: RPG Fans Mourn The Death Of Turn-Based

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

RPG Fans Mourn The Death Of Turn-Based

We're not talking about hybrids like Star Ocean: The Last Hope. We're not talking about combat that plays out in real-time but can be paused to issue commands. We're talking about the old-school menu-oriented turn-based mechanic that was a cornerstone of Japanese RPG mechanics for quite some time. Final Fantasy VII is only one of many that featured this style and it remains my favorite style.

Now, I've heard all the arguments against it, so don't waste your breath. I know we're moving forward and breaking through new boundaries, and the role-playing genre should continue to grow and expand along with the rest of the industry. I knew quite some time ago that this shift was inevitable; partly because too many gamers have the attention span of ADD squirrels and partly because many developers simply believe you can "do more" with a real-time mechanic. I still don't buy into this, despite the fact that I've had plenty of fun with certain real-time RPGs like Kingdom Hearts. There was just something about turn-based that separated it from the rest of the pack. These days, most RPGs are just action games with a level-building or character advancement system of some sort. But back in the day...man, we knew what were RPGs and what weren't!

On top of which, it almost seems as if the current RPGs may not cater to the old-school fans, simply because the new ones feel a whole lot like most other titles on store shelves. And I always felt as if turn-based gave the game more of a strategy feel; I would have all the time in the world to determine the best possible form of attack. In this way, it relies entirely on brain activity and there's no need whatsoever for finger dexterity. If I wanted to do the latter, there are a million games I can play but RPGs always afforded me something different during the original PlayStation era. But now, it's almost as if the RPGs don't resemble RPGs to me...and I know what the purists are going to say: "oh yeah, like the turn-based RPGs could be considered 'true role-playing.'" This is where they like to make the connection to the first example of "role-playing;" Dungeons & Dragons, which is immediately followed by my standard clarification that the tabletop pen-and-paper D&D game can hardly be compared to the video game industry.

I guess I might be whining about days long gone, but I can't help it. I find that I'm almost more inclined to play old RPGs on the PS1 than I am new RPGs, which I often find disappointing. I do have high hopes for the likes of White Knight Chronicles and Resonance of Fate, even though I know both will be real-time. There's just something special about the turn-based style, and I mourn its death. Oh yes, sadly, it's dead. 'sob'

P.S. The last true turn-based game I played was Lost Odyssey and I can only hope they do a sequel...

6/12/2009 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (109 posts)

Oyashiro
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:21:08 PM
Reply

We still have Persona :)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:32:43 PM

Yeah, but it hasn't gone next-gen

^Still a great series


I mean you can count it, but how long will they really go with it?

The ps2 will die someday

Let's see then if ATLUS will continue to stick with turn-base

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Oyashiro
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:01:15 PM

Thats the thing about Atlus that I like, They are still niche. Most of their sales are still determined by pre-orders. Thats why they listen to there fans and always keep core gameplay elements the same. Because they can't afford to screw their biggest series they have and lose thous fans.

To them, the fans are #1 priority. Thats why they give out so much bonus swag to please the fans and get more pre-orders.

They will most likely do little improvements as we saw with Person 3 going on to 4. But they know the Persona formula works. Thats why i'm can't wait for the announcement of P5 :)

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:05:53 PM

As much as I like Persona (and maybe this would kill the charm) I really get tired of the dungeons. At least from 3 to 4 they dropped the tower that was the same everywhere and used a few different environments. But I'd like to see it branch out, maybe they can get into a whole different bigass dimensional world from their little Japanese town next time.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Kevadu
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:15:48 PM

Not just Persona, but all the Shin Megami Tensei games (other than the Devil Summoner games which are action/RPGs) are turn-based. They're not light on challenge, either, so you really do have to think things through.

Not to mention the recently released Crimson Gem Saga for the PSP (which I fully intend to pick up but haven't got around to yet...).

Also, NISA is keeping up the turn-based tradition with the localization of various Gust games, as well as their own Disgaea series (though those are SRPGs).

So there are definitely turn-based games out there but they're all kind of niche.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Kevadu
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:21:46 PM

Oh, BTW, I have a thread on the forum about trying to find a copy of Ar Tonellico II (which only came out in January...it's not that old) which should give you an idea of just *how* niche some of these games are. Even when you want to buy a copy they can be damn hard to find!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:27:54 PM
Reply

Aye aye!

Fully agree with this
Even FFXII(great game) would've been a whole different beast if it was turn-based

You could use all your characters in more "engaging" and "individual" ways

Each character you're using would matter again

But they had to make it like an action game with window commands :(

I would've loved to see the fights which would've unfolded in FFXII if it was turn-based. Love the game mind you, the fighting was really awesome and everything felt alive. I just think it would've been a little bit better if it was turn-based.

Anyway as someone who went through rpg's golden age I'm also saddened.

Turn based rpgs:

-Every character felt important

Action rpgs:
-Just use the main character and let the computer do whatever they want


^I love my party, I want to be able to use EVERY CHARACTER. why would I want the CPU do things for me? Seriously

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 1:49:03 PM

In a turn based game, the game is about decision making, planning ans strategy. In some games, like Xenosage III for example, you can pre-play your attacks, and effectively chain together a series of attacks from your party for maximum damage and benefit. Sometimes it's the only way to defeat a Boss.

But because it's turn based, you have time to plan and decide what to do.

The whole turn based mechanic encourages a slower, more thoughtful approach, and I think that character development and party membership, as well as equipment take a more important role in turn based since it's not your ability to mash the buttons fast that matters, it's your pre-planning.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:28:31 PM
Reply

Awesome pic, BTW. The death of turn based saddens all of us old schoolers, and while I enjoyed toying with the mechanics of Eternal Sonata there was just something missing, and it didn't take long to sort that out.

As you said it has to do with strategy, and while I don't dig strategy games (Sorry Disgaia) the old turn based always had just enough because that thing that was missing was the epicness of any boss (or difficult) battles. You nolonger need strategy, instead you need fast hands and faster fingers to run around the big guy hacking and casting off spells before time runs out. While this can add some suspense, it's the wrong kind. I liked that suspense when I was down to one player who had low HP and was inflicted with poison and had a snowball's chance in hell of coming back, resurrecting his comrades and beating the bastard; AND THEN DOING IT! In these real time battles, you just know when you're beat. And I'm gonna miss all of that goodness in the forthcoming days.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/12/2009 10:29:42 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:41:05 PM

Nothing better than seeing all your characters die except the main character

And he as the leader picking up(reviving) everyone else

And then evryone else coming taking that enthusiasm and dealing critical hits.

Or having the "healing" character heal your characters in a tough battle

It adds to a character's character(in a way)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:50:07 PM

LOL I remember being down to one character with very little HP against Ozma ni FFIX; it was when the boss was moving like five times to your one. I figured I was dead and would have to retry, so just for the hell of it, I searched through my inventory to find something weird to throw. Just for the heck of it to see what it would do. I had an extra piece of Dark Matter...

Bam. 9999HP damage. Ozma dead. I definitely LOLd. :)

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:54:51 PM

@Ben,

Well whaddaya know...I beat the last boss in FFIX with Vivi...

Yes all my characters were dead....and Vivi with a Thundaga(favorite FF move) killed him.

And it was my first time fighting him, it was epic!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:08:08 PM

Dark Matter up in this piece! I never thought to try that :)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

King James
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 1:09:51 AM

Could anyone beat that globe boss thing at the end of FFIX? What was that thing called? It was harder than Necron the final boss. Kinda reminded me of Emerald Weapon on FF7. Never could beat that thing.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 10:25:27 AM

It was Ozma, the boss I just mentioned and the ultimate "weapon" of FFIX.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

King James
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:17:18 PM

Wow. U beat that thing like that, Ben?! Really?! U should thank the RPG gods. I remember getting lucky a couple of times throughout my "RPG career", but never like that.

BTW, what disc are u at on your FF8?

Last edited by King James on 6/13/2009 2:19:57 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 4:37:11 PM

Still on Disc 1; just got Irvine. inFamous has been taking up all my time lately. :)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Cunn8780
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:30:04 PM
Reply

I have recently begun downloading all my favorite "old school" rpgs on emulators for NES, SNES, and PSX. I truly do miss a turn-based system, because that's what I have always associated with RPGs.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

King James
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:45:47 PM
Reply

I do kinda miss the turn-based joints. But I don't mind the change at all. I just want a good balance. I do think that Sony and the jrpg publishers are on the right track making the PSone classics available. I also think that turn-based rpg will be found mainly on handhelds now.

Heck, the only reason why (i believe) jrpgs were always turn-based is because the technology to make real-time gameplay just wasn't there. So maybe this is what some developers wanted to make all along.

So here we are...at the dawn of a new era in RPGs. We got Fallout 3, Valkyria Chronicles, Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Star Wars: The Old Republic, FF13 (all 3 of them), FF14, Borderlands, Huxley, APB, The Agency, DC Universe, WOW so many different styles of RPG....and to think...it all started with that old-fashioned turned-based mechanic.

Love it.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CrazyIrishBoy
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 8:58:19 AM

Thats exactly what I thought, they might have put real time into older games but didnt have the tech so they came up with turn based which just happened to be awesome.

But I also like real time, just depends how it is implemented, although i'm sure they could develop it to resemble turn based a little more but do they know there are people out there that want that?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

rossinator_99
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:46:57 PM
Reply

turn based rocks!!! i do like some action rpgs, but i have yet to find one that can surpass the awesomenss that is turn based.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:52:24 PM
Reply

I never played Lost Odyssey Ben, I almost feel like I missed out. The initial trailers I saw were so awesome, but when I saw gameplay, it was kinda dissapointing. Should I give it a shot now? I love FF7 with an ungodly passion. So much that Cloud and Sephiroth are my next two tattoos. How many disks was it btw?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:56:43 PM

It's simple. If you like old-school turn-based RPGs, you'll love it. :)

Well, at least I think you will.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:01:52 PM

For some reason, my favorite part of FF7 was fighting Weapon on the Highwind. Great stuff. Best.....attacks...........EVER!!!!!! How's Lost Odyssey's story, does it grab you?

Last edited by fatelementality on 6/12/2009 11:03:14 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:41:23 PM

The story's okay, but the dream sequences (which you read) are some of the best-written pieces of work I've ever seen in any video game. LO is almost worth it entirely just for these...

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:57:44 PM

Oh yeah, you never told me how many disks it was. I'm thinking 4. You've actually convinced me to get it. I need something to hold me over until XIII comes out. Sounds like this would be perfect. What was your take on AC Complete?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:31:18 AM

Yeah, it's 4 discs but make sure they're okay when you buy them...they're packaged in a RETARDED manner, as you will see.

I don't have AC Complete yet but I do want it.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:43:52 AM

I think that the title says it all. For the first third of the move, it's pretty much the same. The latter of it makes you feel fuzzy though. Alot of scenes were extended for a more dramatic effect. Well worth a watch on Blu-ray. I thought it looked good before. You can really tell the difference in the new scenes though. It's not really the detail, but the lighting that you notice. Pure awesomeness. I couldn't go back and watch the original if I tried.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 7:53:09 AM

I'll give a second for LO. The stories of the main characters past are so well writen at times I was almost moved to tears. The voice overs are pretty good in English as well and Jansen is a riot.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BigBoss4ever
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 10:56:41 PM
Reply

I feel 100% same as you Ben regarding the turn based RPGs. In my mind, only turn based RPGs are real true RPGs, and have a real classic feeling. All other action based RPGs lack the classic epic feeling, especially facing the big fosses,(just like WorldEnds stated above), and true RPG gamers all know "Slash and chop" does not give you that feeling at all.

P.S. Lost Odyssey is probably the only pure turn based J-RPGs on next-gen console and it is the latest epic classic which great musics, meanings and beautiful dream scripts. I spent 120+ hours literally maxed out everything and completed all quests. This is the game I did not see in recent years since Chrono Cross or FF9.



Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 6/12/2009 11:05:42 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

darxed
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:01:55 PM
Reply

Hey Ben you should really try Persona 4, IMHO one of the best RPGs ever made, and the combat is completely turn based, I'm playing it again to max everything alongside FFVIII and it rocks!... It goes to show, Square trying so hard to appeal to the western market, Buying Eidos and all that and Atlus succeds with two games (Persona 3 and 4) that really could not be more Japanese. Maybe Square should learn from Atlus, I like my RPGs with a big fat 'J' at the front...

Last edited by darxed on 6/12/2009 11:04:44 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:43:41 PM

I played and reviewed Persona 4 (check it under the PS2 Reviews section). Never got a chance to finish it, though. :(

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Kevadu
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:06:33 AM

How to you review a game without finishing it? OK, I realize Persona 4 is long as heck, but that just ain't right.

Can you imagine reviewing Xenogears without getting to the second CD where the game basically went to shit? Anyone would have given it a *very* different score...

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

darxed
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:09:58 AM

Hey I read the Persona 4 review, sounds like you really liked it... why didn't you finish it?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:35:06 AM

Kevadu, do you realize how many games we have to review? Do you honestly believe ANY professional critic has the time to spend 40+ hours before writing the review? Come on, be realistic. And really, you don't need to play games to completion to accurately score them.

darxed: Didn't have the time, as I just explained. ;)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

G-WiZ199
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:04:11 PM
Reply

I completely agree. It sucks that the days of turn based rpgs are gone. My favorite RPGs are FFVIII, FFX, Skies of Arcadia, Legend of Dragoon, and Vagrant Story; all amazing turn based games. *sigh* This articles makes me want to purchase all of these games again for another run through lol.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:10:29 PM

Vagrant Story is not turn-based, but a great game nonetheless

A cousin of another great game: FFXII

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:14:11 PM

I thought it was turn based, I just remember getting the option to attack any piece of their body like in Fallout 3's VATS.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:43:11 PM

Vagrant Story was a hybrid. You could pause the battle to choose which part of the enemy to attack, but the action carried out in real-time, if I remember correctly.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:13:19 PM
Reply

Here's something else in this vein that we should discuss: How does everyone feel about random battles? I never had a problem with them except in certain games like Skies of Arcadia (awesome Dreamcast RPG otherwise) where you step on an enemy every two seconds. They actually had to edit that problem out for the Gamecube version.

I find it kind of silly that I can avoid all the enemies I want to on the world map in some games (but I try to fight every single one) I always thought of an RPG as being representative of the adventure experience so not having them on the map never irked me but I know some folks hate it, and FFXIII is going with map critters again. Whats the consensus on random battles around here?

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/12/2009 11:15:03 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:21:13 PM

If only they'd make rpgs harder(or have difficulty options)....

That'd shut those kids who complain 'bout random battles.

I love random battles

if you're in a freaking forest you're going to get attacked by "monsters/animals" or whatnot so whether they're on screen or not doesn't matter.

I've seen games where you can walk/run right past on-screen monsters....wtf? seriously lol...

And to make it worse is that they respawn again...(making you dread even walking through a dungeon)

I love random battles

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:42:26 PM

I love random battles...provided they're not too frequent. They need to be just the right frequency, and I think a game like FFVII struck the perfect chord in that respect. Some games it's more and some games it's less, but with a good ratio of time traveled vs. battles, I like it plenty.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:01:19 AM

I love "funny games"

For example, in Thousand Arms the frequency is random. So you'll never be able to really narrow it down between so and so steps.

Sometimes you can walk through a whole room and not get encounters(rare, but happens). Sometimes you walk 5 steps and bam!

It's really fun and funny haha. Love that game, it's a true rpg in every respect.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Kevadu
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:01:24 AM

I don't have a problem with random battles, but I have been playing RPGs for a long time and they just seem sort of natural. I can kind of see why players who are new to the genre might see them as an old-fashioned and clunky mechanic. You're walking along and suddenly the scene completely changes and you have your party facing off against some monsters that appeared from somewhere? It's a little abstract.

I kind of wish more games would take the Chrono Trigger-style approach, actually. It worked really well there and that game was certainly successful, but nobody seems to emulate it for some reason (even Square didn't emulate it when they made Chrono Cross...).

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

darxed
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:12:05 AM

Yeah It's all in the frequency... Too many random battles and It gets annoying really really fast (I'm looking at you Star Ocean 4...)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:55:36 AM

Random battles are the best. It always gave me that sense of nervousness as you ran through a dungeon or along a mountain side... monsters popping out at any time. That's great fun.

FFXII was cool, but there was always that "wait! <pause action> I don't want my AI controlled character to do that." How does that immerse you? You're always worrying about the AI getting it right.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 @ 2:47:59 PM

random battle is also an essential and classic part of the golden rpg days. I love it. but also like Ben said, it can not be too frequent. i.e. Lost Odyssey has the right frequency.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

therabbitkinge
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:18:34 PM
Reply

Ben I absoluteyl agree with you fisrt off turn based was boss I felt that with the time I had to plan moves I really ended up looking as badass as the character I played, nowadays its all like turned based fighting game hybrids of button mashing haphazardry. Oh and when I fisrt sat through Kaim intro cutscene in "lost oddessey" I stood there for 3 minutes before I realized I had control, truly truly breathtaking (I got stuck on that giant worm boss that spawns those lil insects and haven't played it since its release though).

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

shadowpal2
Friday, June 12, 2009 @ 11:36:22 PM
Reply

Hmm...I can actually get along with both of the styles pretty well. It's quite interesting actually. If I had to pick which one felt better for me...it'd probably be the real-time kind of action RPG just because...in some ways it feels more exhilarating for me. But I still love turn based...

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

chilker
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:13:09 AM
Reply

I bought FFVII on the PSN last week and have clocked about 20 hours on it since then. Man have I missed it. I somehow lost 2 of the discs from my PS1 copy of it, so I hadn't played it like 8 years. I love the title of this article because it truly describes how I've been feeling about the newer RPGs. I really mourn the turn-based battles. They are just more satisfying, I think.
Slightly unrelated: I had just finished playing Crisis Core on the PSP and now, going through the original FFVII, I am amazed at how true to the original they were! There are all these references back and forth that I didn't remember from the first time I played it so many years ago--it's amazing!
I wish turn-based games would make a comeback, though.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:23:46 AM
Reply

Ok, Since I'm not into RPG's, could someone who is, kindly explain to this clueless dumbass(me btw) what does "turn-based mean?
I'm thinking that maybe it has to do with "time" somehow but if so, then in what way???

And also the difference between turn-based & and real-time as it relates to RPG's?
Thanks

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:32:34 AM

Turn-based means you have a turn, then the computer has a turn. There is no time elapsed between turns, although speed can be a determining factor for which character on the screen (enemy or ally) can go first. Usually, a time bar fills and when it's full, you can act. In other words, while you select an action from the menu (Attack, Item, Magic, etc.), the computer can't do anything, and you can't do anything when the computer is acting.

All of the early Final Fantasies through FFX used this or a version of this mechanic.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/13/2009 12:33:08 AM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:36:05 AM

Turn-based is as the name implies, you and your party take turns against the enemies and their party. Sometimes it's a matter of who's time bar fills up first (faster or slower based on Lv), or it can be set to pause and go turn by turn. It's kind of random sometimes. Just picture a game of checkers and you'll get the idea. Real time is when you or the enemy can strike each other at anytime, more like an action game.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:37:33 AM

Awww.....Really Ben? You're just good at beating people to the punch aren't ya? :) Go ahead, delete my comment, lol.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

oldmike
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 1:13:25 AM

turn based it you go they go aka you take turns
there a lot more planing in boss combat

real-time is almost to the point of how fast can you kit the X key

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:58:56 AM
Reply

I couldn't agree with you more Ben. This is one loss that's killing me. We had turn-based games like crazy and now they're nowhere to be found. I don't think it's old mechanics that's to blame. That would be like saying chess has old mechanics. Sorry but that's how you play the game and it's awesome the way it is.

I guess I can hope for P5, but is there anyone else out there willing to make turn based rpgs? It sure doesn't look like it.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:18:33 AM

I think it would only be considered out-dated when one takes a look at the way these wacky kids like to play their games these days. Little forethought and lots of press button X to make an attack happen, press button O to defend. If you ask me that is a pretty tired mechanic but what can you do... its the Instant message, cell phone text, news in 2 seconds, twitter age.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Dante399
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 1:00:54 AM
Reply

Totally agree with the article...you like read my mind :P

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WolfCrimson
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:17:10 AM
Reply

"AAARRGHH!! Why, developers, why?!?!! Why change something that already works successfully?! If it ain't broken, don't fix it!!!!"

That's what I feel like saying to most RPG developers and publishers.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:25:38 AM
Reply

OK, now I get.

"THANKS TO ALL" for their replies!!!

So now I know the thing I don't like about all the RPG's & most strategy games in my collections, is called.

I have a ton of RPG's, including
FFVII, Tactics,Xenogears, & Xenosaga, to name
a few, but I could never immerse myself into them(although I've tried time & time again).

But don't hate on me just because I'm more a "real-timed" head-strong button masher kind of guy.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:26:10 AM
Reply

Ben we sometimes differ about things but I absolutely agree with you on this. Turn Based is the best style of RPG/Game Ever created. I love it and nothing beats that style of game play. I too find myself going back to old school games. I understand innovation and change can lead to new better things but nothing will ever take the place of turn based.

::sigh:: By far my favorite type of game EVER.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Am I God
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 6:32:19 AM
Reply

"I'll be straightforward with my opening statement when I admit that I am not a strategy genre buff. I've never really taken a liking to strategy games, because I've always felt as if perhaps they were a bit too drawn out and complex for me to pay attention to them."

"I generally let someone else play the strategy or S-RPGs around here."
-- A couple of quotes from your dear friend, Arnold. I guess he contributed his part to this death. (jk, I'm really just nitpicking a select few sentences.)



p.s. Golden Sun, the most epic series during my GBA days, is coming out for DS. Believe I am getting that(along with a DS;).

Last edited by Am I God on 6/13/2009 8:17:01 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

www
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 6:39:04 AM
Reply

Well i don't know i prefer anything, as long as the storyline,sound & graphics rock, i will go for that rpg.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

thepill
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 10:01:16 AM
Reply

I also miss the traditional turn-based RPG, but I think what spelled the death of that style game was the abuse of the random battle encounter. Ben you bring up gamers attention spans being nearly non existent, and you're right, but how can you possibly hold the attention of a person forced to play out 4000 random battles as they make their way across a small section of map.

I think this is a result of people complaining about the WRONG thing for the RIGHT reasons. Gamers would complain about the Turn-Based aspect, instead of complaining about the frequency at which they were forced to play out RANDOM Turn-Based battles.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 10:26:53 AM

The best RPGs I played didn't have you fight "4000" battles across a small stretch of map. That's a ridiculous over-exaggeration.

No, it has absolutely nothing to do with complaining about random encounters, as you'll see by the Comments above that are talking about this very thing.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

thepill
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 10:35:15 AM

sorry about the pointless post, I didn't realize this whole issue had been played out and discussed earlier.

with my (random battle) shortened attention span, I couldn't bring myself to read all of the earlier posts. lol

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

thepill
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 10:44:56 AM

you're right, it was gross exaggeration, but you get my point. I love turn-based gameplay, as long as long as the experience isn't ruined by the use of random battles as a means of lengthening the game.

I think the worst use of this system for me was Enchanted Arms because of the frequency of the battles an the lack of recharge stations as the game progressed.


Last edited by thepill on 6/13/2009 10:53:32 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jalex
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 11:51:25 AM
Reply

Even though I think it's stupid that it's coming to Wii instead of PS3 (since the last two installments of the main series were on PlayStation systems), 'Dragon Quest X' has a very good chance of being traditionally turn-based.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Kelolon
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 11:52:46 AM
Reply

Blue Dragon is also a turned based game as like Lost Odyssey they're both from Mistwalker.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:20:55 PM

I know, but Blue Dragon just didn't do anything for me.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lemon_Saint
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 11:53:48 AM
Reply

It is because of this shift in style that I have not picked up any new RPG's in years ... I don't want to sound like the grumpy, old, "back-in-my-day", veteran gamer, but yeah, I really enjoyed the older ones better. I would say, (sorry FF fans), my top three were the Dragon Warrior Series, Phantasy Star series, and the Lunar series, (good plots, great characters, just fun). Also, throw Crystalis in for good measure. What happened?

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 12:14:29 PM
Reply

hmmmm i dont think its completely dead, FFXIII seems alot closer than ive seen for a long time, but its still at a fast pace.

but yeah theres no excuse for the slow pace of battles nowadays, you cant even say its a strategy game element and get away with it.

I have to say i do enjoy play FF 1-10 to just for old time sake.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 1:28:11 PM
Reply

Nice article Ben, I completely agree. I hope the turn based game isn't dead, actually I'll have a real problem if it is, because I don't want to play an action game, and real time combat systems in RPGs just turn the game into a button mashing action game.

Valkyria Chronicles has a combat system that's as close to real time as I would like to ever get. I shall simply replay the classics until Japanese publishers realize the sheer folly of trying to westernize a genre like the JRPG, and western publishers realize that not everyone likes to mash buttons frenetically in a roll playing game. Some of us are in it to build characters, and parties and immerse ourselves in the story, not test our reaction times.

Back to Xenosaga.....

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 4:36:10 PM

Xenosaga is still one of my favorite RPGs of the PS2 era.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:25:13 PM
Reply

Say what you want about the game, but I liked what they did with the ATB in FFX-2. It was turn based but quick and the action kept flowing.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 4:35:49 PM

FFX-2 was GREAT.

Anyone who says otherwise isn't secure enough in their own masculinity to admit the truth.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

King James
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 9:43:10 PM

Ha

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 11:05:30 PM

Thank you Ben! Thank you!

Can't stand "bastards" who bash FFX-2
It was a great game, just because it's a female only cast doesn't make it bad.

It was a great follow-up to X and it really completed the story, something which really made X feel better.

In fact without FFX-2 I don't think I would've regarded FFX as highly as I do since it feels incomplete without X-2.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 2:54:31 AM

I love the soundtrack

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 11:13:02 AM

Dang... I guess I gotta give it another look.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 10:25:31 AM

I didn't like FFX at all and X-2 was worse to me... of course by the time I got my PS2 I had already been converted by Bioware

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Aerifale
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 2:44:36 PM
Reply

FFX - perfect exmaple where everything goes right, especially the turn based battle system. So when i started on FFXII i was very disapointed. It just didn't feel.....right :(

I BLAME IT ALL ON TAKING AWAY THE TURN BASED SYSTEM!

Still, crisis core rocks XD

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 7:59:44 AM

I hated FFX's battle system... but I've not played 12 and from what I hear it's a grind fest like an MMO.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

eLLeJuss
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 4:18:11 PM
Reply

What? don't worry guys. POKEMON IS STILL HERE! GOTTA CATCH EM ALL!!!!

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 4:22:09 PM
Reply

I'll be honest, the most fun turn-based game I ever played was Legend of Dragoon, as it pertains to the gameplay(fighting)

If they implemented that kind of system where you perform the action you selected then that might solve some of the "I don't want to watch a fight, I want to fight" mentality.

Example:
-You select a magic spell like "thunder" for character A

-Select "attack" for character B

-Select "use iteme(bomb)" for character C

*With character A you'll be able to activate the magic ritual yourself. So you'll enter the button commands for it and with the left stick you'll concentrate the magic at the center of your enemy

*With character B you'll run at the enemy deal damage depending on the weapon(can use combos depending on the weapon

*With character C you'll be able to aim and throw the item(bomb)


^Problem with that is that it'll extend every battle for far too long. Problem can be solved by increasing the number of enemies which appear at any one encounter. So you'll defeat 3 enemies and right there(without going back to the field map) another group of monsters drop into battle.

So it'll be longer dedicated battles. And in return less random encounters.

PS: Might have some flaws, but I think it's a good idea.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 4:35:18 PM

I loved LoD. :)

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SubjectiveTruth
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 7:20:03 PM
Reply

Ever since I started playing when I was in grade one or something, I always hated turn based games. Except those crappy pokemon games for some reason..Guess that was just part of my generation. Everyone had their face buried in a gameboy colour playing pokemon something.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

tes37
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 7:56:21 PM
Reply

I just started playing Jeanne D'Arc. It's pretty cool, but kinda hard to figure out at first. Had to search for a game manual on the internet since I downloaded it from psn. That's the only thing that sucks about downloaded games. It's turn based, which I happen to like better than active time. This game and FFVII will keep me busy until WKC releases.

Last edited by tes37 on 6/13/2009 7:58:05 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

A2K78
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 9:27:53 PM
Reply

To say that Turn-Based RPG's are dead is like saying arcade action-rpg's went of fashion and died with games such as Capcom's Dungeon&Dragons:Tower of Doom/Shadow Over Mystara or Taito's Cadash. In fact SEGA proved that arcade action-rpg's do still have a strong following given the success of their arcade action RPG Quest of D.

As for Turn-Based RPG's, they aren't dead but rather have been scaled-back in favor of a different approach.

Other than that we'll be seeing more turn-based rpg's in future because not every title work well with real-time.

As for western developers, the only reason why they arguement against and stay clear of Turn-Base RPG is becasue they can't make them as well as their Japanese counterparts. Essentially western developers suck at making turn-based rpg's and EA proved this with Lord of the Rings: The Third Age.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 9:28:46 PM

It's DEAD.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 11:11:41 AM

It's dead as far as devs go. If someone actually made a turn based rpg again then I truly believe it would sell very well to the rpg crowd.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deadman
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 8:35:03 AM
Reply

Turn based RPGs is what turns people off to the experience the whole You hit me now I hit you now you hit me back is silly in a way.
I know these dont count but arent the Penny Arcade games turn based those are really fun.
Most RPGs Ive ever played had the turn based mechanic Xenogears, Lunar, Dragon Warrior, All three games that I love and cherish but by switching to real time battles it opens the genre up makes it more accepable to the masses no longer a cult phenomenon.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Deadman
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 4:48:25 PM

Thumbs down sweet thanks Douche.
I know my comment was all over the board but while Im not a fan of the turn based mechanic if a story is good enough I'll play the game PAX:OTRSPOD Episodes 1 and 2 are fun, Xenogears great story, so far Finaly Fantasy VII great story. The turn based RPG dosent appeal to everybody myself included its not so much the death of a genre as it is the death of a scene that everyones complaining about, now anyone can play an RPG not just the nerds they are fun now.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 4:58:36 PM

Thats why the whole thing sucks, once it goes mass-appeal it goes down the drain. Turn based battles may not seem realistic, but realism isn't what makes games great.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

mastiffchild
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 1:15:50 PM
Reply

I think there's definitely space for both as I'm honestly tiring of the rock/paper/scissors of some turn based battles(and STILL some real time too!)and of the way it can drag all the pacing of a game in the wrong direction.

However, a mix of the two is definitely possible and though it rarely works up to now I think that's because of the nature of big jrpg fans being change resistant. first off they didn't want to lose turn based and now some have accepted real time they don't want that watering down so you get noble attempts(SO series) that ultimately don't quite do enough with either format.

We'll see how both FF13's fare-I like the look of Vs combat better byut details are scarce while FF13 itself is a decent mix but, to me, the screen looks a mess. Whatver, it's a thorny one but to really survive and grow the genre must accept both schools and find the best way to marry them up.

Some turn based sattles bore me when t's just stats aas that doesn't feel like skill but just knowing the right formula-but you can say the same about learning any bosses arrack patterns in virtually any game!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 1:19:52 PM

There are turn-based games which allow you to hit the enemy more than once depending on how fast the charactes you're using are compared to the enemy.

FFX was a great example of that(best turn-based game imo). LoD was a close second(just like the action in it more than in FFX).

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 4:30:13 PM
Reply

Honestly speaking, it wasn't until games like Oblivion and Fallout 3 came out did I even like the RPG genre.

I think that turn base fighting is rather boring, and it lacks the player immersion factor that I look for in games..

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 9:36:40 PM

That's because you didn't want to play an RPG; you wanted to play a deeper action game.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User [Administrator]
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 7:57:54 AM

technicly Oblivion and Fallout 3 are close to what an RPG should be than any of the turned based JRPGs... also if you want a cheap turned based PC game in the same vien as PSone JRPGs check out GoG.com and look for Septera Core.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 10:24:22 AM

I've already said this before: "technically," what you're saying makes no sense. There is ZERO relevance between a video role-playing game and a pencil-and-paper D&D role-playing game. Trying to emulate one in the other is ridiculous; I've always thought that.

The first examples of video game RPGs? Nothing like Fallout 3, and nothing like Oblivion. Essentially, they're little more than action games with a huge amount of freedom and depth.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User [Administrator]
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 10:30:09 AM

YOu don't get it... JRPG you have a story that you follow from point A to point B... with Oblivion and Fallout 3 you create a character and you go out and proceed as you wish... You Role Play a character in a Game. Just because it's actiony doesn't mean it's not a role playing game. You learn and grow in those games and often times you have the choice to finish how you want to finish it... or at least some choice. I don't know maybe it's the fact that I grew up on Bard's Tale and Wizardry that I feel a little more connection with the free form RPG.
edit: I would like to say that I do love RPGs of all kinds so it's not a jab at turn based rpgs it's just that I feel they don't really fit the model of a RPG.

Last edited by n/a on 6/15/2009 10:32:11 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

redruM
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 4:37:49 PM
Reply

sigh...turn-based brings back a lot of memories

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 5:02:38 PM
Reply

Bottom line is you have to have some kind of taste for strategy to enjoy a turn based system, its a thinking person's game. Killing that makes the game a bit more mindless combat and a bit less RPG.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alexeon
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 3:38:31 AM
Reply

Cross Edge has a turn-based battle system thats more like the original RPGs than the new ones (though it does have some timed-attacks and what not.) Its the closest thing to a PS1 classic on the PS3 right now.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 7:58:31 AM

Last Remnant is turn based

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LowKii
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 5:50:53 AM
Reply

Ben man, your still playing FF 8? good stuff dude. While I do hate Square Enix, FF8 was my favorite SE FF title.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 7:56:15 AM
Reply

The Grandia battle system I think was the very best turned based battle system ever created. That being said I think that we can look forward to at least on the 360 seeing Blue Dragon 2 and LO2. Also Last Remnant man not fit perfectly, but it is turned based battle system only with groups instead of individuals and it's multi platform.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

main_event05
Monday, June 15, 2009 @ 1:29:55 PM
Reply

I completely agree with you Ben, but i'll take it a step further and say its not just the style of RPGs that is being changed. It seems to me that ALL the Genres are being changed to action and flat out button mashers from Resident Evil (which i just played from the 1st to the last),to Metal Gear, and hell, I'll even say Silent Hill. I love gaming and I'm glad that its been widely (whats a good word), embraced(?). But just like all things that become commercial, it loses its initial integrity and tries to suit the fence sitters and newcomers.

I'm Sorry but i can't get past the thought that this is somehow Microsoft's fault. Ruined the PC and has now turned its sights to gaming. For Shame.

Last edited by main_event05 on 6/15/2009 1:30:41 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Joe_III
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 6:36:00 PM
Reply

Well, it's been 3 months, so I thought I would pop in. Not surprised to see people blaming Microsoft over this. Nice article, Ben.

Sadly, pokemon is the last bastion of the true RPG -- turn based games. Now everything else coming out (and i'm 40 hrs into SO4 right now) is getting closer and closer to either Action/Adventure or FPS. The only thing keeping them "RPG-ish" is the leveling of weapons and abilities -- and maybe groups.

Hail the now past glory days of the original RPG.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed Xbox exclusive, and...
...I'm so pissed, I can't see straight.
...I'm annoyed, but I can be patient.
...I'm not caring much at all.
...I think it's actually a good thing.

Previous Poll Results