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Best Strategy RPGs Of All Time Rated

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the new-rock-and-roll dept.

Role Playing (Games) 77

Thanks to eToychest for its round-up of the favorite console strategy RPGs of all time. The piece argues: "a strategy RPG is (generally) a console game in which battles take place over a grid", and highlights include Vandal Hearts ("This is where everyone interested in the genre should start"), the Tactics Ogre series ("the replay value here is unmatched, due to multiple endings in each game"), and Disgaea/La Pucelle Tactics both on the top spot ("If you don't know why these two titles are sharing number 1, go play them.")

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77 comments

Advance Wars (2, Insightful)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418474)

No better way to make commutes fun :)

Re:Advance Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9418653)

Indeed. I always tend to get emotional when I play AW games on the bus - regulars must think I'm a loonie. :o)

Re:Advance Wars (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418656)

A great, great game, and a great, great strategy game, but it's not a strategy RPG (where's the levelling?)

Chris Mattern

Re:Advance Wars (3, Informative)

Zangief (461457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419419)

The title that started it all was Fire Emblem (for the NES!, famicon, in fact), by the same group.

This genre was invented by Nintendo. Who could have imagined that?

FE fot the GBA is a great game too.

I hated Advance Wars...will I like any of these? (1)

Tom Courtenay (638139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9430494)

After all the hype surrounding the first two Advance Wars games, I picked up the second one on the GBA. After three or four hours of playing I realized that I couldn't stand it. That style of game just wasn't for me.

Is there a chance I'll like these other ones? La Pucille (sp?) looks interesting, but I don't want to get into another Advance Wars situation. I love RPGs though, and want to give it a chance.

Any suggestions?

No shining force? (4, Insightful)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418497)

How can you have such a chart with no shining force? Espically considering the recent re-release of the first one on the GBA. One really nice feature of this game is it keeps getting harder each time you finish it, seemingly without limit. I can't do runthrough 8 :(

Also, I'm suprised to see Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in there. They note it's a poor game. I would say it's main flaws are it is almost impossible to die, and it feels cheap (almost no sprite isn't used multiple times with different colour schemes, including the main character).

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and La Pucelle: Tactics (I don't really know why these got merged, other than they recently came out and were made by the same people) are both great. I would say they are the first RPGs (strategy or otherwise) I've seen in a long time that I've really enjoyed, and also the only games in a long time I've laughed out loud at :)

Re:No shining force? (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418591)

I'm missing Grandia 2 (never played part 1 myself)
The story was cool, had some nice twists and turns, the gameplay was very enjoyable and the music was great.

One of the things that I enjoyed is, that near the ending, for me, it seemed like the game was done, but no, it just kept going and going and going.

I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Re:No shining force? (1)

antime (739998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419525)

Again, neither Grandia nor Grandia 2 is a strategy RPG.

Re:No shining force? (4, Interesting)

mausmalone (594185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418603)

Also, I'm suprised to see Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in there. They note it's a poor game. I would say it's main flaws are it is almost impossible to die, and it feels cheap (almost no sprite isn't used multiple times with different colour schemes, including the main character).
Dispite all this, it's still a pretty fun game, and definitely a good pick up for on-the-road strategy. It's at least enough to tide one over until Atlus decides to start GBA development.

also... ditto on Shining Force. One of my favorite series, and definitely one of the first well-known console strategy RPG's.

Re:No shining force? (1)

drgnvale (525787) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418817)

Didn't Atlus make the Tactics Ogre GBA game?

Re:No shining force? (1)

mausmalone (594185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418942)

Quite possibly... been broke recently, so I haven't been shopping in a while. :-P

Re:No shining force? (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421310)

As I recall, it was published by Atlus, but written by Quest, who was recently purchased by Square. Nintendo published the game in Japan, but I guess NOA either didn't want it to succeed or didn't think they could promote it effectively, so they let it slide. Atlus picks up a lot of games that would otherwise slip through. Unfortunately, they have yet to pick up on the kind of distribution power of Nintendo or EA, so finding their games can be difficult. Hell, they really don't put down the kind of money they should and often you won't even know about a new game they brought over!

Re:No shining force? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422868)

Yes. It is why Tactics Ogre is listed in the article as GBA as well. Gamefaqs entry [gamefaqs.com] .

You can probably only find it on eBay; I got mine about two years ago and there were only a handful of copies on the net at all. Looks good on eBay, though, as of this writing.

Shining force on GBA? (3, Informative)

bigdady92 (635263) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419310)

<blockquote>Espically considering the recent re-release of the first one on the GBA</blockquote>

And here she is!

http://www.gamestop.com/product.asp?product%5Fid =1 60481

I had no idea that it was out! There goes hours of sleep for this badboy! God I hope I can flee the battles like I did before and level up like a crazy man like I did in 1 and 2.

Re:Shining force on GBA? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419340)

Sweet googly moogly! This slipped under my radar too! And it looks like they improved it... I just hope they changed the controls to be like Shining Force 2 (i.e. there's a button that automatically interacts with whatever you're looking at, as opposed to having to open the menu and then interact with it).

Re:Shining force on GBA? (2, Informative)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419385)

On this one you have to :) Every time you play throug the game gets harder. Once you start getting to 7 or 8 playthroughs, it gets REALLY hard. Also the AI gets much, much better (it seems like a shame that the good AI doesn't appear until you have played through many times, which most people would never see)

Re:No shining force? (1)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420133)

FFTA had awesome graphics (who the hell cares that sprites are reused) and awesome gameplay. By all definition that makes it an awesome game

Re:No shining force? (1)

Warped1 (68788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9423108)

But it's without challenge. I can put an entire 'B-squad' in and destroy the enemy without too much effort.

I really liked it at first, until I realized I couldn't lose ...

Re:No shining force? (1)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9423742)

its only like that when you send only your starters in, then t gets hard to do dispatch missions cause you send your best guys away.

Re:No shining force? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9427065)

FFTA had awesome graphics (who the hell cares that sprites are reused) and awesome gameplay. By all definition that makes it an awesome game

What dictionary are you using? I'm a huge fan of the original FFT, and of FFTA I can say:
  1. It's way too easy
  2. The story is really dopey.
  3. It really needs FFT's "camera rotation"

The third one is just a convienience thing, but the first two definitely count against it being anything NEAR an "awesome game." It's a fun way to kill an afternoon at the DMV, sure, but it's mediocre compared to some of the other choices out there.

Re:No shining force? (4, Insightful)

Paolomania (160098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420462)

I agree. It is actually painful to see FFT so high on the list with no Shining Force at all. Sure FFT has prettier graphics and greater mechanical compliexity, but I found it lacking with respect to the original SF in two very important regards:

First, the characters in FFT have no character. The class system makes everyone's abilities so fluid that the characters are merely putty to be molded into the perfect fighting machines. I prefer the Shining Force system of being given a selection of soldiers, each with their unique blend of abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and finding a combination of these unique talents that works for your strategy.

Second, group formation and positioning is far less meaningful in FFT. With a group size of only five, you can't make much in the way of formations. With SF's twelve characters per group, you have a much wider diversity of tactical formations - even multi-group tactics, such as sending a small force behind the enemy front line to take out their healers, are possible. Also, because of the range and spread of spells in FFT, you cannot effectively create a formation that has any integrity against melee attacks without being absurdly vulnerable to magical attacks. In SF, making a formation that is slightly looser or tighter (for instance, shoulder-to-shoulder vs. "checkerboard") can subtly change how well your formation does against melee or magic based attacks.

Certainly FFT has something going for it in the more complicated use of terrain, the complex plot, the complex game mechanics, and the beautiful spell graphics. However I always felt like it didn't quite have enough tactical substance as it could have. Over the years I have revisited Shining Force far more often than FFT - mostly because of the memorable characters and the interesting shapes of the battles that unfold.

Re:No shining force? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421216)

you have to ustilize formations as well. Solo characters tend to get gang banged if seperated from the group. And You can mimic SF class syste too. Just don't make any character oober and make them one class and make them stay that way for the rest of the game. It gives you the option. SF was ok. Faint praise for sure from me. I found all the genesis versions rather bland. It never really did mroe then tactics ogre but lacked a lot of features of tactics ogre liek job advancement and what not. I think it was an okay game btu feel Sega fans highly over rate it. Even compare it to it's RPG peers liek FF6 FF4 Dragon Quest 4 +5. It doesn't compare that favorably.

Fire Emblem... 4 (2, Informative)

Leffe (686621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418571)

Seems as if they only played games released in America, that could explain why they didn't put FE4 in #1.

Oh well, I'll bring out my super-proof that it's teh bestest gaem evar11!~

Yarr [gamefaqs.com]

Hehe, I hate the guy that gave it 9, how can you give a game such a bad score just because you can't understand japanese is beyond me. There are even translations available.

Re:Fire Emblem... 4 (1)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420000)

"Oh woe is me! He only gave it a 9/10! He must be the worst person alive!"

Re:Fire Emblem... 4 (1)

Slyght (784581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420212)

I hardly consider a 90% to be bad. I generally consider 7/10's to be good games, 8/10's to be really good games, 9/10's to be great games, and 10/10's reserved for "this game goes beyond all perceptions that I thought a game was possible of." But most people will see a game got a 78% review and be like "This game must suck!"

Re:Fire Emblem... 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9423362)

I agree. I'm guilty of this myself sometimes...I have to remember that game ratings aren't like grades... ;P

Missing Option: Star Ocean 2 :) (2, Interesting)

Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418595)

I had a quick look through the list and none of them I've played. I HAVE played Star Ocean 2, and I can tell you, the battles in this game blow me away to this day.

I've never seen spells which actually warp the battlefield. There's nothing like casting "Explode!" and seeing the floor expand in real time to accomodate this massive globe of fire that fills up the screen. I could write a whole article on the crazy effects and combo's you could perform with each of your characters. It may not be the best one, but it's certainly the most underrated strategic RPG game I know. I'm dying to see the Director's cut of 'Until the End of Time'... </geek>

Re:Missing Option: Star Ocean 2 :) (2)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419060)

I'll grant that SO2 is one of the better RPGs out there, but the list refers only to Strategy RPGs.

Since you claim haven't played any of them, I will now eviscerate you. GO PLAY FF TACTICS NOW. ^_^

Re:Missing Option: Star Ocean 2 :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9423407)

NO!

Do not cut your teeth on FFT. Do it with Tactics Ogre (even better, start with Ogre battle), or the Shining Force series, or the Fire Emblem series.

And for heaven's sake, don't cut your teeth on Disgaea either. Play it after FFT, which should be played after one or more of the others mentioned, followed up perhaps by Mystaria or Hoshigami or something.

You don't go from Yoshi's Island to Super Mario Bros 2, right?

PC strategy? (4, Interesting)

CoolGuySteve (264277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418635)

They made some good selections (yay Vandal Hearts), I'll have to check out the PS2 ones. But what about some strategy games on the PC? There must be tons but the only one I can think of at the moment is Fallout Tactics. Any suggestions?

Aside from that, the main reason Fallout is the only PC RPG that I really liked is because the battles were well-done strategy instead of mindless mouse clicking. Most PC RPGs nowadays, if they're not yet another Diablo clone, try and incorporate some real time/multiplayer aspect and usually fail. Even Arcanum managed to ruin itself. LAME.

What are some good traditional RPGs with strategic combat? If they even exist that is.

Re:PC strategy? (5, Informative)

necrognome (236545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418803)

You should give Temple of Elemental Evil a try. It was developed by Troika, the developers of Arcanum and Fallout (when some of the team members were working at Interplay). It's a little thin on story, but peerless in hardcore, tactical combat. It's one of the few turn-based CRPGs you can find on the shelves today and is probably the most complete implementation of the DnD combat rules ever.

Re:PC strategy? (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419703)

The game is incredible. It's too bad that the GUI sucks. I hope they will make a sequel, and hopefully then the GUI will be up to par with the gameplay. And hopefully the sequel will be much more deep than ToEE. Hopefully, ToEE was Troika testing the waters before diving in. It's too bad that I couldn't put a character in the inn to rest and pick up a new character and then swap back again later (in ToEE, once you drop a character, it's like dropping your keys in a river of molten lava [lifestorywriting.com] ).

Re:PC strategy? (2, Insightful)

nmnilsson (549442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420069)

Agreed, this is a great game for those of us who like tactical, turn based D&D fighting - and could care less for a story (I read novels for that).

Should you decide to try it: Be sure to save often!
There are still a few nasty bugs in there, even after the 2.0 patch - like a character being permanently silenced (a sure mage killer).

Re:PC strategy? (1)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420833)

Oh, and if you cast magic weapon on a weapon, do not (after patch) try to enhance it with 'Craft Weapons and Armor' feat. The game just hangs.

Before the patch, this was a great money maker because you could enchant the weapon and then craft it. This would give you the +1 for free. You could spend 3000 to up it to +2 and then sell if for ~5500 (out of value of 6000) with a PC with a good appraise skill. I never got around to trying out the +2 from greater magic weapon. I patched just as my characters got to 8th level. I think it would work (prepatch) to make "cheap" +3 weapons.

XCOM XCOM XCOM! (5, Informative)

wikthemighty (524325) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420433)

Don't forget XCOM ;)

Re:PC strategy? (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421306)

Try out the Heroes of Might and Magic series. I can't say for the other games but Herores III was awesome. As a side note Dark Wizard for Sega CD was a pretty good one too.

Tactics Ogre, FF Tactics, etc (1)

Lord Graga (696091) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418667)

They all share the same general gameplay values, just done differently!

I highly recomend Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodies, aswell as Final Fantasy Tactics for GBA.

Re:Tactics Ogre, FF Tactics, etc (1)

radixvir (659331) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420059)

to add to that Orge Battle. its a different game than tactics ogre although the story was similar (by the same people). ogre battle is a rare game not many people have played. it was originally released for the snes and a special edition was released for the playstation. not only did it have different endings, the games difficulty actually changed based on how good you were doing. it has a system of characters which you evolve to better characters, that i havent seen used in another game. i definitely recommend it! dont be put off by its low score on gamespot [gamespot.com]

It looks like I gotta try ogre tactics (3, Interesting)

hsoft (742011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418751)

Because FFT is really one of the best games I've played. Ever. I liked shining forces serie, but not as much as FFT. Have anyone tried the Teleport (Time mage job) ability with an archer (Go to hot archer spot instantly) or monk( archer killer :))? that rocks. I heard about disgea a lot, but I don't think I'll buy a PS2 anytime soon. Back to FFT. The translation is quite mediocre, but if you ignore that fact, the storyline is very interesting (If you can remember all the major characters names, there are a lot...)!.

Re:It looks like I gotta try ogre tactics (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421275)

Try soloing the game. With the exception of the first battle, never use anyone but your main character. I did it. All you need is a lto of patience. But I had a ubebr set up. less then 10 faith 99 brave. Blade grasp + two swords + walk +3 + battleskills + throw + leveled up / leveled downed= ungodly unhittable monster that does 1800 dmg consitantly and moves twice each turn, magic immune and high powered range(try throwing a duped chaos bladE).

Tactics Schmactics --- I want my BATTLE (4, Interesting)

trippcook (529339) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418756)

The only thing that bugs me about the current success of SRPGs, a genre I've always enjoyed, is that I fear that a great series has gone by the wayside --- OGRE BATTLE. Ogre Battle 64 was, to me, the perfect SRPG. True, you had less direct control over your combat, but exploration was a hoot and having a HUGE army to manage is right up my alley. Ogre Battle 64 is the only reason my N64 hasn't been sold or junked at this point.

Does anyone have any info about Ogre Battle? Are there any more OB games planned, or is Atlus going with Tactics Ogre and Disgaea type games in the near future?

Re:Tactics Schmactics --- I want my BATTLE (2)

hsoft (742011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418790)

Atlus made Hoshigami. Thus, they are now on my blacklist, cause this was really 50 wasted dollars.

Re:Tactics Schmactics --- I want my BATTLE (2)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421131)

Developed or Produced?

Re:Tactics Schmactics --- I want my BATTLE (2)

Genom (3868) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421714)

Y'know, I really didn't think Hoshigami was *that* bad. A bit cumbersome, yes...but overall I thought it was pretty good. ::shrug::

Admittedly, it's no FFT or Disgaea, but it was entertaining for me.

Re:Tactics Schmactics --- I want my BATTLE (2, Informative)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421185)

The guy who had the most detailed Ogre Battle fansite on the net has moved on to other things. Almost all of the Quest folk (including the guy who masterminded the series) involved in OB64 were picked up by Square halfway through development, which is why "stuff happened".

Ogre Battle 64 is my favorite game of all time, and the music is a staple in my MP3 player. It is a goddamned shame that we may never see a game of this caliber.

Good selection (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9418889)

Ahhh. Front Mission 3! How do I love thee.... ....not enough to spend another 50hrs finishing the emma senario. What a HUGE game.

And Vandal Hearts! Dear sweet Vandal hearts! You were the greatest! But why was the Vandalier class so crappy looking. And what was up with that sequel!! No wait! It's not you fault!

I guess the lesson here is that no game is perfect. You've just got to look for the ones that are least flawed.

Re:Good selection (1)

antime (739998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422881)

I loved FM3, doubly so because I've grown sick and tired of the fantasy genre.

The silly simultaneous move system in Vandal Hearts 2 meant every battle was mostly characters running around each other in circles. Maybe I was just playing it wrong.

Console Only? Too bad... (2, Interesting)

WinnipegDragon (655456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419321)

I hate to see a list like this restricted to consoles only, since it means the best strategy RPG of all time is left off the list: Master of Magic.

By all things holy, it's a fine game. In fact, even though it's never been on a console, it's so damn good it should still be on the list, just out of reverence.

Re:Console Only? Too bad... (1)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419556)

Master of Magic was good, yes. Very good. So good I wish I could find my copy. But where in the world did you get the sense it was an RPG? It's no more an RPG than Master of Orion was.

Re:Console Only? Too bad... (1)

WinnipegDragon (655456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419882)

It had several RPG elements. Hero units would level up over time, could quest for items and experience, and be equipped with items bought and discovered. Sure it was limited in the RPG sense, but so is Fire Emblem and it was on the list.

Re:Console Only? Too bad... (2, Informative)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420711)


So good I wish I could find my copy

Ask and ye shall recieve [the-underdogs.org] Man I love that game

All review magazines rated FFTA better than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9419631)

Disgaea. That guy is abviously wrong. FFTA should be in the top place.

Re:All review magazines rated FFTA better than (1)

An'Desha Danin (666568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422802)

Yes, because secondhand opinions from review magazines (most of which will jack up the score on any game named Final Fantasy just to support the hype) are much more reliable than the firsthand impressions of thousands of people who have played both FFTA and Disgaea and consider Disgaea by far the better title.

Re:All review magazines rated FFTA better than (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9423327)

Lots of magazines reviewed lots of shit as better than true gems. Six months after the fact, however, it's safe to say that the magazines were all wrong and the players who say otherwise were right.

I thought FF Tactics was very overrated. (3)

Thag (8436) | more than 10 years ago | (#9419650)

In fact, I think it's among the worst things Square has ever put out. It runs like a dog, even on PS2, the graphics are SNES level, it cheats, and the "develop your character any way you want" thing just flat out isn't true. If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed. Oh, and there's lots of boring levelling.

I've tried to love this game, but I just can't. Disgaea, on the other hand, is actually fun.

Jon Acheson

Re:I thought FF Tactics was very overrated. (1)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420421)

it cheats, and the "develop your character any way you want" thing just flat out isn't true. If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed.

AMEN. I really, really, really wanted to like that game, especially since I liked Dark Wizard for the Sega CD. But FFT was the only console game I ever played that got harder when you used a GameShark. I always got stuck at the same place, three battles in.

FFT really ruined the tactical RPG genre for me. I've tried Arc The Lad, Vandal Hearts, Might & Magic Heroes (?) and I've disliked them all. It's depressing, since the classical console RPG is going by the wayside in favor of these so-called tactical RPGS, (which really aren't, not enough units like Dark Wizard or tabletop wargames.) And computer RPGs are no haven, since they've become more like Balder's Gate or Dungeon Seige, which use combat systems I also hate. Pause/Real Time/Pause sucks.

Re:I thought FF Tactics was very overrated. (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421005)

Me too. I greatly disliked the game, its hideous pre-battle load times, and the fact that random enemies were scaled up to match the player's level, which meant if you didn't have someone capable of handling whatever similarly-leveled monsters were generated at that moment you were screwed.

Hard is one thing, but FF Tactics was just annoying. The GBA game is more interesting, in my book.

Re:I thought FF Tactics was very overrated. (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421335)

If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed. Oh, and there's lots of boring levelling.

Lots of ways to develope. You can be an ubber caster. And ubber speed demon. and ubber archer. Ever try finishing the game with archers only. Man that a challenge. It's a hard hard game and you don't need to depend on just one build. Some builds make it easier btu if you don't mine 1h battle you can finish it without leveling with just archers. It's just hard. Now if you powerlevel and use all the exploits you can finishe off the end boss with 3 characters in one tunr.

Re:I thought FF Tactics was very overrated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9421500)

I have to disagree. FFT was the shit. If only for the story, and the music. To this day, FFT had the best story i've seen in a video game. And the gameplay itself, while unoroginal, was quite fun, though it did get really hard, requiring an excesive amount of leveling up towards the end. But I thought it was worth it. Oh ya, the music was great too, some of the best in any final fantasy game, AFAIC.

Re:I thought FF Tactics was very overrated. (2, Interesting)

KeeperS (728100) | more than 10 years ago | (#9423871)

Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree on just about every one of your points.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say it runs like a dog. There's a couple of seconds of load time each time a map is loaded, but since you can easily spend 15-30 minutes on one map, that's not very significant. I guess this is a valid complaint, but it seems like a very trivial issue to me. Once things are initially loaded, there's no interruption or slowdown.

The graphics aren't state of the art, but they certainly hold up to time better than similar things from that era. Look at FF7. Other than the FMV, it looks terrible. While FF7 had great graphics (for a console game) when it was released, the low polygon characters just don't stand up to time. FFT's sprites, at least to me, still look rather fresh. Maybe it's because there's not a whole lot more you can do to a sprite now that hadn't already been done.

I'm also not sure what you mean when you say that it cheats. Does the AI follow the same rules you do? Absolutely. Everything down to chances to hit and the way damage is calculated is the same for both the player and the computer. There are a few situations where you're put at a disadvantage, but that's why it's called Final Fantasy Tactics. I can't think of any time the game cheats.

If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed? That one's a laugh. I guess you've never heard of the Straight Character Challenge. It's a well-known challenge where you're only allowed to use one class in the game for all your units, and you're not allowed to use abilities of any kind that aren't learned in that class. The Straight Character Challenge has been completed using every single class. I think that's a pretty good indication that you CAN develop your character any way you want and still win. In general, abilities are more important than levels in FFT, but you should be okay with any skillset if it's used right. Oh yeah, and since I forgot to mention it, the Straight Character Challenge also has level caps, so it's not like those battles were won simply by overpowering the computer.

That gets me to my next point... lots of boring leveling? You don't need to level in FFT. Ever. As I said above, abilities are far more important than levels. Just about any reasonable combination of abilities will let you play through the game minimal leveling or no leveling at all. If you really think about what you're doing (Final Fantasy Tactics, remember?) you can easily beat the game below level 20.

I can think of many legitimate flaws in FFT, like the steep learning curve, iffy translation, and unbalanced abilities, but most of your complaints don't seem valid.

Phantasy Star (2, Interesting)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420065)

Best RPG of all time is still Phantasy Star 2 for Sega Genesis. Though I don't know if that classifies itself as strategy RPG.

Re:Phantasy Star (1)

Slyght (784581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420141)

No, it doesn't. The Phantasy Star series on Genesis was your standard RPG where "good guys stand here, bad guys stand here, fight!". A strategy RPG, or tactical RPG, is basically defined as an RPG where you and your opponents have the ability to move about the playing field in a turn-based fashion, and where your position can affect who and how effectively you can fight/cast spells/use items on.

Re:Phantasy Star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9422527)

What is Phantasy Star? Never heard of it.

This is all recent stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9420137)

There's so much left off the list it's silly. Shining force was already mentioned for one. Advance Wars is probably the most highly rated tactics game of the modern consoles.

It seems like this "the-best-tactics-games-of-all-time.... since-I-started-playing-five-years-ago.... playable-on-PS2-and-GBA"

Yawn. I can make a best of list, too. Whatever this site is it lost whatever credibility I gave it up front with their poor scope of history and questionable judgement in games. Also, he is wrong in his introductory paragraph. These are all TACTICS games, not strategy games. It's call Final Fantasy TACTICS, not Final Fantasy STRATEGY.

Re:This is all recent stuff (1)

Slyght (784581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420171)

You can't really call Advance Wars a strategy RPG because it's not an RPG. It's much more along the lines of a real-time strategy game like Warcraft, except it's turn-based. "TBS"?

Re:This is all recent stuff (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422560)

Also, he is wrong in his introductory paragraph. These are all TACTICS games, not strategy games. It's call Final Fantasy TACTICS, not Final Fantasy STRATEGY.

Actually they are 'strategy' games. A 'strategy' is something thats developed over a period of time for an ultimate goal. In these games its to make X character super powerful, in Y stats, with Z weapon skills, to kill the final boss (in Fire Emblem "Zero" for the GBA you COULD make Sain him an uber axe user but that only happens after you upgrade him and his axe skill starts at scratch. Meaning poor strategy.) Most people just don't realize it because video games tend to focus on the IMMEDIATE problem (getting more ammo, making that last jump, figuring out the puzzle, etc), and that immediate problem requires TACTICS.

Simply put, tactics involve finding a way to solve the first 5 steps of a problem. Strategy however worries about step number 2341 failing which would mess up step number 4230.

Have to agree.. (1)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 10 years ago | (#9420747)

With their #1. Disgaea is just an amazing game. It's better than the sum of its parts. It's just a whole lot of fun, with a lot of nice touches. (The end-of-chapter Etna parodies are frankly hilarious.)

I'm not a fan of FF Tactics. The battle engine just doesn't..SING..ya know?

However, there are two big omissions.

#1. Shining Force whatever. Great SRPG. You get enough characters, and they each have their use, to really customize their force. They don't all blend together.

#2. Dark Wizard for the Sega CD. This was a huge SRPG. Hex-grid based, you'd summon and hire warriors and monsters, and so would the enemy. You had to march your army, 30 or so creatures, across the field, and take out the enemy commander (who is tough as nails).

Great music as well.

Re:Have to agree.. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9427140)

Dark Wizard proved to me that I am very bad at Tactical strategy. Every level was the same strategy.
  1. Move opening units into a defensive perimiter.
  2. Hold off skirmishing forces while building up a hoarde of flying units.
  3. Send said flying units across the field to bumrush the commander.
  4. Use Magic on Commander, make more units.
  5. When commander kicks snot out of one of my units, have five more ready to take its place.
  6. Repeat until victory.
Of course, that was more a fault of my lack of ability than the game. I just wish there was a SegaCD emulator for Linux. My Genesis is flakey. =\

Re:Have to agree.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9427458)

There are Genesis emulators for Linux. For one, Gens can handle SegaCD.

Re:Have to agree.. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9428142)

I've heard that, but I could never get 'er going.. :(

Get tactics and strategy straight, please (4, Insightful)

thrash242 (697169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421466)

Tactis are used in battles. They are specific to the time period, level of technology and terrain in which a battle is being fought. It is the art of using soldiers to win a battle. Strategy is large-scale; it deals in whole armies, divisions, countries, and the like (from a military perspective). It is using battles to win a war.

Ever wonder why strategic classics like Sun Tzu's Art of War are still read today? Good strategic principles, being abstract and relatively timeless, can be applied to almost any area of one's life or any pursuit. On the other hand a book, no matter how detailed or well-written, about tactics would probably not be read 100 years later except by historians.

Almost every "real-time strategy" game I've seen should instead be called "real-time tactics". The only strategic element in games like Warcraft and C&C is the resource economy and decisions about what to build next. All the combat is at the tactical level. An example of actual real-time strategy is Europa Universalis (technically it is real-time, although you can change the speed and pause).

I've never played any of these RPGs, but unless your character is a general and you're leading whole armies, divisions, or the like, the combat at least is tactical, not strategic. Strategic elements common in RPGs are deciding how to develop and equip your character(s).

I know some of you may think I'm nitpicking, but it is a pretty big distinction if you think about it. They are two different skills/sciences/arts and it is easy to be good at one while bad at the other.

So please get it right, people. Thanks for your attention. We now return to your regularly scheduled Slashdot silliness.

Re:Get tactics and strategy straight, please (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421591)

Ogre battle. You play the general of a few squads of troops. You marched upon objectives and the only direct contorl you had was to set their formation and tactics and to supply them and occasionally magical intervention.

What a crappy list. (1, Interesting)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9421654)

Final Fantasy Tactics, one of the most overrated games of the Playstation era, is #2.
Dynasty Tactics is good, and I'm a big Koei fanboy, but I don't think even I would rate it #3.
Ogre Battle is better than Tactics Ogre, seeing as how Tactics Ogre is just an earlier version of FFT.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance shouldn't be on the list.
No Shining Force, Langrisser, or Dark Wizard.
No PC games (Jagged Alliance 2 should at least be in the top three, and there are several great RPG/RTS fusions out there right now).

Well, at least he mentioned Front Mission 3, which is like FFT but good.

Rob

My honourable mention: Bahamut Lagoon (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422146)

One of my alltime fav RPG/Tactics games has to be Bahamut Lagoon. Shame it was never released stateside for the SNES, but luckilly you can find ROMS and translation patches floating around the net. It was a hella fun game. Great storyline, tons of characters (32 IIRC), and you even got to play a little pokemon-lite with your dragons by feeding them your junk items to level them up. I loved all the different personalities too. Some are kinda annoying (like Yoyo!), but others are hillarious - like Frenze and Reeve (LA-LA-LANCERS! :P). They worked really well in the story though... love, betrayal, loyalty, etc. All the clasic themes, done really well IMO. But overall the game was nice and simple. Mix and match your characters/classes (light armours RULE!!) into stacks, pair each stack with a dragon, and ride off into the battle. Really awesome experience. Hooked me right away too, even worse than (dare I say it?) Shining Force did.
Definitly worth checking out if you're any kind of RPGt fan. :)

Wow... what a horrible list.... (1)

GaimeGuy (679917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9422340)

The fact that Fire Emblem 7 is the only FE on the list just doesn't make sense. Where's FE3, 4, and Thracia 776? How about the original Fire Emblem, which pretty much INVENTED the SRPG genre? And may I ask, where in the world is Ogre Battle 64? Sounds like this guy hasn't owned a Nintendo system except for the GBA.

Re:Wow... what a horrible list.... (1)

GutSh0t (91783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9427052)

This article reminded me of a "Greatest rock and roll songs in history" and they never list anything before 2001.

The guy that wrote this is obviously very young and has no history, or just doesn't know the genre.

Omitting the Shining force series is a sin. No PC titles either.

Utterly Irrelevant (2, Insightful)

Canar (46407) | more than 10 years ago | (#9426490)

This alleged "All Time Top 10" is utterly, completely irrelevant. They miss out on several key players in the strategy RPG genre.

First, as many people have pointed out, they completely overlooked Shining Force in all its incarnations. In considering the worth of a title, you need to consider the way it was when it was released as well as how it stacks up now. Shining Force was revolutionary when it was released.

Second, they completely ignore several incredible strategy-based RPGs for the computer. Two that come immediately to mind are Fallout and Baldur's Gate. Fallout had a unique idea, a great character system, gorgeous graphics (at the time), and awesome weapons. Baldur's Gate (especially in 2) was insanely well-balanced, had that awesome turn-based/real-time strategy engine blending, had an unrivalled spell set in terms of selection, casting mechanics, and effects, an engrossing plot, and more.

Put BG2 up against anything the consoles have to offer. Anything. To feel like you've completed the game at all, there's at least 100 hours of gameplay. Every battle is unlike the last, and until halfway through the game, you'll need to come up with a radically different strategy than the last. The AI isn't even that good, but the differences in the characters are so great that you need to find that perfect balance.

Hell, even the original Fallout compares very favourably to today's console RPGs.
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