Each developer has its own special style. Obsidian is a “diamond” style, because in order to see all the versatility of its creations, we have to wait for the appearance of grinding patches. Valve acts in accordance with the proverb “seldom, but accurately”. The film’s Introversion studio is a competent embodiment of indie ideas in minimalistic graphics with invariably excellent musical accompaniment.
That is why, when I met the Frozen Synapse on the Web for the first time, I recklessly decided that this is a new project by the creators of Uplink, Defcon and Darwinia. Blue tones, obvious emphasis on gameplay, a pleasant techno soundtrack and purely symbolic graphics – everything pointed to Introversion. But later it turned out that responsible for this tactical grace Mode 7 – a group of students from Oxford. Is this similarity a coincidence, or is it a deliberate plagiarism? Let’s find out.
In mechanics, Frozen Synapse is a step-by-step tactical shooter with a classic top view. In fact, this is a revived tactical plan from Rainbow Six. There is a small card, there are two groups of fighters scattered over this card. In the simplest case, the goals of the two groups are identical – eliminate the enemy and stay alive.
Tools for destruction is quite enough. The automatic machine is an ideal weapon on medium distances. For the near-fight or ambush the semi-automatic shotgun is best. The diametrical opposite of the latter is a sniper rifle: beats far and accurate, though it is recharged for a long time. Hand grenade launcher helps to clear premises, but firing only on command, no automatic installation. According to the same principles, RPG also acts – the only difference is that its projectile has a smaller area of damage, but it destroys the walls.
Another interesting point is the procedural generation of locations. The fight in one and the same place twice can not be: before each fight, whether it be a single campaign, a battle with an AI or a live player, the map is created again, with the premises and shelters located asymmetrically. On the one hand, this is bad: one of the participants in the conflict gets some advantage. On the other hand, a slight imbalance determines the tactics of teams: someone has to act on defense, while the opponent can afford to safely attack.
Dimensional media player
The fights in Frozen Synapse are in step-by-step mode. At the beginning of the game, players distribute orders to their wards. Then, for five seconds, the soldiers act in accordance with the instructions given, and the commander only has to observe the process. After these five seconds the time stops – the opposing sides have a chance to make adjustments to the existing plan. Then time comes to life exactly for five seconds, then it again dies and … well, you understood the principle, right?
Depths of the process give the opportunity to predict the opponent’s behavior. During the planning phase, it is allowed to give orders not only to its subordinates, but also to the enemies. At the same time, clicking on the play button will miss all that indicated by the invisible strategist. The piece is infinitely useful, because it allows you to quickly estimate the result of these or other maneuvers, to predict the behavior of the opponent and to estimate how to effectively counteract him.
Endgame … and very insidious!
The reader might have had the false impression that Frozen Synapse is a typical game without content, in the best of the Defcon or Uplink traditions. In other words, if the plot is not here, all the attention is focused on the gameplay. Fortunately, this is not the case.
There is a plot here. Over the course of fifty five missions, we will be watching an interesting story unfolding in the typical cyberpunk environment of the near future with the power of megacorporations and numerous conspiracies.
The construction of the “single” is quite commonplace. First briefing – learn about the upcoming assignment and the state of affairs as a whole. In addition to key information, you can always read many additional materials such as a dossier for a particular character. As a result, the story turns out to be a decent amount of strangers and pleasant little things, which is surprisingly doubly, because even a private story for such a project is already good.
After the briefing, you can proceed with the task. Typically, this is a peculiar test in the spirit of “neutralizing enemy forces in 5 moves, so that hostages are not affected.” The farther, the harder it is.
One of the main features of the campaign is the increased re-engagement of each mission. If you have not been able to complete any task since the first time, then the card is restarted when restarted. Thus, there simply is not the right strategy for a particular mission: we are forced to analyze the situation and improvise each time.
To train their skills there is a “Skirmish”, the essence of which is to fight with a computer opponent. Artificial intelligence can boast a decent mindset, although in a few bouts it will become too predictable. But the main trouble is that there is only one mode. Bring in here developers all that is in multiplayer would be just great. After all, it is better to practice on computer scum, before fighting with someone real.
The main reason for getting acquainted with Frozen Synapse is its multiplayer. Mode 7 was correctly transmitted to the mechanics of single modes. The fact is that all information about the match (map, placement and movement of the soldiers) is stored on the server. After you make a move, the data about your decisions are sent to this same server. To the opponent, they will fall only when he sends his data. As a result, the players do not depend on each other and can hold at least ten fights simultaneously, just like in chess.
There are only five multiplayer modes, and each one exists in two versions – dark and light. The difference is only one: in the light version on the map all operating “units” are marked, and in the dark you see only those enemy fighters that your wards see.
Frozen Synapse also integrates with Youtube, Twitter and Facebook. At the end of the party, you can literally in a couple of minutes publish a video on your channel, and the game itself will do everything: record a video, generate a annotation and send it where it is necessary. Such records usually last no more than a minute, despite the fact that the party itself may be delayed by an hour.
Most of all, Frozen Synapse feels like chess. This is a constant intellectual fight with AI or with a living person. To win here, you do not need to be a Korean with a crazy reaction – you need to carefully monitor what’s happening and calculate the options for the development of the event. And speed is the tenth case. Excellent time for those who love to move their brains and are ready to put up with schematic graphics.