Saturday, 27 March 2010

I am a tactical genius... it's too bad the game isn't

So I got Fallout Tactics working and played one and a half missions through. It's quite fun, but not exactly what I was expecting and it's missing a few things I would prefer to have in a tactical game of this type.
For one there's no grid for movement. It's obvious that the computer uses a grid to count the steps taken in battle and it's apparent in the character movement but the player doesn't see it, ever. This isn't a huge problem but hinders my slow brains' ability to plan movements perfectly.
There's also no pop-out shooting. I was expecting just a slightly refined battle system from Fallout that would enable me to begin combat whenever I choose and surprise enemies, but the only way to initiate combat as fast as possible is to turn the characters to agressive mode so that they open fire automatically upon spotting an enemy, which can be a nuisance if you forget to turn it off when scouting ahead. Even with this mode the enemies are often still faster and even if they aren't they can fire once before the turn-based combat mode actually begins, so you could get hurt if those blind assholes could aim. Combat doesn't even start until someone attacks, so enemies can get right near you to attack before the turns appear.

The other problem with pop-out shooting is that even in mid-combat it doesn't work, and not just because of some accidental flaw in the AI or the like, this is something the developers seemingly intended: the enemies get their turns in the middle of your turn if they "missed" theirs.
Say I'm crouched behind a wall in mid-combat. The enemy couldn't shoot at me, or rather wouldn't, so they skipped their turn because they're too stupid to move around and get behind cover. My turn comes again and I spend 2 points out of my 10 to stand up. What follows? The enemy immediately gets a turn and shoots at me, and THEN I get to use the last 8 points. Excuse me, I thought I bought a tactics game with a usable turn-based fighting mode, where's my game? Why am I not allowed to actually use my turn during my turn, or better yet, why can the enemy AI skip a turn yet get it back in the middle of mine? There's no rules here and every odd occurence favours the enemy. Hell, the enemies are already invisible when there's no direct line of sight forcing you to scout ahead if you want to be aware of their locations, and now it's pointless to scout ahead because you can't surprise them anyway. Just put your characters to agressive, take a step out of cover and hope for the best.

There was some other things I think Fallout Tactics is missing and some really, really annoying bugs I've seen, but I just now thought a few ways I can possibly circumvent the biggest problems. I'm still just learning the game, but it seems like a fun time-waster and worth some trouble.

A Desperados-esque pre-assignable string of actions would make this game more Tactics, though. The entire game of Desperados is real-time but the ability to string several actions together and execute the entire sequnce with one button made it very tactical and fun. You could plan carefully before attacking some bad guys, but Fallout Tactics doesn't often let you plan carefully and attack bad guys even during your own God damn combat turn.

Oh, and a simple button to switch between CTB, TB and STB combat modes without going to the game settings all the time would make this game more accessible.

EDIT: Oh, I just read a developer quote saying they were disappointed that Tactics 2 never got to be finished since they wanted to make it more tactical instead of the run-and-gun shooting of the first game. So... I've been playing Tactics wrong all this time? Utter buggery.

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