Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun launched late last year and immediately became a huge success on PC. In part, it was thanks to the fact that gamers who grew up with the likes of Commandos and Desperados weren’t being served via modern titles. Real-time stealth tactics titles just aren’t huge business like they were back in the day, apparently. Of course, it also helped that the game was just plain excellent. Unfortunately, only PC owners got to enjoy the engaging stealth experience. That changes soon now that Daedalic is publishing a console release.
The basics of the game are that you assume control of five different protagonists, each with their own unique skillset set in Japan’s Edo period. The choice of setting a game in ancient Japan isn’t just for window dressing (although it certainly provides a gorgeous, unique backdrop). Each character fits right at home in the era, assuming roles of samurais, ninjas and more. Character skillsets occasionally come across as magical but in general follow what you could expect from them. For example, our powerful samurai Mugen is able to kill off multiple enemies within an area thanks to his huge sword slash attack.
Initially players are taught how to use each character and their specific skills one by one. Then, they’re tasked with using multiple characters at once to solve missions. As you might expect, this requires swapping between each one at key moments. In regards to gameplay this translates to determining which character works best for each task, accomplishing said tasks, and then swapping over to the next character when it’s their turn to become useful.
Make no mistake, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is seriously hardcore. Even being aware of everyone’s skills does not make it easier to execute a plan. Enemies are sometimes idiotic, but won’t tolerate much in the way of mistakes. Not only do they have wide lines of sight, but they’ll also be able to hear loud noises within earshot. If you’re noticed then they’ll make an attempt to pursue. If too many enemies hone in on you then it’ll prove hard to make it out alive. In general, players on PC ended up taking over 25 hours to simply complete the campaign. Expect to die – a lot.
Real time tactics titles can be tough to bring to console because of the challenging of translating a PC’s precise keyboard and mouse controls to a gamepad. Fortunately, it seems that the controller setup for Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun work well. The hardest part is simply getting accustomed to them since it’s quite a different control scheme from the norm. But once you’ve gotten it down, commanding your crew of warriors becomes second nature. Gameplay remains fast, fluid and tactical regardless of the platform.
If you haven’t already played Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, and prefer gaming on consoles, then be sure to check it out when the game launches on August 1 in North America, or July 28 if you’re a European gamer. You’ll be able to play whether your console of choice is a PS4 or Xbox One.