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Line Of Defense Tactics - Tactical Advantage (PC) artwork

Line Of Defense Tactics - Tactical Advantage (PC) review

"No defence against being a lazy mobile port burdened with an inflated price tag."

One of the unwritten rules to this critic gig is to review the product as it is, not to take shots at the commercial plan or the people behind it. But sometimes this is made especially hard when countered with some of the more underhanded tactics and combative personalities this industry can produce. Some traits are becoming dangerously close to being churned out as acceptable business models Ė pay-to-win titles that award auto-victory to whoever dumps in the most post-release funds, or having to drop money to unlock features pre-shipped on your gameís disk are practises viewed with the ire they deserve. The worst cases of these are certainly detrimental to the overall experience, and so earn their inclusion in working reviews through the back door.

Maybe a lot of this isnít relevant when I address why I canít recommend Line of Defense Tactics Ė Tactical Advantage in good conscience. Maybe you donít care that the development team is allegedly rampaging around the Internet, flagging every negative review they can find as harassment or trolling. Maybe, instead, youíll just silently enjoy their inability to grasp the Streisand Effect or write it off as nothing more than pointless Internet drama. Whatís harder to escape is that this is a straight port from a mobile device game shoehorned onto the PC platform with very little transition work, and burdened with an inflated price tag.

To put things in context, as of the publishing of this review, Line of Defense Tactics Ė Tactical Advantage is selling for around the same asking price for Firaxisí outstanding XCOM. One of these games is a cumbersome, jerky, overly confusing mess of a title that treats walls as a suggestion and advocates that transitioning between media correctly is something that happens to other people. The other game is Firaxisí outstanding XCOM.

Iím not even trying to suggest that mobile device games canít be rereleased on differing platforms successfully, because I would then be crushed beneath a ton of examples effortlessly disproving that theory. However, you show me a well-received port, and Iíll show you the work behind the scenes thatís clearly been undertaken. There needs to be some transitional work taking software designed around touch screen mechanics and interpreting that towards gamerpad or mouse, and Tactics offers none of that.

Actions so basic like lassoing troops together to act as one unit needs you to press down an extra key; the click and drag command so widely used itís simply part of the fabric of gaming now is instead used to shift the camera focus around. Almost, a snide commentator might suggest, like you were swiping a screen. Similarly, you can either select one individual from your team of four, or all of them together with no middle ground established and awful pathfinding enabled. Sometimes, anyway; the interface enjoys ignoring the command prompts which sprout from your select character that -- by pure coincidence, Iím sure -- happen to be finger-prodding sized.

Things like this feel damning because itís not like the game is completely without promise. The principal level has you sneaking through an enemy craft which, when you finally capture it, becomes a usable vehicle in missions of its own. There are ideas there that could be developed, like the ability to level your troops as you play, but everything around it just feels so clumsy. Finding cover and firing a heavy weapon often leads to your trooper launching a rocket into the crate heís hiding behind. Vehicles move without grace or hurry. The cumbersome controls negate ease or speed of input, but the lack of a pause button stops you from taking the time to assess your options. Thereís no volume slider (because mobile devices have these externally, perhaps?). Cosmetics are borrowed heavily from other seriesí that showcase them effortlessly better. Maybe the worst of it is that Line of Defense ultimately offers so little; thereís perhaps five hours of gameplay included that allows you to evolve soldiers and scrounge up new equipment, then offers no further scope to employ them in.

It could be argued that the entire project is just bait for the upcoming MMO based in the same world and, if that is the case, then trying to pass itself off as a stand-alone title with full release pricing is a horrendous and befuddling mistake. Perhaps the majority of the gameís errors become obsolete when you play the vastly cheaper mobile version, but thatís not the game Iím reviewing. Line of Defense Tactics Ė Tactical Advantage is as overpriced as it is incomplete and I have a very hard time believing that anyone shelling out for this gameís asking price is going to have enough good will left in reserve to pledge further commitment.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (March 28, 2014)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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Masters posted March 31, 2014:

This is how a negative review is written. I like that you've taken to task the pay-to-win model which is more and more prevalent these days - but manage not to devolve into a rant which abandons game review in favour of soapbox. Good stuff, here.
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EmP posted March 31, 2014:

Thank you, Marc. I do try to do my best when complaining. It' a talent.

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