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понеделник, 23 януари 2017 г.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - Ninjas are like commandos after all




Long ago when I was a small kid and was wasting most of my money in the local PC club I remember seeing some of the older guys playing interesting game where a group of commandos was lurking through a city trying to do something. I did not understood the game back then, but later a stumbled upon it again and learned its name, purpose and how good it is. I am of course talking about the Commandos series by Pyro Studios.

But why I am mentioning these old games? Because last year came out a game which can be easily called their successor - Shadow Tactics. The game grabbed my attention with two things. First it is a new title in an almost forgotten genre and second it is published by a favorite studio of mine which is known for a totally different genre - Daedalic Entertainment(the game is developed by Mimimi Productions).

But let us go in order. Commandos was not extremely popular even back in the day and I doubt it is now when its genre is almost forgotten, so let's start assuming most of you do not know what I am talking about. It is the safest approach. I will not miss anything and you will not be confused at the end.





Welcome to the country of the rising sun



Unlike Commandos Shadow Tactics is taking place in feudal Japan, somewhere around the Edo period in the middle of the rising of a new Shogun. To assist his ascend to power the Shogun hires five individuals to accomplish tasks for him. From intelligence gathering to assassination and sabotage. But the sub-title is this for a whole different reason. Playing Shadow Tactics you will feel like you are in Japan. Everything in graphical aspect is done with so much care, with every detail in its place - from the the surrounding nature through architecture to the clothes of the characters and NPCs. I have not researched but I will not be surprised if it turns out that the places you see in the game are historically accurate not only in name.





Shadows, Tactics and Blades in the back.



Shadow Tactics is a hard-core, real time, stealth game where you will lead small team of...gifted individuals. On each mission you will have different objectives which you will have to complete while attracting as little attention as possible. This is where the "hard-core stealth" part comes in.
Any of your characters cannot openly take on more than two guys and that is if he is lucky, but even if you manage to deal with the first enemies who found you, you will be either forced to retreat because more enemies will soon come or you will die. If you run back and hide somewhere out of their patrolling range this is not the end as alerted enemies will become more vigilant until the end of the mission and they may even change patterns and act differently. When even one of your guys dies the mission fails. So if you are found you are probably dead already. On the bright side you can save your game whenever you like. That does not affect the difficulty of Shadow Tactics in any way. Second thing enemy patrols have complicated patterns with looking in different directions, returning, turning back. Different patrols will even cover each other's blind spots.  It is a must to stay hidden and observe how enemies move. A mindless rush will probably cost you the mission. 



But what can you do against such enemies? Well you have more than few tricks up your sleeve, but the most important thing is to learn that stealth and silence is not something thrown in there just for theme, it is your friend, it is the way the game is meant to be played. Of course when kills cannot be avoided(or you are just a bloodthirsty beast) you will be able ti backstab, set traps, snipe nested on high towers and lure enemies into ambushes. And when you cannot safely sneak up to someone there is probably a way to kill them using the environment around them(There is nothing like killing five people by making a bull kick them). Just do not forget to hide the bodies. 






Conclusion


Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is hardcore, team based stealth game, made by Mimimi Productions(and published by Daedalic Studios) and it will bring you straight to feudal Japan in the middle of a conflict for power. The game is not turn-based only planning and observing your enemies sometimes will take so much time that it will feel like one, but dare to take hasty actions and you will die. If I have to compare it to another game, just to make it easier for you, it is definitely inspired by the old series of Commandos by Pyro Studios. But while it has taken a lot from its "predecessor" it brings a lot of its own character and flavor making it worthy of your time if you are into this kind of games. 

Where to find:

Official Site

Mimimi Productions

GoG

Steam Store
  

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