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BK Blog Post
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun have already been praised for much. But I will say this - by the end of the year, to the distribution of all sorts of awards, it takes from the dusty archive a rusty sign with the inscription: "The best stealth tactics in real time." And it is successful itself and wins in this category - due to the lack of competitors and its own undeniable advantages.
A long time ago this genre was solely formed by the famous Commandos series . Then there were also similar in mechanics Desperados , Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood , Chicago 1930. And on this by and large everything - now these games are almost not done. Especially unexpected and pleasant was the surprise, which at the end of the year we were presented by the authors of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun .
This game was done frankly by the templates Commandos - and she is not shy about it. Unless the action was transferred to feudal Japan of the Edo period, when in 1615 the country of the rising sun, hardly united under the power of the new emperor, was on the verge of a new confusion - a mysterious daimyo appeared, a feudal lord hungry to overthrow the shogun. Our squad of specially trained fighters, owners of unique talents and skills, just stands on the side of the emperor and tries in every possible way to prevent the mysterious schismatic and his accomplices.
Another difference is that the plot, broken into separate missions, still represents a full-fledged narrative - with an outset, development and denouement. The scenario, of course, does not pretend to be the laurels of the history of the year, but it's rather interesting to follow the developments.
In addition, judging by the announcements, in our detachment almost Shakespearian passions were to rage. Here we read: "The detachment is made up of very different people. At first, cooperation seems impossible. However, as the tasks are completed, the warriors learn to trust each other, a friendship is established between them. All the characters have their own motives, and everyone will have to face up to their own demons. "
In fact, everything, of course, is much simpler: you do not have to, like in any RPG from BioWare, to reconcile subordinates or perform their personal quests, licking their wounds. And even the composition of the mission is determined not by you, but by writers. Nevertheless, some relations between our fighters are really developing - through inter-mission rolls and dialogues. Yes, and during the execution of tasks, they are not averse to chatting or letting a joke-another. As they say, thanks and on that, the plot is only for the good.
Otherwise Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is the same Commandos , only with a couple of ideas of their own and an amendment to the Asian flavor and the realities of the medieval feudal Japan. Each mission is a kind of tactical puzzle that needs to be solved, using skillfully the skills of the characters and combining them with each other.
Profiles and specializations of fighters can be guessed without difficulty. There is a clever and fast ninja who can throw shuriken and run on the roofs, a larger and stronger samurai capable of sweeping several opponents with the Skill of the Swords and luring the enemies with bottles of sake, a pretty girl who knows how to change clothes, scowl and blab the guards in the image of a geisha . There is also a gray-haired old man with a crutch and musket (actually a complete analogue of a sniper from Commandos ) and a girl luring enemies into deadly traps. Everyone is able to hide in the grass, almost all (except the old man with a crutch) carry and hide bodies, and some also swim well.
Usually, only a few fighters are usually available to us (very rarely - all five at once). But even two or three characters here have where to walk and show imagination. Tasks are classic - steal documents from an official, kill an important and well-protected cone, intercept a batch of weapons, save a friend and so on. But thanks to the maps, each mission turns into a very complex, but fascinating and non-linear adventure, or rather, a test.
Levels in Shadow Tactics , as in Commandos, brilliantly designed - they are big, beautiful, diverse, full of details and unobvious possibilities. You are free to go, as they say, in a straight line, gently luring out and eliminating every enemy. But it's better to act more creatively and nicely - to irritate the bull so that it will be hoofed by several guards standing behind it; to throw a stone, a beam or a box on a group of patrolmen; hide in the wagon and on it to penetrate the guarded territory ... It's also fun to shine on the guards from the roofs and run around the ropes and ropes.
The same important cone is allowed to kill in several ways - poison, for example, tea or take a shot from the musket. True, in the latter case, you still have to lure the victim to the line of fire, forcing his favorite dog to bark. In general, a kind of Hitman, but with the participation of several heroes and isometric.
I already said that Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun turned out to be very difficult, hardcore tactics. This is even despite the fact that the German studio-developer is called Mimimi Productions , and the guards give some indulgences, refusing to look at the water and on the roofs and at point-blank range without noticing a girl running over them in the daytime on a rope.
Sometimes complexity, on the contrary, seems excessive. In many places to slip quietly and imperceptibly, without raising the alarm, it seems almost impossible. Enemies pierce the sector with cones of sight from several sides at once, some stand side by side and look at each other. And these are special opponents in straw hats or samurai, on which the standard tricks and baits practically do not work. Patrols are constantly plying. Yes, and civilians, seeing you, immediately rush to call the guard.
In such cases, you often have to rely on the skills of one or two characters, most often - on a ninja or a samurai. The latter, when correctly used alone, can demolish the floor level. A certain imbalance among the characters in such games is inevitable, and here he too is felt, though not as much as he could.
In addition, a well-coordinated team work will help, allowing your fighters, for example, to remove the same two guards, who stared at each other in love. To do this, you need to use a special function - it slows down time and gives you the opportunity to distribute orders to several subordinates, which they will start after your signal. This in Commandos was not, and this is really an interesting detail, introduced by the authors into a vanishing genre.
As a reward for all the labors, for example, that you have passed a mission, never raising an alarm without killing any civilian, using a special way to eliminate the enemy and keeping within the allotted time, issue special patches. Nothing but a feeling of deep satisfaction, they do not give - there are no points of experience, no money, not even penalties for sloppy passage. But the true connoisseurs of stealth and tactics, even this motivation will be enough - they will certainly want to collect all the patches in each mission, and even at the highest level of complexity with limited conservation.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun at least pretend to be the "Surprise of the Year". It came out without any noise and excitement and resurrected in fact the long-dead genre of tactical strategies in the spirit of Commandos . And now he breaks a well-deserved ovation. This does not mean that this genre will again begin to live and develop, most likely, after Shadow Tactics , there will not be anything like that for a long time. But in any case, I want to tightly shake the authors of the hand for allowing the old people to return in the time of their youth and play in the new Commandos , and to the modern audience - to find out what it is.
Pros: a good story; fascinating and complex gameplay; non-linear passage of each mission; Interesting characters between whom relationships develop; chic design of cards; nice graphics; authentic music.
Cons: the game is short; there is an imbalance between the characters; opponents do not always behave adequately and competently.