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 RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  
   Overall
   PS2
   Computer
   Online
   GameCube
   GBA
   Xbox

   Graphics
   Story
   Fun Value
   Battle System
   Music
   Gameplay
   Localization

   Letdown

Battles
Best...

Every RPG game in existence today has a battle scheme. From mundane textual action selects that only spawns more text to select from to the elaborate menus and menus after the menus, every game has its own take on the battle system. Through the ages, these battles have even gained depth from the basic to the customizable. Final Fantasy on NES once boasted a battle system of simple equipment and attack menus, but those times have quickly departed. Battles are now about customization, changing, and giving the player the ability to make their own course with their own parties. With such a drastic change in the battle field in just ten years the gamers have plenty to look forward to, possibly even to get excited about.

1st
Final Fantasy X-2

RPGamer readers know a good battle system when they see it, and this year that great battle system comes from none other than Square Enix's Final Fantasy X-2. With fast-paced battles, in-depth customization, and an intriguing class system Final Fantasy X-2 not only raised a few brows, but also opened Playstation 2's all over the United States and the world for a return to the world of Spira and young ex-summoner Yuna. No matter if you love girls with guns, women with staves, or swinging around a cute plush animal fashioned after previous mascots, Final Fantasy X-2 had you covered. There's almost no reason not to appreciate the battle system of Final Fantasy X-2, and RPGamers agree and gave this latest Final Fantasy installment the nod as Best Battle System of 2003.

  2nd
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

While another more realistic game got the top nod, the readers also seem to enjoy a little bit of tactical sprite action in their lives. The battle system of Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced didn't change a whole lot since its predecessor Final Fantasy Tactics, but many new features added into the battle system seemed to have won over RPGamer readers. With a new system of observing battle rules, players could not only die on the battle field but they could also be thrown into jail like the lawbreaking curmudgeons they are. Topping off the battle system for Tactics Advance is a new class system that reserved some classes just to certain races, and other classes to other races. With a playful and often fun battle system it is apparent you cannot lose, and RPGamer readers seem to think so.

3rd
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

Crossing the "T" and dotting the "I" on our list of great battle systems this year is another tactical RPG game that earned its acclaim with sarcastic dialogue. Of course, this game is none other than Atlus' very own Disgaea: Heart of Darkness. Although Disgaea uses the classic standard for a tactical fighting engine, Atlus included a few additional little nuances that caught the attention of RPGamer readers. Adding a bit more depth to the terrain usage, Disgaea added in "Geo Panels" and other symbols which, when used with the right terrain, boosted attacks to be more effective against foes. Also adding a spice to the battle action is the transmigrating system which allowed characters to gain the power of different classes while in battle, but also sent the player back to level 1. These may be small little tweaks but Disgaea implemented them right, and RPGamer readers noticed resulting in Disgaea reaping the rewards as being one of the best battle systems of 2003.

  4th
Xenosaga Episode I

The presence of the realistic RPG returns in the fourth spot this year with the sequel that's really a prequel, that is it comes before Xenogears. Of course, we're speaking of the latest Xeno game Xenosaga Episode I: Dur Willie zur Mach. With a slightly different take on the battles of Xenogears, Xenosaga opts to make the mechanical suits less a special assignment and more of a shared system of mixing and matching your favorite machs. Another change from the previous installment, Xenosaga gave users the ability to choose which battles to run headlong into and which to avoid by eliminating random battles altogether. If you decided to fight a battle, you could then choose which attacks to use and how much AP to expend, ranging from a basic 1 point move to some moves that cost 5 or more points. This added depth to battles once again, and gave Xenosaga a top nod for 2003.

5th
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Ending the Best Battle System category is the surprisingly fun cel-shaded GameCube game that surprised many with its unorthodox approach. Even though The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker had an odd approach to graphics, fighting in a game can often be a challenge but when that game is set in a 3D world, it can be even harder. However, in the eyes of RPGamer readers the latest showing from the Zelda series did battle systems and did them well. Taking precision actions to a new level; learning to swing your sword and guard with a shield could be challenge but it an entertaining one. Don't think hacking and slashing is all that will net you a victory, because with Wind Waker sometimes hiding is the best way to proceed through the world of Hyrule.

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