Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy is a turn-based tactical RPG developed by Curious Fate and published by Akupara Games. It was released on September 15th of 2022 on Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG, and the Nintendo Switch. Absolute Tactics is a grid-based tactical RPG game set in a medieval-inspired fantasy world in which the player commands a variety of pre-designed characters that adhere to the story.
The story is a little bit generic as you play as a group of heroes that must put a stop to an astronomical threat that is the antagonist of the game and his faction of minions.
As the player, you will command your units around the levels and utilize physical attacks, spells or abilities, and buffs or debuffs.
All of the characters are also common unit types found in most games. These characters range from a tanky guardian to a crossbow-wielding archer type to a cleric character capable of utilizing attack and defense buffs. One mechanic that felt right at home to me as an avid Final Fantasy Tactics player was the backstabbing element.
Backstabbing is a mechanic based around attacking units from behind thus granting you a critical hit. Although this is nothing new in the genre it was certainly a pleasant addition to the relatively generic gameplay. Aside from the core gameplay, in between levels you have the opportunity to shop at a plethora of different shops. Some of these shops include the equipment shop where you can purchase weapons, armor and class handbooks which essentially designate the classes of your characters.
There are also your run-of-the-mill shops such as the item shop where you can purchase medical supplies. One of the highlights for me was the ability to evolve your characters into whatever type of class you can imagine. Each class handbook dictates the direction in which your stats increase or decrease along with an included ability or spell. This provided plenty of customization to the characters, especially because each unit has two handbook slots, meaning that you will be dual-classing.
The mixing and matching of handbooks help to cater to whatever needs you wish for. I also really enjoyed this mechanic because at the beginning of the game I was worried that each character would be stuck in their pre-designed playstyle but the dual-classing aspect definitely helped alleviate any worries that I had.
The visuals in Absolute Tactics are not necessarily anything to write home about but I did enjoy the vibrancy of the designs and the large-scale level designs. In one of the early levels, you fight on a horse-drawn carriage as you run from the enemy. I absolutely loved this fight because I found it to be unique compared to all of the previous level designs.
The art style is intriguing because it blends 2D characters with 3D-level designs. The playable characters all have relatively generic designs but I did thoroughly enjoy the designs of all of the enemy units. From zombies/ghouls to flying “bombs” there was a nice variety in enemy units and their appearances.
Absolute Tactics certainly succeeds in a handful of areas but it doesn’t come without its shortcomings. As you may have noticed already based on the verbiage I have used, I found many elements of the game to be generic and uninspired.
The story is certainly the most common aspect of the game in regards to how often we see this exact plotline in various games. Throughout my playthrough I did not feel attached nor interested in the evolution of the characters or the story.
Although many attributes of Absolute Tactics are rather generic it does succeed in some aspects. The biggest achievement worth mentioning is that of the character development in regards to building each unit in your own image. Although each unit has its own pre-designed role they are not bound to these roles because of the ability to mix and match class combinations.
This is where I had the most fun in Absolute Tactics. I am an absolute sucker for class theory crafting and building and I found plenty of it in the game.
Absolute Tactics is a vibrant and linear turn-based tactical game that seems to lack anything to help it stand out from the crowd. This isn’t to say though that it wasn’t enjoyable. If you enjoy a relatively linear story and gameplay route with decent party composition tinkering then you will enjoy Absolute Tactics.
The artstyle and unit designs (more specifically the enemy designs) are also enjoyable and visually pleasing. All in all, I enjoyed my time in the game but I do wish that there was more heart and soul put into it and its plotline along with a less linear gameplay route.