Tactical role-playing games, also known as SRPGs, incorporate strategy into their gameplay, challenging players beyond the limits of a traditional RPG. If you find most action-adventure games too basic, then a tactical RPG may just be what you need. These games feature unique strategic movements that were not very popular in most games. But thanks to the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics and other similar games that popularized the genre, game developers began producing more SRPGs.
From there, the genre grew to feature a chunk load of titles in the West; from a category that was initially only popular in Japan. Evidently, the change has been significant since we have a number of good titles to show for it. Just to highlight a few of them, this article looks into five of the best tactical role-playing games of all time; let’s dive in.
5. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Fire Emblem is one of the earliest tactical RPG titles. It always stands out from similar productions in the industry mainly because of its character designs and their relation to one another. The bond between them creates such an strong influence that’s hard to hide, even in battle. For players, this means much more exhilarating gameplay, especially with the game featuring permadeath. Path of Radiance is an entry that significantly added to the series’ content, as it features all the core systems from its prequels; all of which are major upgrades.
Path of Radiance features new elements that contribute to the characters’ interactions and the story development of the game. The reward system also involves smart bonuses, which most players can appreciate. Before going into battle, you must carefully pick a certain number of playable characters out of the 46 available on your roster. Fighting takes place in a grid-based battleground, where you strategically place your chosen characters. It’s an exciting turn-based combat game and a must-try for any tactical RPG fan.
4. Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles can be considered one of the most challenging turn-based tactical games on the list. Not only does it require you to strategically position your characters during battle, but you have to do it while evading enemy fire. The game is set in the fictional land of Eropa, which obviously represents Europe; and has a deep narrative that bravely addresses the deepest aspects of World War 2. There is an added blend of fantasy, as it represents an alternate reality where all sorts of magic and mysterious characters exist.
If you are a fan of puzzles, then you are in for a treat, as the game features plenty of baffling mysteries to solve. The original story of the game is also outstanding and has been a solid anchor throughout the entries in the series. The story centers around a young leader who inherits power from his General father. His tactical prowess sees him lead the last line of defense that comprises of an elite squad. The combination of fiction and history in Valkyria Chronicles is really something to behold.
3. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is the second entry to an exciting tactical game series known as the Ogre Battles. Despite it being one of the best tactical games, Let Us Cling Together never actually got the traction it deserved; at least not in the West. Mainly because, at first, it was only available in Japan and was made available in North America three years after its debut. The game would later get a remaster that added a couple of changes in the gameplay. Its difficulty levels were ease up and a rewind feature that lets you go back through your battle moves for a re-do added.
Aside from the thrilling strategic gameplay, the most outstanding feature of this game is the epic story tied to it. It takes place in Valeria, a war-torn land ravaged by ethnic conflicts. As a member of the resistance force, Denim Powell, our protagonist, finds himself amid a war to recover the Kingdom. What makes the game more compelling is the connection between the story and real-life wars involving Herzegovina and Bosnia.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
One more classic title that would simply be impossible to miss from any list of best tactical role-playing games is Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. It’s been over 24 years since its first release and the game is still one of the best tactical RPGs today. And it even got better with its remaster; the quality of visuals, gameplay and soundtrack have only become more amplified. What makes War of the Lions a fan-favorite title is not only the nostalgia it brings but its deep setting and game narrative.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is set in Ivalice, a land where peace is a foreign concept. And even after a tedious 50-year conflict, the residents still won’t embrace unity and are always ready to go back to war anytime. The War of the Lions involves strategic combat and fight formations that resemble a chess game. Where each fighter on the battleground moves as per the actions of their direct opponent. Outside the battlefield, you can have fun exploring and experimenting with the different professions the game offers.
1. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Topping our list of the best tactical role-playing games is XCOM 2: War of the Chosen; an expansion of the game’s 2016 predecessor, XCOM 2. To play this game, one needs to be quick and rational with the controls., since War of the Chosen puts you through the highest levels of tension, you could imagine. Although the game retained all the core systems from the previous version, it enhanced the combat system, thus the intensity of the gameplay. This new title saw addition of new bosses, and enhanced reaction speed that lets you fire simultaneously before the enemy can move an inch. These are just some of the thrilling aspects to look forward to with this game
As the commander of XCOM, a military force tasked with stopping an alien invasion of Earth, you have to assemble a good number of competent soldiers. Your main task is to command your soilders in battle. And since most of the missions are timed, you will need to move fast in order to complete them within record time. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is one of the most exciting tactical RPGs on the list that you don’t want to miss.
Which game from the above list do you think is the best tactical role-playing game of all time? Share your pick with us in the comments below or over on our socials here!