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06 March, 2014

Line of Defense Tactics - First Impressions

Line of Defense Tactics (trailer below) is a real-time strategy game that puts you in the combat boots of a team of four marines. Based on Issue 0 of the Line of Defense comic series, your squad undertakes a number of kill, infiltrate and retrieve missions in outer space and in planet environments.

After playing through the first three missions, you’re then prompted to buy the game – I'm sure that many will not make that step. The control scheme renders the game almost unplayable. It is incredibly tedious and frustrating to direct your squad members, often resulting in unintended instructions and constant deaths. Even something as simple as selecting a team member is an exercise in patience. Having played excellent strategy titles like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Shadowrun Returns - both of which made our Top 50 Indie iPad Games of 2013 - it is sobering to be reminded of how poorly a game can play without precise control implementation.

On top of this, other in-game mechanics - like the fog of war - have been poorly designed. In Line of Defense Tactics, the fog of war – which is usually represented by a blacked-out area – is not visually obvious. The line of sight of your team members is also not clear. When these factors are combined, I often found myself accidently charging into a room that was full of enemies. Even this wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have easily instructed my team members to retreat fast enough. As it was, they would either stand around happily being shot, or run around aimlessly.

At this stage, it is difficult to recommend Line of Defense Tactics. There is definitely some promise under the incredibly rough edges. However, developer 3000AD needs to implement a number of patches to reach a level of playability I would call fun. If you’re interested in playing a quality strategy game, for now, you should look elsewhere.

If you're interested in seeing the game in action for yourself, you can grab it here.

    - XCOM: Enemy Unknown
    - Shadowrun Returns

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