After finishing Puzzle Quest and the two Metal Gear Acid games, all of which have certain roleplaying elements, I started the only real classic RPG I have for the PSP: Tales of Eternia. And was horribly disappointed by it. Why is this game reported to be the best RPG on the PSP? It't pretty boring, and I didn't like it a bit. After just over 8 hours I gave up on it.
The main problem with Tales of Eternia is the combat, the Linear Motion Battle System. Combat isn't turn-based, but you control your hero in a system that goes back to the Street Fighter games: The battlefield is one-dimensional, scrolling left to right. You can move and mash buttons to hit monsters and perform various combos. The other party members are computer controlled. If you want to give them orders, or use items, you need to pause and use a fiddly menu to do so. Most of the time you are just hitting buttons wildly, with very little strategy or tactics involved.
I'm a big fan of Sid Meier's definition of a game as a "series of interesting decisions", and Tales of Eternia falls way short on that account. The story, besides being rather generic, is strictly linear and doesn't involve any decisions. And in combat you take very few decisions as well, as it puts action over tactics. So the game ends up being more like a film, interrupted by action sequences.
Anyone know a good roleplaying game for the PSP with good turn-based combat?
Well, after Tales of Eternia I tried Lego Star Wars II, which is funny, but more difficult than it looks. Sometimes you simply don't know what you are supposed to do next, and the inability to turn the camera independantly doesn't help. Then I played a bit of Everbody's Golf, which is fun enough, but not something I'd want to play for many hours on end.
So I finally ended up playing Field Commander. This is pretty much a clone of the Gameboy's Advance Wars, but a good one; it got IGN's best PSP strategy of the year award last year. You control an army of infantry, various vehicles, air force and navy in turn-based tactical combat against a computer opponent. There are 18 different unit types, modified by many different division powers. The campaign has nearly 30 missions, so I'll be busy with that for a while. I could also create and play my own missions, but I doubt that I'll do that, there is no surprise in that.
Anyway, it's already the last week of my holidays. Time flies when you are having fun. I even got a very un-geek-like tan.