Future Tactics: The Uprising PlayStation 2
Developed by Zed Two
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99 (£19.99 in most stores)
Turn-based strategy games have never been abundant on consoles. Only the Game Boy Advance can really boast an impressive line up out of the main formats. The PlayStation 2 had an absolute classic earlier in the year with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (with La Pucelle Tactics and Phantom Brave coming next year) but take a look at the Xbox or GameCube catalogue and you'll be pushed to find another turn-based strategy game (other than Gladius) that's really enjoyable. Future Tactics: The Uprising could be one possible title that fans of turn-based games might enjoy and it's been developed for all major formats. This review will look at the PlayStation 2 version of the game.
The story behind Future Tactics: The Uprising is simple and straight to the point. The game is set in the near future. Earth has been invaded by a race of extra-dimensional creatures. The humans have had enough though and now it's time to fight back. You'll control a small band of humans, including the rash Low, the thoughtful Pepper (Low's sister) and their father and do battle with some odd looking aliens in attempt to wipe out their presence from the Earth. The game's Story Mode offers 19 single player missions where the objectives are to defeat your enemies or get to a specific location. The tricky part though is keeping everyone alive.
The fun in Future Tactics comes from the combat. In any given turn you can move your character (the range of movement is indicated by a green circle) and then shoot at your enemy. After you've fired your weapon (some characters can shoot twice in a turn) you can choose whether to rest, heal or shield yourself. Usage of the shield is limited though so you can't do it every turn. Firing weapons is more than just point and click though. First of all you'll attempt to place the aiming reticle over your target which takes some practice as it will keep moving until you press the X button. Once you've pressed the X button you'll see a line come across that you'll need to stop in the reticle by pressing the X button again. Finally another line, that's at a 90 degree angle to the first line comes down the screen and again the ideal position to intersect the first line with the intersecting point being in the reticle. Performed perfectly will give you 100% efficiency in firing your weapon and therefore maximum damage to your target. Lesser damage is done for less accurate targeting. Some weapons require a slightly different technique but it's still a similar process. Characters increase in ability, super weapons become available and the environment can be deformed to further add to the fun.
Future Tactics isn't about flashy graphics, it's about simple and addictive game play. The graphics in Future Tactics are OK but they aren't really going to impress anyone. The game certainly doesn't look bad though and the character models in particular have a certain charm to them. The levels look OK too and it's great to see you can do environmental damage in battles although the damage modelling is rather basic and allows for deformation more than anything else. There are a few clipping issues and it's not uncommon for a character's feet to disappear into a rock or such like, but unfortunately you even see these issues in big budget titles so it being harsh to make to a big issue of it. Considering it's a turn-based strategy game though, a genre not know for it's stunning visuals, the look of the game is more than satisfactory.
If you're a fan of turn-based strategy games you'll be happy to learn that Future Tactics is subtitled (subtitles are enabled in the options menu). The Boot Camp instructions are in text, which is quite large and easy on the eyes. The Story Mode speech is subtitled too. Prior to starting a mission you can read Pepper's Diary which is only in text. This text slowly scrolls up the screen and will continue to reappear until you proceed to the mission. Once inside the mission all of the important dialogue is subtitled and the subtitles are colour coded too which is excellent. The taunts made by your enemies are not subtitled but these are not really important. When enemies see you they will communicate with each other and this communication is seen by a series of blue arcs travelling from one to another which is a nice touch. Overall Zed Two did a good job in making Future Tactics deaf gamer friendly.
Future Tactics: The Uprising is one of those games that's just fun to play. No it doesn't have the depth of Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea and isn't going to win any awards for it's graphical content but it has that addictive quality that keeps you coming back for more. In fact you wish there was a lot more. The single player Story Mode will keep you busy for a while but unless you have friends to play against there's little else to do except replay the Story Mode over again. You could really imagine Future Tactics being great online and it's a shame there's no support for it. Most places in the UK have the game for £19.99 (some places are £17.99) and at this price it's a real gem.
Game Rating: 7.2/10
Future Tactics: The Uprising is one of those games that proves that turn-based strategy games can be as enjoyable as any other genre.
No problems at all for deaf gamers.