In a way Baldur's Gate doesn't have real time combat, sure there are times you can just steamroll over things which wont require anything more than clicking on some puny enemy but any even half decent fight will require you to pause the game to apply tactics. Infact in any battle that's remotely evenly matched you will spend more time with the game paused so you can think and give orders and plan the next round, that paused time which is the majority of the battle is all strategy and tactics.
Keep in mind it's not remotely like a RTS (Real Time Strategy), instead you have a comparatively extremely limited number of "units" each of which could be extremely diverse or focused with extreme weaknesses and strengths, in such a situation tactics can be critical in even moderate battles and the strategy can begin before you even get to the fight in what spells, items and gear to take into it.
Tactics is critical in harder fights and the wrong tactics will make some fights impossible. Tactics ranges from the spells you choose to memorise, what buffs to use before a battle, who is going to attack who using what and much more and even where someone is going to stand. With such micro management tactics is king. In an evenly matched battle tactics could result in an almost flawless victory or complete annihilation.
Strategy is so critical and requires such detailed management that there is no real time combat for any worthwhile battle, at least not if you intend to win. The only way real time combat in such a game is truly feasible would be to have a human behind every party member dedicated to that party member.
Anyone saying there's no tactics/strategy to the combat in Badur's Gate games (and the others like it) is clearly missing or misunderstanding the fundamentals of it's combat system. I don't meant to sound offensive, it's just the way the game is, it's not the kind of game where you just run in and hack and slash everything and run away to take potions when things are going bad.
In BG strategy can even go so extreme as keeping track of every second between pauses, every round, every turn of every combatant friend and foe. If an enemy mage has just cast something he probably won't be casting again that round so do you pull your magic uses back and try silence him, send a fighter in to pummel him, or instead ignore him and start shooting at him when he tries to cast something again causing him to miscast. Well the answer there would depend on the buffs he's put on himself. If he has magic protection silence will do nothing at best and you might silence one of your own, if he has protection from missiles shooting at him will probably mean your back guys get a fireball to the face and die, if he has mirror image or protection from normal weapons sending a fighter in won't get anything done in time to stop him casting something again and he might cast charm on the fighter. Even in this one simplified example of an enemy mage it's clear one has to consider their strategy carefully while keeping what's known about the enemy in mind.
I'm sorry but saying there's no strategy or tactics in such games is like saying it doesn't matter when you shoot while trying to snipe in a FPS game.
Off the top of my head I can't think of another game type where strategy is as important, even so called Real Time Strategy games are tactically mundanely simple in comparison normally doing little more than elaborating on the rock paper scissors system.
Putting strategy aside to win the worthwhile battles one could go do side quests and explore becoming more powerful before confronting a hard battle. There's also the difficulty option so prevent permanent death of your characters and lowering damage take making battles much easier. There are also option to have the game auto pause, which shows how critical pausing is and paused time is all about planning strategy and tactics which shows that tactics is in the blood of the game.
Though personally I don't use or like any auto pausing, for me it breaks immersion so I just keep a finger on the pause button most of the time and always during fights.
Post edited December 27, 2012 by Grogger