Life is a game or it could be with the right setting, mechanics and content. With time being one such mechanic, just like that we find 2021’s turn is over. Only to make way for 2022 to take its own turn. As many of us probably do at this time of year, we pause to take a look at the games that promise to shine a light in the coming gaming calendar.
Of the many turn-based tactical games already announced, there are several that stand out. To leave me salivating in expectation. This coupled with the usual dread that developers or publishers will somehow, ruin what could otherwise be some fantastic titles. ‘Oh for the hype train.’
I always find myself asking will these turn out to be duds? Will they break new ground? Or as ever, are they likely to fall somewhere in-between?
So following on from my article of favourite TBT games of last year, I offer the 5 most anticipated turn-based tactical games. Games I will be keeping a careful eye on, that are earmarked for later this year.
5. Project Haven
Developer: Code Three Fifty One
Publisher: Code Three Fifty One
Taking point is Project Haven, a squad-based TBT game set in a dystopian city. Earth’s last to be exact. This one is probably the one I have researched least about. Though looking at the concept it is exactly my cup of tea. For it possesses some slick visuals, is set in a dystopian future, has a focus on squad-scale engagements, but most important of all, a strong assortment of weapons tech and inventory. The military style and mercenary angle appeal too.
The 45+ mission campaign seems great but I wonder what sort of dynamic elements it will possess, to allow for replayability. For at this moment in time there does not seem any sort of semi-open world aspect, unlike in Jagged Alliance 2. Nor am I certain of the impact that viewing combat from third-person will have to the pace during combat.
Still, these mini-cutscene, action sequences during combat, together with the style of top-down isometric remind me of the newer X-COM games. So if it comes close in its delivery to those, then I cannot see myself being disappointed.
4. Warhammer 40k Chaos Gate Daemonhunters
Developer: Complex Games
Publisher: Frontier Foundry
Another year brings another video game from the Warhammer 40K universe. After all in the future there is only… more video game releases from Games Workshop. Ha ha, well if anything it seems as much. This time players will take control of the Grey Knights – the emperor’s order of Daemonhunters. Rather than face Orks, Eldar or Genestealers, humanity’s finest genetically altered soldiers will fight to control a corrupting plague called the Bloom. Manifesting all sorts of mutated minions, cultists and Chaos Warriors.
As part of the experience players will able to command their own customised squad of Grey Knights, develop a base of operations, perform research into arcane mysteries and take part in combat missions across multiple worlds. Each squad member will be customisable with diverse skills and psychic abilities, equipped with an unlockable range of powerful weapons. Even the cinematic slaughter looks glorious.
After almost 900 hours of playing another videogame from the 40K franchise, I’m about ready to take off one set of armour and… try on another. I just have one more question to ask of this game:
“Armoured in faith. Shielded by devotion. Armed with purity of purpose“, will the emperor’s will become manifest, or will the temptation of Chaos beleaguer the developers?
3. Blood Bowl 3
Developer: Cyanide Studio
One of my first table-top experiences was the original Blood Bowl, first edition. A spin-off from Warhammer Fantasy that I played solidly for a number of years. So it should be obvious just how much I enjoyed playing these previous incarnations from this particular franchise. While the first digital adaptation was an okay game, the sequel was a much better one. With a more authentic and immersive experience being the key to some exciting gameplay.
With only an updated ruleset and two new teams indicated to make the cut so far, I remain unsure if the developers plan to blitz or go deep, with additional plays they may have up their sleeve. For me personally, I am hoping for more than a Hail Mary, with greater single-player content; a longer campaign mode, perhaps a mini-inventory with magical armour and items to be carried by individuals, as well as team artefacts. As for those who love their PvP, a better dedicated tournament mode would be very welcome.
I am praying to the Warhammer God Nuffle, for some divine interference or should that be intervention. While eleven may be Nuffle’s lucky number, there are twenty-two players on a Blood Bowl pitch. The same number as the current year. Lucky for us, or what!? Well maybe as much as – double the luck!
2. Marvels Midnight Suns
While I can’t claim to be the biggest Marvel fan there has ever been, this game’s announcement feels as exciting as when the first Avengers film came to our screens. Certainly causing my expectations to shoot through the roof, like Thor on steroids. Maybe that was a bad pun!
While most fans where choosing which superhero they wanted to be, my preference was to be in Nick Fury’s shoes. To be able to take control of whichever group of Marvel heroes I wanted to. In order to take head-on whatever threat Humanity was faced with.
If ever there was a genre pleading for such a game to be made with superheroes in it, it would turn-based strategy. To that end I’m sure I speak for many fans of the genre and Marvel alike, that we wait with baited breath for Marvels Midnight Suns to don its uniform, pull on its cape and take to the PC screens. To save our expectations from our dreaded enemy of hype!
Given the developer’s pedigree with the rebooted X-COM series I am hoping that it surpasses the visuals, mechanics and content of those games. Here is hoping for a campaign replete in squad-scale combat with RPG elements, fighting turn-based tactical battles against supervillains and their minions.
1. Jagged Alliance 3
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Undoubtedly the most hotly anticipated game of this year for me, is a sequel to my most favourite TBT of all time – Jagged Alliance 2 (JA2). With thousands of hours playing that game [and some of the more infamous spin-offs I won’t mention here], I can’t wait to see if this next incarnation will be a worthy successor.
Over time JA2 eventually became a masterpiece with a cult following. So the only target the developers need to achieve for their mission; is to replicate the detailed, extensive combat mechanics of the second game. While updating the graphics and GUI, and if they feel the need to, create a new story, perhaps even far away from Arulco and Deidranna. I would settle for one that was as involving as the story in that game.
What I am also hoping for, is a similar humorous dynamic between the NPCs. A quality that shone through in the interaction between the mercenaries of A.I.M in the previous title. While the character generation of a squad leader is a must, that needs no statement.
Despite no release date or quarter as a fan of the 80s TV show: The A-Team, I would love to see ‘this plan come together’ and for a modernised version to finally do the justice this cult classic deserves. To give us fans of the original sequel, a version we have wanted for so long.
Fingers crossed that 2022 will be a better year than 2021 for many things, but for the purposes of this article – all the incoming turn-based tactical games.