Video Game Tuesday: JRPGs and Turn-Based Combat

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic I hear thrown about way too much. It’s all about JRPGs and Turn-Based Combat!

What do you mean too much?: I mean that I hear people critique many JRPGs or call them not pure JRPGs because they don’t use Turn-Based Combat like Final Fantasy or Pokemon. First off that’s a load of crap, what seperates a JRPG from a Western RPG is the way the story is handled.  The lack of a coherent story without having to dig through hours worth of lore and tool tips is something that JRPGs lack and are a huge point in their favor for me. WRPGs tend to be much more open about how you can proceed with the story, or not proceed with it at all and just adventure. Morrowind is the perfect example of a WRPG. Secondly the Final Fantasy series has used the Active Time Battle System since the fourth entry in the series. so you FFVII fans out there calm yourselves before raising up in arms against me.

But JRPGs aren’t JRPGs without Turn Based Combat!: I call bull on that, there are plenty of JRPGs that don’t use Turn Based Combat and they are excellent games, my favorite JRPG of all time Tales of Zestiria doesn’t use it all and that was a strength for it. In fact it’s the entire reason that Zestiria won it’s place over Chrono Trigger for me. I hate Chrono Trigger’s combat system because of it’s sometimes clunky nature. Zestiria had amazing combat in comparison. Final Fantasy XV, the one that just got released a couple weeks ago, has no turn based action at all as well. It just might be my favorite battle system outside of a Tales of game I’ve played.

So just because a JRPG doesn’t use turn based combat doesn’t mean it’s not a pure JRPG, and it doesn’t mean it’s bad.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

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