DEVELOPER: THQ NORDIC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Classed as a ‘real-time tactics’ game, this genre, forgotten to time, is truthfully more of a puzzle game than a strategy game. It's a genre that was really made famous by the Commandos games back in the late ‘90s, with the Desperados series taking it to a western setting and adding some much needed story elements. The gameplay is in some ways similar to Hitman, but you instead control multiple characters, and have far less freedom of how to achieve your goal. Each character has a specific set of skills such as sniping, ability to climb, as well as few more ‘out there’ skills later on in the game. Using a combination of these skills, you must take down the enemies, most commonly in a covert fashion, and progress past them to get to your objective.
Although it is level-based, the game does an excellent job of hiding that, utilising multiple levels to feel like one huge area, seamlessly moving you onto the next one once your task is complete.
The gameplay generally encourages trial and error, as you get a big timer at the top of the screen constantly reminding you how long it has been since your last save. You are expected to make mistakes, die a lot, and repeat challenges over and over until you figure out exactly how best to accomplish your task. The most interesting feature is the ability to pause the gameplay, and plot out multiple moves across numerous characters, and then hitting execute, watching as your vision comes to life. If it works, you'll feel a sense a pride in your puzzle solving skills, and satisfaction watching multiple enemies get taken out in perfect stealth co-ordination.
If you were and still are a big fan of the first games, then you will no doubt enjoy what's clearly the best game in the series. If, however, you've never played them, or haven't in a couple of decades, maybe revisit them first and see if this niche genre still has a place in your life in 2020.