In Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun the true purpose of any masked murderer, is to flip out and kill people. Mostly by hiding in the shadows and deploying fiendish traps and distractions. While impaling unassuming guards with icicles, as they ponder about whose footprints are these. It’s a truly wicked world of samurai, corpse-devouring bushes, and a whole lot of gunpowder.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is seen from a bird’s eye view, where I control a team of heroes with special abilities. Each brings a different tool and challenge to the board and they are all equally important to utilize. Since controlling two characters at once is a tricky business, one can be assigned an order. I can execute while controlling another person. Such as setting one up to throw a noisy rock at a guard and as he looks away the other guy will rip him a new one. Since dead enemies can be discovered, it is totally possible to depose them in a myriad of ways. Such as into bushes and off cliffs. When the alarm triggers a swarm of alerted folks comes running from various doors to investigate. The plot is fairly decent, with some colorful heroes. They are fun and quirky, but overall they’re a bit stereotypical. If you look away from the way the youngest member talk. She has some really fun and disturbing lines. Especially when dropping lethal things on unassuming victims.
When using a gamepad, the A button does it all, well almost, and is very finicky when multiple things are too close. Such as torches, bodies, doors, and grappling points. The same struggle can happen if two corners are too close as I try to descend from the roof. Plus some enemies are virtually impossible to quickly tag with the vision cone.
Repeating dialogue. Some NPC keeps repeating lines during the run of a level. This gets very old very quickly. Especially the first time around, since I take a long time to complete the levels. I would really appreciate a way to turn off or down the volume of in-game NPCs. Luckily everyone can be killed. It’s a true sign of patience to let them live. Especially that drunk man in town.
This game is hard and that’s just normal. On The highest difficulty, the game is just mean. Luckily there are medals and steam achievements to unlock for the completionist. It will only take several playthroughs of each level to do so. One thing is for certain, doing it all is a challenge all on its own.
Enemies are as expected. They will fall for the same trap over and over again. Place a spring-loaded floor trap, blow the whistle and watch the guard get Impaled. Naturally, this usually causes panic, where the ignorant fools will comb the bushes. Only to find nothing, and return to their guard duties. With some reinforcements and replacements. There is a price to trigger the alarm after all.
The music in Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is quite melodic and very fitting. A bit forgettable, filled with traditional Japanese instruments and a lot of modern sounds. It’s not bad at all. It’s there and it works. The voice-overs are quite good and can actually be set to fully Japanese, which is quite fitting for the era Shadow Tactics takes place. One thing I found very terrible though, it’s the sound of snoring guards. It’s too loud compared to anything else I’ve encountered.
Due to the difficulty and style of gameplay, Shadow Tactics is not a game everyone can enjoy. However, I still highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good stealth game. I can’t stop myself from wanting to play more. Also, there are blood and decapitations within the game. There is also a demo of the game.
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