Tales of Vesperia. Especially if you're playing a little couch co-op with somebody.
Graces f is pretty good as well but I think I prefer managing mana versus the Combo Counter thing.
@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.
Turn Based Combat system's are meant to be strategic. You are supposed to think about what your opponents next moves will be and your own, and sadly that is why moving to the "Real Time Turn Based" thing just doesn't work too well. Remember Magna Carta? There's a prime example -.- The two systems don't go together. The issue is that people keep trying to make little spins on the turn based system that make it worse, frustrate players, complicate game play and generally accomplish nothing in the long run. The old turn based system WORKED when it was JUST turn based action, which is why I would rather stick with it. If strategy games aren't your thing... don't play them. Trying to make strategy games cater to more hack N slash or shoot em up style gamers just doesn't work, which is precisely what the real time strategy thing tries to accomplish.
I can't stand a game that doesn't take into account positioning. Unsuprisingly, the many permutations of the LMBS throught the Tales series has been a favourite, as well as Tactics Ogre and other TRPGS. Another system I thought was great was the Mega Man Battle Network battle system.
Golden Sun somehow got a pass, as does Pokemon. though. Hmm.
The "Tales" series, Super Mario RPG and Thousand Year Door have fun battle systems. I love (J)RPGs but most of the time the battles are the worst part. Tales of Symphonia/Vesperia/Graces are the few games where even after 40 hours I would go out of my way to get into random battles to try out some new moves, weapons or entirely different character setup. By that point in most of them every random battle you get sucked into is followed by a heavy sigh.
Chrono Cross's risk-reward percentage based combos were nifty and felt really fresh at the time, though I know quite a few people hate that game for it's combat.
Can't really beat Baldur's Gate, ToEE and Dragon Age: Origins when it comes to awesome D&D-style combat though.
My favorite is still fallout. To some extent the complexity of system was a bit lower than it would otherwise imply looking at the number of available options (which body part to shoot, use items), because generally shooting the thing with the biggest weapon in the eyes is correct. But still, really fun in a morbid sort of way.
Valkyrie Profile 2 is definitely one of my favourites of all time. The movement/positioning, attacks, and which enemies to kill/parts to break all comes into account. On top of that, basically every item you get from battle is useful in fusing skills.
Aside from that, I love Press Turn from SMT by far in regards to turn based combat, and as has been said, Grandia has a fun system as well.
I love D&D but when it comes to games and a decided lack of a DM, the dice-roll combat just doesn't work for me. I never feel like "Oh I planned and executed that combat well" so much as "Thank god that archer didn't crit my mage and one shot her instantly this time". Also see: spider battle in forest in TOEE. Those web rolls.
My favourite battle system of all time:
The real-time (or pausable real-time) combat system in this game was incredibly fun and addictive, combining the fast-paced fun of a beat 'em up brawler (or fighting game) with the deep mechanics of a role-playing game, almost like Final Fantasy's Active Time Battle system adapted into a fully real-time hack & slash combat system. On top of that, it allowed up to three players to play together cooperatively, with the second and third players able to drop in and out of the game at any time, again like a beat 'em up.
While there have been plenty of great battle systems since, no RPG since has had me keep coming back to experience a game's battle system over and over again the way Secret of Mana has. This game, for me, is the 'magnum opus' of action RPG battle systems.
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