Getting on the Tactical Train.

I think when any gamer doesn't specialize in playing a certain genre, that is they don't abandon everything else for, say, their love of shooters, they tend to see that somewhere in the midst of all the types of games, one particular genre just appeals to them naturally. It's like they were born with a specific tendency to be good at fighting games or racing games. I'm not suggesting that practice doesn't make someone better at any type of game, but I think their is still that one genre that just appeals to the type of person we are. Because I play games for the most part universally, I have dabbled in everything despite my aversion to certain genres, and I think I've found the genre that, well, suits me.

My choice genre is the Tactical RPG. I carefully choose my wording here, because the Tactical RPG is in reality a subgenre of the Strategy RPG. The two are undeniably similar, and while I admit, I think I'm actually creating these definitions for myself, the difference lies in the minor details. Where my definition of a Strategy RPG places one in the setting of a grand battle with an army of units, a Tactical RPG on the other hand, still retains the party and unique characters of more traditional roleplaying games. I suppose a small list would be in order:

- A Strategy RPG has units, and a Tactical RPG has characters, or party members.
- A Strategy RPG often has one hero unit who is a character, but few more.
- A Strategy RPG often relies on the creation of bases and facilities.

I could probably go on, but I think examples are a better ... example:

Strategy RPG -

Command & Conquer
Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth
Advance Wars
Super Robot Taisen

Tactical RPG -

Final Fantasy Tactics
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

I think that makes the genre distinction pretty obvious. Certainly there are some games that blur the lines between the genres (Makai Kingdom), and even between Tactical RPG's and Traditional RPG's (FF12: Revenant Wings). As I said, I'm mostly defining these as I go, but I think most people can agree with what I'm suggesting. Particularly, the separation between characters and units being the most significant. The real purpose of all this distinction is just to make the point that Tactical RPG's with their strategical gameplay and character driven storyline, appeal to me on some strange, biological level. For this reason ... I'm really, really excited about the near future. Let's take a look:

Hoshigami Remix - Updated PS1 tactical outings? I'll take that.

FF12:Revenant Wings is a unique mix of TRPG and gambit system.

Heroes of Mana is probably a little less than a TRPG, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Luminous Arc was announced long before these other games, but it's finally coming.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 is easily the cream of the TRPG crop.

I've been keeping an eye on all these games and it's exciting to know they'll all be released in the US, and all on a single platform: The DS. The PSP has its own share of TRPG's coming down the pipeline but I wouldn't want to be overly hopeful about games I may never play. If you enjoy the Tactical RPG as much as I, by all means relish in the bounty that is 2007.


  1. Nathan said...
    I'm glad to see you included FE. As soon as you began to define TRPG I thought of it.

    I feel pretty much the same way you do, too. I'm a player of all genres,(even sports on the rare occasion) but I think one or two genres in particular stand out to me, though they don't jump out as quickly as T/SRPGs might have for you.
    Ishaan said...
    This is a little off topic, but I keep hoping Namco localizes XenoSaga 1&2 for the DS. It looks like an awesome title, and frankly, the thought of having portable XenoSaga is orgasmic.

    Agreed, FF Tactics A2 is going to be awesome. I was hoping for a little more eye-candy, but I guess the DS does have certain limitations which developers must abide by.

    There are quite a few regular role-playing titles coming up for the DS, too ... I'm really excited about Etrian Odyssey. The game looks very promising and some of the names associated with it only serve to get me even more excited.

    Nice post, Cody.
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