Looks interesting. This might be something.
A few things the game card does not make clear:
- There are fights. What is there exactly besides that?
- Is there a strategic layer or a series of missions with some choices, in the vein of Blackguards?
- The tactical encounters are turn-based or real time, or something in between? (active pause, simultaneous turns, etcetera)
I put about 6h in this game so far and here's what i have:
1. There is some light story besides the fighting, presented in comic book style with a (what i think is) oddly appropriate narrator voice.
2. I didn't play THAT much blackguards, but this one is completly linear so far. Mission paths are predetermined with one objective and one single way of finishing it.
3. Full Turn based with real time exploration.
In addition to this i'd add that "mature" in this game means "there are animations with cartoony heads being cut off", otherwise the theme is pretty tame so far. Story is run-of-the-mill fantasy with a faux-historical twist.
Character customization is pretty disappointing so far: 4 skills per character to be used at any one time out of a total of 7 active/3 passive, you can change skills as you see fit. Equipment is all +stat stuff (+/- attack/dmg/defense/AP).
Combat itself is pretty average: most of the time you're just maneuvering into flank to melee 1-2 hit enemies. There are very few ranged options, and most of the interesting things you can do are tied to pushing people off ledges into instant death (quite amusing). Otherwise i haven't seen any complex combos or playstyle changing abilities. Most of the skill options are split in the categories:
1. Battlefield manipulation: push/pull
2. Single target damage
3. AoE damage
4. Heal/buff (mostly for one out of the 8 characters i have so far)
5. Moving more efficiently than 1ap/tile
6. Summons (which you get marginally later in the gamme for the ranged character and the blacksmith) that can attack themselves. I'll include Merlin's mind control here as well.
It sounds like a lot of variety but most of the time combat devolves into pushing poeople off ledges if available and if not advance with mobile people using one of their movement skills to get into the backs of the enemies so you can wipe them quickly.
And this is where encoutner/enemy design comes into play: unfortunately i feel the game has been pretty easy (about 8 missions in). You get all these breakable every encounter: barrels that drop slow/poison/fire fields, traps that damage if you step into them but they hardly matter. Enemies don't seem to do anything with them, so they're only for you to play with. Unfortunately due to the way combat is balanced, it's most of the time more efficient to just move into a back/flank position and outright kill the enemy.
And speaking of enemies themselves, they're pretty boring. Most of them just have a basic attack and maybe a push or a buff if you're lucky. Maybe they have more interesting things later in the campaign.
Finally, on the topic of encoutners i think more thought should have been put into them, because just like in xcom, what you want is "burst-kill" ability. The difference is that in SLO you can do that extremely reliably if you focus on maximizing AP and willpower (this latter one is basically a limited use ability that gives you more AP/Att/Defense and that regenerates on kill/other abilities). So far i feel that willpower is too easy of a resource to manage between the priest, Uther's "willpower to everyone on kill" ability and actually gaining it on kill.
All in all i'd say the game is somewhere between a 6 and a 7. It's a nice grid based tactics game with fun presentation, but so far, it's mechanics bring it down. What i expected was a comic book style, turn based Aarklash Legacy (which i strongly recommend if you enjoy these types of games and can stomatch real-time with pause), but what i got was an easy and less refined version of Blackguards/Fantasy X-Com. If you expect a variation on Banner Saga, you're going to be disappointed.
If this is just the "tutorial" still after 6h, then it's probably going to be a fine game and i'll come back to this thread :) .