Tactical role-playing game

Tactical role-playing game

A tactical role-playing game] cite web | last =Gantayat | first =Anoop | title =Final Fantasy Father Brings Ash to DS | publisher =IGN | date =October 5, 2005 | url =http://ds.ign.com/articles/656/656113p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Now Playing in Japan - The full word on the latest releases from overseas. | publisher =IGN | date =February 7, 2005 | url =http://ps2.ign.com/articles/585/585811p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] , a designation which might seem peculiar to native English speakers. This stems from the Japanese usage of "simulation" as a short hand for "strategy simulation game".Fact|date=November 2007

This sub-genre of role-playing game principally refers to games which incorporate gameplay from strategy games as an alternative to traditional RPG systems. [http://www.ea.com/official/lordoftherings/tactics/us/whatis.jsp Electronic Arts - Lord of the Rings: Tactics] ] Like standard RPGs, the player controls a finite party and battles a similar number of enemies. And like other RPGs, death is usually temporary. But this genre incorporates strategic gameplay such as tactical movement on an isometric grid. Unlike many other video game genres, tactical RPGs tend not to feature multiplayer play.

History

Many early Western computer role-playing games used a highly tactical form of combat, such as parts of the "Ultima" series, which introduced party-based, tiled combat in "". Conventionally, however, the term tactical RPG refers to the distinct subgenre that was born in Japan. The early origins of tactical RPGs are difficult to trace from the American side of the Pacific since so much of the genre developed in Japan.

All tactical RPGs are descendents of table-top role-playing games, such as "Chainmail", which were mainly tactical in their original form. Indeed the very format of a T/CRPG is like a traditional RPG in its appearance, pacing and rule structure. Early table-top role-playing games, likewise, are descended from skirmish wargames.

8-bit/16-bit generation

It is generally accepted that Nintendo released and published the first tactical RPG, "Fire Emblem" for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), created and developed by Intelligent Systems. Released in Japan in 1990, "Fire Emblem" was an archetype for the whole genre, establishing gameplay elements that are still used in tactical CRPGs today (although a number of these elements were taken from "Ultima III"). Combining the basic console RPG concepts from games like "Dragon Quest" and simple turn-based strategy elements, Nintendo created a hit game, which has spawned many sequels and imitators. It was not until the release of "" for the Game Boy Advance, many years later, that the series was formally introduced to non-Asian gamers.

Among the first imitators was "Langrisser" by NCS/Masaya, first released for the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis in 1991. It was translated for North American release and retitled "Warsong". The "Langrisser" series differed from "Fire Emblem" in that it used a unique general-soldier structure instead of controlling main characters. "Langrisser", too, spawned many sequels, none of which were brought to North America.

"Master of Monsters" was a unique title by SystemSoft. Where "Langrisser" and "Fire Emblem" used a square-based grid, "Master of Monsters" used a hexagonal grid. Players could choose one of four different Lords to defend their Towers and areas on the grid by building an army of creatures to destroy the opposing armies. This game had a sequel for the Playstation called "Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia", which had limited success and was bogged down by slow gameplay.

The first game in the very successful and long-running "Super Robot Wars" series came out for the Game Boy in 1991 and is thus another early example of the genre.

Another influential early tactical RPG was Sega's "Shining Force" for the Sega Genesis, which was released in 1992. "Shining Force" used even more console RPG elements than earlier games, allowing the player to walk around towns and talk to people and buy weapons.

One game released solely in Japan for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), "Bahamut Lagoon", began Squaresoft's (now Square Enix) famous line of tactical RPGs.

Four games from the "Ogre Battle" series have been released in North America: ' was released for the SNES and is more of a real-time strategy game in which the player forms computer role-playing game-like character parties that are moved around a map in real-time. When two parties meet, the combat plays out with minimal user interaction. A later release, "Tactics Ogre", was originally a SNES game that was not released outside of Japan. It was later ported to the Sony PlayStation, along with "Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen". Both of the PlayStation re-releases were marketed in North America by Atlus, as was ' for the Nintendo 64.

"Tactics Ogre" is a much more direct influence on the sort of tactical RPGs that gamers recognize today such as "Final Fantasy Tactics" and "Disgaea: Hour of Darkness". It was also the first to bear the name "Tactics" in the title, a term gamers would come to associate with the genre. Not only are characters moved individually on a grid, but the view is isometric, and the order of combat is calculated for each character individually. Although this game defined the genre in many ways, it is not widely recognized by American gamers because it was released to American audiences several years later. "Final Fantasy Tactics" shared some staff members with "Tactics Ogre" and shares many of its gameplay elements. A prequel to the original "Tactics Ogre", "" was later released for the Game Boy Advance.

32-bit

The 32-bit era saw many influential tactical RPGs, such as Konami's "Vandal Hearts", Square's "Final Fantasy Tactics" and "Front Mission 3" and Sega's "Shining Force 3", considered by many to be the pinnacle of the genre.

"Vandal Hearts" was an early PlayStation title that helped popularize tactical RPGs in the US. It was released by Konami and featured a 3D isometric map that could be rotated by the player. A sequel was subsequently released, also for the PlayStation, and Konami has announced a third title in development for the Nintendo DS.

"Final Fantasy Tactics" was arguably the most responsible for bring tactical RPGs to North America. Developed by former employees of Quest, the developer responsible for the "Ogre Battle" series, it combined many elements of the "Final Fantasy" series with "Tactics Ogre"-style gameplay.

In more recent times, a loyal American fan-base has been established by Nippon Ichi, makers of the popular PlayStation 2 games ', ', "Phantom Brave", "Makai Kingdom", and "Disgaea 2". ['Time Extend,' "Edge", March 2008, p105] Of these games, "Disgaea" has been the most successful to date, and was the second Nippon Ichi game released in North America (the first being "", published by Atlus) even though "La Pucelle" was developed and released first in Japan.

Tactical RPGs are more popular today than ever, as more companies have recognized the large audience of these types of games, particularly Atlus and Nintendo. "La Pucelle: Tactics" and "Disgaea: Hour of Darkness", which Atlus re-released due to high demand, have become genuine cult hits for the Playstation 2.

Tactical RPGs on the PC

Many Western PC games have utilized this genre for years, as well. Differences include a tendency toward stronger military themes without many of the fantasy elements found in their console (and mainly Japanese) counterparts, as well as greater complexity and freedom when interacting with the surrounding environment. Notable examples include the "X-COM"cite web | last =S. | first =Dennis | title =Paradise Cracked Review | publisher =GamersHell | url =http://www.gamershell.com/pc/paradise_cracked/review.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] series, the "Jagged Alliance"cite web | last =Thompson | first =Mike | title =Night Watch | publisher =Game Helper Magazine | date =June 22, 2006 | url =http://www.gamehelper.com/magazine/previews/night-watch | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Jagged Alliance 2 Expansion Pack Announced | publisher =RPG Vault | date =November 27, 1999 | url =http://rpgvaultarchive.ign.com/archive/19991121.shtml | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] series, and the "Silent Storm"cite web | first =Jonric | title =Silent Storm Interview | publisher =RPG Vault | url =http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/367/367949p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Calvert | first =Justin | title =New Silent Storm details emerge | publisher =GameSpot | date =June 3, 2003 | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/silentstorm/news.html?sid=6029398 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Thorsen | first =Tor | title =Silent Storm makes golden sound | publisher =GameSpot | date =January 15, 2004 | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/silentstorm/news.html?sid=6086587 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Stock | first =Robert | title =Silent Storm | publisher =Just RPG | date =January 20, 2004 | url =http://www.just-rpg.com/default.asp?pid=931 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] series.

"" (1997), part of the "Battle Isle" series, was one of the first strategy titles to use fully 3D graphics and support hardware acceleration on the 3dfx Voodoo.

"Gorky 17" (1999) is a tactical RPG, and the first title in a series featuring the same main character, Cole Sullivan.

""cite web | last =Paik | first =Eric | title =The History of Fallout | publisher =GameBanshee | date =August 24, 2006 | url =http://www.gamebanshee.com/editorials/fallouthistory1.php | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel - Retroview | publisher =RPGamer | url =http://www.rpgamer.com/games/fallout/fallouttactics/reviews/fallouttacticsrdrev2.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Silent Storm: Review @ FI | publisher =RPGDot | date =January 28, 2004 | url =http://www.rpgdot.com/index.php?disp=2004-01-28 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel | publisher =GameStats | url =http://www.gamestats.com/objects/014/014875/ | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2001) is a spin-off of the "Fallout" series of CRPGs.

"Freedom Force"cite web | last =Allman | first =Mark | title =I Want to Be a Superhero | publisher =RPGPlanet | date =October 22, 2000 | url =http://www.rpgplanet.com/features/firstlooks/freedomforce/ | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Freedom Force Q&A | publisher =GameSpot | date =July 17, 2000 | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/freedomforce/news.html?sid=2604600 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2002) and its sequel, "Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich"cite web | last =Yam | first =Marcus | title =For Great Justice! | publisher =FiringSquad | date =October 17, 2003 | url =http://firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=5538 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Adams | first =David | title =Freedom Force at Full Alert | publisher =IGN | date =February 22, 2005 | url =http://pc.ign.com/articles/589/589770p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2005), are some of the few examples of tactical RPGs that are played in real-time.

The "UFO" series of games (', 'cite web | title =Tri Synergy and Cenega will release the tactical RPG sequel in North America. When? They don't know yet. | publisher =Gameworld Network | date =October 27, 2005 | url =http://www.gwn.com/news/story.php/id/8482/UFO_Aftershock_Coming_to_US.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Brozio | first =Kristofer | title =UFO Aftershock Review | publisher =ThinkComputers | date =January 21, 2005 | url =http://www.thinkcomputers.org/index.php?x=reviews&id=324 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Scalzo | first =John | title =UFO: Aftershock is coming to America | publisher =Gaming Target | date =October 27, 2005 | url =http://www.gamingtarget.com/article.php?artid=4721 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] and "") by ALTAR Interactive are an "X-COM"-inspired series of games that feature real-time play.

"Paradise Cracked"cite web | title =Paradise Cracked Interview | publisher =RPG Vault | date =October 24, 2002 | url =http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/375/375378p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] (2003) is a Russian tactical RPG that received low scores from criticscite web | title =Paradise Cracked | publisher =Metacritic | url =http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/paradisecracked?q=paradise%20cracked | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] .

"Metalheart: Replicants Rampage"cite web | title =Metalheart: Replicants Rampage - First Look Preview | publisher =Total Video Games | date =December 2, 2004 | url =http://www.totalvideogames.com/articles/Metalheart_Replicants_Rampage_-_First_Look_1298.htm | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Metalheart: Replicants Rampage | publisher =GameSpot | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/metalheartreplicantsrampage/index.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] cite web | title =Metalheart: Replicants Rampage | publisher =Metacritic | url =http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/metalheartreplicantsrampage | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2004) is a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk tactical RPG inspired by "Jagged Alliance", "Syndicate", and "Fallout". "Metalheart" received extremely poor ratings from the press as well as gamers.

"Shadow Vault"cite web | title =Strategy First - Role-Playing Game - Shadow Vault | publisher =Strategy First | url =http://www.strategyfirst.com/en/games/ShadowVault/ | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] cite web | title =Shadow Vault | publisher =IGN | url =http://pc.ign.com/objects/664/664419.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] cite web | title =Strategy First Signs Shadow Vault | publisher =Gameworld Network | date =September 8, 2003 | url =http://www.gwn.com/news/story.php/id/2281/Strategy_First_Signs_Shadow_Vault.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] (2004) is a Slovakian SRPG that received similarly poor reviewscite web | title =Shadow Vault for Windows | publisher =MobyGames | url =http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/shadow-vault/mobyrank | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] .

"The Battle for Wesnoth"cite web | last =Hodge | first =Karl | title =Battle For Wesnoth 1.1.11 | publisher =Macworld | url =http://www.macworld.co.uk/macsoftware/reviews/index.cfm?reviewid=2102&pagtype=allchandate | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2005) is an open-source, multi-platform tactical RPG inspired by "Master of Monsters" and "Warsong".cite web | title =The Battle for Wesnoth - an Example of a Successful Open Source Game Project: An Interview with David White (Project Leader) | publisher =PCTechTalk | date =December 9, 2004 | url =http://www.pctechtalk.com/?m=show&id=3948 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ]

"Hammer & Sickle"cite web | title =Nival Interactive Announces Hammer & Sickle | publisher =GameZone | url =http://pc.gamezone.com/news/04_29_05_10_00AM.htm | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | title =Hammer & Sickle | publisher =GameCritics.com | url =http://www.gamecritics.com/node/1928 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2005) is a tactical RPG co-developed by the Russia-based companies Novik & Co and Nival Interactive and published by CDV in 2005. It is set in the "Silent Storm" universe, following the events in the series, and uses the "Silent Storm" engine.

"COPS 2170: The Power of Law" is another poorly-receivedcite web | title =COPS 2170: The Power of Law | publisher =Metacritic | url =http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/cops2170thepoweroflaw?q=COPS%202170:%20The%20Power%20of%20Law' | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-12 ] tactical game/RPG made by an Eastern European developer.

"Night Watch"cite web | last =Ocampo | first =Jason | title =Night Watch Exclusive Hands-On - Combat, Classes, and Turning a Hit Russian Movie Into a Game | publisher =GameSpot | date =April 13, 2006 | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/nightwatch/news.html?sid=6147623&mode=all | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Clare | first =Oliver | title =Night Watch | publisher =Eurogamer | date =December 9, 2006 | url =http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=67512 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-13 ] (2006) is a game developed by Nival Interactive based on the Russian novel and film of the same name. It uses the "Silent Storm" engine.

""cite web | last =Mahood | first =Andy | title =Brigade E5: New Jagged Union - A jagged little pill for turn-based gaming fans | publisher =PC Gamer | url =http://www.pcgamer.com/archives/2007/01/brigade_e5_new.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] (2006) is a game that bears strong resemblance to "Jagged Alliance", except without all the charm and polish. It also incorporates an innovative real-time/turn based hybrid system known as "Smart Pause Mode" in an attempt to add further realism to the genre.cite web | title =Apeiron on 7.62 & Brigade E5 | publisher =Tacticular Cancer | date =February 16, 2007 | url =http://www.tacticularcancer.com/content.php?id=31 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-10-27 ] A sequel, titled simply "7.62", was released in 2007.

"" (2007) is another "X-COM"-inspired tactical game, this time made by Chaos Concept.cite web | title =Exclusive UFO: Extraterrestrials Interview | publisher =StrategyCore | date =2006 | url =http://www.strategycore.co.uk/et/pg/interview | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ]

"Project Xenocide" and "" (both currently in development) are modern, open source homages to "X-COM".cite web | title = Xenocide FAQ | url = http://www.projectxenocide.com/artassets/xenofaq.html | accessdate = 2008-06-15] cite web | title = UFO: Alien Invasion (PC) | publisher = Strategy Informer | url = http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/ufoalieninvasion/ | accessdate = 2008-06-15]

Genre blurring

"Rebelstar" (1984) and "Laser Squad" (1988) were precursors to "X-COM" created by the same developer, Julian Gollop. They did not, however, feature character development like the titles in the later series.

Tactical wargames such as the "Steel Panthers" series (1995-2006) also sometimes combine tactical military combat with RPG-derived unit advancement.

"Avalon Hill's Squad Leader" (2000), a man-to-man wargame based on the "Soldiers at War" engine, has been compared to "X-COM" and "Jagged Alliance".cite web | coauthors =IGN Staff | title =Squad Leader - The box says 'Squad Leader.' But there's no Squad Leader in the box. | publisher =IGN | date =November 7, 2000 | url =http://pc.ign.com/articles/164/164776p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ] cite web | last =Geryk | first =Bruce | title =Squad Leader (PC) | publisher =CNET | date =November 1, 2000 | url =http://reviews.cnet.com/strategy-games-gba/squad-leader-pc/4505-9984_7-30977267.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-26 ]

"Shadow Watch" has also been compared to "X-COM"cite web | coauthors =IGN Staff | title =Shadow Watch - A Clancy-esque thriller mixed with a comic book kind of X-COM thing. Oh, and it's fun, too. | publisher =IGN | date =April 17, 2000 | url =http://pc.ign.com/articles/161/161650p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] , though it is missing the earlier games' upgradable units.

Some CRPGs, such as ""cite web | last =Tie | first =Sing Chie | title =7 Deadly Games | publisher =neXus Central | date =August 1, 2000 | url =http://clsm.mmu.edu.my/index.php?artid=5&nesect=7&sectid=1 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ] (1983), "Wizard's Crown" (1985), "Pyrrhic Tales: Prelude to Darkness"cite web | title =Prelude to Darkness | publisher =Zero Sum Software | url =http://www.zero-sum.com/ | format =HTML | accessdate = 2007-07-13 | quote = Pyrrhic Tales: Prelude to Darkness is a dark, sophisticated fantasy CRPG featuring complex, turn-based tactical combat, 3D graphics, a skill-based character advancement system, and an intricate, involved plot.] (2002) and the "Gold Box" games of the late '80s and early '90s (many of which were ported to Japanese video game systems), also featured a heavy form of tactical combat. "The Temple of Elemental Evil" (2003) hearkens back to tactical RPGs' table-top roots by implementing the "Dungeons & Dragons" 3.5 edition ruleset.cite web | title =ATARI INTRODUCES 'GREYHAWK: THE TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL' | publisher =Atari | date =January 8, 2003 | url =http://corporate.infogrames.com/IESA/pressreleases_story.html?sid=340 | format =HTML | accessdate = 2007-04-04 | quote=`Greyhawk: The Temple of Elemental Evil' will return players to D&D's roots with the genre-defining adventure that started it all while taking full advantage of the popular 3rd Edition rule set, party-based adventuring and tactical turn-based combat. ]

"Tir-nan-óg" is a series of role-playing video games that premiered in Japan on the PC98 and later released for Windows. The latest title in the series is also being released for the PlayStation 2 and PSP.cite web | title = Tir-nan-og Goes PSP, PS2 | publisher = RPGFan | date = January 10, 2008 | url = http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2008/1007.html | accessdate = 2008-06-15]

Massively multiplayer online gaming

"Neverwinter Nights" was an early MMORPG hosted by AOL that utilized the Gold Box engine and featured competitive, team-based tactical combat.

"DOFUS" is an MMORPG which features tactical turn-based combat.cite web | last =Wilkinson | first =Oli | title =Interview with Ankama Studios | publisher =GameDev.net | url =http://www.gamedev.net/columns/interviews/ankama.asp | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-02 ]

"The Continuum" is a planned RPG browser game that features tactical movement and zoom-in turn-based combat cite web | last =D Argenio | first =Angelo | title =The Continuum: Exclusive Interview | publisher = TCGPlayer.com | url=http://www.tcgplayer.com/db/game_review.asp?AID=2133&PID=18&DBID=4 | format =HTML | accessdate =2008-03-13 ] "Tactica Online" was a planned MMORPG that would have featured tactical combatcite web | title =Tactica Online | publisher =Tactica Online | url =http://www.tacticaonline.com/# | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] , had development not been cancelledcite web | title =Tactica Online | publisher =GameSpot | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/tacticaonline/index.html?tag=result;title;0 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-12-25 ] .

"Strugarden" is a Japan-exclusive 3D MMORPG which uniquely employs separate movement and attack rounds. cite web |url=http://www.strugarden.info/playguide/EnjoyingPranetaria/battle.html |title=プラネタリアの楽しみ方 戦闘システム |accessdate=2008-04-25 |work= STRUGARDEN [戦いと癒しのオンラインRPG] 公式サイト |language=Japanese]

"Vantage Master Online"cite web | title = Vantage Master - English | publisher = Nihon Falcom | url = http://www.falcom.co.jp/vantage/index_e.html | accessdate = 2008-06-16] is a free multiplayer RPG by Nihon Falcom based on the "Vantage Master" series of TRPGs.

Popularity

Many tactical RPGs can be both extremely time-consuming and extremely difficult. Hence, the appeal of most tactical RPGs is to hardcore, not casual, computer and video gamers. Tactical RPGs are quite popular in Japan but have not enjoyed the same degree of success in the United States.

That said, the audience for tactical RPGs has grown substantially over the last decade, and PS1 and PS2 titles including "Suikoden Tactics", "Vanguard Bandits", ' and ' have enjoyed a surprising measure of popularity, as have hand-held war games including "Fire Emblem". Japanese console games such as these are no longer nearly as rare a commodity in North America as they were during the 1990s.

According to one developer, it has become increasingly difficult in recent years to develop these sorts of games for the personal computer in the West.cite web | first =Jonric | title =Jagged Alliance 3 Interview | publisher =RPG Vault | date =October 16, 2007 | url =http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/827/827659p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-10-19 | quote =When choosing a team to develop a project of this type and scale, it was obvious that we needed Russian developers, the same people that created games with similarities to Jagged Alliance 2, both in genre and the time setting. I'm referring to releases like Silent Storm, Night Watch, Brigade E5 and others. Such projects have not been created in western countries for a long time, which can make development more difficult.] Several have been developed in Eastern Europe with mixed results.

ee also

*List of turn-based tactics video games
*Role-playing battle systems
* Role-playing game tabletop

References


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