|« Best Re-Release||Best Story »|
Ever since its auspicious beginnings on the Game Boy, the SaGa series has always been about experimentation, and SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions is no exception. This installment covers all the good traits to make a great RPG, such as party building, good writing, and high replay value. But the things that always leave players wanting more are the epic battles and the myriad options for strategising, setting up the party, and growing the characters.
The battle system of this game features some of the most flexible and in-depth mechanics out there. It relies on a timeline system where players can see the turn order, but there’s a twist: they can manipulate it to their advantage by interrupting or countering attacks. Rather than relying on levelling up and balancing between healing and attacking to attain victory, this game rewards vigilant players that learn the interior workings of the combat system, build the proper party, and plan their actions accordingly. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions is not a game for everyone, but the level of complexity, challenge, and sheer feeling of reward from coming out on top puts its battle system right up there.
It’s not remotely surprising that the gameplay of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is evolution rather than revolution of the MMORPG’s formula, but Square Enix doesn’t rest on its laurels. Shadowbringers offers plenty of improvement from additions, such as the new Gunbreaker and Dancer classes, but Square Enix is not afraid to add through subtraction, such as the removal of the TP system. But what keeps setting the game’s combat above others is how it utilises the system with its encounter designs. It always feels like victory in a boss fight comes from the players’ actions, teamwork, and ability to learn rather than relying on stats. Virtually all of the boss fights are exciting encounters that constantly demand attention and keep players on their toes, always providing a great sense of achievement once conquered. The combat is one of the ways that many staff members who generally don’t play MMORPGs have been sucked into Final Fantasy XIV, and that continues with Shadowbringers.
For its fans, the Kingdom Hearts series has always brought its A-game when it comes to action-based combat. With Kingdom Hearts III, the battle system is a greatest hits compilation of all the best aspects of Keyblade combat from the past eighteen years. It brings back old favorites from previous titles like the Shotlock system from Birth by Sleep and the Flow Motion system from Dream Drop Distance. The game also mixes in new elements such as transforming Keyblades and screen-nuking summons based off of classic Disney rides. All of this comes together to give Kingdom Hearts III an insanely satisfying battle system that was worth the wait.
by Elmon Dean Todd, Alex Fuller, and Kelley Ryan