Line of Defense Tactics is a real-time tactics game based on the Line of Defense MMO, both of which are produced by 3000AD. We had the chance to sit down with the game and came away mostly impressed. Read on to find out why.
Fans of real-time tactics, real-time strategy, or turn-based strategy games are a diverse bunch of gamers. Some players prefer ultra-realistic simulation while others prefer a more action based experience. Line of Defense Tactics finds itself somewhere in between the two camps. The gameplay is decently fast but jumps on every chance to slow things down a bit to let the player think about the poor choice they are about to make.
Many times throughout my time with Line of Defense Tactics I found myself regretting my decision to play the game, much like I did with Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Line of Defense Tactics is just not that type of game. 3000AD has created a more cerebral experience than I was expecting, which is really never a bad thing. Rather than blindly turning a corner using a group with weapons down I found myself being increasingly cautious with my moves as time progressed. Failure is an absolute option in Line of Defense Tactics, one that I often was forced to accept.
The game offers aggressive opponents whose excellent senses are a fantastic change of pace to the normal dumb AI that I’m so accustomed to encountering. The AI really never seemed to miss an opportunity to punish me for playing like some hotshot space cowboy. Maybe with a few dozen hours put into Line of Defense Tactics I’ll learn some tricks to outsmart the AI, but during my initial time with the game I felt as if I needed to be extra careful with my moves around every single corner. It’s refreshing to see a game that doesn’t lower the bar for the player and keeps a firm grip on the developer’s vision of combat. Quite often in Jagged Alliance: Back in Action I found myself able to trick the AI into rushing towards my awaiting units, but in Line of Defense Tactics, it feels pretty much like the opposite is happening to me.
The one nagging issue that kept tripping me up was the control system in Line of Defense Tactics. Maybe it’s my previous experience with different control schemes that was causing me so many problems. I just felt as if many of the things I wanted to do quickly kept getting slowed down by clicking the wrong thing, or clicking the right things in the wrong order. According to the developer’s update on Steam, though, an upcoming patch should address many of the control issues that I had experienced. All things considered, my personal favorite real-time tactics game Jagged Alliance: Back in Action was mostly unplayable until many patches into post-release, so fixing most of my issues with Line of Defense Tactics within about a month is pretty good.
I played a good deal of Line of Defense Tactics and was generally pleased with the game. The entire experience left me thinking that Line of Defense Tactics was probably not made for me, nor was I made for it. Additionally, the UI and unit’s action tree continuously made me think the game was much easier played on a touch screen device. It’s quite clear many of the design choices allowed the game to offer the same experience regardless of device. I just felt as if I might be on the short end of that stick because I was stuck with a mouse.
Overall, I enjoyed the game. While I haven’t progressed nearly as far as I’d like to in Line of Defense Tactics, I do plan on putting in a chunk of time to make a run at completing it once the upcoming patch arrives. Hopefully the few issues I do have with controls will be solved and my stupid tactical decisions can be punished over and over again by the ever vigilant AI.Graphics
I was impressed by the excellent graphics in Line of Defense Tactics. I noticed a few wonky animations and an odd texture here or there, but overall the graphics were masterfully created. Most impressively the game runs phenomenally. Even while recording a “let’s play” I was running at over 500 fps on max settings. The lighting was dark and futuristic when it needed to be; everything you’d expect in a sci-fi game like this.Sound
The sound was mostly spot on. The sounds I heard were well crafted and gave me a clear sense of what was happening during battle, even down to the bullets bouncing off walls. Many unique sounds allow the player to identify which unit is firing which gun. Sadly the weapon I was most looking forward to using, the energy lance, sounds mostly like banging on the side of a plastic garbage can. Or maybe it sounds like hitting your friend with a cardboard tube. Either way, I mostly laughed at the energy lance sound and switched back to using a rifle.Gameplay
Aside from the controls, 3000AD has managed to create an enjoyable experience that rewards using tactics rather than being an idiot.User Interface
PC gamers without touch screens might feel a bit left out with the control scheme, though an upcoming patch should help smooth the overall mouse/keyboard experience.