Persona 5 Combat Impressions

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I’m about forty hours into Persona 5 and I wanted to share some scattered thoughts on the combat system now that I’ve had a lot of time with it. No story spoilers below, but I do refer to some mechanics that aren’t revealed until later in the game. Unfortunately, I… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 5: Odds & Ends

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In this final article on Chrono Cross combat mechanics I want to touch on various Element effects that aren’t related to directly dealing damage or healing. With such a large mechanical “surface area” there are numerous opportunities to design situationally useful abilities that let the player and the AI manipulate the… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 4: Colors

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“Elemental” damage is a fundamental concept in RPGs: it gets pretty boring pretty quickly if your one attack is equally effective against all targets, so games will typically have several different categories of attack that are differently effective, giving you a slightly more interesting choice to make. In Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei franchise, exploiting elemental weaknesses… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 3: Elements

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Elements are all the abilities a Chrono Cross character has other than basic attacks and defending. They include everything an RPG usually categorizes as “magic” – attacks, healing, buffs/debuffs, status effects, summons – as well as consumable items and special mechanics like stealing items. In a game full of weird, unique… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 2: Hit%

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Almost every RPG is concerned, at some level, with random probabilities. Aside from edge cases like The Legend of Zelda (and people debate ad nauseam whether Zelda should be considered an RPG anyway), somewhere in the code of an RPG you will find formulas descended from the dice rolls of Dungeons & Dragons,… Read more »

Chrono Cross Mechanics Pt. 1: Stamina

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It’s 2017 and it’s time to start our deep dive into the combat mechanics of Chrono Cross. I plan to put up more frequent and shorter posts on this topic for the next couple of months, and then move on to discussing my own game’s combat. Although it’s heavily inspired… Read more »

Turning Points

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After 5 years of having a proper job, I’m working on a new indie RPG. As you know from reading my (apparently annual) posts on this thing, I’m interested in older JRPG combat systems, especially from series that have been dormant for 10-15 years. I recently replayed Xenosaga Episode I to refresh… Read more »

Imma Let Ryudo Finish But

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Grandia 2 Anniversary Edition is out today on Steam and GOG. Hooray! This is the best combat system in JRPG history, bar none, now available without the questionable English voice acting. Grandia’s combat is much beloved among JRPG enthusiasts, so much so that in the absence of any official sequel from GameArts… Read more »

RNG Crush: Why I Hope Persona 5’s Main Character Is Allowed To Die

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JRPGs rely on randomness to alleviate the fact that you spend a lot of time doing the exact same thing. Random damage values, random enemy behavior, random success or failure of special abilities all ideally help the game to create different situations for the player to react to, starting from the same… Read more »