You’re past the tutorials. You’ve made it through the first boss fight. You’re starting to really develop an understanding of how to best go about grinding against small rodents, crushing slime monsters, and strategizing for the next big monster you need to defeat. But are you having fun?
Combat is an integral part of any video game, and it needs to be a fun aspect of any game it’s featured in. But combat is more than just stabbing, shooting, and spellcasting. If combat is too repetitive, players can get bored. If combat is too complicated, it can turn off new or inexperienced players.
A good combat system in a game needs to be challenging yet fun, with plenty of room for developing your own personal playstyle. If spamming the X button will get you through the whole game easily, is there a point to trying anything else?
When it comes to combat, there are two main systems, real-time combat and turn-based combat. Real-time combat is found in games where your reaction time controls the inputs, which control your character (think Super Smash Bros or Halo), while turn-based combat revolves around you taking your turn, then waiting for your opponent’s turn (think Pokémon or Final Fantasy).
For me, some of the most satisfying combat I’ve ever played comes from Tales of Symphonia, part of the Tales series of JRPGs. The game has combat that feels a bit like Super Smash Bros but with common RPG mechanics of having party roles like attackers and healers. On top of that, Symphonia‘s resource management of balancing TP (used for special moves), HP, and items feel natural while never feeling too slow.
What about you? Which game’s combat has been the most satisfying for you? Leave your reactions below or join the conversation on the Boss Rush Discord.