Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun PS4/Xbox One Review

Commandos was beloved franchise for many of us who gamed back in the 90s and early 2000s. There were not many games like that at that time, which was the reason they became so successful. They had great stories accompanied by some remarkable characters, and tactical gameplay. One wrong move and your whole squad would be doomed. Sadly, Eidos Interactive killed of the series, and no developer thought of making a game like that for a whole decade. All hope for the genre lovers seemed lost until Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun entered the fray. The game promised to bring back the gameplay style of original Commandos series, but this time with Samurais. The pitch seemed great and people eagerly started awaiting the arrival.

The game made its way to PC earlier this year and was met with amazing reception. Almost everyone who played it, praised every single aspect of it. Now after a decade long wait, Commandos like game has made its way to PS4 and Xbox One users, and you really shouldn’t miss out on it. Everything about this game is special, from visuals to gameplay to characters, and to atmosphere. The fact that this game was developed by an incredibly small studio makes it even more impressive. They didn’t have the budget, the manpower, or resources, but they still managed to create an incredible adventure that would be remembered for a long time.

 

Story

You are thrown into the fictional Edo era where the Shogun has unified Japan, but there are some people in the shadows who do not like the peace between the two sides. You and your team is tasked to find these individuals, see what they’re up to, get to their allies, and do everything in your power to stop them. You are tasked to complete your missions as stealthily as possible, and the characters you play as help you in this regard.

They have their own unique abilities and can impact your mission in a lot of ways. We won’t go into much detail of the each character as that may be spoilerish, but we can tell you that they are equipped with some awesome tools that will help you complete your tasks without making yourself known to anyone. A lot of thinking will go into playing this game and you are bound to make some mistakes, but that’s alright because the game has a Quick Save and Quick Load feature that works flawlessly.

Presentation

Let’s turn our focus on the presentation of the game which is downright fantastic. The visuals are stunning and detail that has been put into each and every environment is mind blowing. For a top down view game, this looks incredible. The main characters have been given great animations, which translates into great gameplay. Most of the NPCs you’ll encounter will have more or less the same face, but their abilities and ranks would differ. Some of them would be harder to counter than the others, and that’s where the characters’ abilities come into play. The bottom line is, when it comes to presentation, this game delivers on it. It is easily one of the best top down looking games on console.

Sound

Just like presentation, no compromises have been made on sound as well. The original soundtrack that’s always humming in the background is soothing and is just the right volume. It doesn’t interfere at all with the gameplay sounds whatsoever. The character voices are really well done and there is almost always a banter going on between them. They are either complimenting or complaining about their moves, which make them more believable. Characters in Commandos franchise were great but they had zero interaction with each other. Thankfully, that’s not the case here, voiced characters and their interaction adds a new layer to the game, and makes the overarching story even more.

Gameplay

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun delivers on the gameplay aspect too. If you have played Commandos or Desperados franchise, then you will feel right at home with this Samurai adventure. Controls are hard to learn in the beginning, but after spending about an hour or two with the game, you will get accustomed to them. As mentioned above, all characters have their own unique abilities and in order to succeed in your mission, you will have to seek help of all of them.

Some use brute force, some use tools, some hide in the shadows, and so on. There are so many amazing abilities and combining them together to complete your mission unscathed, feels awesome. There are a lot of moments like this in the game, and you will be spending a large chunk of your time in this world as well. It took me about 40 hours to get done with it, so you are looking at a long.

Verdict

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is amazing. It is hard not to recommend it. It delivers on every aspect that made Commandos franchise so great and adds a new layer to everything as well. The characters here are just great. Their banter is always entertaining to listen and doesn’t get repetitive. Their abilities make every mission a great challenge as you have to think tactically and complete your objectives without getting spotted. It is a challenge but when you finally complete it, you get that sense of accomplishment that has been missing from current-day gaming. You will have to put a lot of thought into the game, and how you use your characters is up to you.

The way I completed an objective would be different from someone else that does it. The choices and characters are all ours. We are left in a field with the enemy and our objective and it up to us to strategize and make our way to the objective without creating too much of a scene. The game is not over as soon as you get spotted though, but your odds of surviving the enemy onslaught are close to zero. This is why, the best way to play this game is through planning and trying out different strategies. You have all the tools, you just need to make use of them in a manner that you get to complete your objective without creating too much or any chaos.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a must play. The developers have put in great amount of work to bring a dead genre to life, so it’s time we show them how much we missed it. For those of you, who have played Commandos like games, there is just no reason to miss out on it. However, if you are new to this genre or don’t know whether you’ll like it or not, then don’t worry because the game has a demo available on both PS4 and Xbox One. This means that you can try out the first chapter for free. It will help make your decision about this purchase.