Best Battle System
RPGs contain many different aspects, but the one area that gamers usually end up spending the most time with is the battle system. With that in mind, a great battle system needs to be one that's able to engage players and keep us entertained over the course of long, multi-hour RPGs. One game in 2012 stood out as a unique, fast, and furious experience that rocked the world of many gamers. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning offered players brutal, responsive real-time combat and lots of variety to go along with it. For that, Reckoning is our winner of Best Battle System for 2012.
Reckoning's speedy and aggressive combat is part of what makes the game appealing. Players can quickly dash around the world, swapping between two different weapons and a collection of skills all on the fly. It makes hacking up monsters an enjoyable experience on par with some of the best action games out there. In fact, the combo system could almost pass for a fighting game on its own. The intense combat isn't the only key here. The diversity of the character builds, weapon options, and class skills truly make this a standout RPG experience.
Unlike RPGs that require players to select a class from the start, Reckoning gives players the option to choose from a myriad of weapons regardless of which of the three skill types they have focused on. Want to be a mage with a sword? Doable. Want to be a staff wielding rogue? That works as well. Can't decide what you want to be? The best part is that you don't have to pick. Just grab a skill from whichever trees you want and play as you desire. Of course there are some weapon level restrictions and bonuses for picking a single path, but players are never locked in. The next time you want to be a chakram master who teleports behind enemies to backstab them, think of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, because it gives you that option. With this great of a battle system, we are hopeful that Impossible Studios, the new studio formed from the ashes of Big Huge Games, gets a shot at a console release so that we can have more.
Things were tight this year, as Reckoning had some serious competition for the top spot in the battle system category. Coming in at a close second is Tales of Graces f. The Tales series is often praised by fans as having one of the most intense combat systems in an RPG series, featuring fast-paced action with skills and combos, but for outsiders it was not always easy to break into the rhythm that long-time fans had mastered. With Graces f, the Tales team crafted an easy-to-learn system that even the clumsiest gamer could pick up with ease. By keeping the action fast, the characters varied, and the system user-friendly, Tales of Graces f was able to take the second place spot.
Rounding out the top three is a game that was more unique with its combat than action-packed, and that is Pokémon Conquest. A very non-traditional RPG, Conquest blends tactical RPG combat and monster collection into a game starring Pokémon and characters from Nobunaga's Ambition. This unique setting twist combined with stellar gameplay execution makes for one of the more creative and enjoyable battle systems of the year.
by Michael A. Cunningham