Worst JRPG battle systems?

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#1 Edited by Pffrbt (6612 posts) -

Time Stalkers - It's basically complete nonsense. I was never able to make it past a couple floors of the first dungeon because the battle system was such garbage. You can't simply attack enemies, you have to attack where enemies are. Which means that all an enemy has to do to avoid your attack is move one square over so that when your turn comes your character just runs up and slashes at the air like a moron.

Ni No Kuni - Completely broken party AI that wastes MP as fast as possible in every single battle, then either sends out their weakest familiars to eat damage, or they'll just cut out the middle man and run up to enemies themselves to just start eating damage. All while doing almost no damage of their own thanks to wasting all their MP and insisting on using the wrong familiar at the wrong time.

Worse still is the fact that the controls and menus are set up like it's turn-based, meaning you have to fumble through menus that all look the same that are set up in a fucking wheel you have to scroll through in the corner of the screen all while trying to avoid attacks and keep your eye on the action while babysitting your dumbass party members that are trying to get killed.

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#2 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

rainbow moon is up there. there are plenty of games with battle systems that are poorly balanced, plenty more that are shallow, and a select few that are both. rainbow moon is even worse because it has both faults and the battles take forever. you can't just select an enemy to attack. you have to waddle your way across a grid first. seriously, the grid of the battle screens adds nothing except extra steps to do what you need to do.

i know a lot of people like final fantasy tactics, but i felt it was among the more frustrating battle systems i've played. the whole strategy jrpg genre relies on giving good information to the player so they can make good decisions and ff tactics gives poor information. the game constantly gives you your odds to hit an enemy but the figure is regularly wrong because shields make the odds lower than what they appear (why not simply adjust the damn number?). movement distance is unreliable too because terrain makes arbitrary changes to it, destroying whatever plan you have. i quit once i got to an end-level boss that requires a completely random piece of equipment to beat that you'd have no idea about until you die (even then, there's a good chance you won't).

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#3 Edited by Byshop (18577 posts) -

Final Fantasy 13. Just keep clicking Auto and change from attack to heal every once in a while.

-Byshop

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#5 Edited by Randolph (10542 posts) -

@Pffrbt: Pretty sure you've tried that with him before, and I'm pretty sure you were warned about it then too. Go away for a day and think about your posting habits, and how to make them less obnoxious and abrasive.

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#6 Edited by Byshop (18577 posts) -
@Pffrbt said:

@Byshop said:

Final Fantasy 13. Just keep clicking Auto and change from attack to heal every once in a while.

13's battle system actually comes together and is pretty fun late in the game. The problem is that for 90% of the game you don't really have to do anything. The game really should've had more difficult battles sooner that require you to do more than use auto-battle.

I played FF13 for literally 20 hours before I figured out how much I disliked it (yes, I got the point that you can set your own party lineup). Compared to the turn based system from 7, 8, 9, and even 10, I hated the system in 13. That's the problem with realtime combat systems in general, they take a lot of the direct control out of your hands.

-Byshop

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#7 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (21119 posts) -

The Last Remnant

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#8 Posted by Randolph (10542 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

The Last Remnant

I'll do you one better. Two better, actually. Magna Carta (PS2) and Magna Carta 2. (360) Ephemeral Phantasia is pretty high up there as well, as it's one of the worst games ever made and also a JRPG. (PS2)

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#9 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21119 posts) -

@Randolph said:

@Black_Knight_00 said:

The Last Remnant

I'll do you one better. Two better, actually. Magna Carta (PS2) and Magna Carta 2. (360) Ephemeral Phantasia is pretty high up there as well, as it's one of the worst games ever made and also a JRPG. (PS2)

lol, Magna Carta 2 is a laughingstock around here, because the name sounds like "Eat Paper" to us. Plus the Euro/*** cover makes it look like a porn game

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#10 Posted by Ovirew (8265 posts) -

I remember the battle system in Baten Kaitos (1 and Origins) was a bit difficult to grasp. Maybe I didn't really give it enough time when I tried to play it, and this was quite a few years ago now. I just remember that your time to input commands was timed, and you had to assemble decks of cards to battle with. Still seemed like good games, though.

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#11 Posted by ShepardCommandr (4939 posts) -

Whenever they to do this turn based/real time hybrid thing it always ends up sucking.Ni No kuni is the perfect example for this.

FF12 sucked for that reason too.

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#12 Posted by wiouds (6233 posts) -

I would say FF12. It was some much more automatic then even FF13. At lease FF13 was able to show rich enemies.

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#13 Posted by turtlethetaffer (18701 posts) -

I can't think of a JRPG that I've personally played where I really did not like the battle system, but that doesn't mean that bad JRPGs aren't out there.

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#14 Posted by korvus (11090 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

The Last Remnant

I get annoyed with any RPGs where "enemies level with you"; I've found an odd one or 2 where the enemies leveled at a decent rate (not as fast as you) but in most cases they just go from 1 hit kills to 30 minute battles; it's just insane. I like to explore every corner of my RPGs and then when I finally do move on with the main storyline...it's like hitting a brick wall.

I remember playing FFVIII and being at lvl 100 when I decided to fight Ultima Weapon...insta kill to the entire party; even being able to hit first and with 3 max leveled Limit Breaks it was impossible (for me at least) to beat Ultima. Yeah, you can fight it at lvl 10 and win in 3 minutes, but why would you encourage people to do low lvl walkthroughs by bypassing stuff?

Speaking of FFVIII, Triple Triad was addictive =P Spent more time changing rules around the world and collecting all the cards than I did with the campaign.

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#15 Posted by Some-Mist (5631 posts) -

chrono cross. It wasn't necessarily "bad", but I hated the new system.

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#16 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

uhm.... All Of Them ?

honestly... I though the whole point of a JRPG is to make playing as unintuitive as possible.

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#17 Posted by Byshop (18577 posts) -

@Korvus85 said:

@Black_Knight_00 said:

The Last Remnant

I get annoyed with any RPGs where "enemies level with you"; I've found an odd one or 2 where the enemies leveled at a decent rate (not as fast as you) but in most cases they just go from 1 hit kills to 30 minute battles; it's just insane. I like to explore every corner of my RPGs and then when I finally do move on with the main storyline...it's like hitting a brick wall.

I remember playing FFVIII and being at lvl 100 when I decided to fight Ultima Weapon...insta kill to the entire party; even being able to hit first and with 3 max leveled Limit Breaks it was impossible (for me at least) to beat Ultima. Yeah, you can fight it at lvl 10 and win in 3 minutes, but why would you encourage people to do low lvl walkthroughs by bypassing stuff?

Speaking of FFVIII, Triple Triad was addictive =P Spent more time changing rules around the world and collecting all the cards than I did with the campaign.

Agreed. Scaled monster levels is something you see in both WRPGs and JRPGs and I'm not a fan.

The Last Remnant also marked the beginning of the Square trend of taking away control of the battle from the player. Even thought it was still turn based I remember there were context sensitive menu selections that would pop up so the game determined for you whether you could take certain actions.

-Byshop

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#18 Posted by korvus (11090 posts) -

@Byshop: I had forgotten that...it was so annoying...Too bad too, because the story was actually quite entertaining, and those huge battles were (in theory) fun...

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#19 Posted by Byshop (18577 posts) -

@Korvus85 said:

@Byshop: I had forgotten that...it was so annoying...Too bad too, because the story was actually quite entertaining, and those huge battles were (in theory) fun...

Yeah, the PC port was OK (except for that freakin' critical trigger reflex reaction thingy) and the idea of the bigger battles seemed interesting, but the negative points kept me from every finishing it.

-Byshop

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#20 Edited by HipHopBeats (2850 posts) -

Ni No Kuni and Dragon Age Origins (I know Origins is not a JRPG but the battle system sure resembles one). Call me a casual if you want but for me, great gameplay trumps a great story. Although I appreciate and prefer when a game does both right.

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#21 Edited by Gamerno66666 (175 posts) -

I am gonna get a lot of hate for this but here goes, Chrono Cross had the worst battle system ever.

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#22 Posted by Ryagan (590 posts) -

In general, I'm not a big fan of active time battle systems. It's my disdain for that battle system that make games such as Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Chrono Trigger difficult for me to play. I haven't played any of them all the way through yet (and I dare call myself a JRPG fan...). I just really don't like the ATB system. I'd rather have the battle system be completely turn-based or completely real-time.

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#23 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21119 posts) -

@Byshop said:

Agreed. Scaled monster levels is something you see in both WRPGs and JRPGs and I'm not a fan.

The Last Remnant also marked the beginning of the Square trend of taking away control of the battle from the player. Even thought it was still turn based I remember there were context sensitive menu selections that would pop up so the game determined for you whether you could take certain actions.

-Byshop

I may be swimming against the current here but I don't think FFXIII takes control away from the player (I assume you hinted at FFXIII when you said Square started taking control away). It just requires you to control different aspects of the gameplay.

Let's examine it: in any standard turn-based JRPG, how does the average boss battle play out? You start casting spells at the enemy until you figure out which element he's weak against. Now what? You keep casting that same spell over and over until he's dead, healing up after he attacks you: two spaces down in the menu, press X, find the spell you want to cast, press X, rinse and repeat every turn.

FFXIII cuts that micromanagement and has the characters automatically do the thing you would be manually doing anyway. Your job is to make sure their mentality is always the most appropriate for the current situation so they can do the right thing at the right time. Not only that, but by allowing you to switch paradigms anytime, it also removes the slapfight effect that JRPGs have, giving you even more control insted of taking the controller away from you during the opponent's turn. Not to mention you can still choose to play it as a normal game by selecting the individual spells you want to cast.

That's how I see it anyway.

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#24 Posted by Byshop (18577 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

@Byshop said:

Agreed. Scaled monster levels is something you see in both WRPGs and JRPGs and I'm not a fan.

The Last Remnant also marked the beginning of the Square trend of taking away control of the battle from the player. Even thought it was still turn based I remember there were context sensitive menu selections that would pop up so the game determined for you whether you could take certain actions.

-Byshop

I may be swimming against the current here but I don't think FFXIII takes control away from the player (I assume you hinted at FFXIII when you said Square started taking control away). It just requires you to control different aspects of the gameplay.

Let's examine it: in any standard turn-based JRPG, how does the average boss battle play out? You start casting spells at the enemy until you figure out which element he's weak against. Now what? You keep casting that same spell over and over until he's dead, healing up after he attacks you: two spaces down in the menu, press X, find the spell you want to cast, press X, rinse and repeat every turn.

FFXIII cuts that micromanagement and has the characters automatically do the thing you would be manually doing anyway. Your job is to make sure their mentality is always the most appropriate for the current situation so they can do the right thing at the right time. Not only that, but by allowing you to switch paradigms anytime, it also removes the slapfight effect that JRPGs have, giving you even more control insted of taking the controller away from you during the opponent's turn. Not to mention you can still choose to play it as a normal game by selecting the individual spells you want to cast.

That's how I see it anyway.

I hear what you're saying, but when I look back at the long list of JRPGs that I've played it felt lacking for a few reasons. The skill grid system felt very simplified compared to previous games. Even though you (eventually) got to upgrade any character in any profession, the eixsting upgrades for each character strongly encouraged you to stick to their already assigned professions so you didn't have to start over. Yeah, I get what you're saying about the typical RPG back and forth and the "slap fight" that can occur, but when I look back over all the JRPGs I see the cool tricks that I figured out that I could use to enhance my skills in battles. Like in X2 where I figured out that if I switched everyone to Berserker dress spheres and cast Hastaga on the party I could absolutely ruin most bosses with ridiculously fast physical attacks, or in Shadow Hearts Covenant where I equipped my entire party with an item (I forget what it was) that doubled physical attack power but at the cost of making the hit location on the fate ring invisible, then I modified the ring hit locations to remove the crit chance and widen them so I could hit them first time, every time completely blind. Or hell, even in X when I figured out that some of the Jecht bosses were suspeptible to Zombie so I'd kill them by casting healing spells on them. This is the kind of stuff that I loved, but that seemed to be missing from FF13.

That, combined with the rest of the game feeling like a "hallway simulator" even moreso than X, the incomprehensible plot (even by FF game standards), and the list of typical FF character archetypes, the entire game felt like a huge dissapointment to me. I actually didn't realize how much I disliked it until I got FF7 on the PSP, and after playing that for a few hours I realized I was having more fun replaying a PS1 FF game than I had in my entire 20 hours on the new FF game. Still, to each is own. I know a lot of people who like FF13, I just wasn't one of them.

-Byshop

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#25 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21119 posts) -

@Byshop said:

I hear what you're saying, but when I look back at the long list of JRPGs that I've played it felt lacking for a few reasons. The skill grid system felt very simplified compared to previous games. Even though you (eventually) got to upgrade any character in any profession, the eixsting upgrades for each character strongly encouraged you to stick to their already assigned professions so you didn't have to start over. Yeah, I get what you're saying about the typical RPG back and forth and the "slap fight" that can occur, but when I look back over all the JRPGs I see the cool tricks that I figured out that I could use to enhance my skills in battles. Like in X2 where I figured out that if I switched everyone to Berserker dress spheres and cast Hastaga on the party I could absolutely ruin most bosses with ridiculously fast physical attacks, or in Shadow Hearts Covenant where I equipped my entire party with an item (I forget what it was) that doubled physical attack power but at the cost of making the hit location on the fate ring invisible, then I modified the ring hit locations to remove the crit chance and widen them so I could hit them first time, every time completely blind. Or hell, even in X when I figured out that some of the Jecht bosses were suspeptible to Zombie so I'd kill them by casting healing spells on them. This is the kind of stuff that I loved, but that seemed to be missing from FF13.

That, combined with the rest of the game feeling like a "hallway simulator" even moreso than X, the incomprehensible plot (even by FF game standards), and the list of typical FF character archetypes, the entire game felt like a huge dissapointment to me. I actually didn't realize how much I disliked it until I got FF7 on the PSP, and after playing that for a few hours I realized I was having more fun replaying a PS1 FF game than I had in my entire 20 hours on the new FF game. Still, to each is own. I know a lot of people who like FF13, I just wasn't one of them.

-Byshop

Oh yeah, FFXIII has flaws, there is no denying that. The plot is one of the most stupid nonsensical clusterfucks japan has produced in a long time, the summons are useless, the excessive linearity is undeniable. The crystarium could have been entirely removed: as it is it's nothing but one more step to do what other games do automatically when leveling up (kind of the opposite of what they did with combat), especially considering assigning unnatural roles to a character is pointless, except maybe for Medic.

Still, it's a character-driven game and for the first time since 7, the characters didn't make me want to throw the game in a furnace full of cobras and the combat didn't bore me to tears. I guess it's a game for non-JRPG players.

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#26 Posted by Byshop (18577 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

Oh yeah, FFXIII has flaws, there is no denying that. The plot is one of the most stupid nonsensical clusterfucks japan has produced in a long time, the summons are useless, the excessive linearity is undeniable. The crystarium could have been entirely removed: as it is it's nothing but one more step to do what other games do automatically when leveling up (kind of the opposite of what they did with combat), especially considering assigning unnatural roles to a character is pointless, except maybe for Medic.

Still, it's a character-driven game and for the first time since 7, the characters didn't make me want to throw the game in a furnace full of cobras and the combat didn't bore me to tears. I guess it's a game for non-JRPG players.

For me, being able to really sink my teeth into the combat system and figure out all the ins and outs of a new combat system was the best part. All RPGs are "grindy", but the FF games were fun because the combat was fun so throwing yourself into the grind over and over didn't feel like a chore. FF13's combat was fun at first but it got pretty tedious very quickly. I could have forgiven all other offenses were it not for tedious combat.

-Byshop

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#27 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (21119 posts) -

@Byshop said:

For me, being able to really sink my teeth into the combat system and figure out all the ins and outs of a new combat system was the best part. All RPGs are "grindy", but the FF games were fun because the combat was fun so throwing yourself into the grind over and over didn't feel like a chore. FF13's combat was fun at first but it got pretty tedious very quickly. I could have forgiven all other offenses were it not for tedious combat.

-Byshop

Yeah, exactly, most people I heard praise FFXIII (myself included) were people who rarely play JRPGs.

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#28 Edited by Pffrbt (6612 posts) -

@Byshop said:

I played FF13 for literally 20 hours before I figured out how much I disliked it (yes, I got the point that you can set your own party lineup).

I'm referring primarily to fights after the final boss. Like Long Gui.

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#29 Posted by Byshop (18577 posts) -

@Pffrbt said:

@Byshop said:

I played FF13 for literally 20 hours before I figured out how much I disliked it (yes, I got the point that you can set your own party lineup).

I'm referring primarily to fights after the final boss. Like Long Gui.

Wow. That's a whole lotta hours you gotta play before the game gets good.

-Byshop

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#30 Posted by Pikminmaniac (11238 posts) -

I don't play too many JRPGs but the only one I never beat was Ni No Kuni and it was precisely because of the battle system. It was in some weird state between real time and not exactly real time with a counter system that couldn't function until you attacked at least once. It was very sloppily done and with the addition of AI partners, it was just a mess.

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#31 Posted by Firosen (474 posts) -

Gotta say Unlimited SaGa. I wanted so badly to like this game - the art, the music, even the concept are amazingly beautiful, but modelling your whole battle system after what is essentially a roulette wheel/ slot machine was poor design. And traps on the map screen... holy hell, what a pain.