Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The automation of the Battle System. 

I find it ironic that despite the outcry of the frankly amazing Final Fantasy XII battle system, the Japanese RPG has taken a very similar turn since then. Games like Final Fantasy XIII, Xenoblade and Last Story use much more automated system than FFXII and require next to no set up to get working for you. Each title is something of an evolution of the amazing, fast paced system first used in FFXII. There was outcry among fans that you could set up FFXII to run on autopilot for long periods, yet a title like Xenoblade is pretty much played with little user interaction for many hours unless you run into much more powerful enemies or bosses. 

Final Fantasy XII allowed complete control of all party members, even if you weren't selecting the menu commands yourself. You still had to fine tune all of the decisions made by your comrades and the staggering amount of choice it gave you is second to none today. 
Xenoblade on the other hand allows for little control of comrades which at times makes for very frustrating gameplay. There is nothing worse than when you need healing and your medic has wasted all of her spells and she needs to wait to 'cool down'. This happens far too frequently in battle and is one thing that never happens with the Gambit system. 
Final Fantasy XIII also suffered absolutely stupid AI which would put you in near death situations with little help from your stupid companion. All the paradigm shift did was make a flat system feel a little more exciting, in reality it was extremely limited in execution and very repetitive to play. 
Persona 3 also had AI controlled battle team mates and that was rightly changed with P3P and P4. The AI was certainly better than most but we all got sick of Mitsuru casting Marin Karin. :-O

In The Last Story, we were given a wonderful attacking system which gave almost complete control over team mates when needed and excellent strategy options. The ability to diffuse magic rings when gave various field effects was wonderfully exciting and a breath of fresh air to the genre. I find it odd that Xenoblade is constantly hailed but Last Story frankly does it all better. 

Automated battle systems are certainly the way forward, not having to select attack over and over is a godsend and games like FFXII and Last Story can nail it to perfection. It makes the games feel faster and less like the real time strategy games they really are. (Not RTS btw)

I do enjoy the battle systems used in games like Xenoblade, I feel it is a positive step. However I wish people would realise the sheer depth and quality of the system used in FFXII as it is frankly far better than more recent ones. 

So to sum up. The Final Fantasy XII battle system is far better and more interactive than pretty much all that have come since. I just wish there was no gambit on option for the player controller character, that would have kept people quiet. I would love to see the people that were so critical of it in the past go back to it to give the game the chance it deserves. 

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