This is now the second day in a row of writing my blog. Magically, I am even reading and editing before I post now. This paragraph is on it’s 3rd iteration (but I don’t think you would ever know from the quality. I also have a correction to make from yesterday – there were actually 24 views, not 12. That means that you all looked at it twice – thanks guys. Speaking of editing, you won’t know this, but this post originally had a terrible ‘punny’ title (one I won’t reveal – have guesses in the comments!). It therefore had an apology as the opening paragraph. The title is actually now a reference to something that is still making me chuckle as I imagine it, some 20 minutes after I originally wrote it down. Read on to be disappointed, or at least reveal more about my simple sense of humour…
Today’s entry into my slow descent into madness is to talk about the game Shadow Tactics – Blades of the Shogun. No, I’d never heard of it either before I saw it in Grainger Games. Before I move on, I have to say that Grainger Games do a great job of making me buy games I have never heard of. They do seem to stock a lot more titles than the likes of Game and….. no, there are no other high street video game shops any more. By stocking the odd titles, it makes me buy the odd titles. Supply and demand at it’s finest.
What is Shadow Tactics? The closest game I can use to describe it is Diablo 3 meets X-Com. In Japan. The game involves a slow move through an isometric map, taking out enemies and avoiding detection. You control the character in real time, slowly making your way through the level with an objective at the end. You can control different characters, each with a different move set that opens up a lot of possibilities to get through the stage. Every encounter with enemies can be treated like a puzzle too, with the option to go into ‘shadow mode’. This allows you to set up moves from different characters, then hit a button and they will execute simultaneously. I have only gotten through 1 of the levels and about half way through a second, which has taken me about 3 hours so far.
The game doesn’t look like a triple A blockbuster title, with an animated feel to it. It really works for the game though, as it is never trying to look photo realistic. The camera being fairly zoomed out works in the games favour, as I think if you got to up close, it could be quite ugly looking. The sound design is fine. Very ‘feudal Japan’ music and sound effects. The game is fully voiced, but it is in English, with an almost comical Japanese accent. I know, it would sound even worse if you had a Samurai hailing from Yorkshire, exclaiming he was “Off t’kill that blummin’ Shor-gan” – but made me smile when it shouldn’t have.
Story wise, I just don’t care. I said that about GR:Wildlands (hint hint, read my other posts) but sadly I have no interest. Something about some bad guys that have a castle, that the good guys don’t want to have a castle but the bad guy also murders people. Despite the good guys murdering people…. I guess murder cancels out? I’m sure if you have an interest in that time period you will slobber all over the controller, but I’m not really in it for the story.
I guess I could have tried a little harder to listen but I was actually having a hard time learning the game at the start. This is a PC title ported over to console. From saying that, some people may have images of complex wheels and holding 8 buttons to get to a menu in their minds. It’s not that bad, but the camera really does suffer from not being able to drag a mouse to the edge of the screens, or holding shift to rotate. The camera really is a problem. Not game breaking, but highly irritating, especially as the game does need you to monitor the entire field in order to plan your next move. The controls do take some getting used to, but I think that stems from it being a PC port and not having infinite keys to choose from. Imagine if I tried to write this, but each vowel needed me to hold R1 whilst I swiped the touch pad. You’d get 3 words out of me before hit post by accident and gave up to go play Civilisation on my toaster.
Overall, I like it. It wasn’t expensive so I’d say is worth the investment if you like X-Com or a game like Wastelands 2. I don’t have a massive drive to turn it on every time I have some spare time, but I know I will go back to it at some point, possibly a rainy afternoon one day soon.
A solid 7/10