My first ever squad based game was back when Tom Clancy was a big thing and it was Rainbow Six’ hay days. For a guy who grew up playing Counterstrike, Doom, Hexxen and Quake arena, the hand holding during the first few hours of Line of Defense Tactics was a dull and often times boring ordeal. However, once I was able to get past the basics of strategic unit placements and tactical takedown tutorials, I was able to enjoy the game immensely.
For those unaware, Line of Defense Tactics is a companion game based on the upcoming MMO by 3000AD. While the main game, an MMO that is still on its beta stage, is currently unplayable, we have this real-time tactical strategy combat game to fancy our interest before the MMO’s D-Day.
So what’s with it?
Line of Defense Tactics provides players with a squad composed of four different units going through missions under the Galactic Command banner. The game revolves around the campaign mission of this squad. Your task in all this is that you serve as their “tactical commander.” Your primary job is to place, order and prepare a workable strategy for this squad to accomplish their mission. You will be given your mission parameters before every mission undertaking that you must complete, though failure only results if no one in the squad survives.
As the commander of this squad you have complete control on what your units will do.
You can order them to take cover, do special tasks like throwing a flashbang or making a melee attack or set them up as they ambush enemy units that hinder their way. Each unit has their own special role in the squad that provides a more varied array of strategic options at your disposal. You can in fact customize their weapon loads per mission and as they successfully level up, stronger weapons and more tactical equipment are unlocked for your units to use.
You will be using an overhead perspective of the game as you can switch or move your camera angle. You can also zoom in and, using the cursor, be able to direct either one of your units or your whole squad to head over to attack whatever it is that needs attacking.
Whenever you issue commands to your units, the game stops time and shows your unit’s attack range and the actions your units can do. Also, during these moments you will see yellow markers littered on the screen at certain locations. These markers determine “cover spots” for your units. They can head over there to defend or use those locations as cover whenever engaging an enemy. Cover provides your units with an added evasion bonus reduces the effectiveness of your enemies’ attacks.
Playing two versions
The Line of Defense Tactics I’ve tried out on was both on the Steam and over on the ipad. The more that I played on these two devices, the more it felt that the game’s controls were better suited for touch-based devices rather than the PC. There will be times that unit placement would feel smoother when I was playing it on my ipad compared to the PC. And controlling them feels less clunky on the ipad.
That doesn’t mean that the ipad version doesn’t have its own kinks too. There are times when the camera won’t move at certain angles or wouldn’t be able to zoom out. Also there is the matter of being precise with the actions over on the ipad. Unlike its PC version having a cursor luxury, playing with stubby fingers like mine makes ordering my units around at pretty precise locations a nightmare.
Campaigning and Skirmishing
Line of Defense Tactics currently has two gameplays available. The first one is the campaign mode serving as the game’s story mission system, tasking you with predetermined challenges.
The other gameplay option available is the Skirmish mode. In Skirmish, your squad is barraged with enemies and tasked with nothing but survival. This serves as the game’s farming feature with in-game credits and experience offered as the reward, though not quite as much as you can gain from the campaign.
Line of Defense Tactics is one of the better squad based strategy games out there right now. The game’s interface is intuitive and tight enough that you can make those timed decisions on the fly, but it allows new players to adjust well to how the game plays, especially for those who aren’t familiar with squad based games.
The combat is fast and fun, the missions are a challenge, and even with high enough level units, succeeding often requires a Herculean feat combined with a calm head as everything goes to hell once the shooting starts.
The game does feel short since the campaign only has 16 stages. But that’s to be expected since one of its primary tasks is to fill-in for 3000AD till the Line of Defense MMO is playable. However, the game still provides a complete game experience even if it’s made as a pinch hitter for the actual star. The problem with that however is that the game has little to no replay value whatsoever. Unless 3000AD makes LODT connected to the upcoming MMO aside from the equipment used, this game is just an onesie for most players.
Still that doesn’t change the merit LODT has. The game is still a good time sink regardless of its flaws. So if you’re looking for a decent squad based combat strategy game now, Line of Defense Tactics is the game for you.