A game can look great, have a wonderful soundtrack, and a deep engaging story, but if the gameplay is not there, what fun is it? Not much. In 2007, RPGs proved to be more than just turn-based grind fests without straying too far outside of the roots of the genre.
The Shin Megami Tensei series is renowned for its often frustrating level of difficulty, but until Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, much of that difficulty was due to random deaths and obscenely powerful bosses. With this latest title in Atlus's beloved RPG series, the combat has been done in such a way that strategy and choice of party members and personas are far more important than character levels or stats.
The potential to abuse the system is extensive and the game encourages you to do so. With creative use of character personas and party AI, many unusual and enjoyable tactics can be developed and some players may be able to obtain victory in battles as many as ten or more levels earlier than others. Top it off with an amazing battle soundtrack, great artwork and animations, and amusing voice clips, and you have a game in which even regular encounters are loads of fun.
These days, strategy RPGs are solidified in the collective mentality of RPGamers. It wasn't always so: a quick look back to the titles that started the genre on its road to mainstream success will turn up a few gems, including the much-beloved Final Fantasy Tactics. Now released on the PSP with a host of new features and a translation that would thrill Charles Dickens, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a must-have title for any Strategy RPG enthusiast. With a job system fans of Square games are sure to recognise, the Final Fantasy Tactics battle system has been often emulated but never surpassed. Rich, vibrant, deep, and immersive, players will enjoy the customisation of their characters no matter what their play style. I recommend a Bard and a Dancer.
Is Mass Effect a third-person shooter or is it an RPG? The answer: yes, on both counts. Mass Effect plays like a strategic shooter more than a run-and-gun shooter like Halo. Players must take cover and wait for the right moment before opening fire. Offering multiple classes and tons of customization options, players can play through the game many times and have a totally different experience each time. Mass Effect's battle system succeeds where systems of games like Dirge of Cerberus failed.
by Adriaan den Ouden, Shawn Cooper, Michael Cunningham