nowadays in RPG
s, most likely because it has been featured in every Final Fantasy
It's not a very engaging system, most of the time it involves pushing the "fight" button over and over, or, in the case of a mage, opening the "magic" menu and selecting fire 3. The system is ingenious, however, in that it is very similar to how companies like Wizards of the Coast make money. Once your characters start getting killed by some evil boss, your best bet is not to rethink your strategy ("maybe I should try ice 3 instead of fire 3?"), as there is little of that to begin with, but, instead, to go wander around spending your time beating up lesser monsters 'till your party is strong enough to beat said boss and move on.
The key components of Final Fantasy Combat are as follows:
Your party (usually consists of 3-5 members) will face a gang of monsters of comperable numbers. Each entity usually can sit either in the front row or the back. The difference being that those in the front can attack more effectively, but, likewise can be attacked more effectively by enemies.
Each entity in the fight will fight in turns, turns are not distributed equally, usually a stat of some kind (agility, dex, etc.) will effect how fast a meter will fill, when the meter is filled, that entity gets a turn. Once an entity has a turn, they have a choice of things to do, usually these are:
Attack is rather intuitive. The entity will leap forward, and swing whatever weapon (or claw) they may have. Damage is usually calculated as a function of the weapon's innate power, the character's stats, and their level of experience versus the victim's armor and stamina. Sometimes weapons will have other effects, such as healing, poisoning, freezing etc.
Magic in Final Fantasy Combat is usually broken down into two families: White, and Black. White magic is for healing and recovery. Black magic for destruction. Sometimes other groups are added, such as summoning, which usually amounts to really powerful black magic.
Skill denotes some special ability a character may have, or that a monster may posses. Kung-fu is a recurring example. Monsters in this system usually have a single skill which they will reuse liberally in combination with their comrades and their own physical attacks.
Item will bring up a menu of stuff your party is carrying. Potions, bombs and what not are utilized through this.
Some other common commands are block, run and shift. The only one which needs explaining is shift, which will cause a character to move from the back row to the front, and vice versa.
A recent addition to this system (made by games like Xenogears and FF7) is the idea of a 'limit break', where, after some amount of damage is inccured, the character can unleash some incredible skill to great effect.
Perhaps the single most annoying facet of this system is random combat. When wandering around a dungeon, or the world map, each step will throw some dice to see whether or not another combat encounter ensues. Because the player cannot do anything about this, it often results in redundant battle after redundant battle.
In My Opinion, this system could use some revamping. Even without irritating aspects, the fact remains that Final Fantasy Combat is rarely challanging, perhaps Final Fantasy Tactics can lead the way.