If you want a good stealth game, but not third/first person highspeed action like Deus Ex, Splinter Cell etc. here we have a different gameplay. Let’s see if you like it.
Shadow Tactics takes place in old Japan. The story sounds a bit generic, an evil samurai leader plans to kill the shogun and destroy peace. To end this rebellion before it even starts, you and your team are sent out to fight against the samurai.
The team has an assassin, a tank, a trapper, a sniper and a disguiser … yeah, sounds generic too. But not only does this combination create a real good gameplay-flow, each character has – well – character and is not only a puppet on the battlefield. The english voice acting is really good, the dialogues are short but good written to make each of them unique. Right after the first level you start liking your group and thank god, none of them has the clown role with bad jokes coming up every ten seconds.
As I said in the beginning, this is a stealth game. Not a diablo-like ‘walk in and kill everyone asap’-kinda game. And not a forgiving one. When one guard finds you it’s pretty much over. When one guard sees a dead body or even that one guard isn’t at his post, he calls for backup. ‘Shadow Tactics’ is not an easy game. But it’s not unfair, it’s just challenging. And that’s the good thing.
You have to think before every move you make. Every character you have is valuable, every skill they have is important. And a very cool thing is that you can play almost every situation with every character but every time it’s different. A street with guards: The assassin would jump over the roofs and sneak away, the samurai would distract them with good alcohol, the disguiser would … disguise herself. It’s not that one situation requires one specific character, you have multiple options which creates more freedom and creativity and a better replay experience. Of course there are situations where one character is required so that no character is useless but you have still a lot of time to experiment.
The thing that every character can and has to do is hiding and sneaking. Even the big samurai. You spend a lot of time in bushes, behind walls or inside houses. Because time doesn’t stop, but you can only play as one character. So make sure everyone else is safe when you do stuff. At first I thought, round-based gameplay would be the better choice here, but the realtime concept works very good and probably makes it more intense.
Even though you can only play as one character you can switch very fast between them and you have ‘Shadow Mode’. This mode lets you slow down the time (like ‘bullet time’-slow) while you control a shadow of your character. You can send this shadow somewhere to go or to do stuff. Then when you unfreeze the game the character will do what the shadow did before when you give the command. So you can set a command for every team member and when you give the command they all do it at once. For example two characters kill two guards in the same time. After a short time of training this feature is really useful and creates even more possibilities.
The style of the game is very pretty. It’s a bit comic-like with bright colors and beautiful level design. Each mission is unique and each level is alive in a different way. All your characters are likeable, I can’t pick a favorite.
The AI does a good job to make each situation with a guard a challenge. Different guard types, lots of hiding spots, each level with certain objects to interact with. This game is really for stealth people who love to experiment and want a game that is not frantic as other action-focused stealth games, but more a tactic required strategy game (what a description).
I really like ‘Shadow Tactics’. It’s the type of gameplay I like and is just the right thing for a small challenge every now and then. Characters, Levels, Sounddesign, everything fits. If you think this game sounds interesting to you, I assure you it is.