Shadow Tactics: Blade Of The Shogun Review – Bringing Back The Past

Shadow Tactics Review

Just like the Shinobi of the past, Shadow Tactics: Blade Of The Shogun came out from nowhere. And unlike them, Shadow Tactics is here to stay.

A lot of people have played Shadow Tactics and compares it to the game called Commandos, labeling it as an amazing spiritual successor to a genre that was almost forgotten. I did not have the pleasure to play such a genre before so I wouldn’t understand the excitement of those that did, but after a few hours in, I’m glad they unearthed this decade old relic.

Shadow Tactics is an isometric RTS stealth game set in feudal Japan. And being an isometric game that it’s a blend of RTS and stealth, it’s normal to expect for such a mixed to have either a free-rotation camera or a fixed position camera, and either option would be perfectly fine. But no, flip a Shogi board when you’re losing, as the camera option the Developers have opted for is a fixed-angle rotation camera. This normally doesn’t pose a problem, but seeing an RTS genre is in the mixed, such an option would be a nuisance than an aid to the players instead.

Shadow Tactics: Blade Of The Shogun | Mimimi Productions

The camera could rotate horizontally at a fixed angle of 45, yet somehow you would see lesser when you do. Your view is more obstructed than before as the foreground doesn’t turn translucent and you can’t see things as clear as you thought. There’s no intuitive to change the angle other than making unnecessary mistakes and misclick in your playthrough.

Other than the camera controls, every other aspect of the game is great and the art style of Shadow Tactics, in particular, is impressive. From the snowscape mountain to the rainy paddy field, the artistic direction the developers took shows their understanding and respect they have for the Japanese culture. They made the art during the period of Edo Japan not just an art, but also a reality.

But underneath this wonderful creation lies a complex puzzle.

It’s understandable to spend a minute or two to take in and appreciate the artwork in Shadow Tactics, because I too did just that. But underneath this wonderful creation lies a complex puzzle. There are many approaches to take to get to the mission objective upon a cursory inspection, yet it doesn’t feel like there is one. With guards guarding vital entry points and some of them patrolling the area, the┬ámission is like a giant puzzle, waiting to be dissected piece by piece.

There are 13 missions in total in Shadow Tactics and each of them have their own unique mechanics. Guards would trail after footprints left in a snow map and the sound of your steps would be amplified when walking through a puddle of water. This mechanic makes no two maps feel the same, making every mission a challenging obstacle to overcome.

Each map serves as a conduit to tell a story for our protagonist. Though the story is simple and straightforward, it’s well written and manage to explore the characters personalities. The mid-mission banter between them reinforces this view even further, allowing you to learn more about the group and see them grow.

Shadow Tactics: Blade Of The Shogun | Mimimi Productions

The group composed of 5 unlikely individuals which seem impossible to be working together at first. Hayato, the leader of the group, is an agile ninja that fights his way silently with his shuriken and katana. Mugen, an honourable samurai in the service of the Shogun, is capable of dispatching multiple foes at a single strike. Aiko is a Geisha that’s a master of camouflage, allowing you to distract enemies from their duties. Yuki is an orphan child that places traps and bait the unsuspecting enemies to their deadly demise. And lastly, you have Takuma, an old man who relies on his sniper rifle to take care of enemies from a distance.

Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun is a must have for those who enjoy a stealth playthrough, along with a decent challenge. It’s a stray from the mainstream first and third-person action gameplay for sure, but it’s a welcoming title to the stealth genre nonetheless. Don’t let Shadow Tactics sneak into your shadow.

Platform: PC (Windows, Linux), Xbox One & PlayStation 4
Publisher: Daedelic Entertainment
Developer: Mimimi Productions
Rating: 8/10
Hours Played: 18hrs

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