Editor’s Note: This is from last week; it’s my fault it got published so late
Think Frozen Synapse, except with boats, and you get to design the boats. That’s sort of what’s going on in Leviathan: Warships. In a futuristic, naval setting, players design a fleet of ships, starting from some pre-fab hulls and adding various engines, guns, shields, and other accoutrements The game assigns each ship design a point value based on its power, then players are given a certain number of points to spend on ships at the beginning of each battle.
Gameplay is turn-based. Each action takes a certain amount of real time to perform, but the game stops the battle every few seconds to allow all players to give and change orders. Mission types range from a long single-player campaign to a variety of multiplayer maps. Multiplayer is versus or co-op, and players can take their turns asynchronously and cross-platform (the game is being released simultaneously on Android and iOS tablets).
I’m not really into boats, personally, but the sci-fi bits and bobs (like laser guns and stealth cloaks) redeem it for me. If you’re into turn-based tactics, and especially if you really got into Frozen Synapse, you’re going to want to give this one a shot.
On the surface, Soul Sacrifice looks like any other third-person action game, but this one has a neat set of mechanics, which utilize sacrifice and loss in combat. The cruel magics of the world demand great payment for great power.
In the single player campaign, this takes the form of terrible bodily harm. The game tracks damage to each limb and body part separately, and if the player ever allows a body part to become damaged to the point that it is useless, they are given the option to destroy it to pay for a powerful ‘forbidden spell’. These spells are different depending on the body part paid, but typically deal great damage to surrounding foes. Once this is done, the part cannot be regenerated for the remainder of the mission, imparting a greater difficulty of play. If the character loses an arm, for example, he can no longer attack on that side. If he loses an eye, the display of the battlefield is partially disabled, and so on.
Where it really gets interesting, however, is in cooperative multi-player mode, in which the players try to work together to complete each mission. The body-part payments still work here, but there is an added mechanic that expands upon the idea: team-member sacrifice. If a comrade goes down during the mission, the other players have a decision to make. One of them can give up some of their own health to partially revive the fallen companion, or they can choose to sacrifice him. This action releases a great wave of destruction destroying all but the most powerful enemies who happen to be nearby. Afterward, the player continues on as a ghostly spectator. They can no longer fight, but instead can scout the battlefield freely, and even have access to statistics and health bars that the living characters cannot see. That player fails to gain experience for the mission if the team finishes it without him, however.
I can’t say that the basic mechanics of the gameplay look particularly new or compelling, but the ideas in the sacrifice system are something to make one pay close attention.
Following is a full list of this week’s announced North American releases:
- Leviathan: Warships
- Strike Suit Infinity
- Zeno Clash II
- Battle for Graxia
- Soul Sacrifice