Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I have become convinced that the two Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games have the best battle systems of any RPG. The realization came over me gradually, and when it came it sunk in and is now an embedded part of my psyche. My reasoning is clear:

There are two types of battle system that are the most prevalent in RPGs: Turn-based and Action, both of which can be completely serviceable to the game itself, but both have flaws. Turn-based systems provide opportunity for strategy, but are usually slow and boring (the best of these games usually have something to make these battles more exciting, like FF6/3's character abilities or the character building of FFV). Action systems are certainly more interactive, fast and enjoyable, but in the end they usually consist of pressing the same button over and over and over again.

PM and M&L combine the best of both systems: the strategy of turn-based games with the interactivity of action-based games. They even sidestep the mashing problem in Action RPGs by making the attacks as varied as possible. It really does make you WANT to fight, instead of avoiding them like the plague in every case but perquisite leveling up. The ante was raised once again in Paper Mario & The Thousand Year Door by adding those insane super attacks.

The two series do the have their own differences, though. M&L has more defensive options, but fewer variable offensive ones. PM is the opposite, with very few defensive techniques but gobs of offensive stuff. In the end, though, both are awesome and are my top recommendations for someone tired of Final Fantasy and it's spawn.

Speaking of FF spawn: no, I haven't played Kingdom Hearts II yet, but I will...eventually.


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