Are Turn-Based RPGs Becoming Obsolete? Here’s What I Think

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Turn-based RPGs might be dying out!

Story Highlights
  • Turn-based RPGs require the players to wait before it is their turn to make a move, providing ample time for building a solid strategy.
  • Modern games are based on real action and quick thinking rather than allowing you to take your time before the next move.
  • With the incredible evolution of gaming, some people are still hooked on turn-based RPGs and consider them better than the real-action genre.

Turn-based RPGs have existed since the beginning of the gaming era. They had their fair run, but I think they are slowly fading into the background as gaming tech advances. With contemporary games resorting to the live-action genre, could turn-based RPGs become obsolete? 

What Are Turn-Based RPGs?

In particular, turn-based RPGs are those where you progress along the storyline or a map, fighting different opponents at each stage. The same pattern repeats until you reach the end of the storyline. Consequently, it gives you ample time to plan your move and develop effective strategies to tackle the next enemy.

For instance, the widely-loved Super Mario RPG is a perfect example of a turn-based RPG. Mario and friends journey through different worlds to save Princess Peach. Along the worlds, they fight various enemies while upscaling their powers and abilities for the next battle.

Super Mario RPG Combat Scene
Super Mario RPG Combat Scene (Image By NPR)

How Does This Genre Differ From The Rest?

Comparing turn-based to action games, the prior requires a good knowledge of your character’s skillset and strong points and the weakness of your enemies. Consequently, you must strategize relevant moves that will make the opponent lose health. Thinking and planning are prioritized over speed and dexterity (Mäkelä, 2020).

Meanwhile, action games indulge in active combat with constant action and instant reactions. Real-action games, like Doom Eternal, use think-on-your-feet tactics to engage the players in the gameplay. They work on the principles of immediate gratification by conquering challenges, acquiring powers, and unlocking new levels.

Doom Eternal
Quick Gaming Action In Doom Eternal (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Comparatively, turn-based are slower-paced and allow you to take pauses mid-game. You need to spend significant time before achieving a substantial win.

Although, one benefit of turn-based RPGs could be for new gamers, who might get intimidated by the fast pace of real-action games. For them, it only makes sense to start through turn-based RPGs and move up the experience ladder. 

Can They Become Boring?

Let’s be honest: if a game continues to repeat the same challenges but only with a different character, it can get pretty monotonous. In a research by Mäkelä (2020), players reported that turn-based RPGs can become boring quickly as they lose the motivation and appeal to continue. Therefore, the developers must employ efficient tactics in turn-based RPGs to keep the player engaged throughout the gameplay.

Although this gaming genre offers a rich and intriguing storyline, it rarely provides enough appeal. The games are incredibly long and require you to dedicate plenty of hours before you can get to the end.

Immersive Storyline And Vibrant Environment Enhances Appeal
Immersive Storyline And Vibrant Environment To Add Appeal (Image By PCGamesN)

Other than that, the turn-based RPGs based on simple battle systems can become dull. There is not much to do except inflict damage, and often, the enemies are very easy to defeat, leaving less room for the adrenaline rush and sense of achievement.

How The Future Looks Like?

In the modern world, where everything is fast-paced, and we are constantly bombarded by information from all angles, such as social media and television, it is no surprise that our attention span and patience have drastically reduced (American Psychological Association). If something doesn’t grab our appeal within the first few minutes, we skip it and move on to the next one.

Video games provide a dopamine boost, evoking a sense of pleasure when playing (Li, 2023). Turn-based RPGs fail to deliver a quick dopamine boost or keep them hooked consistently due to their slow nature. Hence, it might not appeal to new gamers as much as it did in the older times. This is one reason Final Fantasy ditched their classic turn-based RPG dynamics to real-time combat, per Metro Game Central.

However, it did not sit well among the fans. According to a public poll on Reset Era, the majority, 38.3%, of votes indicated they are displeased with the change and prefer classic, turn-based combat in Final Fantasy. 

Poll Results From Reset Era
Poll Results From Reset Era (Image By Reset Era)

This shows that the appeal is still alive among gamers who are not entirely ready to switch to modern gaming dynamics.

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