Hello. Would you like XCOM? Do you like the youngest and excellent Mechwarrior Tactical game? And most of all, you are interested in them in the first place Lapse of time? If so, then I want you to meet someone.
This is Phantom Brigade, a turn-based tactical game currently available in Early Access from the Epic Games Store. It’s a game of two halves, one in command of a group of mechs on the battlefield and the other holding you in charge of strategic tasks like conquering enemy regions, managing pilots, and upgrading / repairing your mechs.
These are all things I love and will test for even the most basic attempt at a turn-based game, however Phantom Brigade really differs in some important ways.
At first it looks great. It has a very Virtual one Kind of a vibe that happens with the mech design (and even the animation) and I just love how chic and cool it all looks. Even the user interface is amazing and based on games like Endless legendand showing that just because a game is about strategy doesn’t mean it can’t look good either.
Next, this is not a purely turn-based tactical game. To like Broken linesthat I liked and wrote about earlier in the year, Phantom Brigade is somehow turn-based as you definitely have all the time in the world to make your moves, but instead of making a single move or setting a specific number of actions, bring a few seconds of real-time combat to life.
The narrative basis of the story is that you and your crew of mech pilots have a secret prototype weapon that you can use to glimpse into the future. Just long enough to see how far an enemy unit will move in about five seconds and what it will do while it gets there. Practically!
It works like … a video editor. Really. Check out the GIF below. Do you see the bars at the bottom of the screen? This is where you issue comm ands and assign them when they happen. If you hover your mouse over the game world, you can see these movements play out in a ghostly prediction of the future, constantly scrubbing back and forth like a video editor. When everything is the way you want it, click Apply and it will play out.
That might sound easy. If you can see into the future, you can see what your opponent is doing and you can simply react accordingly. But that’s a challenge every time and it’s unpredictable you Shoot or move or make physical contact or use a shield. These actions are timed and played during an animation sequence.
Fighting game fans may know where this is going. It’s all okay to see what your opponent is doing and set up something to defeat or counter, but get the timing wrong and you’ll be fucked.
You may also have noticed from this video and gif that Phantom Brigade is because of this emphasis on timing always on the move. Very little cover is used here. The game wants to make this a dance rather than a shootout, which I only really get into on a click-by-click level as it always gives me a lot doEven in corners where not much seems to be happening.
I really enjoyed my time with Phantom Brigade So far and when it all comes together in Early Access, I’m excited to see what this giant mechanical ballet will look like after a few more months.