Cooperative gameplay and combat

Through the same group of four friends I am currently experiencing two different takes on turn-based combat. This type of game is somewhat more relaxed paced than all the MMORPGs that I play, all of them have so-called real-time combat as a comparison.

Shadowrun Chronicles

I’ve played this game several times over the last year or so as duo, trio and now, this latest time, as a full group of four. The combat is turn-based, but player actions within the “player turn” are simultaneous – we normally coordinate via voice-chat to avoid the potential for your actions blocking or negating those of others.

The plus side is definitely the relative sense of immersion in the combat and the ability to act with some independence within that player turn. The downside is a UI issue – if you click to change active weapon or ability at the exact moment the game accepts an actual action by a team-mate, then your click may be ignored. That can lead to mis-clicking the wrong ability, or accidentally moving instead of another action if you’re not careful.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

We started playing this coop RPG this last weekend, although we’ve only played the one decent session so far. Here the combat is also turn-based but in a stricter sense – each character and opponent is assigned an ‘initiative’ order (a la Dungeons & Dragons and many other paper RPGs), and combat plays out one character turn at a time.

The plus side of the stricter order is you are less likely to mis-click or overlap your action with another player’s. The downside, I find, is your merely a spectator while awaiting your character’s turn. You can pan around the battlefield but that’s about it – interactions with the environment are strictly limited; you can’t even examine a foe while you wait for your turn.

The same but different

So two different takes on the same style of tactical combat. I can’t say I prefer one over the other wholeheartedly since they each have advantages and disadvantages. Compared to MMORPGs where you have constant control of your character and are usually in the action all the time, I do find both games to be a mixture of being more relaxing, yet also less engaging.

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