Flesh eating rotting bastards are attacking the base you are stationed at soldier. Something has drawn them here…or summoned them. Darkness dwells within the walls of the army base, and you are hereby commissioned to deal with the problem mano o zombie. Save some chums to help you blasting your way through to find the truth. This calls for cunning, tactical combat and a whole lot of cloth to clean the blood soaked walls. You are Tactical Soldier, and they are Undead Rising.
TSUR is a turn based strategy game in the vein of classics such as X-Com and Jagged Alliance. You control a growing squad of soldiers that you can upgrade using gained experience. This affects power, and action points that are used for movement and attacks. Each turn you get refreshed, and can move and/or attack as you please. The different weapons used have different action points usage, and the sniper rifle for example only allows one shot if used by a soldier lacking upgrades.
The controls are all touch based, and sadly they are sluggish to respond. At times I also find them quite awkward. For example you have to tap a weapon or grenade before you attack, and then the enemy. Usually it is the other way around, and you tap an enemy before you select the weapon to use. Zooming in and out of the map is easy, and gives a cool 3D swooping effect. Other than that the game behaves as most turn based strategy games have done for the last fifteen years.
Missions are highly linear, and this is my main concern with the game. It doesn’t really feel that I affect the game by my choices. Furthermore sometimes I find the current objective to be strange, such as killing all the zombies when they are hidden by fog of war. Shouldn’t I just try to get the hell out of there instead? Nope, I have to slowly move around the map looking for that elusive last zombie. This gives the game an uneven pace, and at times this lulls me into safety. Then opening a door I am ambushed by ten zombies while my other soldiers are out looking somewhere else on the map. This prompts for a reboot on my end, and then I simply replay from the last checkpoint. Cheating? Perhaps, but as ammo is limited I don’t want to waste it all trying to escape an ambush.
Something that is really weird in the game is that when you aim at an enemy you get a percentage showing the chance of success. To me a 70% ratio would mean that I would hit the enemy seven out of ten times. In reality it might actually mean that I miss eight out of ten instead. This drives me nuts in the game, as a sniper only has one shot for example and still misses with an 85% ratio.
There is limited customization in the game. You have only a handful of abilities to upgrade, and only a main weapon slot. If you want to trade weapons, and items between soldiers they have to stand next to each other. This makes the entire process of getting the best gear possible extremely slow. I would have liked some kind of storage units that the Resident Evil series use to great effect. Compared to other turn based strategy games such as X-Com, Jagged Alliance and Hunters Episode One the customization available in TSUR is laughable.
Now I have bashed the game senseless for a couple of paragraphs, and I have to mention the highlights of the game. The story is not revolutionary in any way, but the telling of it is highly graphic and intense. In just a few frames of hand drawn images the game sets a grisly scene, and present the characters well. The in game graphics are also really well done with murky buildings, cool lighting effects and nicely animated enemies.
The music is ok, and sets the scene quite well with dark orchestral arrangements. The instruments used are rather weak though, and the music fails to reach the intensity of Terminator or Resident Evil the movie. I do enjoy the sound effects quite a bit, as they are really horrifying with snarling zombies and good weapons fire. You can listen to your own music if that is something you prefer, and keep the sound effects.
Tactical Soldier – Undead Rising combines a lengthy eight hour campaign, decent storyline and good presentation with some awkward controls, linear gameplay and annoying pace. To me the game ended up being boring due to the linearity. Furthermore the most effective tactics was to stand around waiting until the enemy was just a square away before opening fire. This felt unrealistic, as I would have emptied all my clips as soon as I saw a zombie no matter how low my hit ratio would be. Tactical Soldier – Undead Rising fails to grab me enough to make it a clear recommendation to anyone but he initiated turn based gamer, as that genre lacks representation on the App Store.
Tactical Soldier – Undead Rising $4.99
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