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Round 2, Match 19: Final Fantasy X (1) vs. Final Fantasy VI - Winner (3)

2

Comments

  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Macstorm wrote: »
    Does generic equal bad?

    No, but it feels to me like a Battle System Royale should be focused on the battle systems themselves and not so much other aspects of the game.

    And if the mechanics of the battle system don't matter as much as how well the game manages to balance & execute on that system (i.e. a simple system done well), then FF6 still shouldn't be on the list and should have been replaced with any one of a number of Dragon Quest games.
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  • Jmustang1968Jmustang1968 RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    No, but it feels to me like a Battle System Royale should be focused on the battle systems themselves and not so much other aspects of the game.

    And if the mechanics of the battle system don't matter as much as how well the game manages to balance & execute on that system (i.e. a simple system done well), then FF6 still shouldn't be on the list and should have been replaced with any one of a number of Dragon Quest games.

    But isnt this why we have this exercise to begin with, varying opinions and all? If there was a definitive list of best battle systems then this would all be pointless.

    I also consider the battle systems to be more than just the barebones mechanics. I consider the execution and balance along with the mechanics and I factor in how much enjoyment or how often I was annoyed by the combat.

    And sure, everyone can get Ultima by the near end of the game, but the majority of the game you do not have it and one relies on the unique character skills much more often.
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    The "everyone can be the same" problem is one that can be an issue in many RPGs, but good games find ways around that by allowing players to make their characters unique. FFVI does a better job of this than say FFVII, but I can see the complaint. That said, I never had that issue, as the characters each have unique abilities (like in FFIV) that helped make them different enough to stand out.

    All that said, I agree Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies deserved to be in this Royale!
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Well, a lot of these battle systems are so different from each other that there's no objective better system. You could make a good argument that a lot of these games aren't really even in the same genre as each other.

    I guess I'm just a little disappointed because I feel like FFX is when Square-Enix actually started to care about their battle systems and tried to move beyond Dragon Quest with flashier abilities. FF1-9 all have generic battle systems that are bolstered by great supporting systems (like the job system in FF5 or the interesting character-specific abilities in FF6) but FFX's battle system in and of itself is well done. And someone might have issues with some of the supporting decisions they made in that game (like the poor XP system, the lack of real choice for most of the game when using the default sphere grid, the high frequency of enemies that are designed to be defeated by a certain character, and the overpowered nature of summons) but that doesn't change the quality of the underlying battle system.
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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    If you're taking into account secondary aspects like character/ability options (which are admittedly better than most RPGs) then you also ought to take into account that the best abilities are non-character specific (like Ultima) with the result that most everyone ends up being essentially the same character mechanically by the end of the game.

    That's not really accurate, unless we're assuming everyone is doing insane amounts of grinding. Ultima and other high level spells aren't even great on a character with lower magic related stats. Not only that, but Setzer with the fixed dice, Sabin's best blitzs, THE CHAINSAW, the best lores, Umaro proparly leveled and setup, etc. provide tons of options so you really don't have to waste hours of your life getting everyone Ultima. That's why FFVI wins this battle for me, there's a ton of different options party wise, including just making everyone awesome magic users if that's your thing and you want to waste hours on it.

    Just because you have the option to make every character boring doesn't mean you have to use it.

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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    I'm with you on the point that FFVI is not one of my favorite battle systems and that its combat is overshadowed by the rest of the game. That said, there's nothing that says a simple, straightforward system is bad.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    My problem with FF6 even being on this list is that the battle system is almost as generic as it comes. It's barebones Dragon Quest combat except you have to wait for your turn & if you take too long in menus, the enemy gets extra turns.

    If you're taking into account secondary aspects like character/ability options (which are admittedly better than most RPGs) then you also ought to take into account that the best abilities are non-character specific (like Ultima) with the result that most everyone ends up being essentially the same character mechanically by the end of the game.

    Don't get me wrong - I consider FF6 to be one of the best RPGs of all time. However, its big strengths are its character design, music, story, and dungeon design and not so much its combat system.
    I see a few problems with this argument... Sorry in advance for pulling it apart.

    First, you are using the "generic" argument against FF6 in particular, when it applies just as much to FFX in every respect. Because FFX is actually turn based, and not ATB, it is actually notably more like Dragon Quest than FF6 is. I mean, what exactly is remarkable about FFX's system? It has a turn-based battle system based on agility rather than rounds, it has the ability to freely change your party members mid-battle, and it has the ability to summon powerful summon units to replace the party for a short time. Of those, the first two were quite common long before FFX was ever made, which means the main unique thing about FFX is its summon system, though even that is preceded by things like Breath of Fire's dragon transformations filling a similar role.

    I think that, if we are arguing uniqueness, the two games tie. The strength of both is in quality, not uniqueness.

    Generally, though, I don't consider FF6 to be at all comparable to Dragon Quest. The ATB system is not a minor change, it is a dramatic shift from the "one turn for each character per round" battle system in Dragon Quest. It enables different things. Also, while how you get abilities is irrelevant to a battle system, the list of abilities you have is absolutely critical to one, and in that respect they couldn't be more different. FF6's focus on powerful character-specific physical attacks, all-enemy magic attacks, and all-character healing is a very different experience than the Dragon Quest battle system, which focuses on single-character healing and using magic to buff a warrior's basic attacks (and in later games amping up tension). You can't even draw similarities to how the two series handle things like elemental damage and weaknesses. The basic strategies you use and skills you want to take advantage of are completely different.

    As a second major point, even ignoring the fact that people should not be deciding this contest based on character advancement systems, it is simply not true that every character in FF6 ends up the same by the end of the game. Unlike some later FF games (which includes FFX), it is not at all possible to actually make everyone identical in FF6. They will always have different equipment options, and they will always have their own unique skills, many of which are far more powerful than any magic short of Ultima. If you are considering a game in which the player grinds enough to give ever character Ultima, you may as well consider a FFX game in which every character has been taught every skill on the Sphere Grid, in which case they would be far more similar than FF6 characters would be. In a more realistic scenario, you would be hard-pressed to call FF6 characters similar.

    I just don't think the arguments you've made apply to this particular competition.

    I'll agree with Mac, though, that DQ IX might have been an interesting entry in the competition. I didn't add it to my own recommendations because it doesn't have what I'd call an interactive battle system (fights rely heavily on buffing and techniques that work regardless of what your opponent is or does, so most major fights play out identically), but it still has a lot of strong points.
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Of those, the first two were quite common long before FFX was ever made, which means the main unique thing about FFX is its summon system, though even that is preceded by things like Breath of Fire's dragon transformations filling a similar role.

    Free character swapping was quite common before FFX? I'm going to need a list of games because other than BoF4, I'm drawing a blank. DQ4 did let you swap in battle some of the time (if you had the wagon with you), but it took a turn.

    Anyway, I don't consider FFX to be one of the best battle systems of all-time, just one of the better Final Fantasy battle systems. Yeah, it doesn't do anything THAT unique, but at the time, free character swapping & speed-based turns were both pretty rare, and it even had some enemy turn manipulation ala Grandia though to a less extent. It's the first main FF game (and one of the few RPGs in general) where ailments & debuffs are actually useful. And if nothing else, it got rid of the horrible ATB system.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    And made room for the real best FF battle system, the ADB system from FFXII!
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I have no real horse in this race, but I will note that the International Edition of FFX added Scan right next to everybody's starting spots on the new improved sphere grid. So that particular weakness is addressed in X/X-2 HD.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Ocelot wrote: »
    I have no real horse in this race, but I will note that the International Edition of FFX added Scan right next to everybody's starting spots on the new improved sphere grid. So that particular weakness is addressed in X/X-2 HD.

    No, the great thing is that you don't need to waste turns to use scan; as long as you have equipment with scan slotted (which is super easy to get), the game gives you a lot of information on each enemy right from the start.
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  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I personally preferred just using the Scan ability and getting the big infodump, especially on boss fights. I think that big info screen contributed to my far greater enjoyment of FFX on my second playthrough with the HD version.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    To be honest, I find both games similar in the uniqueness of the characters and their usefulness in battles, as it can take until endgame before characters start becoming similar in a fashion (everybody learning most of the magic in FF6, gaining access to the sphere grids of other characters in FF10). In terms of pacing, both can be pretty fast paced if you know what you want to do and immediately gun for it.

    However, I'm voting FF10 because it broke ahead of FF6 in the way of Overdrives and Summons. While anybody could summon in FF6, in FF10 it was limited to Yuna, and it was a major tactical move to use one in battle. For not only did it remove the other party members from battle, it also completely changed up the pace of the fights either in or against your favor. For normal fights, the summons could instantly save you from certain doom and wipe out the foes if you pulled out one that could deal with the enemy effectively. Against bosses though, the summons were usually a 1-turn wonder, with several bosses in the game being able to 1-shot them. And with the summons leaving, there was no telling how the turns would end up, so it could make or break the party depending on the turn order after a summon leaves.

    For Overdrives, it was different for each character early on in how they were gained. Originally it was the normal take damage to fill the bar thing, but depending how battles flowed it could completely change. If you attacked enough, you could gain the Warrior style of the bar filling, where each attack hit gained you some of the bar. If you killed enough enemies, you'd gain the Slayer style, and killing an enemy would fill up the bar massively. If you dodged enough, you could get the Dancer style where dodging filled up the bar. The possibilities were endless, and changed it up so depending on what you did, each character would have their own style of gaining their Overdrives.

    Those two parts of the battles put FF10 ahead of FF6 for me.
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  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Free character swapping was quite common before FFX? I'm going to need a list of games because other than BoF4, I'm drawing a blank. DQ4 did let you swap in battle some of the time (if you had the wagon with you), but it took a turn.
    Well, you named one. Breath of Fire 4. You could swap (at the cost of a turn) in BoF1, too, and I do consider that similar enough to be relevant. The turn cost is a change in effectiveness, not a dramatic change in the nature of the option. If you accept that, then stuff like DQ wagon switching, Pokemon's swapping in and out, and several others are worth mentioning. I think it is worth pointing out that I don't consider FFX's free character switch to be superior to the switch with a cost, too.

    Of course, for the sake of this competition as a whole I can point out that there are several later games that feature the same free switch option. Megaman X Command Mission does it better than FFX, in my opinion. For tactical games, Valkyria Chronicles 2 and the Disgaea games have a slightly different implementation, but they still fundamentally allow a free character switch (and the VC2 implementation is another one I'd consider better than FFX). I'm probably forgetting a few.

    FFX is not unique. As I think I mentioned in the previous round, FFX suffers from the fact that many games took its ideas and improved on them. It is an interesting game as a historical footnote in how it refined many older ideas and inspired many later games to carry on those refinements, but you know what? That doesn't mean FFX itself is all that remarkable or excellent on its own merits. Many of the games that came after it beat it at its own game. For my own preferences, I don't really consider it to have a great battle system. I honestly wondered "how did THAT get onto this list" when it was chosen for the top 32.

    Matching an edit with an edit...
    Anyway, I don't consider FFX to be one of the best battle systems of all-time, just one of the better Final Fantasy battle systems. Yeah, it doesn't do anything THAT unique, but at the time, free character swapping & speed-based turns were both pretty rare, and it even had some enemy turn manipulation ala Grandia though to a less extent. It's the first main FF game (and one of the few RPGs in general) where ailments & debuffs are actually useful. And if nothing else, it got rid of the horrible ATB system.
    Speed based turns were actually pretty common before FFX. Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Arc the Lad, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, Legend of Dragoon, and possibly several others I can't recall right now all had speed-based turns.

    FFX was not the first FF game where status ailments are useful. It's just the first one that tells you when they will be useful. At the very least, status ailments are godly in FF5 with certain teams. If you want to see this for yourself, try the FF5 Four Job Fiesta challenge run (pre-registration for this year just opened the other day). It might open your eyes about how good status ailments can be in an older FF game.

    If you want to see RPGs that handle status ailments well, then they are not rare in the slightest. Again, most RPGs jut don't explicitly tell you how to use them like FFX does (which makes them less fun to use, in my opinion). Many other RPGs don't slowly force you to use less effective "Buster" versions of status ailments before phasing them out completely like FFX does, either. I always hated that about the game, actually. Better use of status ailments can be seen in more difficult games, like the Etrian Odyssey series.

    Also, the ATB system is really fun. I don't see why you keep claiming how it is obviously bad. It isn't bad at all.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Yeah...one thing I remember from playing FFVI was that every character does not end up the same. Some characters had lower magic stats...so I didn't waste time trying to level up offensive materia for them. For the most part, I gave them support materia, and left offensive firepower work to Terra and the such. Between that, and their unique abilities, it really helped the combat to stay fresh through the game for me. Again, the ending dungeon and battle, where I got a chance to utilize nearly everyone (especially since I had people die left and right in the final battle) was super awesome and memorable. Zeboyd Games, I'm one of the largest critics of generic JRPG battle systems. Ironically enough, I enjoy DQ games despite the fact that its about as generic as they come... but outside of that? I hate 'em. I'm the one who dared to decry Brave Story much to shingrin of JRPG fans everywhere. It's a tried and true formula that, for the most part, has been done to death and bores me to tears. However, when someone does something just a little different, such as adding an initiative bar with interrupt abilities (Grandia), it can totally make something old seem new again. FFVI may seem, at first blush, to be another generic ATB JRPG battle sytem. But, it's the small things, like their unique abilities, that help it to stand out.

    FFX mixes it up a bit as well with the ability to swap characters on the fly... don't get me wrong. But I'm not sure that's a huge battle system differential compared to what FFVI brings to the table. Now, I totally understand and respect that you feel X is better at the end of the day. But, I struggle with your assertion that those who choose VI over X do so because they're just so in love with the rest of the game that they can't seperate the battle system and rate it alone. (Because, from what I infer from your statements, if they did, they would clearly choose X).

    I'm not saying its the best battle system of all time...but I'm confused why you are just so surprised why some people may choose it over X.

    On a slightly related topic regarding sameness of characters or whatnot.... I'm one of those people who do not spend a lot of time grinding (though i don't rush through, either). In games like FFX and XII, where its possible to grind up everyone to eventually have everything (and therefore be the same), I don't. I simply lack the time. So, especially in the case of XII, I assign each roles to each character and make their leveling choices accordingly. With X, their sphere grid starting point played a large role there...though towards the end I did have them crossing into each other's sphere grid territory. Regardless, I have yet to play a Final Fantasy game, using my lazy approach, where I felt like every character pretty much did the same way (I *have* played RPGs like that...they are pretty boring).

    DarkRPG wrote:
    However, I'm voting FF10 because it broke ahead of FF6 in the way of Overdrives and Summons. While anybody could summon in FF6, in FF10 it was limited to Yuna, and it was a major tactical move to use one in battle.

    Yeah... I dunno...I ended up ignoring it as an option because, as you point out, it was often ineffective, or, at least, inefficient. I've struggled with summoning in later FF Games because of this. In X-2, XII... man...summoning just isn't the awesomeness it used to be when I was kid :P It's fun to watch the animation, though...so I pull it out on random battles sometimes just to get some eye candy.

    As far as overdrives...they were kinda like the special moves in VI (for me), except I wasn't limited to waiting for some silly bar to fill up most of the time :P They're fun in either case, though. I'm glad they're there. But, in that area, I give the nod to VI. I like not being limited when I can use my cool moves.
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  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    The turn cost is a change in effectiveness, not a dramatic change in the nature of the option.

    No, it's a dramatic change in the nature of the option.

    With a turn cost, party swapping means you can change your active party mid-battle.
    Without a turn cost, party swapping means that the idea of an active party is mostly meaningless other than for HP management. Your active party is, in fact, your entire party, ALL OF THE TIME. Huge difference.

    I agree with you that everything that FFX did has been done in other games, although a case could be made that the specific combination that FFX did hasn't really been replicated (other than perhaps LotR: Third Age which was a blatant copy). However, FF6 really doesn't belong in this competition - it doesn't have the historical footnote argument going for it because FF4 did the ATB beforehand. And in this same competition, Chrono Trigger did everything that FF6 did and more (multi-character combo abilities, on-map battles, abilities with different areas of effect).
    I'm the one who dared to decry Brave Story much to shingrin of JRPG fans everywhere. It's a tried and true formula that, for the most part, has been done to death and bores me to tears.

    I'm surprised that you mentioned Brave Story's battle system as being generic. Brave Story's MP restoration in-combat for various moves was one of the major factors in us re-evaluating how MP worked in combat in our own games - first in giving some MP restoration at the end of battles in our first 2 games, then with the "Start with 0, gain 1 MP each turn" system in the Penny Arcade games, and finally with the no-MP system in Cosmic Star Heroine.

    Anyway, sorry if I seemed overly harsh with my complaint. Yes, it's possible to prefer the simplicity of FF6's battle system over the greater depth of FF10's. I just find FF6's battle system to be dreadfully boring from an analytical perspective, even though the actual combat encounters are generally well balanced, the abilities are interesting, and the game overall is excellent. It's a great game with a serviceable battle system, but the battle system isn't particular good or interesting in and of itself.
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  • Jmustang1968Jmustang1968 RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    That argument also seems to assume that unique or different is inherently better. I find VI combat to be more polished and refined than IV.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Sabin's blitzes alone make FF6 > FFX.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    smacd wrote: »
    Sabin's blitzes alone make FF6 > FFX.
    You cannot measure Chuck Norris (Sabin is the videogame version of him) to anything else, it's impossible to.
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  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    That argument also seems to assume that unique or different is inherently better. I find VI combat to be morr polished and refined than IV.

    Which is the main argument. I feel like these competitions should be looking at just mechanics, but several people disagree and feel that balance & polish should be looked at as well.

    Interestingly enough, in this competition, Bravely Default is kind of the opposite of FF6. FF6 has a boring battle system but has high levels of balance & polish. Bravely Default has a great battle system but is very poorly balanced.
    Yeah... I dunno...I ended up ignoring it as an option because, as you point out, it was often ineffective, or, at least, inefficient.

    For a change of pace, I've been replaying FFX with a static party (Tidus, Yuna, and Rikku) except for instances where it forces you to use somebody else and I kind of wish I had picked a different 3 because Yuna's summons are incredibly broken as long as you pick a LV-Up path with more Strength on it. I haven't done any grinding but I'm regularly one-shotting non-boss enemies with just my summon's regular attack (which is drastically more powerful & has better accuracy than anybody else in the party).
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    Which is the main argument. I feel like these competitions should be looking at just mechanics, but several people disagree and feel that balance & polish should be looked at as well.

    Interestingly enough, in this competition, Bravely Default is kind of the opposite of FF6. FF6 has a boring battle system but has high levels of balance & polish. Bravely Default has a great battle system but is very poorly balanced.
    The best engine in the world doesn't mean much until you take it out and see how it handles.

    And back to Brave Story...you could also level up IN battle. That was really cool.
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  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Final Fantasy versus Final Fantasy. That’s tough. Each of the franchise’s battle systems have something unique to offer, so comparing any of them would not be fun, but which game’s system you will favor will always be a matter of personal preference.

    Final Fantasy X may feature the ability to switch between party characters on the fly, but the game also only has a handful of members which essentially represent a handful of jobs. Final Fantasy VI technically has twenty playable characters, most of which have unique in-battle skills sets which can individually turn the tide of battle. In Final Fantasy X’s CTB system you can move as fast or slow as you like, whereas the ATB system in Final Fantasy VI (though it can be adjusted through the menu) generally requires you to think and act quickly. The battles may be more visually impressive in Final Fantasy X, but Final Fantasy VI had a number of battles which featured special or changing conditions that were woven into the events of the plot. Finally, skill and character progression in Final Fantasy X followed a linear grid using spheres obtained in battle, where Final Fantasy VI relied on the judgment of the player in assigning Espers which would grant skills based on AP.

    I think you know where I’m going with this one. I have to give it up to Final Fantasy VI.

    Vote: Final Fantasy VI
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    2 staff votes for FF6 and FF6 has the lead in the reader poll. Looks like that's it.
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  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Disappointed but not surprised by it looking like FF6 is going to win on the strength of the game and not the battle system.

    Also -- I'm way late to this party, but I want to reaffirm that I'm only talking about the merits of the combat as well. I very much prefer the battle system of FFVI over FFX, mostly because the solution to most enemies and bosses wasn't just switching the right characters for the right context. What Final Fantasy X did was unique, but a unique battle system -- in my opinion -- doesn't mean a better battle system. Final Fantasy VI's combat moves fast enough to not feel tiring, boasts a fair amount of variety in story-related encounters, offers more variety in terms of in-battle maneuvers for your characters, and the system itself ties in well with skill development.

    For me, the choice wasn't too hard.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    EDIT: Eh, forget it. I'm out of here.
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  • Jmustang1968Jmustang1968 RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    EDIT: Eh, forget it. I'm out of here.

    I don't see why you'd have to jump out. I was enjoying the discussion. I just think you are taking a different approach to the evaluation.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    No, it's a dramatic change in the nature of the option.

    With a turn cost, party swapping means you can change your active party mid-battle.
    Without a turn cost, party swapping means that the idea of an active party is mostly meaningless other than for HP management. Your active party is, in fact, your entire party, ALL OF THE TIME. Huge difference.

    I agree with you that everything that FFX did has been done in other games, although a case could be made that the specific combination that FFX did hasn't really been replicated (other than perhaps LotR: Third Age which was a blatant copy). However, FF6 really doesn't belong in this competition - it doesn't have the historical footnote argument going for it because FF4 did the ATB beforehand. And in this same competition, Chrono Trigger did everything that FF6 did and more (multi-character combo abilities, on-map battles, abilities with different areas of effect).

    ...

    Anyway, sorry if I seemed overly harsh with my complaint. Yes, it's possible to prefer the simplicity of FF6's battle system over the greater depth of FF10's. I just find FF6's battle system to be dreadfully boring from an analytical perspective, even though the actual combat encounters are generally well balanced, the abilities are interesting, and the game overall is excellent. It's a great game with a serviceable battle system, but the battle system isn't particular good or interesting in and of itself.
    I don't think I can agree with the claim that the lack of a cost makes party-changing fundamentally different. Yes, it makes it more effective, but the "active party is your entire party" thing is true in any RPG that lets you change characters mid-battle, particularly if they let you heal characters who are not currently in the battle (something I can't even recall if FFX lets you do). In several different games (DQ4, DQ5, Golden Sun 2, and FF12), I've had some great final battles in which I did a LOT of swapping characters in and out of the party as they suffered injuries, were knocked out, or otherwise incapable of fighting, and had to slowly pull myself back from major setbacks by balancing both the active and inactive parts of the party. You don't need to have a negligible cost in order to make mid-battle party-swapping an important and fun part of the game. The big difference is between games that do enable swapping and those that do not, not between whether it costs anything or not.

    Honestly, I don't like the zero cost swapping in FFX. I always thought it weird how, fundamentally, it makes it easier to use someone outside of the party than someone in the active party. If you need a certain character's ability NOW, then it is better for that character to be in reserve than in the active party. That's... well it is strange. It inverts the fundamental opportunity cost of choosing who is in the active party.

    This may be a bit of a digresssion, but that kind of thing is exactly why I consider FFX to be the turning point that begins the downfall of the FF series. For the first nine games, the FF series is fundamentally built on opportunity costs. If you want to use ability X, you have to give up the ability to use ability y. In FF1, you had to choose which classes to start with, and could never use the others. In FF2, you only have so many spell slots and time spent building up certain skills, weapons, and stats is time not spent on building up the others. In FF3, each character can only use the skills from their current job. FF4 doesn't have much customization, but each character is pretty unique, and even in the DS remake you can only give each augment to a single character and equip so many skills at once. In FF5, there are all kinds of limitations on how you build a party with classes and skills. In FF6, you only get those two important relic slots and one esper slot, and you can only use four out of fourteen characters at once. In FF7, you only have so many materia slots. In FF8, you only have so many GFs and can only give each one to one party member, and have limited slots on top of that. In FF9, equipping passive skills costs points. In FFX... there's nothing. No limitation at all.

    Even if you acquired every ability in the game and maxed out there power to the limit via undue amounts of grinding, it is impossible for any one character to have access to every ability in any FF game prior to FFX. In most, it is impossible to have access to every ability even with an entire party. Having to choose between different options, make tough choices, and build your own strategy out of those options is the fundamental source of the series' depth and interest. FFX abandons that on every level, and paves the way for horrible, shallow character development systems like you see in FF12 and FF13.

    So, yeah, I'm not really a fan of costless character switching in FFX. It is just one of many game elements in FFX that removes tough choice, difficulty, and complexity, and just enables the player to have the solution to every problem right on hand. It doesn't add depth; it takes it away. It does about as much to create a deep, complex, and fun battle system as Yuna's ability to spam Holy for 1 MP the moment she gets the powered-up Nirvana does.

    Sorry, I guess I'm getting a little off track. I've been wanting to get that FFX rant off of my chest for a while.

    Anyways, keep in mind I'm not really arguing for FF6 being a "best of all time" battle system myself. It's a really fun game, but I wouldn't really vote it to that degree. I do think it is perfectly fair to prefer it to FFX, though, which is why I've been arguing like this. I'm actually glad I don't have to vote in this particular round, to be quite honest. That said, I hope you didn't misunderstand my historical footnote argument. I don't think people should vote for games based on being historical footnotes. Quite the opposite. Quality is all that matters.

    I do agree that Chrono Trigger might beat out FF6, if we are talking purely about ATB systems.
    EDIT: Eh, forget it. I'm out of here.
    That's a shame. Like Jmustang, I was also enjoying this discussion. I don't agree with you, but at the same time I hope I didn't do anything to make you feel unwelcome.
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I'm surprised that you mentioned Brave Story's battle system as being generic. Brave Story's MP restoration in-combat for various moves was one of the major factors in us re-evaluating how MP worked in combat in our own games - first in giving some MP restoration at the end of battles in our first 2 games, then with the "Start with 0, gain 1 MP each turn" system in the Penny Arcade games, and finally with the no-MP system in Cosmic Star Heroine.

    Anyway, sorry if I seemed overly harsh with my complaint. Yes, it's possible to prefer the simplicity of FF6's battle system over the greater depth of FF10's. I just find FF6's battle system to be dreadfully boring from an analytical perspective, even though the actual combat encounters are generally well balanced, the abilities are interesting, and the game overall is excellent. It's a great game with a serviceable battle system, but the battle system isn't particular good or interesting in and of itself.

    Always wondered in Brave Story influenced that design. Glad to hear that more people played that game, it didn't get a lot of attention and was really, really good.
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  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I'm surprised that you mentioned Brave Story's battle system as being generic. Brave Story's MP restoration in-combat for various moves was one of the major factors in us re-evaluating how MP worked in combat in our own games - first in giving some MP restoration at the end of battles in our first 2 games, then with the "Start with 0, gain 1 MP each turn" system in the Penny Arcade games, and finally with the no-MP system in Cosmic Star Heroine.

    Anyway, sorry if I seemed overly harsh with my complaint. Yes, it's possible to prefer the simplicity of FF6's battle system over the greater depth of FF10's. I just find FF6's battle system to be dreadfully boring from an analytical perspective, even though the actual combat encounters are generally well balanced, the abilities are interesting, and the game overall is excellent. It's a great game with a serviceable battle system, but the battle system isn't particular good or interesting in and of itself.

    You see...from my perspective, what Brave story does different with the Magic point system just wasn't enough to make it feel different. Sure, I could be more free with the spells and the such, but since that didn't change my approach to encounters very much. Yeah, I conserve spells in games where the game limits restoring MP. But, unless the spells are super effective compares to physical fighting, I don't really see much of a point. In FFIV, for example, until I got the third level of elemental spells, physical attacks were doing as much, if not more damage than spells, except in those rarer instances where the monsters had elemental weaknesses. And, generally, the baddies had such few HPs, that we were talking a difference of a 1 round battle, versus 2 rounds. Not a big deal... if I'm conserving the MPs, I just go all physical and heal what few hits I've taken when its over. Brave Story did not change that approach for me. And as you mention later, the balance throws this off. Going through the easier battles just bored me to tears... (which brings us back to the question of whether balance should be included in the judgement of a battle system... for me, the answer is yes. That's the main reason I like Dragon Quest games so much... they get it right and that keeps me engaged).

    ZB wrote:
    EDIT: Eh, forget it. I'm out of here.
    JM Wrote wrote:
    I don't see why you'd have to jump out. I was enjoying the discussion. I just think you are taking a different approach to the evaluation.

    Hmm? I too was enjoying this discussion with you. :)


    EDIT: Twin, just read your longer, most recent post. I found it quite thought provoking...I will be thinking about it for some time. Very interesting....
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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
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    Looks like Sabin is preparing to get the 3-count
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