One thing I see varying a lot in "Japenese RPGs" (Final Fantasy, Eternal Sonata, Golden Sun, etc) these days is the combat system. It all started with Final Fantasy's simple turn-based system, attack, enemy attacks, you attack, and so on. Slowly it got more complex, with twitch-based buttons in the turn based whether require button inputs, timing on attacks, etc. My favorite system as of late was Eternal Sonata's. If you haven't played it (go play it now), the system was turn based, but as it was your turn, it was active and real-time. You have 5 seconds to make a move, attack, etc. You could chain like 12 or 16 attacks per turn, and then use a special move at the end, or just keep building up attacks and wait for your next character. The higher chain of attacks you reached (they accumulate if you don't use a special) the more powerful the next special move would be. Also, when you were being attacked by the enemy, you could push a button at the right time to lower the damage taken.
It kept me entertained, a lot more than Final Fantasy or several other RPGs ever did because I wasn't just watching my people attack.
Then there are full real-time systems, Kingdom Hearts is a good example. KH didn't even have seperate battlefields, and it was like an Action game almost.
I'm sure most of you remember some games you've played in which you've loved or hated the battle system, and I'm sure there were reasons. I'd like to hear some of your own ideas, likes, dislikes, or maybe even ideas that you'd like to see someone do.
Something I'd like to see is this: A complete action-based system (Seperate battle screen), with other teammates controlled by AI. I'll explain:
Encounter starts and you are queued to a new battle scene. You control 1 of 3 characters. You have a "stamina" bar or at leas thats what I'm calling it. You can move around, cast spells, attack, but everything you do drains that stamina bar. That bar slowly recharges which you are fighting, so you could get it down to 1% and then wait until it's back up to attack. The smarter thing however is to use it all the way down, you then are rendered in an unmovable state and you can't do anything except defend. Defending takes away from your recharging stamina a little bit but it reduces damage. While you are waiting for your stamina to fully recharge, you can take control of another member of your party. Also, you can pause the battle at any time, switch a new character, issue a command, and he/she will use it when unpaused. The enemies follow the same system of stamina.
That's my idea for a good battle system, you can give me your opinion on that, or just discuss previous battle systems you've seen before or even design your own! Just trying to spark some thinking here! : )