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Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Review

Around the Edo period in Japan, a new Shogun rises to power and ushers in an era of peace that doesn't seem to be all that peaceful. Lies and conspiracies are what make this new Shogun thrive and its time to put and end to this falsified "peace". Take control of 5 different heroes as they work together to take down the people who are ruining Japan. Bring real order to the land, eliminate the evil Kage-sama.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Review

Introduction

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a tactical strategy that is distinctive in its genre created by MiMiMi Productions and published by Daedalic Entertainment. MiMiMi Productions is known for their successful title The Last Tinker: City of Colors while Daedalic Entertainment is known for its Blackguards series. Take control of five different protagonists each with their own set of skills and abilities that help the player advance through each level. Hayato the Shinobi uses his skills in stealth to sneak up and eliminate enemies one by one. Mugen the samurai cuts down multiple enemies with his dual katanas savagely and with little regret. Aiko distracts soldiers with her sultry geisha transformation that will have enemies head over heels for her. Yuki, a master of traps, is a youth that has unmatched skills in traps and sabotage. Finally, there is Takuma who uses his marksmanship to fall any foe that enters his sights. Together they are an unlikely team with uncommon skills and when put together can accomplish anything.

Check out Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun on Steam for $39.99

Plot

The year is 1615 and a new Shogun has started seizing control of the Japanese government. This new Shogun has enforced a nationwide peace that is not well received by the people of Japan as they know something is wrong with the man who is trying to take control, Kage-sama. His intentions are clearly self-centered and want nothing to do with the people of the country, but wants all the power he can obtain. One leader of the current Shogun assembles a team of five specialists to use espionage and sabotage to stop Kage-sama before he is able to take control of Japan. Kage's allies are ruthless, evil, and bend on abusing the power that Kage-sama has promised them for their cooperation in overthrowing the current Shogun. The team has a difficult journey ahead of them and through time and teamwork, they will learn to utilize their separate skills to become an unstoppable force.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Enemy Cone of vision

Gameplay

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun has an array of tactics to use with each character and level. The five specialists can infiltrate castles, villages, and monasteries in whatever way the player decides. Using Takuma's sniper rifle skills might be more advantageous than Mugen's AOE sword attack or simply stealth killing everyone with Hayato to keep the noise down. There is no direct path to eliminating enemies or levels, the player makes each decision through a trial and error. Quicksave options are available since the heroes will more than likely die more than once, ending the game. Stealth strategies include avoiding enemies cone of sight, sneaking from bushes to houses to roofs to remain unseen, and hiding bodies so that patrols don't discover the remains of a quick kill. Individual character skills come in handy depending on what is being done. Mugen the samurai is able to lift two dead bodies, run, and hide them in one quick action, Hayato is able to jump to roofs and distract by throwing rocks, and Takuma is able to hide along tall buildings to get better shots on the baddies.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Takuma
The camera in Shadow Tactics can turn 360 degrees to give the player every angle of the battlefield. Being able to turn the camera and get all angles on the battlefield gives a huge advantage to the player as titles in this genre typically give camera angles from the four corners of the map. As the heroes travel through each level hints are provided by glowing scrolls that will explain a certain power that can be used to give the player an edge in the next area. As the player progresses through the levels, hints are provided less so reading them early in-game in a smart idea. Shadow Tactics' characters also give verbal clues to what should be done depending on where they are standing. In one hero is standing to a particular enemy, he will alert the others that some of their skills will not work on this particular enemy. The voice acting was done well in Shadow Tactics and listening to the verbal clues is a great addition to the gameplay.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Village
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is engaging and challenging, each level bringing new tactics and strategies to utilize. Dying several times makes the player refine their route or give it up and try a new path. All five specialists are not required to beat the game but make it easier to complete it. Using the shadow mode in the game allows the protagonists to act simultaneously eliminating multiple enemies at once, either in pairs or all at once. There are always an abundant amount of enemies, so much that the protagonists are constantly outnumbered even with 5 on their side. Thinking through how to get rid of them silently once again comes does to trial and error as you try different combinations of character skills and attacks. Fantastic gameplay and engaging story making Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun a great title and distinctive in the stealth tactics genre.

Graphics and Music


The graphics and artwork alone in Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun are aesthetically appealing, especially for this style of gameplay. The cartoonish and boldly created characters look great against a lush background of green grassy villages or snowy mountains. The graphics add a certain atmosphere to the gameplay that definitely accompanied it quite well. The artwork for the game looks great and applies to the story and game well. The title screen, loading screens, and character portraits have a pleasant moving effect applied to them to give them a more life-like appearance, giving the entire title more personality. The music in Shadow Tactics is reminiscent of traditional Chinese Chuigushou style music. Strings and oboes are in abundance in the soundtrack that makes up the game. Very simple, yet adds to the game greatly.

Summary

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a great title that will be enjoyed by anyone that likes strategy games and challenging titles. I died many times before figuring out the proper route to take and every time a hero died I felt more determined to find the right course to progress the plot. Using the character skills was fun and intuitive during each level. I felt that the levels guided the player along lightly hinting at what skills should be used. Groups of enemies? Mugen with his AOE sword attack. Single enemies running along a wall all looking different ways? Time to use Hayato and Aiko for a massive distraction so everyone can get past. I was thoroughly impressed by each level and what I had to do to beat them. The ability to turn the camera 360-degrees was huge and expanded the number of routes that the protagonists were able to take.

The verbal clues were helpful in a way that they made me stop in my tracks sometimes to listen and make sure that I wasn't walking into a trap or group of enemies unexpectedly. The espionage tactics that are used remind me heavily of the Metal Gear Solid series and using that mechanic in the tactical genre was a good choice. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a great title and there aren't much wrong in the game. I am excited to see what MiMiMi Productions is going to make next with how well Shadow Tactics was done.

PROSCONS
+ Excellent stealth, tactical, and espionage gameplay– Trial and error gameplay can be repetitive
+ 360-Degree camera angles– Highly Challenging
+ Beautiful Artwork
+ Diverse set of heroes to utilize
9.5
Amazing

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