Nothing is quite like playing a Role Playing Game. The many different ways that an RPG can be made is staggering. You have your Action RPGs where you control a character, fight enemies and gain levels and unlock new skills. They can be First Person experiences, such as The Elder Scrolls series of games or Third Person like The Witcher series. They can be a Fighting Game and RPG hybrid like the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series, where you have fighting game mechanics but all the elements of an RPG where you gain new skills and gain levels to get stronger. And finally they can be like most JRPGs, Japanese Role Playing Games, which are turned-based. That’s not to say all JRPGs are turned based, as there are definitely several instances of JRPGs being Action RPGs, such as with Xenoblade Chronicles. However, several of the RPGs that come out of Japan are turn-based. Final Fantasy, Pokemon, Shin Megami Tensei and the spin-off series Persona, and Dragon Quest are all just a few instances of turn-based RPGs. As far as I can recall, we’ve only seen a small handful of turn-based RPGs come out of anywhere but Japan. So today I wanted to show some Turn-based JRPG appreciation by writing about why they are so appealing.
Turn-Based JRPG Appreciation
With Turn-Based RPGs, you are introduced to a level of strategy you wouldn’t have in an Action RPGs or really any other game that isn’t turn-based. You can look at your characters health, their magic or whatever type of special action gauge, and gauge your opponents health. You can determine just what your opponent is going to do based on what they have done or indeed haven’t done yet and determine what your next action should be. If the game allows you to swap party members during battle, should you? Is a party member weak against what this opponent is throwing out or maybe you just have someone who can throw something out that will turn the tides of battle? Or maybe you have a spell or power that could help turn the tide. Maybe throwing a health restoration spell will save someone in a absolutely dire circumstance or maybe an item in your inventory will save you. True many of these things can be determined on the fly in other games, but when it’s turn based you do have the luxury of time. However, some turn-based games don’t necessarily pause everything while you are taking your turn. Some of them have a timer system where every character and every enemy has a certain amount of down time between actions, which pauses while characters actually perform actions. So if you aren’t making turns, the enemies still are. This still allows you to plan out your moves, just on a more active level. That helps to explain why those are typically called Active Turn-based RPGs, though I can’t say many RPGs actually use that method of gameplay. Not first hand, anyways.
I honestly didn’t get into Turn-based RPGs until I was in my pre-teens and I got my hands on Pokemon Ruby. Of course at the time I didn’t really know it was a genre all it’s own. Sometime after I played Pokemon, I played the Dragon Ball Z Legendary Super Warriors game on my Gameboy Advanced. This game wasn’t anything like how Pokemon played but it was definitely a turn-based game. You had to select your attack and predict what action the opponent was going to take to defend against you. Using patterns, you could determine if they would attempt a counter type attack, or an attack that would block all or most damage against certain types of special powers. And vice versa, you had to determine what kind of attack they were sending out at certain points so that you could properly defend against them. It was sometime later when I first played Final Fantasy VIII, which went back to more of the Turn-based RPG style that Pokemon had first introduced me to, but it was still not quite like what I had played before. If you haven’t played a Pokemon game before, I question why you are reading an article about games or even JRPGs, but you pit one of your creatures against your opponents and you use special moves against each other until one of the other is defeated. In Final Fantasy 8, you have a team of 3 characters and you fight various numbers of enemies using basic attacks and spells and even summoned, super powerful creatures. Most Final Fantasy games perform about the same way, with some variations on the turn-based formula, so I won’t go into that. But it was completely different than what I had experienced before.
The point is that Turn-based RPGs allow you to plan out your moves accordingly and I think it’s great. If you know someone new to games, perhaps sitting them down with a Turn-based game would work out. They typically, but not always, have great stories and the mechanics aren’t overly complicated. And with time being halted while they plan out their actions, it’ll be something to easily familiarize themselves with in no time at all. This is probably one of my favorite genres.
If you have any Turn-based JRPG appreciation you wanted to share for any of your favorite titles, feel free to let us know somewhere online. Either at our Twitter @Risingshark or in the comments.
Also, be sure to check out our YouTube page for gameplay videos, complete playthroughs in the coming future, and versus matches with Montage, our fighting game mogul.
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