Games of the Year

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Screenshot 1
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Screenshot 2
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Screenshot 3
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Screenshot 4
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Screenshot 5
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Shadow Tactics is a hardcore tactical stealth game set in Japan around the Edo period. Take control of a team of deadly specialists and sneak in the shadows between dozens of enemies. Choose your approach when infiltrating mighty castles, snowy mountain monasteries or hidden forest camps. Set traps, poison your opponents or completely avoid enemy contact. The group is composed of very different personalities. Working together as a team seems impossible at first. Yet over the course of many missions, trust is won and friendships are made. The characters develop their own dynamic and each member will have to face their own personal demons. One of the leaders of this team is Hayato, an agile ninja, who clears the way through his enemies silently, with his sword and shuriken. Samurai Mugen prefers a more powerful approach and can defeat more fiends at one time, but thus also forfeiting flexibility.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

It took me 50 hours to fully complete the game, including all badges (side objectives) and achievements. This requires playthroughs on Hardcore and on a time limit for each mission; it will be relevant later. Based on both my Normal and Hardcore playthroughs, I recommend Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun.
The game encourages you to first explore on your own by hiding badges and future missions until you play through each mission. I averaged around 1.5 hours on my first playthrough of each mission on Normal difficulty. That means that there's about 20 hours of gameplay if you don't care about completing all achievements.
I really enjoyed how every aspect of combat flows together. You can one- or two-shot all enemies, but the mission gets harder if another enemy raises the alarm. So you distract them with your characters' skills or use the environment like snow, darkness, and noise. You can plan these distractions by checking for patrols and lines of sight since there's no fog of war, or queue up an action on each character with "Shadow Mode." Watching your characters execute multiple enemies at the same time is always fun.
However, there's no slow motion or pause mechanic, except when time briefly slows down when your character is in an enemy's line of sight. When enemies are searching for you, they also move more randomly and are harder to predict or plan for. Quick save (F5) and quick load (F8) are your friends. Here's the catch: quick load remembers your total time played, which messes with the time limit for badges. You can restart the map and load to bypass this problem, but it's unintuitive and wastes your time.
Every map has a distinct design, multiple solutions, and Easter eggs. I enjoyed my time in this playground of murder and stealth. Once I finished my first blind playthrough of a mission on Normal, I watched speedruns on YouTube and followed them to finish my timed playthrough on Hardcore. I'd recommend watching, in no particular order, 4hinzo, Optibum, and panzerrunner.
The playable characters are distinct in skill set and character design... and I had nothing else nice to say about them until after a major plot twist. The consequences of the twist, not the twist itself, made me care so much more about the characters. The voice actors constantly use -chan and hai and Japanese proper nouns, but some of them are better at pronouncing these words than others.
Nevertheless, the story has a satisfying ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this game from start to finish. I bought the Anniversary bundle for $13.55 on sale, but I recommend the base game on its own merits.
Thanks for reading my review.

Review from Steam

My reviews are never seen. Just know that this game is positive from me and move along

Review from Steam

F5 F8 are powerful

Review from Steam

I am, at best, a casual player. I tend to go for stuff that is not stress-inducing. This game really fits the bill for me. It was not too hard (played on easy) but still challenging. There's definitely a harder mode with badges/completion to be had. Not for me. The fun tactics you can come up with mixed with the ability to save at literally any point makes it very forgiving. It also encourages experimental strategies and well-executed timing. After playing it, I would paid more.

Review from Steam

Commandos

Review from Steam

I just finished it and wow, what an incredible game!
So many ways to complete each mission, and the story was engaging! You get to hear character conversations telling more about themselves even in the middle of missions!
I really enjoyed this one and now, I am moving on to Aiko's Choice!

Review from Steam

Normal price: watch some videos to make sure you know what the gameplay is like - set your expectations
On sale: YES for stealth or tactical command fans with a craving to satisfy
Pros: Decent stealth mechanics, forgiving quick save system, unique character abilities, multiple paths to objectives, and samurai and shinobi - all works for me.
Cons: Controls can be clunky at times, no character selection for missions - at the whims of the narrative, some of the enemy loops were too long/slow for my taste, I wish you could pick up enemy weapons
This is not splinter cell, hitman, ghosts of tsushima, or assassinĀ“s creed 3rd person, stealth action... nor is it as challenging as something like xcom. 8/10
Things I Wish I Knew: Y to melee without weapon, hold Left Alt and move your mouse to spin the camera, there is often a speed run path of almost pure avoidance tactics

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