Not so long ago, the phrase “Polish game developer” caused experienced players a crooked smile. Developers from Poland, with all their talents, regularly issued on-mountain a product that could be described only not the best epithets. We all know these games, and it makes no sense to repeat their names once again.
And then there was the trilogy about “the Witcher”, and jokes about the Polish developers somehow by themselves passed into the category of idiotic. That proves once again – in game development there are no borders, and there are only good and bad experts.
Here it would be possible to support an intrigue, but, you know, after the whole game of intrigues somehow there is no wish. Phantom Doctrine is the best tactical strategy of 2018. Stop reading all this, urgently run, buy and dive into the world of international espionage. End of review.
War in the looking glass
As usual, all great and terrible events begin with some inconspicuous surprise. For example, with the sudden appearance of the Pakistani nuclear program, which missed the CIA and the KGB, and all other world intelligence agencies (this, incidentally, is a real historical fact). But as soon as we pull a single thread, which in itself means nothing, as in front of us, slowly but majestically began to unwind the monstrous tangle of plots, intrigues, deceptions and betrayals, the head of which… and, indeed, sort it out yourself.
At first glance, WE have XCOM on the spy theme. There is a base, there is a map of the Northern hemisphere. Instead of fighter jets patrolling the world, our agents, instead of the aliens and suspicious activity. The understanding that this is not a reskin of the famous series about the shooting of large alien cattle comes very, very quickly, on the first independent tactical missions. As it was in XCOM? We see the red mark of the enemy-fire on it with massive fire. In Phantom Doctrine, however, this is the shortest and most reliable way to lose. First, as the unforgettable Gleb Zheglov used to say, “his passport does not say that he is a criminal.” You’re not gonna shoot every person you see on the street, are you? On the map are constantly several groups of conditional “opponents”, including police, military, security forces, civilian and enemy agents. But while you do not create different game in front of witnesses, you are on this map just another civilian. Do not break the forbidden zones, do not throw corpses and do not fall into the eyes of enemy agents who can easily identify you through any disguise – and sit here at least a thousand moves.
Second, almost never game not offers us stupidly all kill, and when offers, this can be done without noise and dust. In Phantom Doctrine constantly have to keep in mind that you are a spy, and your weapon – stealth, cunning and unpredictability. No, you can, of course, to drive on a mission of six of its agents in full armor and with machine guns, but the enemy in response will throw at you endless waves of reinforcements, helicopter attacks and bombing. Win in battles can and should be quietly and vile. The fact is that almost every tactical mission starts in the “penetration” mode – we saw its analogue in XCOM 2. All is quiet and peaceful, nobody knows the guards casually patrolling the perimeter. Skillfully avoiding enemy blockheads, it is possible to reach most mission objectives – often, an agent of the enemy – to quietly put a bullet in the head or knock out, and your shoulders, and sneak out from the card. And it wasted no time and completely breaks the usual perception. You don’t have to kill everyone here. The game even gives an achievement for the fact that you pass the map without a single murder.
The spy who came in from the cold
Third, any operation can be sunutsya blindly – then we are waiting for the usual XOM card that you need to slowly explore. And you can send in advance a couple of agents who independently inspect the scene, and then you start on a fully open map, knowing where the remote control laser alarm or cameras. You can place on the sides of the world support agents, and at the right time, for example, they will knock out a sniper shot brains interfering with the enemy. Finally, on any map, you can throw agents disguised as civilians. Such “moles” will always be significantly less than the illegal operatives, but they are free to safely walk around any areas of the map and expose them can either open murder or getting into the field of view of the enemy agent. The latter, by the way, can be easily leveled with a special perk.
At the site of any operation, you can collect weapons from special containers and secret documents. On a special Board you will analyze all this data, stretching the strings and collecting pieces of a huge picture of the conspiracy, which is already weaving enemies. You remember you’re a spy organization, right? Well, you officially don’t exist, nobody pays, and you can’t even afford a weapon to purchase. Over time, your agents will find informants on the world map, which will gradually give us the opportunity to buy certain guns or devices on the black market, or they will get drawings to make such useful silencers on their own. The same case at first serve and interrogation of enemy agents.
Remember, the developers promised us an atmosphere of total paranoia? Oh, it is only in the game, project MK-ULTRA, and nervously twitching eyes, coupled with a distrust of everyone around you provided. Thanks to this thing, we can expose our prisoners to a lot of fun procedures. May be corny to interrogate the enemy about the Affairs of his employers. Possible to condition them, forces them to wrap their arms against our enemies, when he hears the code word. You can code it, and it will become an unwitting saboteur, personally destroying the enemy cells. You can insert a beacon into it to always know where it is, and thus monitor the Affairs of the enemy. And now attention-the enemy can do with your agents is all the same. The enemy is constantly looking for your base and when he finds it-arrange a RAID, kidnapping your agents. One day they will return, saying that they managed to escape. But is it? And are these guys, moles? Waste it? And if it is a well-trained agents with a lot of skills and talents? You can, of course, do not understand “brainwash”, but this way you risk to wipe out half of the useful skills…
A traitor like us.
Agents of Phantom Doctrine at the same time and similar to XOM, and not like. Instead of classes-specialization, and a nice girl from Mossad, unsurpassed shooting a gun, will mainly use a gun, although it can be given a sniper rifle. Arming the agent’s favorite weapon, we get an increase in damage along with the ability, for example, to tie a silencer to the trunk (an indispensable thing until the end of the game) or charge it with bullets that stun the enemy.
With increasing levels of characters can be taught new talents, and with a certain periodicity, they get a new perk – a special talent. But the famous XOM-random when shooting is not here, we get guaranteed, varies only damage. He it depends on the cover, the position of the agent, the weapon from which the shot was fired, and attention. The last-such a fast-recovering strip, reminiscent of”mana”. Attention is spent on dodging shots and using certain skills. Recovers on its own, but after spending a point of fire, you can instantly charge the strip to 100. And, finally, the mechanics of “breakthrough” – for the same point of fire can be ordered to your agents at the same time to break into the room and shoot all there. Need this in order to quickly eliminate enemies. The fact that the alarm in the game rises as soon as you kill someone in front of witnesses, so shoot first one opponent, and then the second-will not work. For this and is used “breakthrough.” He’s good to the crowd to score a particularly powerful agents of the enemy.
More agents can be pumped with different nutrients, permanently increasing their combat characteristics, and give different useful things, like body armor secretive wearing, lock picks, first-aid kits and other similar devices. If you actively use one agent, he quickly accumulates experience, but at the same time growing and its recognition, and at some point his identity is disclosed. This is fraught with ambushes, when we have in the course of a special operation to withdraw on the tactical map of one agent from the Horde of enemies. Given the fact that for the evacuation, first, you need to run to a certain point, and secondly-to wait for the arrival of the van or the arrival of the helicopter, the task turns into a rather non-trivial. Therefore, in order not to get ambushed, change the passport agents and create new identities. On the other hand, the agent who was ambushed, you can just throw to fend for themselves – the enemies will take him prisoner, and you will be able to release him in the future and hope that he was not turned over by enemies.
Construction of the base, alas, the game is quite rudimentary. We do not build anything, but simply open a few additional rooms and expand the existing ones. Unfortunately, the developers came to this very superficially, so we not only do not do any construction, but even consider the base really can not. The only significant activity is the periodic transfer of our operations center from one city to another, fleeing from prosecution by conspirators. But especially in the game upsets translation. Some places don’t have it at all, and it’s the least of the evils, because some places have it, and it better not be there. Here’s an example. In the English version, we run the organization the Cabal-a formidable and majestic name, from which instantly begin to run goosebumps. Do you know how she was transferred? «Consent.» Seriously? Consent? It’s not about spies, it’s about the pink world where unicorns fart rainbows… And confronts us The Beholder Initiative. Impressive, huh? Immediately in front of the eyes POPs up a huge invisible spider web covering the entire world that looks mad-eye in the pyramid. And translated as “Observer”. So you see an old senile grandmother who spies on the life of a sleepy yard in a crack between the curtains. And there are many such examples – in some places rough translation completely changes the meaning of spoken phrases are diametrically opposed.
Spy get out.
To even criticize Phantom Doctrine can be for easy nedochitannaya. You can’t look at your base. The character generator is not enough persons and passport photos – where it to generator of XCOM 2. Female models have zero breast size, so it will not be possible to create a fatal beauty spy from the “bond”. The character models have a crooked animation, which is especially evident if you take a female agent in a skirt-she will move like a chimpanzee. By the end of the game, some repetitive missions become boring. The pathfinding algorithm periodically produces hilarious dope in the spirit of”go out the window next to the door, right in front of the surveillance cameras, just as quickly.” Cards, on feelings, it is not enough – about 20. Review version periodically freezes and a little buggy, but otherwise very well optimized. Built-in training is very mediocre introduces to the course of things, and some interfaces well, very specific, and to get used to them, it takes some time.
The music in Phantom Doctrine is on top. There are paranoid motifs, orchestral compositions, and light ambient – all the melodies and sounds perfectly adjust to the atmosphere. The graphic style is less cartoon-like than in XOM, but the animations feel made worse. The gameplay is surprisingly addictive, and this is the case when “for five minutes for the Board of investigations will sit down and sleep – clean this cell and sleep – Oh, our informant is now executed, save him and sleep – damn, the agent was ambushed, take him out and sleep – Oh, it’s morning”. The weathering is excellent – you don’t just study the documents, for example, you read the transcripts of the telephone conversations in which people use code names and discussing some pretty important stuff. In interceptions regularly come across a secret report of the CIA about the mysterious developments. All maps are drawn with great attention to detail, and you believe that people live or work here.
Phantom Doctrine-is not just the main contender for the title of the best tactical strategy 2018, but a game that breathes fresh blood into the genre. Without exaggeration-and Firaxis in the development of a new part of the CSOM, and the Great and Terrible Julian Gallop, who is working on Phoenix Point, will not only sweat to take the level set by Creative Forge Games, but also to fully take into account all the developments of this game, not to lose face. If you love tactics, appreciate good stories and yearned for gameplay, addictive monitor with his head, you just have to go through all three campaigns Phantom Doctrine.