Ever since consoles became powerful enough that could handle real time action games with a level of quality that rivaled the ones provided by games that utilized turn-based mechanics, there has been an ongoing discussion debating which system is the best one: action oriented or turn based.And the discussion has been reignited with the release of the anticipated Final Fantasy XV.And the answer is much simpler than you think.
One fact cannot be denied: Turn based games are not as mainstream as they used to be.As technology evolved, new gameplay oportunities opened up, and more and more developers tried to take a chance on something different, on games that uses a more active approach to their games,especially RPGs.And it worked.New franchises were born and released to universal acclaim, like Dark Souls and The Witcher.Even franchises that had a more slower pace initially, like the first Mass Effect and its bigger focus on the RPGs elements, such as pausing the action to make decisions, took a different turn and became more fast paced.The demand for action-oriented, faster paced games is high, and sales corroborate that.Each franchise given as an example sold better with each new entry, with Dark Souls 3 and The Witcher 3 being extremely successful, both commercially and critically.Not only that, but even estabilished franchises like The Elder Scrolls had its best selling game with Skyrim, at a time when tecnology allowed for a more fluid and action packed game while maintaining its immersive and immense world.Action games allows the player not only to better test your skills at the game, requiring constant attention and reflexes,but it is also more engaging.A battle that would normally last as long as three minutes on a more tradicional RPG, takes about half as long or even less, with gameplay system that relies upon speed and reflex.Final Fantasy XV, a game that seemed really devisive amongs its fanbase due to the change to its gameplay style, went to be the fastest selling entry in the franchise.While it should be noted that its also the first entry to have a simultaneous worldwide release, its still nothing to scoff at.
But at the same time, games that uses a turn based combat system are far from dead.Pokemon Sun and Moon, having just released in November, are breaking every kind of record, being the fastest selling Nintendo game in the Americas, Australia and Europe.Fire Emblem has been steadly growing since Awakening, selling millions with the most recent installment Fire Emblem Fates and being considered by Nintendo as an important IP for them.Persona 5 launched this year in Japan to become the best selling entry of the franchise in Japan, having sold more than 460k units in two months without digital, and bound to sell more than one million units when it finally launches in the west.And there are other examples, like Bravely Default, Valkyria Chronicles, Dragon Quest, X-Com and many more.And that is not including the indie scene.Turn based games, and strategic games as a consequence, offers a kind of experience that other genres cant offer: the satisfaction of carefully planning your moves, controlling your whole party and guiding them to victory, or just plain enjoying a good combat system.And the most important of all:the exhilaration to see it all clicking together.They arent as popular as they once were back in the 4th and 5th generation, but they are still relevant and wont go anywhere anytime soon.
So, which system is the better one?The short answer is neither.Both of them offers a gratifying experience if the game ideas and systems are properly implemented and developed.The experience is different enough that both can coexist.Comming back to the first game I mentioned in the article, the fact that Final Fantasy XV will be successful(both critically or commercially) or not wont hinge on its mechanics, it will depend on one factor and one alone:If the gamer ends up having fun with the game.And that is the whole point this industry exists.
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