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Round 4, Match 29: Xenoblade Chronicles - Winner (4) vs. Tales of Graces f (3)

JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: KirinAdministrators
edited July 2014 in Battle Royale!
Match 29: Which battle system do you prefer?
Xenoblade Chronicles
Tales of Graces f

This particular installment marks the semifinals. It's beginning... looks like about 5 minutes before Monday begins on the east coast, July 7. It shall end in roughly 48 hours to give way for the other semifinal.
The rules are a touch different this time. The reader vote counts for 2 total, in recognition of 5 staff debating this round. Who's debating?
Why, that would be Mac, Becky, Alex, Glenn, and Nathan. Colorful dialogue is likely to result!
This one ended a couple hours later than usual, at something like 2:17 AM for easterners.
It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
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Comments

  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Very easy for me, Tales of Graces is better by miles. Xenoblade's battle system isn't all that great. It's a good idea and fairly well executed, but it will never get better than slightly above your average battle system. Tales of Graces on the other hand does not only use the amazing Tales of... battle system, it also perfected it.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Time to go play two certain games for a few hours each...
  • Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    This is clearly...an...easy...hmm.

    This is a tough choice. The debate shall play a key part in how I vote on this. Two excellent RPG battle systems that I could happily spend many hours with (and have done, with both earning multiple completions from me). It's two action combat systems but two that are weighted a bit differently. Xenoblade feels more towards required tactical thinking and general awareness to what was going on, while Graces f feels a lot more focus on ability to immediately react and unleash appropriate combos. Graces f makes each individual battle more of an event, but I didn't really like how perfect you had be in terms of timing in some annoyingly punishing bosses (which as least can be countered with through an adjustable difficulty). Xenoblade gave more focus on the overall sequence of battles and I really loved the way it blends the areas and battles near seamlessly versus Graces f's transition into the arena. It's less of an issue with Tales as it's doesn't faff around too much with loading, but the smashing glass effect and victory screen can tire. It's also worth saying how both games do excellent jobs of varying things when controlling different party members.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Here's a situation where we have one game I didn't expect to like, but did. And then another that I expected to be a favorite, but couldn't get into it at first. In the end, I did end up likely both battle systems.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    This one is easy xenoblade by far, ill go with a fluid system rather than a convoluted one. I had to force my way just to finish graces wile i have 1k+ hours of Xenoblade all of which I was never bored of combat like i was with ToG

    however there is one thing I failed to mention, I played xenoblade where the game ran at 4 times the speed even in battle so most fights were super quick which may have raised my affinity for it, it can be slow at normal circumstances

    also the cutomization in Xenoblade far exceeds that of ToG which is something i hold in high regard
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Let's go Graces f!

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQg-w2zlHUpAqo6OO8xr4AppEI8o03cw6PZbE7_DMbza6eaoxl6Iw

    tumblr_n7zw51RKNP1rcpv04o1_500.gif
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    You have never even played Xenoblade, right? You need to fix this now.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Macstorm wrote: »
    You have never even played Xenoblade, right? You need to fix this now.

    he has played it and hates it
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I like Xenoblade more as a game, but I like Graces F's combat system more (but just a little).

    Looks like Graces F is winning the reader poll so far.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    he has played it and hates it
    Dang it, Wheels. Why you gotta be so wrong all the time?
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited July 2014
    A tough choice. Normally I go by which I had more fun with, but considering I had a blast with both, the level of fun is thrown out. This leaves me to which system I actually did prefer mechanic wise. As you all know, I'm a massive fan of both battle systems, one which has you managing cooldowns ala MMOs, the other managing reacting to the enemy's actions and hitting weaknesses for more damage. Both could get tactical, but unfortunately I must choose. So I choose Tales of Graces F. While both were fun, Graces pushed me to get better at the game, and pushed me to develop skill for every encounter. In the end, it felt far more satisfying to beat the tougher battles of Tales of Graces F on Chaos mode than it did beating one of the superbosses on Xenoblade Chronicles. Which is why I must sadly kick Xenoblade off the mountain.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Macstorm wrote: »
    Dang it, Wheels. Why you gotta be so wrong all the time?

    Correction, I played it and couldn't get into it, definitely plan on giving it another shot. I didn't hate it, those feeling are usually reserved for MUGEN SOULS.

    Note that there was nothing I found particularly bad about Xenoblade it just didn't grab me, and there were other newer games sucking me in like Last Story.
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    For me it's a matter of hate, going back to my severe disdain for having MMO style gameplay in my single player experience. If I had gone into it expecting MMO, like JC going into Dragon Wasrrior Expecting to grind, I may have liked it more. However for me the game as a whole was bogged down by the constant MMO style of it and the combat.

    To me the Graces f combat was fluid especially with the ability to just fluidly move from one set of skills to another. Also the customization of weapons leading to other bonus effects in battle (such as more CP) leading to longer combo's is AMAZING.
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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    For me it's a matter of hate, going back to my severe disdain for having MMO style gameplay in my single player experience. If I had gone into it expecting MMO, like JC going into Dragon Wasrrior Expecting to grind, I may have liked it more. However for me the game as a whole was bogged down by the constant MMO style of it and the combat.

    To me the Graces f combat was fluid especially with the ability to just fluidly move from one set of skills to another. Also the customization of weapons leading to other bonus effects in battle (such as more CP) leading to longer combo's is AMAZING.

    I don't really see the MMO comparison.
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  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Wheels wrote: »
    I don't really see the MMO comparison.

    Skills being based on cooldowns rather than MP, a lack of a separate battle screen, and an emphasis on aggro & tanking are the obvious similarities.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    I like when people clarify what "MMO-like" features they do not like. It's a little too vague to just say without details. For me, I love lack of a separate battle screen and aggro/tanking, but dislike cooldowns.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Macstorm wrote: »
    I like when people clarify what "MMO-like" features they do not like. It's a little too vague to just say without details. For me, I love lack of a separate battle screen and aggro/tanking, but dislike cooldowns.

    Actually agro/tanking mechanics I learned from MMO's has helped me in any number of console games. Like Tales of Vesparia. Once I figured that out from my time playing WoW, Aion, Rift, Terra, etc. I was able to better understand how monsters in Vesperia worked and better control the flow of battle. So nothing in regards to agro/tanking. It has more to do with the interface of battles.
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  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    A number of single-player games have adopted tanking/aggro mechanics since they appeared in MMOs, and it's not because they want to be more like MMOs, but because it's actually a neat system that adds a tactical layer to combat. Of course, monsters have had aggro tables since time immemorial, but what MMOs did was give players some active control over that aggro. As with any system, it can be done poorly and make a game too easy, or it can be done well and be fun and interesting to engage with. I think Xenoblade did the latter, and not only did it make a strong aggro system, it made a flexible one that could be exploited by various characters in various ways.

    That's not to say I'm voting for Xenoblade... I have to ponder this a bit because both systems are excellent, but in very different ways. I love the almost rhythmic action of Tales of Graces, and appreciate that the game threw new challenges at the player on a regular basis. However, I also love the strategic action of Xenoblade and the way that the party members really interacted with each other in every battle, from chaining various attacks to helping pick each other up during status ailments.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
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  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    After the last round I went back and decided to give Xenoblade one more chance, and I actually got further into it this time than before. I pretty much ignored side quests unless I happened to complete them as I went about doing my thing, but for the most part I stuck to the main story. At this point I've kind of gotten sick of it, so I don't think I'm going to continue.

    While I wouldn't say Xenoblade's combat is outright bad, I can't really say it's good either. It's passable, at best, mainly because it's really, really bland to actually play. I tried almost every character, and I finally settled into playing as Sharla for the first half of the game and switching to
    Fiora
    after Fallen Arm. The game never really felt like anything more than "meh" to me. Not having manual access to my entire party's catalogue of skills meant I had to rely on some pretty shoddy AI for the entirety of the game, (seriously, Shulk! Just use %*#$ing Purge already!), and character customization was pretty tedious and messy when you got down to it, especially as time went on. I went for really long stretches without upgrading my party's gear because A) I didn't feel like I needed to, I was destroying everything without really trying, and B) actually doing so took like half an hour in order to sort through the massively ugly inventory screens. They were almost as bad as Mass Effect's! Of course that's unrelated to the combat system, but I thought I'd mention it.

    Anyways, Xenoblade's combat only seemed to shine in maybe 5% of the game's battles, and that's being generous, and the number dropped significantly as time went on. I eventually stopped playing as Sharla because she started to feel pointless; with Dunban and Shulk as my two AI party members, I rarely if ever needed to actually heal or even buff the party because Dunban dodged almost everything and when he did get hit, Aura Heal and Critical Heal usually took care of it. Eventually, adding
    Fiora
    to the mix made even boss fights not need a dedicated healer.

    So yea, Tales of Graces F is a no brainer for me. Xenoblade just doesn't pass muster.
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Ocelot wrote: »
    A number of single-player games have adopted tanking/aggro mechanics since they appeared in MMOs, and it's not because they want to be more like MMOs, but because it's actually a neat system that adds a tactical layer to combat. Of course, monsters have had aggro tables since time immemorial, but what MMOs did was give players some active control over that aggro. As with any system, it can be done poorly and make a game too easy, or it can be done well and be fun and interesting to engage with. I think Xenoblade did the latter, and not only did it make a strong aggro system, it made a flexible one that could be exploited by various characters in various ways.

    That's not to say I'm voting for Xenoblade... I have to ponder this a bit because both systems are excellent, but in very different ways. I love the almost rhythmic action of Tales of Graces, and appreciate that the game threw new challenges at the player on a regular basis. However, I also love the strategic action of Xenoblade and the way that the party members really interacted with each other in every battle, from chaining various attacks to helping pick each other up during status ailments.

    It's was MMO's that gave me the understanding of how agro (ag·gro [ag-roh] noun British and Australian Informal. 1.aggressiveness, especially that of an urban youth gang or gang member. 2. trouble; irritation.) worked and therefore made several single games better. That's not my issue. My issue with Xenoblade was it's battle system was dull.

    Here we have two games both where you only play one player at a time. Neither are turned based, neither have extreme menu (use save for items.) Yet I prefer Graces because it's battles were smoother with mass chaining capabilities and the ability to do different set of attacks each time you engage, mean varying combo's giving some variety. Lets add in that some skills could only be used while doing time holding of the attack button in certain stances while performing other combo's thus adding another depth to it's chain capability.

    Xenoblade was based off an MMO CD system which is fine however at the same time kinda boring not allowing for the unique combo capability thus making it seem kinda dull, by comparison. Yeah lots of skills and such but if most of them had to wait after using another then it's just kinda tedious, again in comparison. Now it wasn't wholly the battle system that drove me from Xenoblade, it was the game as whole. Combat wasn't my issue with Xenoblade but neither was it a sticking point for me to keep playing.
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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Skills being based on cooldowns rather than MP, a lack of a separate battle screen, and an emphasis on aggro & tanking are the obvious similarities.

    Though I'm sure some of those found their origins in MMOs those things have been in non-MMOs for a long time.

    I just never get the MMO feel for the games people often use that comparison for. Xenoblade, FF12 etc. to me remind me more of battle systems from many of BioWare's games like Knights of the Old Republic.
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Wheels wrote: »
    Though I'm sure some of those found their origins in MMOs those things have been in non-MMOs for a long time.

    I just never get the MMO feel for the games people often use that comparison for. Xenoblade, FF12 etc. to me remind me more of battle systems from many of BioWare's games like Knights of the Old Republic.

    Which are also games I didn't play till years later after I had already been playing MMO's
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

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  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I was playing MMOs before Knights of the Old Republic was even released, so I can understand people associating a lot of those mechanics and gameplay style with MMOs first, especially with games like Phantasy Star Online and .hack serving as intermediary games between older MMOs and later stuff like FF12 and Xenoblade. I think it's a pretty clear line of descent, really. It's hard to dispute the fact that FF12 is descended from FF11 in many ways, after all, and Xenoblade is pretty clearly influenced by that sort of thing as well.

    Anyways, I played Xenoblade and Tales of Graces f for the first time in a while today. I don't know how effective a learning experience it was, since my main save file in Xenoblade had a team of level 95 characters that could easily destroy the level 70 enemies in their local area, and I apparently left off right in the middle of peaceful plot scenes in Tales of Graces, but I might get another chance tomorrow (if FFXIV patch day doesn't eat all of my time...). Still, I think my opinion is getting a little more solidified. I'll need to write my thoughts out in the morning when I'm less tired.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I was still enjoying battles at the end of Tales of Graces f, I can't say the same for Xenoblade, which I rushed through the latter half. I didn't feel that Xenoblade had enough depth or challenge in its battle system for the length of the game.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I would point out that aggro mechanics, as others have stated, were a part of games before MMO's implemented them. In any RPG I played, I would try and figure out what got the monsters attention, especially in more action-like RPGs and startegy RPGs (In JRPGs, it felt more random). Heck, one of the most fun I had was with Vandal Hearts II. Yes, this tactical RPG rewarded you richly for knowing exactly how the AI thought in its approach to attacking your team. Fun times. Now, as I sit here and ponder, I cannot think of a game that gave any of my characters the ability to taunt monsters straight out. Before MMOs, we mostly managed aggro in action, team based RPGs by allowing the tank to go first and get the monsters attention. Then you had your squishes bring up the rear, hoping the AI didn't have a routine that told it to break off and go right after them. :P Usually, they weren't that smart, so your tank 'held the aggro.'

    I have not played Xeno, but I guess if the character(s) had abilities that specifically were designed to get the monsters attention, I could see that 'feeling' a bit MMO'y. The first time I remember having abilities that specifically did that were WoW. How about the rest of y'all... do you remember if there were single player RPGs which had (specifically) aggro grabbin' skills before they were featured in MMOs? Now, I know we didn't use terms like "tank" or "aggro" until MMOs, and I play a lot of pen and paper. In D&D/Pathfinder, we don't have many aggro mechanics, par se. Yet, the party worked together all the time to manage the monsters attention. Doing things like "Tank first" and knowledge checks to know how monsters react to various things, helped the party to know how to approach a baddie so their wizards don't get eaten first. :)

    I think this makes another great question for ATB!
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Tales of Graces f is the only Tales game to date in which I've enjoyed the battle system. I really liked the fast action and instant swapping of characters. I think Ys Seven and Celceta did it better, but Graces still did a good job.

    Xenoblade offers a lot in terms of the real-time non-direct action combat that I love. Basically, real-time encounters where attacks happen without a one-to-one button press. Call if MMO-like or whatever, it's usually my preferred system. While FFXII does things better in this area, Xenoblade offers a lot that I really love. Very diverse and distinct characters really help this, though Shulk being required for so many Mechon battles doesn't help. Once I was able to play as Reyn or Dunban, I enjoyed things so much more, because I like to tank and this game let me do this in an offline format.

    So this vote is bitter sweet for me. Tales of Graces f and Xenoblade are both really good, but I feel that Ys Seven and Final Fantasy XII did what each of these two games did better. So looking forward, Tales of Zestiria seems to be using a battle system close to that of Graces f and Xenoblade X is clearly using the battle system from Xenoblade. Which of these two am I most looking forward to? Xenoblade X. That's telling enough for me.

    Vote: Xenoblade
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  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I'm with Mac in that I have nothing bad to say about either of these battle systems, and it comes down to which one I want more of rather than something I can explain through their mechanics.

    I wrote plenty about my thoughts on Xenoblade in its past match-ups. Each time I started getting tired of combat -- because there is a LOT of combat and the game and world are too large for the limited content -- I would change up the party in some way and start having fun again. By the end of the game, even this started to get old to me and in the last few levels I avoided combat as much as possible because I just wanted to see the story through to the end. It's not the battle system's fault that the game was about 30 hours too long to me, and I have nothing negative to say just about the combat system, however when it comes to picking between these two fantastic systems, only one of them left me wanting more.

    I'm not a Tales fan, but RPGamer staff members' overwhelming adoration of Graces f convinced me to give it a try, and I'm happy I did. I hated the story. Hated the writing. Didn't like the graphics or characters or anything, really, about the game... except for the battle system, which I couldn't get enough of. I can't think of another recent RPG where combat alone pulled me through a game that wasted so much of my time on a plot I could barely stand to read, but it did, and it's particularly remarkable for me because I don't usually like action RPGs.

    I can't break it down into a list of what, exactly, made Graces f's combat work so well for me. It was quick and fluid, punished me for messing up and rewarded me for succeeding, had multiple mechanics that each felt balanced and useful without getting overwhelming, and I didn't have to rotate through characters to keep it interesting like I did in Xenoblade. I beat the game, but wanted more combat so I did the postgame arc. I still wanted more combat, so I did the Zhonecage too. I can't remember what game finally pulled me away from it, but I held onto the disc for years because I kept wanting to play it more.

    For me, that's a mark of one of the best battle systems I've played. Vote: Tales of Graces f
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Unlike the FFXII vs. FFT match, I can't take issue with either of these games winning. I do prefer Xenoblade, because it's the game I'd rather play over and over for hours on end out of the two, but even then it's still not the best battle system. I do want to see where it goes with Xenoblade X, though. I think the story in Xenoblade is what made me not get tired of the gameplay as easily, though it was tough early on.
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  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Incidentally, I think it's kind of fun how no matter what happens from here on out, the final matchup is going to be a turn-based RPG (Persona 4 or Grandia 2) versus an Action/RPG (Tales of Graces F or Xenoblade).
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  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Wonder if this will motivate me to play the winner :P
This discussion has been closed.