Shadow Tactics is a top down, tactical stealth game set in the Edo period of Japan. You are dropped into a map, taking charge of between 1 and 5 characters to clear a path through enemy troops and loose-mouthed citizens to complete your objectives, keeping hidden and using all your tricks to stay alive.
After a new Shogun seizes power, enforcing peace upon the nation, a shadowy figure has risen up to oppose the freshly crowned Shogun, trying to shatter that peace and take the nation for his own. As employees of the Shogun it is your job to discover the identity of the Mysterious Kage and defeat his plans of throwing Japan into another civil war.
Completing each mission isn’t about hacking and slashing your way to victory, oh no, this is a game where you have to use your head. Face to face combat is not wise; if spotted the alarm will be raised and a lot more soldiers will come to slice and shoot you dead. The way to play this game is to stay out of the enemy's field of vision. Hide in the shadows and in bushes, jumping out when the enemy's back is turned and slink back into hiding. To achieve this you have five different characters, each with their own unique way of stealthing through the level.
Each level is a collection of puzzles, with numerous ways to overcome. There is no right or wrong way to approaching the game, as long as you come out alive you’ve done it right! However when you do get it wrong you will die, and you will die a lot! Thankfully the game supports quick and easy quick-saving and quick loading, because without it this would be an impossible game to play. To emphasis the importance of quick saving there is a counter at the top of the screen telling you how long it’s been since your last save.
The maps are not small in Shadow Tactics, each one having a large amount of enemy soldiers, guards and Samurai roaming around, meaning you could spend 10 minutes trying to make it past one group of soldiers, either just thinking up your next move or having to reload your save, and still have a mountain to climb after. This is not a game you can just load up, play a few levels and log off again. Each map had the habit of taking me up to two hours to complete, some longer and some shorter, but this is a game that demands you take your time when approaching each new challenge. I mean, there are prizes for speed running levels in like 15 minutes, but that’s for when you’ve completed the game and know your stuff. While it will take a considerable amount of your time to complete, the time will fly by. So engrossed was I by trying to work out each puzzle that when it told me my finish time at the end I’d never believe it till I looked at the actual time and realised I had indeed just sunk two hours on a single map. But I never minded as the feeling I got from overcoming these challenges was very rewarding, the game-play is very enjoyable, the interface is very easy and intuitive to interact with and the visuals so stunning that I never regretted by my time playing Shadow Tactics.
The only down side of the game is some of the voice acting. All the voice actors put in a very good performance, it’s just that some of them should not be attempting Japanese accents. Especially when some of the actors don’t try an accent at all and just speak in an American accent, completely undermining what the others are trying to do. Either get actual Japanese voice actors or just have everyone use their normal accents. Makes it less cringy that way.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
A brilliant tactical puzzle game, interesting story, engaging characters, slick controls and beautiful maps make this a very enjoyable play. It’ll take you while to get through each level but it’s very rewarding when your plans all come together and you feel like a master ninja!