RPGamer 2021 Awards – Best Battle System

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Scarlet Nexus

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Scarlet Nexus’s real-time combat is not only fast-paced and fun to learn, but also wonderful to behold. It is beautiful and complex, and while it takes some time to get used to and fully open up, once it does, players can expect a exhilarating ride. Mixing close-range combat and hurling random objects at the enemy using psychokinetic powers allows for lots of offensive options in combat situations. Things are further opened up when the protagonists become able to borrow the powers of their allies. The game even has an insanely cool-looking over-limit system in which they become a powerhouse for a short amount of time. A customizable skill tree rounds out the wonderful combat experience.

Lots of games eventually suffer from that stale feeling when repetition starts to dull the experience, but Scarlet Nexus builds on a wonderful fighting system throughout the journey that, once fully expanded upon, provides plenty of variation for the player to utilize and experiment with all the way to the end of the game. While each protagonist shares the same special ability, their different weapons and flair in combat gives each of them their own unique style, so even replaying the game offers new combat paths to look forward to. Simply put, Scarlet Nexus is an action RPG that others in the genre should look up to when creating a fun and enjoyable battle system.



The Tales series has long been known for its battle systems. The action-packed combat generally tasks players with using normal combos and a wide set of abilities, as well as defending or evading. There are multiple ways of playing, with automatic, semi-automatic, and manual options to control the leader of the party. Tales of Arise uses that formula but brings enough on its own to make it an extraordinary experience. Party members are swapped easily and are all involved in combat, even if it’s only to unleash their special abilities. In addition, controlling each of the diverse characters feels different, with everyone having unique skills, strengths, and ranges, which is especially evident in the one-on-one battles in the arena. The level of customization that the game offers enables tailored strategies for automatically-controlled characters, and having a set of points exclusively for healing purposes makes the healing process a lot more interesting and tactical. The difficulty options, ranging from an easy ride to fiendishly challenging, is another noteworthy aspect, with powerful foes that really put players to the test. Tales of Arise’s battle system is enjoyable throughout the whole game and fully deserves to be marked as one of the best of 2021.

There are plenty of turn-based games designed in a vintage 16-bit style that evoke memories of the golden era of RPGs, but Fantasian does what few of them can: feel as sharply designed as those classic games. The battle system in Fantasian demands the player’s attention to succeed, including innovative mechanics such as using the touch screen to target multiple enemies at once. The Dimengeon gimmick, which allows players to bank random encounters while exploring before dispatching the enemies en masse, is a great way to cater to players of all types, minimizing the grinding aspects of the game. Often a challenge, and despite occasionally feeling unfair, the battle system in Fantasian is a true evolution of the classic turn-based battle mechanic.


by Ryan Radcliff, Luis Mauricio, and Paul Shkreli