The KGB the CIA and the GRU were following operation.
As in “Operation Silent Storm”, Phantom Doctrine tells the alternative story of the confrontation between the two secret organizations. We play for operatives “Consent”, which tries to thwart plans “Project” Observer” “” unleash a Third world war.
The “Consent” includes agents of different intelligence agencies and countries, but the main character can be a representative of either the KGB or the CIA. Depending on the starting choice, alter-egos change and story campaigns, showing events from different points of view. And after their passage comes off and the third scenario, which is designed to answer all the remaining questions, what it was and why.
And I assure you, there will be many questions. The plot sometimes seems delusional, making the “KGB men” to fight with the Soviet police and representatives of the GRU, who is kidnapped submarines with secret weapons and talk in secret documents called “Space wars” on the construction of a base on the moon. On the other hand, the scenario is based on conspiracy theories and typical bestsellers about fantastic developments and plans of special services. So all this is forgivable for him-remember about the agent “M. Gorbachev”, disguised as an electrician, and with a smile perceive the story as a bright Polish fantasy.
As in any XCOM-shaped game, in Phantom Doctrine everything is divided into strategic and tactical parts. On the global map, we develop our base, hire new agents, build and improve for them the infirmary, a workshop where you can make useful items like lock picks and smoke grenades, physical training centers, where operatives improve their performance, and so on.
The agents themselves need to be sent to different points on the map, so that they receive important information from our informants, engaged in surveillance and eventually revealed the activities of the operatives of the “Observer Project”, which, of course, do not sleep and act on the map at the same time with us. The enemy’s goal is to find out the location of our base and destroy it. All their successful actions and operations increase the level of threat to us. And when it reaches the max, or have to quickly move the shelter to another place that is worth a lot of money, or to take an unequal battle and defend.
When we find enemy spies and the place of their operation, we can try to interrupt it at an early stage — if enough of our operatives on the spot or they have time to get there in time. You can also conduct tactical reconnaissance to provide an advantage directly during the collision — for example, sniper support. If there are no other options, it remains only assault to destroy or capture the enemy spy.
All this is reminiscent of what we saw in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, where we likewise constantly unnerved Elected, where were the secret operations and the like ogoloshennya passion. Even the enemy agents in Phantom Doctrine are somewhat similar to the chosen Ones, having special, and very unpleasant, abilities like the disclosure of the disguise of our fighters.
However, in the creation of CreativeForge Games has its “chips” due to the spy theme. With the development of asylum does not need to dig any compartments is, in fact, the operational headquarters, which in the case of what you need to minimize and quickly moved from one city to another.
Our agents as the enemy, can reveal — in this case, you will have the money to change their appearance and biography. Or we ourselves will learn some unpleasant details about the past of someone from their operatives and begin to suspect him of working for the enemy-in this case, you will need to choose to establish him surveillance, talk face to face or fire. The consequences can be very different, including changing the level of threat in one direction or another.
Also in the shelter, you can produce counterfeit banknotes, replenishing the income of the organization, and instead of researching new technologies, we send some agents to engage in wiretapping and study the secret documents found. They also have to study and personally the player, finding keywords, nicknames and names to establish links between them — something similar was in the games Frogwares about Sherlock Holmes. As a reward, when the dossier is studied and disclosed, we get the names of enemy spies, information about new residents who can be hired, contacts of merchants who sell weapons, modules for it, silencers and other useful gadgets.
But the most interesting thing is the laboratory MK Ultra, which at some point is allowed to be installed in the shelter. Here we not only interrogate enemy agents (this can be done without a laboratory), but also turn over, erase their memory, implanted beacons and even try to take control of their consciousness to get “sleeping” in the ranks of the enemy or a walking bomb that explosion can destroy one of the cells of the enemy.
Tactics in detail
The tactical part also lacks interesting nuances, but not all of them are implemented and work as it should. The basis, of course, is the same as in XCOM — choose operatives and equipment for them and participate in turn-based battles, where we use action points, shelters and abilities. According to the results, the fighters gain experience, grow in level and unlock new skills.
But, first, our agents do not have a clear division into classes — some perks, such as a bonus to the search, they can get just doing operational activities. Other skills we choose them themselves and determine what will be trained to get a new level of operative — mastery of a weapon or tactics that allows the treatment of comrades and even to restore a part of health. And the fighter is allowed to retrain, replacing one ability with another. Thus, the player himself forms the specialization of his wards.
Secondly, our operatives have many unusual characteristics-sensory organs, blood circulation, attentiveness, motor skills, breathing. All this affects the efficiency of the battle, how many action points and health, armor units, the range of movement and so on. For example, care — a very important resource that is spent on evasion and special moves like a shot in the head.
The game has many such details and details. For example, you can cut down the enemy only if he has less health points. Not enough to take shelter — still need to learn perks that increase the effectiveness from full or partial shelters. In addition to the action points spent mainly on moving and reloading, there are also shooting points, which, of course, are spent directly on the attack and use of items.
In battle, you can use such useful features as breakthrough and watch. The first allows several agents to break into the room and destroy most of the enemies. The second-this is an analogue of the interception of the course, when you take under the sight of a certain zone and any opponent who is in it, gets shot.
The fuss about “randomness»
All this creates the feeling that we have a very sophisticated, detailed and realistic tactics. In many ways, it is — especially about the bells and whistles. But this does not mean that this tactic is really great and works well. Realism here coexists with very strange things. The fact that your ward or enemy, in principle, can evade a direct shot from 10 meters, even if standing in front of everyone, but has a sufficient amount of attention, is not so scary, because it is not often.
But the fact that the opponents, and your soldiers are able to hit the target shot across the map and all the Windows, ignoring the shelters and obstacles — this is wildness. The fact is that in Phantom Doctrine there is no such thing as a “random” in determining the probability (percentage) hit. Damage by default is applied in any case (if it doesn’t work evasion) is maximum or minimum. Different factors influence what it will be.
Given how many people don’t like the element of randomness in the same XCOM, this seems to be a great idea. But when we begin to dump endless enemy reinforcements — and if our agents are found, it happens in all missions-to survive and reach the point of evacuation becomes very problematic. Enemies famously shoot fighters, shooting through half a map, even if they are sitting in the shelter, and then another, and helicopters arrive to their aid — all this turns tactical battles in some kind of grinder and begins to wildly irritate.
Deaf without silencers
Thus, the authors, of course, push to use stealth, and it is logical in the game about espionage. Moreover, all possibilities seems to be in place — silencers, the ability to quietly knock out an enemy and hide the body, disable security cameras, distract the patrol. There are even blinding lasers — not to mention lockpicks, flash-bangs and smoke grenades.
Still, the stealth works perfectly. Pass without noise and dust at first hard enough. The agents tricked the secret organization somehow polls no mufflers — they have to earn personally, peeling cabinets and safes. But they caught on very big holidays, and put not on all weapons. And buy at first, somehow, nothing really is impossible. I have for the first two head of campaign only one fighter could use a pistol with a silencer. Besides, opponents are always much more, and even civil raise the alarm.
Then, of course, you learn to use local stealth, use a disguise in which your ward can safely walk around among enemies, endure, wait, distract, carefully cut down the surrounding patrols and loitering citizens. And it seems to become easier-especially when you realize that the enemies are often blind and deaf. You can in one move a couple of meters from the enemy to break the window, run in front of him to the secret documents, copy them and immediately jump over the wall. The guard can turn his back and leave without noticing anything. It is this tactic that most often has to be used, but you will agree that it is difficult to call it an ideal stealth.
In addition, stealth works best in the same missions to eliminate enemy agents. But when you have to withdraw from the attack of assassins their informants, storm enemy bases and defend their own, then work on stealth becomes very difficult — again begins annoying grinder instead of meaningful tactics.
As a result, Phantom Doctrine leaves a twofold impression. Play on the global map is really interesting, there are cool ideas, and the constant pressure from the enemy only invigorates, forcing to effectively manage the available agents, to study the secret dossier, to prevent enemy operations and so on. But each tactical mission begins to perceive as an inevitable evil-a special variety, to put it mildly, do not differ. And yet, in General, we have a fascinating and unusual variation on the theme of XCOM, which is also constantly updated by the authors. In the last patch, for example, promised to fix all these tricks with accurate shooting through the entire map.