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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Best Strategy RPGs Of All Time Rated 77

Thanks to eToychest for its round-up of the favorite console strategy RPGs of all time. The piece argues: "a strategy RPG is (generally) a console game in which battles take place over a grid", and highlights include Vandal Hearts ("This is where everyone interested in the genre should start"), the Tactics Ogre series ("the replay value here is unmatched, due to multiple endings in each game"), and Disgaea/La Pucelle Tactics both on the top spot ("If you don't know why these two titles are sharing number 1, go play them.")
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Best Strategy RPGs Of All Time Rated

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  • Advance Wars (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AliasTheRoot ( 171859 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @07:08AM (#9418474)
    No better way to make commutes fun :)
  • No shining force? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris_Jefferson ( 581445 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @07:15AM (#9418497) Homepage
    How can you have such a chart with no shining force? Espically considering the recent re-release of the first one on the GBA. One really nice feature of this game is it keeps getting harder each time you finish it, seemingly without limit. I can't do runthrough 8 :(

    Also, I'm suprised to see Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in there. They note it's a poor game. I would say it's main flaws are it is almost impossible to die, and it feels cheap (almost no sprite isn't used multiple times with different colour schemes, including the main character).

    Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and La Pucelle: Tactics (I don't really know why these got merged, other than they recently came out and were made by the same people) are both great. I would say they are the first RPGs (strategy or otherwise) I've seen in a long time that I've really enjoyed, and also the only games in a long time I've laughed out loud at :)
    • I'm missing Grandia 2 (never played part 1 myself)
      The story was cool, had some nice twists and turns, the gameplay was very enjoyable and the music was great.

      One of the things that I enjoyed is, that near the ending, for me, it seemed like the game was done, but no, it just kept going and going and going.

      I'm looking forward to the sequel.
    • Re:No shining force? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mausmalone ( 594185 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @07:50AM (#9418603) Homepage Journal
      Also, I'm suprised to see Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in there. They note it's a poor game. I would say it's main flaws are it is almost impossible to die, and it feels cheap (almost no sprite isn't used multiple times with different colour schemes, including the main character).
      Dispite all this, it's still a pretty fun game, and definitely a good pick up for on-the-road strategy. It's at least enough to tide one over until Atlus decides to start GBA development.

      also... ditto on Shining Force. One of my favorite series, and definitely one of the first well-known console strategy RPG's.
      • Didn't Atlus make the Tactics Ogre GBA game?
        • Quite possibly... been broke recently, so I haven't been shopping in a while. :-P
          • As I recall, it was published by Atlus, but written by Quest, who was recently purchased by Square. Nintendo published the game in Japan, but I guess NOA either didn't want it to succeed or didn't think they could promote it effectively, so they let it slide. Atlus picks up a lot of games that would otherwise slip through. Unfortunately, they have yet to pick up on the kind of distribution power of Nintendo or EA, so finding their games can be difficult. Hell, they really don't put down the kind of money th
        • Yes. It is why Tactics Ogre is listed in the article as GBA as well. Gamefaqs entry [gamefaqs.com].

          You can probably only find it on eBay; I got mine about two years ago and there were only a handful of copies on the net at all. Looks good on eBay, though, as of this writing.
    • <blockquote>Espically considering the recent re-release of the first one on the GBA</blockquote>

      And here she is!

      http://www.gamestop.com/product.asp?product%5Fid =1 60481

      I had no idea that it was out! There goes hours of sleep for this badboy! God I hope I can flee the battles like I did before and level up like a crazy man like I did in 1 and 2.

      • Sweet googly moogly! This slipped under my radar too! And it looks like they improved it... I just hope they changed the controls to be like Shining Force 2 (i.e. there's a button that automatically interacts with whatever you're looking at, as opposed to having to open the menu and then interact with it).
      • On this one you have to :) Every time you play throug the game gets harder. Once you start getting to 7 or 8 playthroughs, it gets REALLY hard. Also the AI gets much, much better (it seems like a shame that the good AI doesn't appear until you have played through many times, which most people would never see)
    • FFTA had awesome graphics (who the hell cares that sprites are reused) and awesome gameplay. By all definition that makes it an awesome game
      • But it's without challenge. I can put an entire 'B-squad' in and destroy the enemy without too much effort.

        I really liked it at first, until I realized I couldn't lose ...
      • FFTA had awesome graphics (who the hell cares that sprites are reused) and awesome gameplay. By all definition that makes it an awesome game

        What dictionary are you using? I'm a huge fan of the original FFT, and of FFTA I can say:
        1. It's way too easy
        2. The story is really dopey.
        3. It really needs FFT's "camera rotation"

        The third one is just a convienience thing, but the first two definitely count against it being anything NEAR an "awesome game." It's a fun way to kill an afternoon at the DMV, sure, but i

    • by Paolomania ( 160098 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @11:49AM (#9420462) Homepage
      I agree. It is actually painful to see FFT so high on the list with no Shining Force at all. Sure FFT has prettier graphics and greater mechanical compliexity, but I found it lacking with respect to the original SF in two very important regards:

      First, the characters in FFT have no character. The class system makes everyone's abilities so fluid that the characters are merely putty to be molded into the perfect fighting machines. I prefer the Shining Force system of being given a selection of soldiers, each with their unique blend of abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and finding a combination of these unique talents that works for your strategy.

      Second, group formation and positioning is far less meaningful in FFT. With a group size of only five, you can't make much in the way of formations. With SF's twelve characters per group, you have a much wider diversity of tactical formations - even multi-group tactics, such as sending a small force behind the enemy front line to take out their healers, are possible. Also, because of the range and spread of spells in FFT, you cannot effectively create a formation that has any integrity against melee attacks without being absurdly vulnerable to magical attacks. In SF, making a formation that is slightly looser or tighter (for instance, shoulder-to-shoulder vs. "checkerboard") can subtly change how well your formation does against melee or magic based attacks.

      Certainly FFT has something going for it in the more complicated use of terrain, the complex plot, the complex game mechanics, and the beautiful spell graphics. However I always felt like it didn't quite have enough tactical substance as it could have. Over the years I have revisited Shining Force far more often than FFT - mostly because of the memorable characters and the interesting shapes of the battles that unfold.
      • you have to ustilize formations as well. Solo characters tend to get gang banged if seperated from the group. And You can mimic SF class syste too. Just don't make any character oober and make them one class and make them stay that way for the rest of the game. It gives you the option. SF was ok. Faint praise for sure from me. I found all the genesis versions rather bland. It never really did mroe then tactics ogre but lacked a lot of features of tactics ogre liek job advancement and what not. I think it wa
  • Fire Emblem... 4 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Leffe ( 686621 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @07:42AM (#9418571)
    Seems as if they only played games released in America, that could explain why they didn't put FE4 in #1.

    Oh well, I'll bring out my super-proof that it's teh bestest gaem evar11!~

    Yarr [gamefaqs.com]

    Hehe, I hate the guy that gave it 9, how can you give a game such a bad score just because you can't understand japanese is beyond me. There are even translations available.
    • "Oh woe is me! He only gave it a 9/10! He must be the worst person alive!"
    • I hardly consider a 90% to be bad. I generally consider 7/10's to be good games, 8/10's to be really good games, 9/10's to be great games, and 10/10's reserved for "this game goes beyond all perceptions that I thought a game was possible of." But most people will see a game got a 78% review and be like "This game must suck!"
  • by Roman_(ajvvs) ( 722885 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @07:48AM (#9418595) Journal
    I had a quick look through the list and none of them I've played. I HAVE played Star Ocean 2, and I can tell you, the battles in this game blow me away to this day.

    I've never seen spells which actually warp the battlefield. There's nothing like casting "Explode!" and seeing the floor expand in real time to accomodate this massive globe of fire that fills up the screen. I could write a whole article on the crazy effects and combo's you could perform with each of your characters. It may not be the best one, but it's certainly the most underrated strategic RPG game I know. I'm dying to see the Director's cut of 'Until the End of Time'... </geek>

  • PC strategy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CoolGuySteve ( 264277 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:00AM (#9418635)
    They made some good selections (yay Vandal Hearts), I'll have to check out the PS2 ones. But what about some strategy games on the PC? There must be tons but the only one I can think of at the moment is Fallout Tactics. Any suggestions?

    Aside from that, the main reason Fallout is the only PC RPG that I really liked is because the battles were well-done strategy instead of mindless mouse clicking. Most PC RPGs nowadays, if they're not yet another Diablo clone, try and incorporate some real time/multiplayer aspect and usually fail. Even Arcanum managed to ruin itself. LAME.

    What are some good traditional RPGs with strategic combat? If they even exist that is.
    • Re:PC strategy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by necrognome ( 236545 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:41AM (#9418803) Homepage
      You should give Temple of Elemental Evil a try. It was developed by Troika, the developers of Arcanum and Fallout (when some of the team members were working at Interplay). It's a little thin on story, but peerless in hardcore, tactical combat. It's one of the few turn-based CRPGs you can find on the shelves today and is probably the most complete implementation of the DnD combat rules ever.
      • The game is incredible. It's too bad that the GUI sucks. I hope they will make a sequel, and hopefully then the GUI will be up to par with the gameplay. And hopefully the sequel will be much more deep than ToEE. Hopefully, ToEE was Troika testing the waters before diving in. It's too bad that I couldn't put a character in the inn to rest and pick up a new character and then swap back again later (in ToEE, once you drop a character, it's like dropping your keys in a river of molten lava [lifestorywriting.com]).
      • Re:PC strategy? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nmnilsson ( 549442 )
        Agreed, this is a great game for those of us who like tactical, turn based D&D fighting - and could care less for a story (I read novels for that).

        Should you decide to try it: Be sure to save often!
        There are still a few nasty bugs in there, even after the 2.0 patch - like a character being permanently silenced (a sure mage killer).
        • Oh, and if you cast magic weapon on a weapon, do not (after patch) try to enhance it with 'Craft Weapons and Armor' feat. The game just hangs.

          Before the patch, this was a great money maker because you could enchant the weapon and then craft it. This would give you the +1 for free. You could spend 3000 to up it to +2 and then sell if for ~5500 (out of value of 6000) with a PC with a good appraise skill. I never got around to trying out the +2 from greater magic weapon. I patched just as my characters
    • XCOM XCOM XCOM! (Score:5, Informative)

      by wikthemighty ( 524325 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @11:45AM (#9420433)
      Don't forget XCOM ;)
    • Try out the Heroes of Might and Magic series. I can't say for the other games but Herores III was awesome. As a side note Dark Wizard for Sega CD was a pretty good one too.
  • They all share the same general gameplay values, just done differently!

    I highly recomend Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodies, aswell as Final Fantasy Tactics for GBA.
    • to add to that Orge Battle. its a different game than tactics ogre although the story was similar (by the same people). ogre battle is a rare game not many people have played. it was originally released for the snes and a special edition was released for the playstation. not only did it have different endings, the games difficulty actually changed based on how good you were doing. it has a system of characters which you evolve to better characters, that i havent seen used in another game. i definitely recom

  • by hsoft ( 742011 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:30AM (#9418751) Homepage
    Because FFT is really one of the best games I've played. Ever. I liked shining forces serie, but not as much as FFT. Have anyone tried the Teleport (Time mage job) ability with an archer (Go to hot archer spot instantly) or monk( archer killer :))? that rocks. I heard about disgea a lot, but I don't think I'll buy a PS2 anytime soon. Back to FFT. The translation is quite mediocre, but if you ignore that fact, the storyline is very interesting (If you can remember all the major characters names, there are a lot...)!.
    • Try soloing the game. With the exception of the first battle, never use anyone but your main character. I did it. All you need is a lto of patience. But I had a ubebr set up. less then 10 faith 99 brave. Blade grasp + two swords + walk +3 + battleskills + throw + leveled up / leveled downed= ungodly unhittable monster that does 1800 dmg consitantly and moves twice each turn, magic immune and high powered range(try throwing a duped chaos bladE).
  • by trippcook ( 529339 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:31AM (#9418756)
    The only thing that bugs me about the current success of SRPGs, a genre I've always enjoyed, is that I fear that a great series has gone by the wayside --- OGRE BATTLE. Ogre Battle 64 was, to me, the perfect SRPG. True, you had less direct control over your combat, but exploration was a hoot and having a HUGE army to manage is right up my alley. Ogre Battle 64 is the only reason my N64 hasn't been sold or junked at this point.

    Does anyone have any info about Ogre Battle? Are there any more OB games planned, or is Atlus going with Tactics Ogre and Disgaea type games in the near future?
  • Ahhh. Front Mission 3! How do I love thee.... ....not enough to spend another 50hrs finishing the emma senario. What a HUGE game.

    And Vandal Hearts! Dear sweet Vandal hearts! You were the greatest! But why was the Vandalier class so crappy looking. And what was up with that sequel!! No wait! It's not you fault!

    I guess the lesson here is that no game is perfect. You've just got to look for the ones that are least flawed.
    • I loved FM3, doubly so because I've grown sick and tired of the fantasy genre.

      The silly simultaneous move system in Vandal Hearts 2 meant every battle was mostly characters running around each other in circles. Maybe I was just playing it wrong.

  • I hate to see a list like this restricted to consoles only, since it means the best strategy RPG of all time is left off the list: Master of Magic.

    By all things holy, it's a fine game. In fact, even though it's never been on a console, it's so damn good it should still be on the list, just out of reverence.

  • by Thag ( 8436 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:25AM (#9419650) Homepage
    In fact, I think it's among the worst things Square has ever put out. It runs like a dog, even on PS2, the graphics are SNES level, it cheats, and the "develop your character any way you want" thing just flat out isn't true. If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed. Oh, and there's lots of boring levelling.

    I've tried to love this game, but I just can't. Disgaea, on the other hand, is actually fun.

    Jon Acheson
    • it cheats, and the "develop your character any way you want" thing just flat out isn't true. If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed.

      AMEN. I really, really, really wanted to like that game, especially since I liked Dark Wizard for the Sega CD. But FFT was the only console game I ever played that got harder when you used a GameShark. I always got stuck at the same place, three battles in.

      FFT really ruined the tactical RPG genre for me. I've tried Arc The Lad, Vandal Hear

      • Me too. I greatly disliked the game, its hideous pre-battle load times, and the fact that random enemies were scaled up to match the player's level, which meant if you didn't have someone capable of handling whatever similarly-leveled monsters were generated at that moment you were screwed.

        Hard is one thing, but FF Tactics was just annoying. The GBA game is more interesting, in my book.
    • If you don't stick to the right character upgrade paths, you're screwed. Oh, and there's lots of boring levelling.

      Lots of ways to develope. You can be an ubber caster. And ubber speed demon. and ubber archer. Ever try finishing the game with archers only. Man that a challenge. It's a hard hard game and you don't need to depend on just one build. Some builds make it easier btu if you don't mine 1h battle you can finish it without leveling with just archers. It's just hard. Now if you powerlevel and use all
    • Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree on just about every one of your points.

      I'm not sure what you mean when you say it runs like a dog. There's a couple of seconds of load time each time a map is loaded, but since you can easily spend 15-30 minutes on one map, that's not very significant. I guess this is a valid complaint, but it seems like a very trivial issue to me. Once things are initially loaded, there's no interruption or slowdown.

      The graphics aren't state of the art, but they certainly hol

  • Phantasy Star (Score:2, Interesting)

    Best RPG of all time is still Phantasy Star 2 for Sega Genesis. Though I don't know if that classifies itself as strategy RPG.

    • No, it doesn't. The Phantasy Star series on Genesis was your standard RPG where "good guys stand here, bad guys stand here, fight!". A strategy RPG, or tactical RPG, is basically defined as an RPG where you and your opponents have the ability to move about the playing field in a turn-based fashion, and where your position can affect who and how effectively you can fight/cast spells/use items on.
  • With their #1. Disgaea is just an amazing game. It's better than the sum of its parts. It's just a whole lot of fun, with a lot of nice touches. (The end-of-chapter Etna parodies are frankly hilarious.)

    I'm not a fan of FF Tactics. The battle engine just doesn't..SING..ya know?

    However, there are two big omissions.

    #1. Shining Force whatever. Great SRPG. You get enough characters, and they each have their use, to really customize their force. They don't all blend together.

    #2. Dark Wizard for the Sega CD. T
    • Dark Wizard proved to me that I am very bad at Tactical strategy. Every level was the same strategy.
      1. Move opening units into a defensive perimiter.
      2. Hold off skirmishing forces while building up a hoarde of flying units.
      3. Send said flying units across the field to bumrush the commander.
      4. Use Magic on Commander, make more units.
      5. When commander kicks snot out of one of my units, have five more ready to take its place.
      6. Repeat until victory.

      Of course, that was more a fault of my lack of ability than the game.

  • by thrash242 ( 697169 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @01:22PM (#9421466)
    Tactis are used in battles. They are specific to the time period, level of technology and terrain in which a battle is being fought. It is the art of using soldiers to win a battle. Strategy is large-scale; it deals in whole armies, divisions, countries, and the like (from a military perspective). It is using battles to win a war.

    Ever wonder why strategic classics like Sun Tzu's Art of War are still read today? Good strategic principles, being abstract and relatively timeless, can be applied to almost any area of one's life or any pursuit. On the other hand a book, no matter how detailed or well-written, about tactics would probably not be read 100 years later except by historians.

    Almost every "real-time strategy" game I've seen should instead be called "real-time tactics". The only strategic element in games like Warcraft and C&C is the resource economy and decisions about what to build next. All the combat is at the tactical level. An example of actual real-time strategy is Europa Universalis (technically it is real-time, although you can change the speed and pause).

    I've never played any of these RPGs, but unless your character is a general and you're leading whole armies, divisions, or the like, the combat at least is tactical, not strategic. Strategic elements common in RPGs are deciding how to develop and equip your character(s).

    I know some of you may think I'm nitpicking, but it is a pretty big distinction if you think about it. They are two different skills/sciences/arts and it is easy to be good at one while bad at the other.

    So please get it right, people. Thanks for your attention. We now return to your regularly scheduled Slashdot silliness.
  • What a crappy list. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Pluvius ( 734915 )
    Final Fantasy Tactics, one of the most overrated games of the Playstation era, is #2.
    Dynasty Tactics is good, and I'm a big Koei fanboy, but I don't think even I would rate it #3.
    Ogre Battle is better than Tactics Ogre, seeing as how Tactics Ogre is just an earlier version of FFT.
    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance shouldn't be on the list.
    No Shining Force, Langrisser, or Dark Wizard.
    No PC games (Jagged Alliance 2 should at least be in the top three, and there are several great RPG/RTS fusions out there right now
  • One of my alltime fav RPG/Tactics games has to be Bahamut Lagoon. Shame it was never released stateside for the SNES, but luckilly you can find ROMS and translation patches floating around the net. It was a hella fun game. Great storyline, tons of characters (32 IIRC), and you even got to play a little pokemon-lite with your dragons by feeding them your junk items to level them up. I loved all the different personalities too. Some are kinda annoying (like Yoyo!), but others are hillarious - like Frenze and
  • The fact that Fire Emblem 7 is the only FE on the list just doesn't make sense. Where's FE3, 4, and Thracia 776? How about the original Fire Emblem, which pretty much INVENTED the SRPG genre? And may I ask, where in the world is Ogre Battle 64? Sounds like this guy hasn't owned a Nintendo system except for the GBA.
    • This article reminded me of a "Greatest rock and roll songs in history" and they never list anything before 2001.

      The guy that wrote this is obviously very young and has no history, or just doesn't know the genre.

      Omitting the Shining force series is a sin. No PC titles either.
  • Utterly Irrelevant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Canar ( 46407 )
    This alleged "All Time Top 10" is utterly, completely irrelevant. They miss out on several key players in the strategy RPG genre.

    First, as many people have pointed out, they completely overlooked Shining Force in all its incarnations. In considering the worth of a title, you need to consider the way it was when it was released as well as how it stacks up now. Shining Force was revolutionary when it was released.

    Second, they completely ignore several incredible strategy-based RPGs for the computer. Two tha

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