9 Games for PC Like Final Fantasy Tactics
If you like Japanese RPGs, then you must have played every Final Fantasy (FF) game released for PC or console. Whether it is the original series or its stripped-down, tactical version, the FF franchise has charmed gamers with its innovative battle system and epic storylines.
The Final Fantasy Tactics series of games adds a tactical twist to the popular JRPG franchise. The core gameplay focuses on turn-based battles between teams of wizards, archers, knights, priests, thieves and an assortment of cute, colorful monsters. A good storyline, coupled with an excellent battle system and quest system, makes the entire series memorable.
While other developers can't offer the same plot and colorful characters as Final Fantasy Tactics, other PC games offer turn-based battle mechanics in a fantasy setting. This list includes role-playing games providing a separate hexagonal or chessboard-like battleground to battle monsters. These games share a somewhat similar combat system and other gameplay aspects.
1. King's Bounty: The Legend
The King's Bounty series of games has offered the best in role-playing strategy for PC. The Legend offers deep hex-based combat and plenty of character classes to choose from. Like most role-playing games, it will allow you to explore jungles, villages, interact with NPCs, battle monsters, and buy weapons and armaments from in-game shops.
Combat is the main highlight of Kings Bounty: The Legend. Turn-based battles take place on a small hexagonal grid, where units can be strategically placed and moved. While the battle system is simple, the strategy is deep and challenging. You will have an army of knights, archers, and mages as well as special characters like robbers who can teleport themselves to a chosen hex. Characters can be leveled-up through new skills.
The environment also plays a key part in turn-based battles. Enemies will take advantage of graves, lava-filled areas, and natural obstacles to defeat your team members. Each hex-based battlefield is full of surprises, including hidden treasure chests as well as deadly traps.
Things get more difficult if your troop members die on the battlefield. You will need to buy additional characters to complete your army. If you suffer heavy losses you can retreat, but that choice risks immense damage, as the enemy AI can be brutal at times. I would recommend playing it on normal difficulty level only if you are a seasoned RPG player.
While King’s Bounty: The Legend does offer a deep strategic role-play experience, it does not allow players to use their hero character to fight directly in battles. There are, however, plenty of units ranging from warriors and archers to fantasy creatures straight from Lord of the Rings and D&D. With exploration-based adventure, deep turn-based strategy, and plenty of customization options, King's Bounty: The Legend will be a nice addition to your role-playing video game collection.
2. Grotesque Tactics
A parody of some of the best tactical role-playing games, Grotesque Tactics is known more for its slapstick humor than gameplay. But that doesn’t mean it offers a poor show. Along with a humorous storyline, the game provides plenty of interesting features, including an impressive tactical turn-based strategy gameplay.
Like FF Tactics, the game offers grid-based combat. Your party will have an assortment of familiar character classes such as ranged units, melee units, healers, and magical units. Throughout the campaign, you will be fighting monsters, grabbing treasure chests, and recruiting eight “anti-heroes” who would assist you in defeating enemies. Each unit has a basic and special attack. Some characters even double up as ranged attackers or healers.
The grid-based strategy rules are similar to the original game. Melee attacks can be performed against an opponent on an adjacent square, whereas ranged attacks are possible even if the enemy stands two squares away. You can also make your characters wait for their turn or defend themselves from enemy attacks. Characters can also drink potions to restore their health.
The game’s “obsession meter” is unique. Each character is obsessed with his trait. Once the meter fills, it can prove disastrous for the fellow party members. It is actually the opposite of a XP boost, a popular RPG feature. Every time one of your party members takes damage, his/her obsession meter increases. Once full, it will affect his team members instead of opponents.
As a humorous alternative to FF Tactics, Grotesque Tactics is a good game to start with. The game is short and can be completed within 10-12 hours if you are a seasoned RPG gamer.
Wakfu, which like Final Fantasy Tactics is published by Square Enix, is a fine tactical role-playing MMORPG, with visuals and combat quite similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and to the tactical MMO Dofus. Players can choose from 14 different character classes and explore brilliantly designed dungeons, forests, and vibrant worlds. As in FF Tactics, you will be battling beasts, monsters, and magical enemies in a square grid. You can either battle solo or take help of your online friends to form guilds and get into cooperative battles.
As in other RPGs, you will spend most of your time taking quests, defeating monsters, exploring strange worlds, and learning new professions à la World of Warcraft.
When a battle takes place, the combat system uses a grid of square tiles on which you move your character. You can launch a ranged or melee attack by clicking on the opponent. The game also lets you cast a magical spell and execute deadly attacks. Besides team-based battles against AI monsters, the game also lets you initiate PvP combat against online friends.
Wakfu’s visuals are bright and cartoonish. The 2D graphics are quite reminiscent of FF Tactics, though more polished. Animation is quite smooth and character designs are extremely well-done. Overall, Wakfu is a must-play game if you are looking for a game similar to FF Tactics.
4. Ultimate Tactics
A totally free Flash game on Kongregate, Ultimate Tactics is the perfect FF Tactics Advanced clone. The game focuses on turn-based tactical battles, and lacks a good storyline, but offers a good strategy experience.
The battlegrounds in UT are strikingly similar to those in Final Fantasy Tactics. You and enemies take turns by moving around in a tile-based battlefield. Blue squares are for movement, whereas red squares allow you to attack enemies. While battling monsters, you can take advantage of the environment. You do more damage when you attack from high ground. There are also tactical advantages such as ambush, that trigger more damage if you attack from behind.
Like FF Tactics, UT offers an in-game shop to buy weapons, potions, and magical items. There’s also a separate inn where you can recruit new heroes. The game has excellent, bright visuals and plenty of quests.
5. Disciples III: Renaissance
Renaissance is another magnificent game for your PC like Final Fantasy Tactics. It uses a hexagonal grid system for its turn-based battles. The third game of the series features three races and a completely revamped combat system that allows team members to move freely and take advantage of terrain (height, forest, and so on) to defend them from enemy attack.
The layout of each massive hex-based battlefield is unique, giving you plenty of opportunities to place your units and plan your combat. Placing your units on hidden power-boost tiles increases weapon damage.
Renaissance also lets you switch to an auto-battle mode where both you and your enemy units fight it out while you sit and enjoy watching them battle. Nevertheless I prefer taking responsibility for my units and controlling them manually.
You will encounter plenty of enemies throughout the campaign, which is good; the more battles you take on, the more the chances to level-up your team members and get experience, which will help you in future battles against advanced enemies.
Disciples III: Renaissance boosts your tactical RPG experience and gives you freedom to experiment with your strategies. The game offers an assortment of colorful and fantastic characters to control. A must-buy game, if you are a die-hard SRPG fan.
6. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
A JRPG, Trails in the Sky has a familiar grid-based combat system and bright cartoonish graphics. The game takes you through epic battlegrounds where you can battle monsters and enemies. There’s plenty of exploration involved. You can explore strange locations via 3D rotatable field maps, unearth hidden treasure chests, and interact with monsters to trigger a combat scene.
Turn-based combat is very similar to FF Tactics. You can move your units within square tiles laid out in a tactical battleground. Your team and enemy team take turns to attack when theater attack bar is full. Along with moving and attacking options, there’s also a retreat option to run away if your units are surrounded by enemies. Special powers can be unleashed via the Arts option, which can be charged with quartz collected while exploring the world.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has cute anime-inspired characters, reminiscent of old school FF Tactics games released for the GBA handheld console. With plenty of quests, fun turn-based battles, and hours of exploration, Trails in the Sky provides hours and hours of tactical RPG fun. Sadly, the PC version is available only in Japan, but US players can buy the PSP version to relive those battles on their handheld gaming device.
7. Atlantica Online
Atlantica Online is one of very few MMOs to employ turn-based tactics. The game combines fantasy with a steam punk setting and offers a lively world full of monsters, mercenaries, and fantastic characters. Upon choosing a class, players can recruit additional heroes and embark on a perilous journey into the persistent world of Atlantica, an alternate Earth.
Inspired by the mythical Atlantis, the game has a good storyline. There are nine different classes to choose from, and plenty of customization options available for the main hero and his/her side-kicks. The game stresses guilds, or online player groups. You can join guilds by traveling through the game map. Powerful guilds have the ability to declare war on one another, offering a nice online multiplayer spectacle.
One of the most interesting gameplay features is turn-based combat. You will need to click on your enemies to initiate combat, which takes place in a separate 3x3 square grid. You can choose a strategic position within a 3X3 grid and change any position during gameplay. Combat takes place in turns. The most challenging aspect is the time limit for each turn, which forces you to make a move before the timer stops. This really works quite well in a player vs. player environment.
With a cool tactical combat system, Atlantica Online allows gamers to form their own party with their online friends and battle against monsters and enemies in massive battlegrounds. Considered one of the best Asian MMORPGs, the game offers a robust tactical battle system and plenty of upgrades and customizations.
8. Tamer Saga
Tamer Saga is a decent game designed for casual gamers. It is simpler than Final Fantasy, because its turn-based tactical battles are automated and give you less strategy opportunities, but the battles are are fast and entertaining.
The game offers four classes, including ranger, warrior, and healer. There’s no character customization, which in my opinion is disappointing, but there are plenty of surprises throughout your campaign, including new spells to learn and cute pets to tame. Much like Pokémon, the game lets you use pets in turn-based combat.
The turn-based combat is very similar to FF Tactics. With a fixed 45-degree angle view, the game lets you witness battles between your team and a group of cute monsters. It does not let you place your units on the whole battleground: instead, it lets you unlock formations and place your units only on unlocked tiles. There are different types of formations ranging from offensive to defensive. You can upgrade your units, add skills, and unlock formation patterns to beat advanced enemies.
9. Heroes of Might and Magic VI
The Might and Magic series of games is one of the most epic strategy/RPG PC titles to date. The first game of the series was launched on the MS-DOS platform in the mid-90s. Each successive version has been more immersive, thanks to improvements in gameplay and visuals.
The sixth game of the series offers new features, amazing 3D visuals, and satisfying turn-based combat. The revamped skills system and a brand new reputation system add more flair to the game. The reputation system’s good/bad affiliation is based on your actions, such as diplomacy, violent tactics, and mercy.
Fans of strategy RPGs will find strategic battles engaging. In the tactical phase, the grid-based layout lets you place fantasy creatures and units on the battleground. Once you have placed your units in strategic position, you can engage in a turn-based battle against the rival team. The game’s chessboard style layout and an overhead view make it easier to move units and attack enemy units.
Graphics in Might and Magic VI are top-notch. Everything, from the background to creature animation, is brilliantly executed. You may want to replay battles just for the cool visuals and exceptional animation.
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All screenshots courtesy of their respective game developers/game publishers.
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