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Flaws/Possible improvements for Final Fantasy 7's combat system.


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#1 AverageJoeSSU   Members   -  Reputation: 516

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

Hey everyone!

 

Pretty straightforward....

 

-scrolling to find an ability to use. Later in the game this can be stressful when you have to get a critical spell off quickly. Not sure how you could improve this, as better UI still makes it tough.

 

-Cutscenes got tiring and took a lot of time. being able to skip them would be cool. making them shorter and adding extra interaction (ala mario rpg) would be even better.

 

+Materia system was lots of fun. not sure i can complain about it really.

 

+Limit's and getting positive feedback for taking a beating was cool, although some of the limits were just useless, which was not cool.

 

-some spells were useless, making battle dynamics robust enough to give every spell meaning would be a nice thing.

 

-turn speed... not knowing when an enemy had a turn ahead of you or not adds the wrong kind of mystery to the battle system imo. minorly random enemy turn speed might be cool.


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#2 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 827

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:31 AM

 

-scrolling to find an ability to use. Later in the game this can be stressful when you have to get a critical spell off quickly. Not sure how you could improve this, as better UI still makes it tough.

 

While I never personally had any stress finding a spell or ability to use, you could always hotkey things (i.e. have 2 abilities or so per party member that you could map to the press of a button when their turn comes up).


Personally I really wasn't too fond of the Materia system. It really made it so that any character could have any ability. It would be more interesting if you either had to bind materia to a character, or if certain characters had affinities towards certain materia giving them improved effectiveness with specific materia.

#3 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4819

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:47 AM

I would never actually encourage anyone to make one of those combat systems where the two teams line up and take turns hitting each other.  I kind of see that as an embarrassing teenage phase of game design that I wish we could finally sweep under the rug and forget about it.  As far as turn-based combat goes, I'm a much bigger fan of tactical.  But, if you're already dead set on that, let me see if I can come up with something positive to say...

 

IIRC FF7 Had an ability to "sense" an opponent, including what elements they were weak to.  This ability pretty much never got used because it wasn't as useful as other things you could do with the same materia slot/time/I forget if it cost an action or mana.  So personally I would instead make this information available by default.  Dofus has elemental weakness and strength stats for all monsters and shows them in a non-intrusive way, so that would be a good example to look at.  The limit breaks above the first level took way too long to build up to, so I'd change that.  Some of the later FFs had cooler limit breaks, like the one which was like a mortal kombat minigame.  Tifa's reels were ok though.  Um, what else... no one ever throws items anyway, so I'd just leave that out, and instead put that development effort into having monsters drop crafting resources which can be crafted into weapons and armor.  I think FF8 did that, but not very well.

 

One thing which really interested me about the materia system was the possibility for combining mastered materia into big materia, I'd like to see that developed more.  Make it possible to combine any two mastered materia of the same color, or add a new mastered materia to a big one of the appropriate color.  And don't make it only possible to combine them by traveling to one NPC.


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#4 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:04 AM

I would never actually encourage anyone to make one of those combat systems where the two teams line up and take turns hitting each other. I kind of see that as an embarrassing teenage phase of game design that I wish we could finally sweep under the rug and forget about it.

Personally, I love those types of combat systems. I've currently got 2 different games of FF3 going on my tablet and phone. I love running around and getting into those random battles.

Below: RPG Gaming Bliss smile.png
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I think the best version of it so far was in Final Fantasy X.

- You could swap party members in and out at will, for free.

- Every weapon type had properties that made them uniquely useful. One guy had a ball he threw, and it was effective against aerial enemies. Another guy had a giant great sword, and it was useful to penetrate the shells or heavy armor on some enemies.

- The magic was the same. There were very precise rules with how everything worked and everything had an element to it that opened up a weakness. There were some crazy fights where you had to cast reflect on your own party members and use them to bounce spells off of and onto the boss.

- There are icons on the side of the screen which show you order of the upcoming turns. This makes a HUGE difference, and I miss it when playing the older titles. On the harder encounters, and especially boss battles you had to take that into account and manage every turn to the fullest. HASTE and SLOW became very important to game the system and try and get the turn order to your advantage as much as possible. There are bosses that do a few little attacks, and then charge up a huge attack. You can see that you have X number of turns before that happens, so you have to try and dish out as much damage as possible and then save enough turns to brace for the power attack.

FFX
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Edited by Daaark, 06 February 2013 - 03:05 AM.


#5 Woland   Members   -  Reputation: 371

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:47 AM

For me, the materia system was a really good one. Its main strength was simplicity. Everyone understood a slot+shiny ball in it. Adding materia types and slot joints made the system much deeper and suddenly we had hundreds of possibilities. The only real flaw in this system in my eyes is how overpowered it got over time. With the right amount of slots, you could have chosen 4 nice command / summon / magic materias combined with 4 support materias and then fill the rest of the slots with independent materias maxing out youh offense and defense. With the hp and damage cap, it pretty much meant you will be dealing maximum damage while having maximum hp and pretty decent or near-max defenses. Making the player choose between various builds or just simply between attack and defense would make the replayability of the game much higher.

 

There were also these elements FF8 did really well: pressing trigger in the right moment when Squall was attacking, inputting combos with Zell's limit breaks - I would love to see more of elements like these in the classic team vs. team half-turn based combat system. But don't get me wrong - I am not talking about QTE like in FFXIII-2. Those were horrible. I want some things to do in between giving commands, not in predefined cutscenes in the middle of the battles. Some dodge button maybe?


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#6 fr0st2k   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

Materia was great.  

 

Things I loved about it:

 

It leveled up

You could save it as an item

You could thus distribute it to different characters back and forth

It worked with armor/weapons

 

Based on those main factors here are things I would have changed (or added to)

 

  1. Make materia more specific to armor/weapon sockets

    Think world of warcraft gemming.  Different armor/weapon sockets should match colors, and boost stats.  I won't go into too much detail because i'm sure it will get complicated, but I think that would be neat.
     
  2. Different Level up paths (tiering system) based on different factors

    So I just leveled my Fire materia to lvl 2.  However because it was mainly socketed in my weapon for the majority of its exp gain, it becomes more destructive.  Because it was socketed in my armor, it because more defensive. 

    i.e: Weapon: Fira (direct damage nuke)
    Armor: Fire Shield (Damage when enemy attacks you)
     
  3. Combo Pairing

    So they had connected sockets on equipment.  Why not allow the formation of unique spells when you equip 2 together.  This would combine easily with the tiering system mentioned above.  2 fire materia on weapon -> Fira

You mentioned scrolling to find an ability.  I would simply sort it by category.  All fire spells/water spells/gravity, etc.  You could make the default choice for spell the HIGHEST tier (Firaga), then give them a hotkey to open up a menu to cast a weaker version.  Alternatively, you could also simply require them to equip a weaker piece of materia to cast a weaker version of the spell (incase they need it for a fight, or have mana constraints)



#7 AverageJoeSSU   Members   -  Reputation: 516

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:30 PM

Lots of good stuff here!

 

I think the key here is what information to give out and what information not to give out.

 

-Sense was an ability with a cost.... an enemy's strength and weakness was purposefully a mystery. It forced the player to make decisions based on his teams survival and not the enemy's. This sense of survivability is a mechanic that is flexed throughout the game. Basically, the battle system revolves around it by the player deciding when to heal himself.

 

-Not providing info about when a characters turn is provides mystery as well, although a player can get mixed feedback on what is sometimes a good decision, especially if they submit an action right after the state of the battle changes.

 

So really that is what it comes down to. AND we cant forget that this was a setting known as the ABS or active battle system or whatever they called it.

 

You could turn that off and enemies wouldnt advance their turn timers if you were selecting an ability, made it less fun for me though because it provided me with more information, thus making it less of a challenge (i like challenges).


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#8 Rits   Members   -  Reputation: 259

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:30 PM

- some real time reflex dynamic would make it much more fun; someone mentioned the "trigger" mechanism in ff8, i think you can also look into Mario RPG (SNES) also by square i recall. Or ff6, or legend of dragoon.

 

- the front and back roll is interesting but i never felt the need to care much. i hope their effect is more significant.

 

- i'm not sure the meaning of ABS bar, all characters and mobs more or less have the same speed, not like at lv 50+ your speedy characters can constantly do 2 moves every 1 move mob does.

 

- i like positioning mechanism. i like backstab / sidestab matters, or knock back / knock down / pull. Even chrono trigger had some positioning to play around with.

 

- i also like chances of evade / autoblock, but in ff7 you couldn't stack dex / agi, its all natural growth, and everyone has more or less the same chances (far as i recall)



#9 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3551

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

- the front and back roll is interesting but i never felt the need to care much. i hope their effect is more significant.

It make s huge difference in earlier games, but they kept watering down the play mechanics until nothing mattered. Especially since there are no classes in the newer games.

Typically in older FF games, the spear was long range, and let people attack for full damage from the back row. The classes that use the spear usually have an ability called JUMP that is like a sneak attack type move. They jump out of the screen for a few turns, and then eventually thrust down onto an enemy for a huge damage bonus.

You could do something similar with the thief character. Just call it sneak, and have them appear from behind instead of above.




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