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 411mania » Games » Columns

411 Games Top 5 5.03.14: Top 5 Turn-Based Combat Games
Posted by Sean Garmer on 05.03.2014

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. Everyone likes taking turns don't they?

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 photo TurnBasedGames_zps145aba33.jpg

In honor of Child of Light coming out this week, here are the Top 5 Games That Feature Turn Based Combat

Robert Cooper (Music Zone Reviewer, Writer of Metal Hammer Doom News Report, Regular Contributor to The Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer," 411 Podcast Contributor )

5. Yu-Gi-Oh: Worldwide Edition: Eh, we all know how this game works, I figured I needed something to start this list off. Why not a card game? I mean, shit, I have played so many hours of this game it's not even funny at this point, it's nearly sad. But it's like the sad that leads right back to funny, so it's okay.

4. Final Fantasy 7: I would have put another FF game on here, but I've still not played as much of any of them as I have played this one. The old school Final Fantasy battle system never gets old,and I feel like FF7 did the best job of using it, though that might come from bias.

3. Chrono Trigger: Before someone burns my house down, I haven't finished the game yet, so that is why it is not as high as many expect it to be. So far I have gotten to the point where Frog cuts that mountain in two. I am really loving the game, though. But as for its turn-based combat, it's nothing too new, but it works so well with what it works with, it's still amazing and fun every time I get into a battle.

2. Pokemon Silver: Still my favorite Pokemon game of all time, and the turn based style of Pokemon has always had many fond memories attached to them. I have always found the battle system of this game to be one of my favorites, mainly because it is so simple, yet incredibly complex when you get more into it. That's the true beauty of it. Maybe this is some nostalgia goggle speaking, but I just adore this battle system too much to not put it on my list.

1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: I immediately thought of this game when Sean said that the games could have a real time turn-based system. Just like with Pokemon, my love for this game goes really deep and the multiple times I have beat this game puts it on par with Pokemon for the most times I have beat a single game. I love the way the combat works, it never feels turn based, but it is. There is definitely a give and take to combat, where, if your character is slow or the enemy has some buffs going, they will hit you a lot, and you have to learn to compensate for that. It makes force power selection very important, and it also makes non-combat feats useful at times. There are so many ways that you can tackle this game, that the combat system can get very interesting at times. This makes me want to go play this game again, sadly, I loaned out my copy about 4 years ago, still waiting for it to come back...

John Cash (Reader Voice, Occasional Contributor to Four Player Co-op)

5. Record of Agarest War: I'd like to open my list by saying that as mediocre as I am at most video games, RPGs are where I tend to do the most poorly. I play them to enjoy the plot, but man if it isn't worth the work a lot of the time. Fortunately, RoAW was pretty much right up my alley, as I had never played any kind of game that takes place over the course of several generations of the same blood-line, and it was intriguing to see how each generation's hero felt about this burden placed upon them. Sure it has the typical anime style graphics and of course the fanservice, but looking beyond that there is a wonderful strategy game that is both easy to learn and quite difficult to play in some parts of the game.

4. Golden Sun: This was pretty much the first RPG I ever actually enjoyed playing all the way through. it was just interesting and unique enough (to me) to keep me going all the way through. The djinn attacks are definitely the star of the show here, as it was totally satisfying to be able to kill all enemies with one massive attacks at some points. To be honest the only reason this is below Pokemon on my list is because the random encounters were just way too frequent in my opinion.

3. Pokemon: Is there really anything left to say about Pokemon now? Its a global phenomenon, practically an e-sport, and is pretty much guaranteed money. I think up until X/Y the series had got stuck in a rut, but now after having played it I can honestly say Pokemon is more fun than it ever has been. Well, once you get used to there being over 700 Pokemon, anyway.

2. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: This would be in my "top 10 games you should buy a Wii to play" list. Great visuals, great story, combat is fair but challenging. It's been interesting to watch Fire Emblem grow from this kind of cult hit to now with the 3DS game Awakening being immensely popular, and I would like to think Radiant Dawn was a large part of that transition. It's starting to get pretty costly to find so if you've been on the fence about playing it you should probably pick it up now before it gets into $100 minimum territory on eBay and Amazon.

1. Project X Zone: I don't know if it's just the "newness factor" at work, but this game is just so damn fun to play, I couldn't bring myself to put it at anything other than #1 for my own personal list. I'm sure there are objectively better games, but this game was a rare gem for me in the way that when I completed it there was an immense wave of satisfaction that washed over me, and the only times I've ever got that feeling is from pretty much all the games in my top 10 favorite games, so it would be irresponsible of me to try to nitpick it to give it a lower ranking. Fantastic game, great roster of characters, the nostalgia oozes out all over the place. If you have a 3DS, you need to have this game.

Daniel Anderson (Games Fact or Fiction Organizer, Regular Contributor to The Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer")

5. Baldur's Gate 2: I played this as turn based so it makes the list. I love the Baldur's Gate games. When I got my first real computer, this game and the expansion was the first game I bought for it. I played it for hours and tried to complete all the side quests. I recommend checking out the enhanced edition for anyone that has not played this game.

4. Fire Emblem: One of the reasons I get any type of Nintendo handheld system is to play good Turn Based Strategy games. Fire Emblem is one of my favorites. I love the unforgiving deaths in the game, I love the options for leveling up, and I love the optional side quests. Even the story line in the games is decent if not good. All in all, Fire Emblem is a must have for fans of turn based games.

3. Advance Wars: I put this above Fire Emblem just because of one feature, creating your own maps for multiplayer or solo play. I really enjoy the way there are no super units in the game, every unit having a counter to it. Extremely well balanced and fun to play. Plus, if you do not want any air units (or sea units) you can just not create airports or seaports. You want a full on land battle? That is what you can get. Very fun with endless possibilities.

2. XCOM Enemy Unknown: I might catch some heat for putting this game so high on the list, but I love the game. There are a lot of things to do from upgrading your troops and your base to tinkering with your troops loadouts and sending them into battle with the right weapons. Also, this game is difficult without being a dick about it. It has a permanent death feature where if your unit gets killed, it is gone. This can be frustrating at times, but it also makes you care about your units, and help to be more careful with them. It is an overall wonderful game that just barely falls short of the number one game on my list.

1. Final Fantasy Tactics: Could it really be anything else? I love Tactics, and it is the first game that comes to mind when I think of turn based games. There is little to be said about this game that has not already been said. Is it a game with great gameplay? Yes. Is it a game well balanced and fun? Yes. Do you want to keep playing the game after you finish the story? Yes. This is pretty much a perfect game for turn based fans.

Sean Garmer (Games Zone Reviewer, Games Top 5 Organizer, Interim Host of The Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer," WWE Special Event Roundtable Organizer)

5. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes I picked this up as part of the Xbox 360 Free for Gold and I found myself hooked on this for months. Even though essentially all of the units are the same with just a palette change, I really liked that the game has five stories that all tie together. The combat system is great and once you get all of the champion units you can really do some big damage. This game is out there available for almost every system as a downloadable title. If you like strategy games I recommend picking it up.

4. Hearthstone: I know I might get crap for this being a very recent title, but I have never played a CCG this much in my life. This is coming from someone that had Yu-Gi-Oh cards, played a lot of the Yu-Gi-Oh games, and collected Pokemon cards at one time too. It probably has to do with the fact that there aren't these crazy rules like Magic, it felt very easy to get into, and then it hooks you with the fact that it's F2P and you can earn a card pack every few days just by doing quests. I love the Arena mode too because it puts everyone on a level playing field and you can win games just by selecting the right cards, paying attention, and sometimes getting a little bit of luck. I'm very excited for the single player mode that is coming soon as well. And yes, this counts because you take turns trying take out minions or points away from your opponent.

3. Final Fantasy Tactics: I've talked about this game a ton throughout many of these Top 5's and with good reason because it is a fantastic game and was my first introduction to strategy based gaming. The War of the Lions PSP version is much better, because it corrects a few things from the original and has a better translation too, but Tactics still holds up today as a great game.

2. Pokemon Series: As John said, what hasn't been said about Pokemon at this point? This series was and still is the reason I own a Nintendo Portable system. It was my first introduction to RPG's and even though there was nothing overly complex about Pokemon's battle system at first, Game Freak has added more types, increased the number of battle participants, and even added Mega Evolutions. The fact is, it is still a great series to play and I love battling each and every trainer I run across because I want to keep leveling my Pokemon and catching more.

1. Chrono Trigger: At this point, is anyone surprised that I have Chrono Trigger here? The Active Time Battle System was tweaked a bit with this game. Even if you had the game on "wait" your enemies could still attack you if you took too long to make a decision. I really liked that because it made it sort of real time, but you still could take some time to make a decision. Then throw in the double and triple techs and the game made you want to switch up your party to see what kind of combination attacks could be created. This game is a classic and the magic system, the atb system, and the double and triple techs are a large part of why the game is still a blast to play almost 20 years later.

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