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Future Tactics started out on a good note with me at first because it reminded of two games that I enjoy: Worms and Final Fantasy Tactics. It was also refreshing to see a game trying new things, mixing turn-based strategy with platforming elements and massively destructible environments. Unfortunately, things went sour quickly when it became clear that none of these innovative features came together well, resulting in a smoking wreck of ideas that should have been fun.
The game's premise is pretty basic: a small group of good guys fight off an overwhelming alien force. Despite the simple setup, Future Tactics is surprisingly difficult, but not in that good "this game is challenging my strategic combat skills" kind of way. The monsters are overpowered, can communicate telepathically (which means if one sees you, they all do), and often respawn once they are destroyed. On the other hand, your characters are few, weak, and the death of a single one can mean game over. The result is numerous frustrating losses rooted in poor game balance rather than tactics.
Don't expect these problems to be lessened at all depending on which version you play; there are essentially no differences among the three. Even though the Xbox version is Xbox Live aware, there are no features that allow you to play against friends online. This means that Future Tactics is an identically mundane experience across the board. However, it does have a tempting $20 price tag, so if you really enjoy turn-based strategy and want to see an interesting new take on the genre, this could be worth a look.
Turn-based strategy meets generic 3D action
They are either overly stylized, or just plain bad. The character models are pretty cool, though
The thick British accents add some character to an otherwise unremarkable soundtrack
There is no way to tell when you're entering an enemy's line of sight, leading to a lot of trial and error
Despite its cartoony presentation, it is really too frustrating to enjoy
Rated: 5.25 out of 10
Editor: Joe Juba
Issue: June 2004
As much as I enjoy turn-based strategy games, I really couldn't find anything to like about Future Tactics. The aiming system was conceptually interesting, but adjusting the floating reticle quickly grew so tiring that I stopped going for perfect shots, and was left with a wholly unappealing gaming mess. The graphics can only be described as awful, missions are boring, and combat ranges from dull to frustrating. The enemy AI is terrible, as is the fact that losing one unit can end the game. Other than the price, Future Tactics has nothing to offer.
Rated: 4.75 out of 10
Editor: Jeremy Zoss
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