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Give me a game!
November 18, 2010 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some PC game recommendations. I guess I'll settle for X Box 360 and PS3 recommendations as well. I know a variation on this question has been asked many times before, but I have a fairly specific requirements.

I realized after playing Dragon Age that I really, really, really love the kind of turn-based/real-time mechanic at play in the game. I use the term "turn-based" pretty loosely here. I know it's not exactly that.

For those who haven't played it - you move around and interact in real-time, but you can also "pause" the game and queue movements for your party. This is great during combat, when things can get frenzied. You can pause the action and issue commands to your party members.

I get a little frantic sometimes during action, so I really got a lot of enjoyment out of slowing everything down and being able to focus on tactical elements.

I also really like the VATS system in Fallout 3 / New Vegas for the same reason.

I think Mass Effect 2 also has something similar, although it's been awhile since I picked that one up.

While playing a game like Supreme Commander or Dawn of War 2 I often wish and beg and plead for a similar gameplay mechanic. DoW2 in particular - those 4 squads can be tough to manage in the heat of combat.

So, does anyone have any recommendations for games - of any genre, really (although you can see from above what games I like) - that use the kind of mechanic I'm talking about? I just finished Fallout: New Vegas, so I'm itching for a new (or old) title.
posted by kbanas to Computers & Internet (39 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Starcraft 2

And the original Starcraft

You can only play the sequel on the PC. It's right up your alley--sci-fi strategy war game
posted by world b free at 12:54 PM on November 18, 2010


I have both.

What I'm more interested in is the kind of mechanic I talk about with Dragon Age - the ability to pause action, queue movements and actions, then resume the action.
posted by kbanas at 12:55 PM on November 18, 2010


For VATS-esque stuff, try the Max Payne series. That has a thing called Bullet Time, it's basically what they did in the Matrix, where Neo could slow down time to dodge bullets. You can slow down a firefight, take aim, and take out multiple guys with one clip.

Red Dead Redemption has Dead Eye...same idea, you slow stuff down, set your targets, and Marston automatically shoots where you've selected.
posted by world b free at 12:57 PM on November 18, 2010


Knights of the Old Republic did this pretty well, I thought.
posted by pombe at 12:57 PM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you want more military strategy, try the Rome: Total War series. It lets you pause and direct your units.

It's also great if you're an archaeology/classics nerd, which I am. But a great game either way.

Oh, and it lets you focus on building an empire as well as just battles.

The Tropico series is the same thing, without the battlefield parts
posted by world b free at 1:01 PM on November 18, 2010


Yep, KOTOR does this. Also Baldur's Gate 1 and 2.
posted by lholladay at 1:02 PM on November 18, 2010


Mass Effect 2 does let you pause during fighting, but it's only so you can swap in weapons you want to use. I don't THINK it lets you pick targets and kill people the way VATs does.

But it's still a great game, highly recommend it.
posted by world b free at 1:03 PM on November 18, 2010


At the risk of killing the rest of your day with TV Tropes, the term you're looking for is "Real Time With Pause."
posted by Lifeson at 1:05 PM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Baldur's Gate 1 and 2. And Planescape: Tormet. Both are available for cheap on GOG.com.
posted by valkyryn at 1:06 PM on November 18, 2010


"Real Time With Pause."

Awesome! That is *exactly* the term I'm looking for!
posted by kbanas at 1:08 PM on November 18, 2010


The first two Fallout titles used this as well (and they are absolutely awesome.)
posted by restless_nomad at 1:08 PM on November 18, 2010


That's exactly what you just did to me, Lifeson.

Thank you.
posted by world b free at 1:08 PM on November 18, 2010


I've heard Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 spoken of frequently in the same breath as Dragon Age.

How do they hold up? They're like 10 years old, aye?
posted by kbanas at 1:09 PM on November 18, 2010


You can say Dragon Age is the modern/spirit successor of BG. You go on an adventure, gets to recruit different NPCs of different classes, gets to decide your team members and such. It's considered a classic.

Also try Fallout 1. The combat system is pure turn-based but if you like New Vegas you might like the original Fallout. (Fallout 1&2 are closer to Fallout:NV than 3.)
posted by jstarlee at 1:14 PM on November 18, 2010


Arcana, too.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:17 PM on November 18, 2010


Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood has a feature called "Concentration mode," which is like VATS in the old west.
posted by jbickers at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2010


Baldur's Gate 2 holds up very well, particularly if you patch it up to run full screen. GoG has it now. Really any of the Bioware games are great this way: Planescape: Torment, Fallout, etc. Also Mass Effect 1 & 2. They all feature tactical combat with a quasi-realtime interface.

If the real-time side of this isn't too important, there's a lot of great turn based tactical games. Some ideas: Gratuitous Space Battles, XComs, Laser Squad Nemesis.
posted by Nelson at 1:25 PM on November 18, 2010


Any of the Infinity Engine games, so Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Icewind Dale 1 & 2 and Planescape Torment.

The newer Aurora Engine is like this as well and that's used in Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2 and Temple of Elemental Evil.

Basically, go to Good Old Games and start downloading as these are all available there. Yes the graphics are antiquated and the interfaces not as modern, but all of these games are *great*.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:26 PM on November 18, 2010


Dragon's Age, and several of the recommended titles here, are all made by BioWare, who has made that style of combat their calling card.

The Final Fantasy series also uses this system, though from what I understand the latest title is all real-time.
posted by mkultra at 1:35 PM on November 18, 2010


If the real-time side of this isn't too important, there's a lot of great turn based tactical games. Some ideas: Gratuitous Space Battles, XComs, Laser Squad Nemesis.

God yes, I forgot X-Com. It's not exactly realtime-with-pause, moreso turn-based-with-surprises. You move your units around on your turn, but if an enemy unit ended its turn with leftover time, it can and will shoot you. Kind of an attack of opportunity. And the game is damn challenging even on the easiest setting. So if that sounds like your thing, give it a try. You can get it from Steam. However the Steam version gave me issues so I just torrented it.
posted by lholladay at 1:38 PM on November 18, 2010


Speaking of Bioware, how is Knights of the Old Republic? Someone up thread recommended it. How does it compare to, say, Dragon Age?

I do want to go back and give Baldur's Gate (I and II) a try, but I worry that because I'm a graphics snob I will not be able to overcome my distaste at the somewhat antiquated presentation - despite my best efforts.
posted by kbanas at 1:40 PM on November 18, 2010


Of their older games, KOTOR is the most like Dragon Age. A lot of the earlier games are 2D or pseudo-3D. I know the graphics look bad, but trust me when I saw that playing Planescape and Baldur's Gate 2 are events that every gamer should have in their lives.

If you want something a little more graphically advanced, but still in this vein, Temple of Elemental Evil is your best bet. Just make sure you download and use the Circle of Eight Modpack since the initial release of ToRR was horribly bugged and never properly patched. CO8 did that for them, added content and raised the level cap. It's a much better game because of it.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, initial release of *ToEE* was horribly bugged...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2010


None of the older Bioware titles are multiplayer, right? I just want to double check. That would just be icing on the cake of my sword.
posted by kbanas at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2010


Actually, BG1&2 and IWD1&2 are via TCP/IP, LAN or even direct serial connection. If you play BG2 with a friend, you can skip all of the NPCs and just build your own custom party of characters.

If you like the idea but want a solo game, the old trick was to create a multiplayer game with a full party of custom characters, save it, and move the save-game folder from the MPSAVE directory to the SAVE directory and you can play entirely with your own party.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2010


If you want to go really old school, there's Space Hulk. You can switch between characters and move around in real time, similar to a FPS, but since the game is very strategic and you need everyone to move at once, you also have some amount of "freeze time" to plan out orders. It's very dated but it's also very unique, it's basically a FPS tactical puzzle game, and I have not seen anything like that since.

Speaking of Bioware, how is Knights of the Old Republic? Someone up thread recommended it. How does it compare to, say, Dragon Age?

It was probably the best RPG for the original Xbox. The sequel had some minor upgrades which in my opinion made it more fun to play, but it was also rushed to the point where it doesn't have a real ending (which is a big deal for a story-heavy RPG). If you like other BioWare RPGs you will probably like KOTOR, they are all pretty similar, plus who doesn't want an RPG with light-sabers?
posted by burnmp3s at 2:04 PM on November 18, 2010


I think that KOTOR is fantastic - a very well done story and good gameplay. The sequal has some interesting stuff in it but the story does not cohere nearly as well as the original. KOTOR is one of my all time favorite games.
posted by pombe at 2:11 PM on November 18, 2010


KoTOR is an amazing game, probably my favorite non-D&D PC RPG next to Fallout 1 and 2.

KoTOR 2 needs to be taken to a back alley and shot, however. Unless they managed to pull off some Circle of Eight stuff with it, like they did with ToEE.
posted by griphus at 2:12 PM on November 18, 2010


Hey, guys, across the board thank you.
posted by kbanas at 2:17 PM on November 18, 2010


BioShock lets you pause in the same way with a slightly similar radial menu to switch weapons and powers.
posted by cmoj at 2:41 PM on November 18, 2010


Just to chime in since you asked for opinions - I bought KotOR 2 back in the day, and yes it's a bit buggy and (the big thing) the ending was...not an ending... Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.
posted by asciident at 2:49 PM on November 18, 2010


Fallout 1&2, while great games, are straight turn-based in combat.

Neverwinter Nights does the realtime-with-pause thing. Better graphics than BG.
posted by Netzapper at 3:19 PM on November 18, 2010


Dungeon Siege also -- both 1 & 2, I think.
posted by worldswalker at 3:51 PM on November 18, 2010


Knights of the Old Republic is excellent, but be aware it starts slowly. The first planet is long, dull and largely irrelevant. Things pick up once you escape that godforsaken place, and the game builds to an amazing finale.
posted by Urtylug at 4:25 PM on November 18, 2010


Hostile Waters (Antaeus Rising) is an amazing underdog of a game, writing by Warren Ellis and explosions by OMG that's a big explosion. It's a loose remake of ancient classic Carrier Command, but works as a set of discrete missions rather than the sandbox stylings of its predecessor.

Also Ground Control is a wonderful, undersung RTS - there's no base buildling, you just get a few squads to fight with so battles can be very tense.

And Jagged Alliance 2 is a great XCom style tactical manshoot where you're playing out a cheesy '80s action movie in elaborate gritty style.

Both available on GOG.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:12 PM on November 18, 2010


Both = All
posted by Sebmojo at 5:12 PM on November 18, 2010


A game that no one here suggested but that you might enjoy is Valkyria Chronicles. The first is available on the PS3, while the next two are on the PSP. It's a hybrid of turn-based and real-time. See this for a description. It's a great game. In a way, it's almost the flip side of what you were talking about, since it's a turn-based game, but each turn is done in real-time. If you have a PS3, you should really check out the demo.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 6:26 PM on November 18, 2010


Mass Effect 2 does let you pause during fighting, but it's only so you can swap in weapons you want to use. I don't THINK it lets you pick targets and kill people the way VATs does.

Mass Effect (1 and 2) let you pause the game to swap weapons to or use powers (both your own and those of your team members), and those powers are usually targetted. So if, for example, you're playing as a biotics-focused build, you can spend most of the battles pausing and targeting, rather than running-and-gunning (although you'll probably still need to do some of the later). So, depending on how you play it, it may be what the OP is after. (They're also generally excellent games – particularly the first one.)
posted by damonism at 8:01 PM on November 18, 2010


Definitely continuing the echo that you should give the Mass Effect series a shot. They are graphically the most similar to Dragon Age and spiritually similar in that they are from the same company at the same time period. Like others are saying it's not quite the pause mechanic, but because you can freeze it to target and select a power, it still gives you that "take a breath and plan things out" feeling. For me, Mass Effect one had the better story while the sequel had much better mechanics and smoothed over a lot of the flaws of the first (thought perhaps simplified some RPG mechanic choices a bit too much). I expect the third game will combine the best of both of the games.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:12 AM on November 19, 2010


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