:

Legend of Legaia's "combo" system was pretty cool.

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter's forced you to think tactically, especially since you are usually limited in resources.

Fallout's, where criticals can mean a one hit kill (and you get a cool little animation).

#5 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

I liked Lost Odyssey's combat a lot. Radiant Historia has a cool combat system as well. I always prefer systems that don't rush my decision making.

#6 Edited by HeyImPhoenix (169 posts) -

Digimon world!! ATTACK!

#7 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

I liked the one used in Temple of Elemental Evil. No other game has punished as much for putting my party in terrible positions. Or for trying to run past a group of three monsters, who'd all take attacks of opportunity as someone foolishly tried to break through. Now if I could only finish the game.

#8 Posted by frankfartmouth (1016 posts) -

Lots of Final Fantasies would be in there. X and IV especially.

One that I really liked that isn't talked about a whole lot would be Valkyrie Profile, especially the first one. Original and very addicting. Collecting the Einherjar provides great incentive to learn different battle tactics and party configuration, and they all play off very well against each other. The real-time elements of battle were also handled very well, with characters being able to string together massive attacks with the right button presses and timing. I spent a very long time just trying to max my damage out in one dungeon, no other objective. That's a good sign of a healthy battle system.

#9 Edited by MonetaryDread (1991 posts) -

I like the battle system of the Grandia series more than most turn-based JRPG's. I also prefer the combat mechanics in the Disgaea series when it comes to tactical turn-based JRPG's.

#10 Edited by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

I know a lot of people don't see Valkyria Chronicles as a JRPG, but if you do, that battle system is awesome.

#11 Posted by QuistisTrepe (628 posts) -

One that I really liked that isn't talked about a whole lot would be Valkyrie Profile, especially the first one. Original and very addicting. Collecting the Einherjar provides great incentive to learn different battle tactics and party configuration, and they all play off very well against each other. The real-time elements of battle were also handled very well, with characters being able to string together massive attacks with the right button presses and timing. I spent a very long time just trying to max my damage out in one dungeon, no other objective. That's a good sign of a healthy battle system.

This, this, and more of this. Valkyrie Profile's skill and timing based attacks kept you engaged, Star Ocean before it had the addition of another dimension to that concept with battlefield movement that would go on to be copied almost entirely by the Tales series. Nocturne's press turns system was really good, if you didn't pay attention to what you were doing, you could have died really quick in even the most routine battles.

As maligned as FFX-2's girl power atmosphere was, the game probably maxed out the potential of the classic ATB scheme. The uptempo pace was quite welcome.

#12 Posted by Eqtriz (23 posts) -
#13 Posted by Veektarius (4585 posts) -

I like the battle system of the Grandia series more than most turn-based JRPG's. I also prefer the combat mechanics in the Disgaea series when it comes to tactical turn-based JRPG's.

Yup, Grandia 2, for my money.

#14 Edited by Epidehl (285 posts) -

@monetarydread said:

I like the battle system of the Grandia series more than most turn-based JRPG's. I also prefer the combat mechanics in the Disgaea series when it comes to tactical turn-based JRPG's.

Yup, Grandia 2, for my money.

Came in here to post this as well, Grandia 2 is one of my favorite battle systems ever. I also would have to say I do really like the battle system in X-2. I'm a sucker for job systems and being able to change on the fly and the dynamic ATB-style system make the game way more fun than it has any right to be.

#15 Posted by oldenglishC (922 posts) -

Count me in as another body on the Grandia love pile. How a battle system that perfect isn't still copied by games today is one of life's great mysteries.

The judgement ring from Shadow Hearts is a close second. Who ever thought that putting mechanics from golf games of the time into a rpg was some kind of crazy genius.

#16 Posted by Flappy (2126 posts) -
#17 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3737 posts) -

Grandia was fun.

Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre are my favorites though.

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#18 Posted by Vextroid (1358 posts) -

Your basic turn-based systems like Wild Arms and Persona.

Not a fan of ATB, I like to take my time and think.

#19 Posted by JohnSublime (53 posts) -

I've had horrible instances where I have loved a battle system but hated the story of a JRPG.

Final Fantasy X is one example of this although its only really the first half of the story that I despise. Once you reach the Calm Lands it began to become a bit more bearable to me.

X-2 is a much better example of this where I was given a story and characters I despised but a battle system that felt fluid and provided a welcome return for me to the old job system.

XIII had a battle system that I did enjoy at first as I found paradigm shifts strangely rhythmic (I'm not sure if that was a development decision) that was satisfying to play. It was soon after the fight with the Pope on the airship that I just stopped playing as no battle system could make up for who little I gave a shit about the characters and how awkward Vanille's constant moaning made me.

XII broke all conventions by having both a battle system and story that I could not get behind.

Chrono Trigger rules all in short. I started Cross recently and I find the battle system in that intriguing, we'll see how that goes.

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#20 Posted by whacknasty (97 posts) -

Count me in as another body on the Grandia love pile. How a battle system that perfect isn't still copied by games today is one of life's great mysteries.

The judgement ring from Shadow Hearts is a close second. Who ever thought that putting mechanics from golf games of the time into a rpg was some kind of crazy genius.

First thing I thought of. I still think about this game at random times, I need to find it again : )

#21 Posted by Aetheldod (3509 posts) -

I would say the Shin Megami Tensei system is my favorite ... as it is the only one that has you really experimenting with different attacks to find weaknesses etc. Altho I would like to puth forth Xenogears´ ... I just love the combo system and the flashiness of it :D , also Giant Robots dude!!!!

Also I would like to mention Final Fantasy Tactics and more importantly the Front Mission games (well mainly 3 and the PS2 one) I just love when your skills start to link with each other to sometimes 1 turn kill your foes.

#22 Posted by Pr1mus (3805 posts) -

FFX and FFXII have my two favorite battle system from any JRPGs and they couldn't be further apart from one another.

#23 Posted by Hunter5024 (5536 posts) -

No RPG battle system has quite topped Chrono Trigger for me yet. They improved on the ATB system in a lot of meaningful ways, and it's a damn shame that they never folded those improvements back into the Final Fantasy series, or even iterated upon the combat in Chrono Trigger.

Also I really hate battle systems which involve picking your moves before they happen like in Dragon Quest, or Lost Odyssey. It requires more luck, and diminishes the sense of action.

#24 Edited by casper_ (901 posts) -

BoF 4 was a real cool extension on the Chrono Trigger system BoF 5 was very thoughtful. Nocturne/ Digital Devil Saga's and P3/P4's systems were very clever as well.

@aetheldod: i didn't get the combat in xenogears it seemed like you would basically do the same damage with successive attacks as opposed to storing up a big attack. did i totally miss the point?

#25 Posted by Aetheldod (3509 posts) -

@casper_: Well you do more damage with the big attacks , but the way to better use them is to store AP little by little , instead of just hitting once , do a finisher that doesnt takes all of the AP. But granted it is more used in boss battles rather than the normal encounters :P

#26 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Persona 4 has the best combat system of any RPG I've played, at least the "traditional" turn based ones.

Otherwise Witcher 2.

#27 Posted by Maystack (902 posts) -

Can't go wrong with FFX's simple turn based system.

Been playing through Last Remnant though, and that battle system's quite fun. Confusing as hell at first, and I still don't fully understand it, but it requires some nice strategy.

#28 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11467 posts) -

I will second Temple of Elemental Evil for having the single best combat system of any Dungeons and Dragons game and will similarly endorse Wizardry 8 for emphasizing positioning and smart use of spells as opposed to just spamming fireball. On the JRPG front, I unironically think Final Fantasy X-2 has some fantastic combat and of course Shin Megami Tensei deserves a mention too.

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#29 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -

I like the Judgement Ring system from the Shadow Hearts series. It added a bit of twitch gameplay to liven up the turn-based battles. Also, you needed to plan out when to gang up for a powerful team attack and when to interrupt your enemies attacks, so there was a bit of strategy to it. It royally sucked when you got hit with a ring status effect, though.

#30 Posted by phantomzxro (1565 posts) -

I would say tales of graces f on the action RPG side of things. Was a fun dynamic battle system that tops it for me when it comes down to action RPG. Also it was a battle system that i was never bored with.

#31 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I dunno about battle systems, but I thought FFVIII's Junction System was awesome in a convoluted sort of way.

Also Triple Triad because card battle.

#32 Edited by kobr24 (26 posts) -

I personally loved the FFXII battle system. The problem, of course, was that you could break the game with the gambit system and set up gambits to auto-pilot yourself through some of the incredibly difficult boss fights like Omega and Yiazmat. There was still a fair bit of tension and a lot of depth to it, multiplied by x1000 if you chose to play the game without having the battle menu pause the gameplay.

I think that system could have been very interesting if it was tweaked a bit. Too bad about the license board thing though.

#33 Posted by Grand (53 posts) -

Personally, I think the future is being made in the Disgaea franchise and their combat system, but if all else fails you just can't go wrong with the old turn based system from FF IX and before. Nostalgia ftw.

Also, does the story mode from FF DuoDecim count for that party battle thing they brought into the game? You did have to tactically think about order and the such.

#34 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

Radiant Historia, The Last Remnant, Star Ocean(s), Shadow Hearts, Resonance of Fate, Valkyrie Profile(s) and FFXIII.

These are some of my favourites.

#35 Posted by Sir_Belf (6 posts) -

I'd have to pick Final Fantasy XII. Something about it's battle system was very addictive and also very satisfying. I'd love a next gen FF game from the same team.

#36 Posted by kobr24 (26 posts) -

@grand: I'd hate to see JRPG's return to old formats. The genre is stagnant and even I'm tired of turn based battle systems, regardless of what minor twists devs can put on them. I wonder if there is a solution without turning everything into either action or TBS. The thing I liked about FFXII was the mix between real time battle and familiar menu based tactical inputs. Unfortunately, the game ended up feeling pretty tedious after a while but I wonder if that was the fault of the battle system or the game not finding ways to make encounters more varied and just the general design of the environments and challenges.

#37 Posted by Demoskinos (14561 posts) -

Final Fantasy XIII , XIII-2 and Resonance of Fate even though I never actually beat it.

#38 Posted by Hippie_Genocide (537 posts) -

@skrutop said:

I like the Judgement Ring system from the Shadow Hearts series. It added a bit of twitch gameplay to liven up the turn-based battles. Also, you needed to plan out when to gang up for a powerful team attack and when to interrupt your enemies attacks, so there was a bit of strategy to it. It royally sucked when you got hit with a ring status effect, though.

I came in here to post this. Love Shadow Hearts. I also really geeked out on setting up gambits in FFXII. Conversely though, I don't think the combat in FFX is very good because its so easily broken. And it artificially forces you to swap in all members of your party so they all get xp.

#39 Edited by believer258 (11629 posts) -

@kobr24 said:

@grand: I'd hate to see JRPG's return to old formats. The genre is stagnant and even I'm tired of turn based battle systems, regardless of what minor twists devs can put on them. I wonder if there is a solution without turning everything into either action or TBS. The thing I liked about FFXII was the mix between real time battle and familiar menu based tactical inputs. Unfortunately, the game ended up feeling pretty tedious after a while but I wonder if that was the fault of the battle system or the game not finding ways to make encounters more varied and just the general design of the environments and challenges.

Maybe it's because I'm only just now getting into JRPG's, but I'd honestly rather keep turn-based combat and see what else can be done with that. I'm sure there's plenty of untapped potential there, and part of the reason I enjoy turn-based so much is because I don't have to make a split-second decision, I can spend ten minutes thinking about my next move if I want to.

EDIT: Also, I don't know which battle system to pick that I like the best. Probably Nocturne's, since it is both very easy to understand and has quite a bit of depth and potential to it. I like FFXII's but there's way too much on autopilot.

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#40 Posted by phantomzxro (1565 posts) -

@kobr24: I don't know man i think there is room for all styles even old school turn base battle systems. Persona 4 golden did not drop to far from the tree when it came to old school turn based combat and that one is still great. You just have to be unique and sometimes have fun with the system.

#41 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -

I recently played through Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3. It was a fairly standard turn-based RPG system, but with a twist. You had to wait to build MP for your powerful attacks, but doing so caused the enemies to get stronger as well. You also had a dozen or so classes to play with. Like most of those types of games, you're completely overpowered by the end, but it was still fun.

#43 Posted by kerse (2100 posts) -

Say what you will about FFX, but the battle system is one of the best, because they finally fixed the thing where you have 10 party members but only 3 fight. I can't believe no jrpgs (that I've played anyways) have done the switch in thing as well as X did, my only problem with it was party members got no experience if they didn't take part, so if you weren't diligent about it some party members would fall behind and you would end up in the same situation. My other choice would be Persona 3 and 4, because those battles aren't always super easy but they move quick, you can finish fights in 1-2 mins most of the time and the bosses take 10-20 minutes and are challenging, that's how it should be.

If Persona 5 was some blend of Persona 4 with FFX's switch in characters thing I would be in heaven, as long as they balance bosses with that kinda thing in mind.

#44 Posted by MildMolasses (3213 posts) -
#45 Edited by MeganeAgain (123 posts) -

Pokemon's battle system is simple, but anyone who plays or has played Pokemon competitively knows of its incredible depth.

#46 Posted by SuicidalSnowman (396 posts) -

Its been said over and over, but Grandia is probably the best.

Surprised there is no love for Suikoden here.

#47 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2911 posts) -

@epidehl said:

@veektarius said:

@monetarydread said:

I like the battle system of the Grandia series more than most turn-based JRPG's. I also prefer the combat mechanics in the Disgaea series when it comes to tactical turn-based JRPG's.

Yup, Grandia 2, for my money.

Came in here to post this as well, Grandia 2 is one of my favorite battle systems ever. I also would have to say I do really like the battle system in X-2. I'm a sucker for job systems and being able to change on the fly and the dynamic ATB-style system make the game way more fun than it has any right to be.

This is exactly what I wanted to do when I saw the thread title too. Grandia 2 really sticks out in my mind from nearly every other RPG I played. That said, I seem to be among the outliers who thinks FFXII's system is the franchise's best, regardless of the other qualities of the game.

Does Final Fantasy Tactics count? And if so are we opening up the pool to Xcom and the like? Because if so the original is way up there for me.

#48 Posted by ExplodeMode (852 posts) -

Recently I played Radiant Historia and it has a grid where you move enemies around and try to stack them on top of each other and then you do as much damage as you can to the space they are all standing on before they get a turn. And you can trade your turns for enemy turns so you can build like 9 turns up for a huge combo. It sounds complicated, but it practice it's pretty simple and solid.

I feel like the number 1 rule for creating these systems should be to keep it simple. If it takes a 30 minute tutorial to explain it, it sucks.

#49 Edited by DillonWerner (1522 posts) -

Lost Odyssey was dope, those RPG Mario games were good if I remember correctly.

#50 Edited by FancySoapsMan (5806 posts) -

The Press-turn is probably my favorite, and I like that most of the SMT games feature some kind of variation of that basic system.