The 12 most challenging tactical RPGs | GAME3A

The 12 most challenging tactical RPGs

Tactical role-playing games offer a unique blend of strategic planning and captivating storytelling, challenging you to think several steps ahead to e...

Hirun Cryer Sept 11, 2023
The 12 most challenging tactical RPGs

Tactical role-playing games offer a unique blend of strategic planning and captivating storytelling, challenging you to think several steps ahead to emerge as the victor. In this fascinating genre, a few games stand out as ultimate tests of tactical abilities. For this reason, we have compiled a list of the most challenging tactical role-playing games in gaming, aiming to push your strategic skills to their limits.

Prepare yourself to face overwhelming enemy forces, navigate complex combat systems, and make every decision count. Are you ready to embark on a breathtaking adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat?

12 Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (1999)

12 Hardest Tactical RPGs

Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 is a challenging game from the Fire Emblem series with a steep difficulty curve, complex map design, strategic mechanics such as fatigue and capture, and demanding boss encounters.

You will encounter formidable enemies and must manage unit fatigue and capture to maintain a balanced army. The game features complex maps with intricate terrain arrangements that require careful planning and strategy. Bosses with unique abilities, powerful weapons, and high statistics demand thoughtful planning and strategy. Limited resources such as gold, weapons, and healing items also make resource management an important task.

11 X-COM: UFO Defense (1994)

12 Hardest Tactical

Take command of an elite task force tasked with defending humanity against a relentless alien invasion. In X-COM: UFO Defense, every one of your moves carries the weight of the world, as a wrong decision can seal the fate of all humanity.

The balance between research, base management, and turn-based combat requires meticulous planning and resource allocation in this classic tactical role-playing game. The game's permadeath system adds extra tension and forces you to carefully reconsider each of your moves, as the fate of humanity is at stake.

10 Valkyria Chronicles (2008)


Immerse yourself in a war-torn world and lead a courageous unit through a series of challenging battles. Valkyria Chronicles revolutionizes the tactical RPG genre with its innovative "BLiTZ" combat system, seamlessly blending real-time action and turn-based tactics.

To defeat overpowering enemies, you must carefully plan each move, taking into account the terrain, line of sight, and unit positioning. The game also places great emphasis on strategic thinking and implementation, as you need to assess the battlefield, anticipate enemy movements, and develop effective strategies. The balance between unit specialization and synergy is another challenge, requiring you to consider their strengths and weaknesses. The threat of permadeath makes the game a challenging and rewarding experience.

9 Final Fantasy Tactics (1997)

Final Fantasy Tactics has earned its reputation as one of the most challenging tactical role-playing games due to its complex challenges. The game's intricate political landscape adds additional depth to the strategic gameplay. With a variety of customizable character options, you must carefully weigh every decision to optimize your team's abilities.

Overpowering enemies require meticulous planning and coordinated attacks. Mastering terrain advantages and exploiting enemy weaknesses are crucial to success. The difficulty of the game lies in its challenging battles and deep job system, ensuring that only the most strategic and determined players can master this challenging and rewarding RPG experience.

8 Disgaea: Hour Of Darkness (2003)

Prepare for a challenging adventure as you delve into Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Hour of Darkness is known for its challenging gameplay, steep difficulty curve, and demanding progression systems. You will need to invest significant time and effort to reach optimal strength, requiring strategic character development.

The Item World, a series of randomly generated dungeons within equipment items, adds another layer of difficulty filled with powerful enemies and complex, puzzle-like layouts. The game's complex combat system requires careful planning and execution, with Geo Panels providing additional challenges. Hour of Darkness also features boss battles with impressive abilities, high stats, and unique mechanics that force you to develop specific strategies and effectively coordinate your teams.

7 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (1995)

Immerse yourself in a morally ambivalent world where the weight of your decisions and grueling battles shape the destiny of nations. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is a challenging game with a morally complex world, a branching narrative, and a intricate combat system.

The game's dynamic turn order system ensures unpredictability and requires careful planning and adaptability. The game features multiple bosses with unique abilities and powerful attacks that become formidable opponents, demanding strategic planning and team coordination. Defeating these bosses can be a significant challenge and will test your tactical skills.

6 The Banner Saga (2014)

The Banner Saga is characterized by a merciless difficulty curve, constant survival challenges, and a captivating journey through a beautiful yet unforgiving world. The game forces you to navigate treacherous landscapes and overcome threats such as resource scarcity, adverse weather conditions, and hostile encounters.

The seamless integration of tactical combat and narrative in The Banner Saga adds depth and complexity to the battles. Decisions made throughout the game have far-reaching consequences, shaping the fate of the group and the world. The game also offers several challenging boss fights and enemy encounters that test your ability to make optimal decisions under pressure and effectively coordinate your group.

5 Front Mission 3 (1999)

Front Mission 3 is known for being extremely challenging. The complexity of the game stems from its intricate mechanics, strategic depth, and meticulous customization options for large mechs. You must carefully allocate resources and make strategic decisions regarding equipment.

The game places great emphasis on the importance of terrain, cover, and line of sight in tactical battles, requiring precise tactics and effective utilization of battlefield mechanics. The branching narrative adds complexity, as decisions influence the course of action, relationships between characters, and missions. The game also offers numerous missions, each presenting unique challenges that require constant adaptation of strategies. The network of alliances and betrayals brings uncertainty, forcing you to make decisions about trust and alliances.

4 Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (2009)

Unleash the power of demons and navigate through the haunting streets of post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where every decision can mean life or death. The complex gameplay, challenging difficulty curve, boss battles, and the significance of choices in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor are widely recognized. You must manage your resources, summon demons with unique strengths and weaknesses, and adapt strategies throughout the game.

The game's boss battles are particularly challenging and require careful planning and execution. The game's branching narrative with multiple story paths and endings adds complexity as you have to consider the long-term effects of your decisions while navigating through the post-apocalyptic streets of Tokyo. Devil Survivor is a true challenge for tactical RPG enthusiasts seeking a demanding and rewarding gaming experience.

3 Wasteland 2 (2014)

To master the challenge of Wasteland 2, you must manage resources such as ammunition, medicine, and clean water to ensure the survival of your team. The combat system is turn-based and requires strategic thinking and positioning to maximize defensive capabilities. Boss battles are fierce and require careful planning and execution.

The non-linear narrative and complex character interactions make decisions crucial as they can have later impacts on the story and resources. The harsh landscape rewards careful exploration with hidden dangers and traps. The combination of resource management, tactical combat, and meaningful decisions makes Wasteland 2 one of the most challenging tactical RPGs ever developed.

2 Tactics Ogre: The Knight Of Lodis (2001)

Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis seamlessly combines complex tactical battles and a morally intricate storyline with a grid-based combat system, morally ambiguous decisions, challenging encounters, limited resources, diverse classes, and dynamic AI.

Strategically position your units, analyze terrain advantages, cover, and lines of sight to gain an advantage over enemies. Morally ambiguous decisions lead to different storylines and outcomes, making it challenging to navigate in a morally ambiguous world. The game features powerful enemies with unique abilities and strategies that require careful planning and strategic execution. Resource management is crucial as running out of important items or losing valuable units can impact future battles.

1 Jeanne d'Arc (2006)

Jeanne d'Arc is known for its challenging combat mechanics, demanding encounters, and intelligent enemy AI. Strategically position your units and consider their strengths and weaknesses to maximize your chances of success. The game introduces complex strategies and challenging encounters, creating a challenging difficulty curve.

Boss battles are intense and require careful planning and optimal utilization of unit abilities. Limited resources and the variety of abilities and skills at your disposal can increase the strategic depth and challenge. Constantly adapt your tactics by mastering these abilities and understanding their synergies with different unit types to emerge victorious in this challenging tactical RPG.