Thursday, June 12, 2014

PAD #18: E3 Steam

So it looks like E3 is still chugging.  Or at the very least Nintendo is still showing-off some stuff on their Treehouse stream on YouTube.  Most interesting is a game I just heard about today, Codename: STEAM, being developed by Intelligent Systems (of Fire Emblem fame).  It stands for Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace, and it's about a team that was put together by Abraham Lincoln to defend Earth from invading aliens.  Let me reiterate that:  It's about a game about a steampunk squad.  Put together by Lincoln.  To fight aliens.  Developed by Intelligent Systems.  So it's about awesome, formed by awesome, to do awesome, being developed by awesome.  I am so on board with this!

The best part about Codename: STEAM (CNS?  CS?  I dunno) is that it plays rather differently from IS's usual fare.  For those not familiar with Intelligent Systems, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?  *Ahem*  But also, they are known for two series.  The aforementioned Fire Emblem, and the Wars series (recently known as Advance Wars).  While the two games had a few unique mechanics to themselves, the gameplay itself was generally the same between the two games.  There's nothing wrong with that, though.  For fans of Turn-based Strategy games, there was enough variance between the two to enjoy them both.  Still, it's great seeing something new coming from them that has a completely different style of gameplay.

Codename: STEAM is still a turn-based strategy game (TBS), but instead of controlling squads of a dozen or more troops, you now only control 4 units.  It still uses the back-and-forth system of you moving all of your units, and then the enemy getting their turn (as opposed to Shining Force where anyone from either team might go next).  One new mechanic is something called "Overwatch" that both your and the enemy team can use.  Basically, if you leave action points (called "steam" in this game, natch) unspent, the character can react and attack during the other team's turn if an enemy comes into view.  It means that just rushing into battle can have its risks, since you don't know if an enemy might be waiting around the corner with an attack's-worth of Overwatch.  It works both ways though, and since Overwatch attacks take less steam to use, you can potentially do more damage during the enemy turn than during your own.

Each character naturally has their own specialty.  The team that was shown during the gameplay demo I watched had one demolition character with a grenade launcher, a soldier-type character with an assault rifle, a sniper character (guess what she uses), and a support character who can throw bait on the field to try and lure enemies out of cover (Edit2:  I found this video of the developers demonstrating the game in which they used another character with a gatling gun and a charge attack).  On top of that, each character has a special ability they can trigger.  The ones I saw during the demo was the support character being able to put a shield around himself for protection, and the sniper was able to charge-up her weapon to get increased range and damage.  In addition to that, you can equip each character with a secondary weapon or ability.  For example, the demolition guy had a sentry turret he could throw on the field, and the support character who is otherwise defenseless was given a support rifle so he can deal at least some damage.

Definitely a very interesting showing.  As a longtime fan of IS's games, I am really looking forward to this game after what I saw, and will probably pick it up on day one.  Though I guess that comes as little surprise with the way that I managed to fill an entire blog post with just that.  Thanks for joining me on today's PAD, and I'll see ya tomorrow.  Until then, game well.

Edit:  I keep seeing people saying that they hate the artstyle.  Personally, I rather like it.

Edit 2:  Added a couple of links, including info about another character.  So not surprisingly, you can pick from more than just the 4 characters in the demo I watched (which was part of the Treehouse stream, so I can't post a link to it yet). 

Edit 3:  Nintendo just uploaded a compilation video about Codename: STEAM that makes for a good over-all summary of the game.

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