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Thread: Other tactics games

  1. #1

    Other tactics games

    Judging by Banner Saga's genre, you guys are probably great fans of turn-based tactics. So am I! Let this then be a thread for the discussion and recommendation thereof.

    Two such games I've been playing recently are King's Bounty and its sequel, Armored Princess. They're not especially complicated - you run around the world digging up treasure, wandering monsters want to kill you, and then you fight them using up to 5 troops on a hex grid, plus you can cast spells too. Armored Princess adds another element - you have a pet dragon, which can occasionally use powerful attacks to kill stuff for you. The only problem with Armored Princess is its dumb difficulty curve - soon after finishing the game's second island, you're going to see a ton of "lethal" or "invincible" enemies mixed in with merely "strong" and "very strong", which leads you to have to play hide and seek with these overpowered mobs while looking for something you can actually tackle. Later on they mix things up with boss monsters who play by different rules than your average mob.

    Any other tactics games out there that people play?

  2. #2
    Backer kolo83's Avatar
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    I recommend game called Gorky 17, also known as Odium.
    Group of soldiers is sent into a laboratory area to investigate what happened to the crew and to a team that was sent here before them

  3. #3
    Backer Blistig's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if by "tactic games" you would include RTS games, but nevertheless here are some recommendations:

    I just bought the Galactic Civilizations 2 Ultimate Edition on Steam (14,95) a few hours ago.
    It's basically Civ in space, although the AI seems a lot smarter (it's a single player title after all). Can't really say much more about the game since I've just started playing it. Seems like a satisfying 4x game so far (got exceptional reviews overall as well).
    Another turn-based strategy game I have played lately is Shogun 2 Total War. I love the setting, although the enemy AI is as dumb as ever. The Total War series keeps innovating and redefining itself with each new title, but the AI stays the same. Sigh.

    On the RTS side I recently enjoyed playing Spellforce 2. A great campaign, if a little easy overall.

    If you want to challenge yourself, try Majesty 2. That game is definitely one of the hardest strategy games that I have played lately. A few of the missions in that game allow only for one specific way of playing, and each misstep gets brutally punished. It's infuriating at times, but when you get one of the hard missions down, it's dance time!

    Atom Zombie Smasher is quite nice as well. Pure tactic from a top down view (the premise of the game is to free cities of zombie infestations). It doesn't have enough substance to capture someone for more than an hour at a time, but that's perfect for that time when you want to dive into some strategy action, but a full blown game of Civ is just out of the question.

    Legend of Grimrock isn't turn based either, but from what I've heard it's the reborn messiah for dungeon crawling fans. I haven't played it myself, but there are videos of it all over the internet, and it seems really atmospheric (and not as unforgiving as Dungeons of Dredmor. Goddamn these oneshot traps.)

  4. #4
    Backer Kaffis's Avatar
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    If you have a Playstation 3, pick up Valkyria Chronicles. I get annoyed at the endless anime-esque cutscenes because I don't really click with the anime inspired themes and storytelling sensibilities, but the combat is worth it.

    On the PC, look up Frozen Synapse. It's awesome.

    Edit: as for the poster above me, I differentiate Tactics from Strategy based on scale and focus.

    If you're doing empire/base building, you're probably not a tactical game. (Rare exceptions aside where the empire/base building is done as a separate gameplay element, like in X-COM. Then, it comes down to where the meat of the game lies and/or combat scale) Tactical games are more likely about a small handful of units rather than massed armies. Also, to qualify as tactical, turn-based is almost a necessity. *Maybe* a Dawn of War or MechCommander type game could sneak under the wire, but they "feel" more like RTS.

    That's just how I classify things. As such, RTS and Action RPGs or MOBAs aren't what I'm looking for when I say "I wish they made more tactical combat games." Finally, most of the time, being pauseable can cause something that's technically "real time" to count as turn-based, if it supports issuing orders while paused. The distinguishing factor, to me, is giving the opportunity for the player to stop and weigh options, instead of succeed or fail based on reflexes, muscle memory, and/or pre-cooked rules or routines.
    Last edited by Kaffis; 05-02-2012 at 02:04 PM.

  5. #5
    Backer Cathmore's Avatar
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    My favorite game of all time is probably Shining Force II, it's a grid based tactical RPG from Sega for the Genesis. It is also available on the Wii virtual console and Steam. I've played it more times than I can count and I believe it was actually the first game I ever finished beginning to end. There is also a third game I've been trying to play, but it is only available for Sega Saturn, I've bought two Saturn's to play it so far and both wouldn't work.

    The Heroes of Might and Magic series is also amazing. Based on King's Bounty I believe. The game itself is turn based, moving across the map gathering resources to build up your castles and your armies; meanwhile, the combat is also turn and grid based. The best in the series is generally considered Heroes III, but I'd say any game except the first is worth playing. A new one was recently released, we're up to Heroes VI.

    Final Fantasy Tactics deserves a mention, if you haven't played it, it is available on the Playstation Network.

    There's also the Disgaea series, which I'm sure almost everyone knows, good games, but they will suck out your life.

    This is probably my favorite genre, so I have a lot more recommendations.

  6. #6
    The best known and highly regarded series in the tactical genre are X-COM and Jagged Alliance. I would recommend Fantasy General, by SSI, and its modern successors, Fantasy Wars and Elven Legacy. An interesting project on Kickstarter, that, maybe thanks to Stoic, many of you already know, is Legend of Eisenwald.
    Last edited by Skitnik; 05-02-2012 at 03:34 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    Backer Biowulf's Avatar
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    Not sure if it would count, but Cthulu Saves the World is pretty fun, and has a good quirky humor to it. Breath of Death VII as well since they're made by the same people.

  8. #8
    As mentioned here, Banner Saga looking like a turn-based tactics game was the final straw that pushed me to become a Kickstarter backer.

    Primarily as it reminds me of the truly EPIC PS1 game that is Vandal Hearts! From the character progression to the spell animations and heart pounding/heart breaking critical final strikes that win/loose you hour long battles.
    A must play for anyone who can get PS1 functionality.

  9. #9
    Backer Blistig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biowulf View Post
    Not sure if it would count, but Cthulu Saves the World is pretty fun, and has a good quirky humor to it. Breath of Death VII as well since they're made by the same people.
    Great games, although I played them mainly for the humor aspect. They clearly weren't designed to be especially challenging.
    A definite recommendation for anyone who fancies himself a few hours of chuckling paired with turn based combat.

  10. #10
    Backer Aaron's Avatar
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    King's Bounty has an interesting history. First there was the original version in 1990, whose designer later created the Heroes of Might and Magic games based on it, then we got the modern remake. The modern remake that I've been playing a lot recently.

    The Shining Force games are among my favourite tactics games too. I especially like Shining Force 3, one reason being its grand scale. It was actually three three games, each one being an individual "scenario" where actions in one game can carry over to the next Mass Effect Style. Unfortunately only the first scenario got released in North America, and the other two scenarios got fan translated relatively recently.

    By the way, anyone notice the centaur in the character concept artwork Stoic posted in one of their updates? That gave me a strong Shining Force vibe.

    On the PC side, aside from the aforementioned King's Bounty, most of my experience of tactics games comes from RPGs like the Exile and Avernum games by Spiderweb Software (though I've only ever played their demos).

  11. #11
    Backer CottonWolf's Avatar
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    Tactics Ogre's great. It plays very similarly to FFT (it was made by the same team), but they do very interesting things with the story; lots of branching plot lines and political intrigue. Shame it never got a sequel. Anyway, if you like FFT seek it out. It was remade for PSP, so it's on PSN for download relatively cheaply.

  12. #12
    Backer Oddllama's Avatar
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    I felt that 21 Jump Street really lacked the tactical depth that I was hoping to see. Especially given the 1.5 hour playtime, you can hardly get immersed before it ends.

  13. #13
    Backer Dark Jedi Dave's Avatar
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    I used to love Advanced Wars, but haven't played it in years. May need to get an emulator or Game BOy and relive those days =).
    "Not all those who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

  14. #14
    I've sunk more hours into the ios Avernum and Avadon releases than I'd care to admit- the art assets are functional at best but it's easy to get lost in the respective worlds. Have Stoic given an clues as to the style of their combat yet? On the surface the games mentioned in this thread are all turn based and tactics based but I'd not say that they really play all that alike.

  15. #15
    Backer LoliSauce's Avatar
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    Most of my recommendations are weeaboo as fuck. So much so, in fact, that many of them were never ported outside of Japan. Figure I should point that out first to avoid having to say it at every suggestion.

    If anyone can stand terribly underwhelming aesthetics, I would suggest looking into the Spectral Force and Spectral Souls games within the Neverland series by IF. Unfortunately, the only one that was brought outside of Japan (and was playable) is Spectral Force 3, which isn't bad, but isn't great. Spectral Force Chronicle and Spectral Souls 2 are the high points of the series. Almost all of the games introduce something cool and new into the genre though. Chronicle is my favorite for the perfect simplification of all of its mechanics. All movement and targeting is radial in nature, and everything is metered by universal AP use. Everyone has 3 Special attacks and a bar of 300% SP (see the correlation?), and for each percentage of health you destroy or lose, you gain 1% on that bar (ie: killing someone gives you 100% flat). And the coolest thing of the game: Being the daughter of a demon overlord, you have nameless skeletons in your army's roster. You reap boss enemy souls and can equip them to the skeletons to use the bosses as your own soldiers. It's a hype game.

    Super Robot Wars, namely the playstation 1/2 games, are definitely worth playing as well, and I'm not a mecha fan in the least. Battle Moon Wars, a doujin parody game of the SRW series, is also very well made and worth playing (doubly so if you're a Type-Moon fan). Both of these have amazing animation and a very specialized take on the srpg genre. I'm sure most of you have seen some amount of gameplay at some point or another, but if you haven't, look it up. The games traditionally have a very strong level of difficulty that makes a lot of play very engaging, but are also always very exploitable to save scumming through the use of mid-battle saves.

    There's a really unique game for DS called Rondo of Swords. It's not an exaggeration to say that playing it completely changes the way you view the genre. In it, you attack people by MOVING THROUGH THEM. The only way to tank is a particular skill that some people learn that actually repels an attack moving through them, but depending on the order they choose to move through your grouped up units, it may not help much. Positioning is paramount in the game, and there's a decent amount of replayability in ng+ and secret characters. Great game.

    The Growlanser series is another pretty good series to note, though only Growlanser 2 (found in the Growlanser Generations pack released by Working Designs, RIP) is really heavier on the strategy. The whole series is loosely action/strategy though, as it is not grid based, nor turn based, but does allow for pausing and issuing commands of all sorts. Besides the hype factor that ring weapons bring to the whole world within the series, one of my favorite aspects is that there is NO CHARACTER LIMIT to battles. Near the end of the game you feel like you are commanding a large force against hoards of enemies, though realistically it'll be a little less than 10 playables out at once. It's pretty empowering though, and the character roster (and choice of interactions) is very interesting.

    A lot of others I could mention have been brought up previously, or are somewhat mediocre titles overall.

  16. #16
    Backer Troll's Avatar
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    Like most I'd recommend Final Fantasy Tactis on PS, a great jewel that I still play a full game once a year. Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 is to me the best parallel WWII JSRPG, great visuals and story with very interesting mechanics and gameplay.
    The Front Mission series is also good if you like your customized mecha army.
    Tactics Ogre has a very good story as well as choices but is very harsh on the player. Hard to gain levels while perma death is at every turn.
    Vandal Heart 1 and 2 are also basics in JTRPG.
    I also have to mention the Disgaia games. Quite crazy characters along colorfull graphics and good story, you also have a good voice over in Japanese. I wouldn't recommand the 1st simply due to its difficulty level and badly made map generator for the item world.
    Makai Kingdom is a spin-off of the Disgaia series and while a bit different from most TRPGs as you are simply a 'book" which summons troops and buildings (imagine special unmoving units) providing special bonuses with a combat style based on a movement range as a circle around the unit and not a grid based battlefield with steps to move with.
    Last edited by Troll; 05-07-2012 at 07:18 AM.

  17. #17
    Backer Aberosh1819's Avatar
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    Going to have to pad the stats for Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre (as least the PS versions of each). FFT ended up being the first game I went back through dozens of times in various "single-class challenges", and it just helped me to appreciate all that was available outside of finding the single overpowered path through the game

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