: Why FFVII Remake Should Keep Turn-Based Battles

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Why FFVII Remake Should Keep Turn-Based Battles

Most old school fans of Final Fantasy VII are worried, and justly so, that Square Enix is all amped up to blow a hole in the tried-and-true active time turn based battle system of the original.

Trust me I am among them, especially after they claimed they would be making “drastic changes” to said system. However, there was also that moment of self awareness from SE when they saw that fans really loved the turn based mechanic that was on full display in Bravely Default.

Whenever I execute a turn based battle I'm always struck by the drama of it all that has more “Woah!” and eyebrow raising than the gnashing of teeth that action battle systems raise. There is sheer tension when I have put together a system of commands and then put them into motion with the hope that I have also read the battlefield properly and the enemy won't have a better counter-strategy. When that act gets played out there is heavy focus on the summons, on the magic special effects, on the camera angles that show the special moves, and on the satisfaction that can come only from watching a master sequence of moves unroll like multiplying death on my enemy. This is often in stark contrast to the spray n pray moves of an action system a la Final Fantasy XIII.

FFXIII did try to accomplish something that action systems pretty much cant: controlling more character than one. The way it was accomplished was by arbitrarily separating the characters even though they were on the same mission in the same 20 hour hallway and letting you control that one for awhile. This made the whole team building exercise fairly difficult.

Now, we had more of actiony tint to Final Fantasy XII but you still had to automate most of the battles with gambits. Even then the distance you ran away from or near to the enemy didn't make any difference and in the end you wound up with an MMO-style system that, having to take place on the map, disallowed the drama of special moves, the better graphical capabilities of a special spot in the engine for battle, and putting a dagger through the heart of the dramatic camera work nobody can deny exists in FFVII. That MMO-style battle with its gambits or the removal of control in FFXIII ultimately mean you have less connection with your team. How many people complained about the characters in XIII? How many forgot why Vaan and Penelo existed, or wanted more Balthier time in XII? If you aren't with your people, making a lot of live or die strategy decisions for them then connection is hard. Aeris didn't say a lot, or have big FMV parts, but we all still cried at her death.

We want to reconnect with Cloud, Tifa, Aeris, Barrett, Yuffie, Vincent and the rest. Much of this is done with that great story, but all those parts should remain mostly in place. If you think you can recapture the magic of the Air Buster fight, the elevator fight, or the One-winged angel fight by having Cloud running around on-map hacking away like Dante then I've got news for you. Want to toss in some action for the newbs? I dunno, maybe toss in some system to swap materia on the fly. If ya do, then make it take part of a turn and show an awesome scene where Cloud tosses it to Aeris and she jams it in her staff. That kind of thing only works well on a specially placed battle screen made for active time old time goodness.

11/17/2015 David D. Nelson

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Legacy Comment System (17 posts)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 10:20:30 AM

I do agree it should have some semblance of turn based, absolutely. I also agree that it should be improved upon compared to the original.

The original had a lot of customization opportunity, but it was too even (stats wise) and was too easy to just make everyone decent at everything. Already you would incorporate more strategy just by increasing the amount of stat gain/loss from equipping various materia.

They intentionally made it so that if you equipped magic materia, you would gain more MP, more magic power, more spirit, but you would lose physical attack power, HP, and vitality. Similarly, equipping command materia, for example, could boost things like luck or strength if it was a luck or strength based command, (steal or 2x cut, for example).

But the statistical differences were basically negligible. Even a simple change like making those changes more drastic would change how you structure your team without altering the game's core. The way the original played, Cloud could equip ice, lightning, knights of the round, cure, revive, comet, etc. etc. and still have high attack power. Call me crazy, but if you build a character like a mage, they should probably possess qualities of a mage. That's one thing I wish was different about FFVII.

Another thing they'd have to change about turn based to make me happy is remove the straight line-up like they're a bunch of Yu-Gi-Oh cards facing one another. Incorporate a system where there are AOE spells... where positioning matters. Whether it's a point system or a more eclectic version of FFXIII-2. Heck, combos a la Chrono Trigger could be cool, too. I see no reason why characters couldn't move around and still need to wait to execute actions. Maybe something similar to FFXIV but slower (only one player and smaller parties would keep the player active with more responsibility... so slower would work fine).

I dunno. I guess I see the need to remain true to it's core, while I also see a need to build and improve upon the original now that it'll release over 20 years later from the original. (Good Lord that makes me feel old)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 10:26:37 AM

Some games in recent years like Conception II allow you to use some of your turn to move around the enemy to line up better more effective moves, I really like that! However in the air buster battle it's important that you are stuck on either side, so it could certainly be dynamic.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 10:33:52 AM

I would like the option of both turn based and action.

I cant wait to see ....... Knights of the Round summons! Hell ... ALL of the summons to be honest. I hope they are just as over the top as FF 7 originals were.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 4:52:05 PM

Having an option for both turn based and action style of gameplay is paramount in my opinion.

As much as turn based appeals to some of the older gamers out there, people like my teenage sons really don't want anything to do with it.

Make the diehard fans *and* the potential new ones happy!

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Thursday, November 19, 2015 @ 10:46:08 AM

It looked pretty sharp in FFXIV!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 10:49:24 AM

what about fort condor? hopefully they make that just as bad ass as the rest

Last edited by shaytoon on 11/17/2015 10:50:00 AM

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 11:08:25 AM

Good job covering for Ben this morning while he feverishly improves his KD ratio in Star Wars Battlefront!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 10:12:41 AM

Haha thanks, I had to pop off a couple things before heading to work.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 1:08:22 PM

People didn't complain about the characters in FFXIII for any other reason than they were poorly developed. Lightning wouldn't be any less of a butthead if there were more tension in battles. Snow wouldn't be any less of a frat-bro d-bag who won't shut up about what heroes do or do not do. Vanille wouldn't suddenly make up her mind about which accent she speaks with, or stop being insufferable.

People forgot why Vaan and Penelo existed in FFXII because they were literally never supposed to be part of the game at all, and were only focus tested in at the last minute, which is why almost all their scenes have them as an afterthought.

Personally I'd love to see Square revive the combat system from Chrono Cross for the remake. It allows for the benefits you mentioned while allowing a lot more flexibility, speed and freedom.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015 @ 10:48:35 AM

Yeah, I've heard people pretend she had a bad fake Australian accent before.... But here's the thing...

Vanille was voice acted by a woman who is actually from Australia... she didn't try using any kind of accent. She just acted. Doesn't get more authentic than that.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 11/19/2015 10:51:26 AM

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 4:51:21 PM

I want a hybrid, something like XIII combat system.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015 @ 11:24:27 PM

I would like something similar to Ni No Kuni, or Crisis Core if they want to make it more action based.

Otherwise I'm okay with it being like FF7, only they need to really rebalance the materia system. FF7 was the easiest FF game to exploit and make all of your characters extremely OP.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 11:25:19 AM

I see that as pay off for taking the time figure those things out.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 10:02:36 AM

did i miss something why isn't there any news today? hope ben is ok

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 10:13:40 AM

I was tempted to toss up more but I think I need to get to a doctor or something. (cough)

Watch this space for Ben's return.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 10:24:41 AM

oh ok i think i got it...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 2:53:45 PM

Was out of town for the day.

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