Mr. Happy A Turn-Based Fallout 3, how awesome would this be? or your hopes for combat
Oho, one of the most fiercely debated issues in the relatively short history of Fallout 3: the combat system. Should there be cinematic real time sequences in the wastes that bring a tear to Peter Jackson’s eye? A good “old skool” turn based system of the previous games, maybe with some added tactical madness Jagged Alliance 2 style? Try to through both together in realtime with pause? Break some ice with a phase based system? Try to have both rt and tb and the expense of balance (Lol)?
As with a surprisingly good sized amount of people, I’m hoping for Bethesda to go back to the roots with turn based system. Likely? Well, unfortunately, no. But before we go into my reasoning, let’s clear up some unfortunately common misconceptions first (which may or may not help you understand my position):
Fallout’s combat was SO PAINFULLY SLOW.
When playing games, it is usually a good idea to get a good idea of how much control over the game you have. Which brings us to Rule #8 of videogaming: always check the options menu . Your quality of life will be significantly improved, as now attacks are near instantaneous. Very large battles are still not warp speed, but that’s a design issue that can be solved a good number of ways, rather than a system issue.
Turnbased combat is made obsolete by realtime/ it is a dinosaur and no longer belongs in our awesomely next gen gaming arena.
Pardon my attitude, but this argument is so full of [censored] its eyes are brown. A ridiculous amount of people have claimed this, but I will never understand the position that realtime is some sort of progression from turnbased. I mean, Lol. Why? Turnbased combat can achieve things that realtime cannot. It’s simply a different approach to abstracting combat. The depth of control of the character in battle and application of their skills cannot not be effectively replicated as well in realtime. Unlike RT, in turnbased you can have theoretically limitless options, all with out compromising the application of character skill. If you are lucky, I will give examples of this later. The fact is, both systems have advantages, but it seems the advantages of tb line up better with the gamestyle of fallout. Plus, there is so much room for growth and innovation in tb combat, which I will get to later.
Realtime with pause combines the best of both worlds!!!
From my experience, it combines the worst of both worlds. You lose the fluidity, chaos and thrill of split second decision making of full real time, and the tactical control of tb. You do gain simultaneity, as well as the fact that combat is not usually reduced to madly clicking (and not knowing what is going on), but it is overall, it feels like a deformed child of both systems that was never meant to be, and you lose the interactivity both systems had. Plus, how is having to pause every 3 seconds (which is what you have to do in order to inject any sort of tactics into RT w/pause) anymore immersive/visceral/nextgen/whatever than turnbased? I don’t get it. Which (kinda) brings me to the next point.
You mean turn based like KOTOR?
Nono. Call it real time with pause, continuous turn based, a real time turnbased system (?), tb played in realtime (double ??), whatever. I’m of the opinion that this system was bad bad bad. I would actually argue that its not turnbased because, if I recall correctly (I have not played in a while) there is a degree of simultaneity to it. Yes it has rounds, but I see the definition of turnbased not being completely literal, just as an RPG is not any game where you play a role. Really? Yes. Whatever it is, I can not stand it. Not just because of the lack of options, which are a design problem, but the style of play that is inherent in the system. Basically, you attack, and you can technically do nothing for the rest of the combat. It’s so passive. Sure it looks cinematic and all, but you basically lose control of your character in order to maintain this continuity. Ok, you can give orders, but the battle rages on, with or without you. Interactivity is reduced to a bare minimum. You also lose a definition of speed normally represented by action points. This means less definition of character -> less RPGness-> bad for fallout -> omg. Action points are such an awesome thing, no reason to throw them away for the sake of making you feel like you are in a movie (one that is paused frequently so that somebody can get up to go to the bathroom.)
Yeah, but realtime is more realistic.
Not in all senses. Sure, in real combat, you don’t get to stop and ponder your attacks. But you also don’t go toe to toe with your enemy blasting (clicking) away madly. In fact, turnbased is probably a better representation of the tactics, events and actions available in combat because of your control (as well as the game’s control, the fight isn’t over in a few seconds of mad clicking). I will give realtime props for the chaos and split section decision making and reaction involved (that would be present in real combat), but really that doesn’t have much of a place in an RPG, where the ability to make those decisions is defined by your character, not you. Realtime does offer simultaneity, but (usually) not very realistic simultaneity. Both combatants are basically hammering away at eachother until one dies, which would not happen in real combat. Actually, my ideal RPG combat system (in most cases, combat systems all case sensitive of course, I would be reluctant to have TES combat in turns) would be a turn based-like system, but with a degree of simultaneity. This of course would be a) not the kinda thing I would have Bethesda working on b ) be a little to complex to expect with a game of fallout-complexity (assuming fallout 3 follows in this) and c) therefore not relevant right now, though I would be happy to discuss it somewhere else.
Turnbased would never sell in today’s market.
If done well in an attractive fashion, I don’t see why not. Supposedly turnbased is only for hardcore role-players, but check out other turnbased games. Casual internet games like tanks, territory war, and that gladiator thing are quite popular and and are often ranked in the top ten on gaming sites. And, Civilization VI, fool. And I can think of plenty of “next gen” ways to make tb appealing to new fans, and old (ie. Not dumbing down). That brings me to my next point. You have to consider the kind of tb exposure most tb-haters have probably some simplified or Japanese system where you can’t move, there are few tactics, few attack options and no bloody death animations (yeah!!). Few people who can’t stand TB have played silent storm I presume. What developers don’t understand is that simplifying tb will not make it more attractive to gamers, because that is undermining the advantages of tb (your control, interactivity, etc.). Granted, fallout is not uber-tactical, but Fallout was what got me into tb. I was impressed by the death animations of course, and the “tactical option” of shooting people in the groin (LOL). And surprisingly, so were my friends, who generally played action and sports games. Now add more to fallout, and people will enjoy more. Add details and nuances to the combat, more things to consider, more options, and more reactions.
Another thing to consider is that the market for turnbased games is pretty empty. Check the turnbased section on the xbox 360 website for some lols. You may say “yeah, well that’s because nobody likes tb games.” Ok, well maybe if a really good one was made, where there is a good deal of demand (I mean who doesn’t want fallout 3 turnbased combat?), there could be a bit of a market resurrection. I mean, there are plenty of real time games, plenty of real time rpgs, would it really kill you to for there to be one turn based game? No difference to you really, but tb fans are happy. Sort of a win win situation. Sort of. Maybe you would even like it, who knows.
But the combat wasn’t what made fallout great. (implying that I shouldn’t care about it being real time)
Then you wouldn’t mind it being turnbased? For some reason, when people say things like this, I get an irrational urge to bite them in the neck. Completely unreasonable, I know. But, Duh, of course fallout wasn’t defined by the combat. But it cannot be denied that it was a part of it (for most characters), and for many character builds, a big part. And a nice one at that. It wasn’t uber-tactical, like I said, but the turnbasedness was certainly a big plus for me. Not to mention how smoothly it ran, and how well it utilized the SPECIAL system. I won’t die if its not turnbased (because it probably won’t be ), especially if everything else is done real well (I’m not fully confident here either though). Imagine, for a second, if TESV went from real time to turnbased. Yeah, right. But anyway, I would be very happy if it was turn based, and I’m sure many others would be too. Plus, my respect for Bethesda would increase tremendously. Even if I’m not happy with everything they do, at least there would be some balls. I’m guessing that Bethesda might even receive praise for resurrecting tb combat. Maybe I’m dreaming, but it’s not like any reviewer would take off points for it.
Realtime is more immersive and fun.
First off, totally subjective. I’m not going to try to convince anybody of the problems with their personal taste. But I’m going to (try to) describe why I like tb so much, and why I think it lends itself so well to fallout. Forget the application of skills rpg babbling. Attention to detail at its finest. All the nuances of your character come out in tb (okay, I lied). Critical failures, ability to target or not, the speed at which you can reach for your gun and access your inventory etc, to come out from behind cover and use that to your advantage, all that. Of course I love the control over the options you have as well. Targeting body parts would be a little sticky in real time, as would switching firing modes and performing actions with the skill of your character. I also love seeing the big picture, knowing what’s going on. To me, that can be more cinematic and immersive than real time. Seeing your group, the Vault Dweller, Tycho, Ian and Dogmeat arranged back to back, seeing ghouls coming at you from one direction, seeing set blasting at your friends from the other sides, seeing the escaped girl fleeing outside the window, and being able to consider your options. Should you try to save the girl? Defend tycho? Try a grenade to dispose of all those ghouls, even tough you might miss because you suck with grenades? Try to blast Set’s head into 20 pieces and praying you make the hit? Or go for an escape into the sewers? It’s a different kind of fun then the adrenaline rush of split second decisions made in real time games, but I feel it works better for fallout.
Second of all, I don’t see RTw/P is anymore “immersive” in the way people describe it than TB, as I said before. Pwnd.
Third of all, if you are not a fan of turnbased combat, but haven’t tried any good tb games, try something like fallout (for bloody & guts), or for more tactics Silent Storm or Jagged alliance 2.
Okay, well I ended up discussing most of my points in the “misconceptions” section, but like I promised I will now describe some fun ways to improve the fallout combat formula, as after all, it was far from perfect.
*Ability to target environments, and to go along with this, destructible environments (think matrix lobby scene). This wouldn’t be purely cosmetic, if you are good with traps, you could blow up a support to a building, knocking it over. Or shoot away someone’s cover or through a wall, which brings me to…
*Realistic cover tactics and interrupts (where, if you are good, you get a chance to pop somebody coming out of hiding). A dirty lick in the face to all those who say tb is less realistic than rt.
*Ability to change cone of burst mode
*More complex combat situations
*More moves/options/tactics in melee and in general: pistol whack, fire while running, circle opponent, roll, crouch, go prone, trip, feint, throw gun, bite off ear, etc. The list goes on forever. As many logical possibilities as possible.
*Better throwing options
*Better party control. Not direct control, for various reasons, but ability to give detailed orders mid combat.
*Rare ammo, you gotta conserve.
*Terrain taken into account, elevation advantage.
*There’s a ton of fun stuff they could do for melee combat. Maybe something like this where you have the ability to draw attack patterns for various amounts of attack points. That screen is a quick paintshop, but shows basically a hand drawn approach, a swing across all three enemies in a given direction, and a stab at a certain angle. A bit complex, and doesn’t quite fit with fallout, but fun, and shows how awesome tb can be. Try that in realtime.
*Optional first person perspective. Omg first person tb. It would kick ass. I’m thinking like this (another quick paintshop).
*For big battles: broken up cells of action, so you don’t have to wait for people off-screen.
*Bloody bullet holes.
*Better sneak/surprise attack system
*Cinematic camera swings, changing depending on attack and attacker
Don’t worry, more will come later.
Now that I’m done, sorry for the length, the lack of editing and the bizarre tangents. This was probably more for me to get my thoughts organized, and I had fun, but If you have any hopes for a combat system, comments, ideas, opinions, questions, alternate points of view, counter-arguments, counter-counter-arguments, or snide remarks like “you are such an NMA nerd” (I’m not from NMA, and I would consider TES higher on the nerd scale than fallout, but I’ve heard that one before) or “all fallout fans are angst-filled immature preteens” (which doesn’t even make sense, because fallout is a pretty old game, so I don’t think many preteens have played it, but I’ve heard this before too). So have fun.