Several people wrote, although I cannot find the piece, that the reason Peanuts is superior to other comic strips is that it has four panels rather than three. Reasons for this is the fact that three panels are enough, and why wouldn''t it be enough? Setup, development, punchline. The fourth panel in Peanuts is where things become weird and sad. A moment after the joke. A human moment, awkward and powerful, often deeply memorable.
Nonetheless, yesterday when I ponder why most XCOM-like tactics games have two action points, while Hard West 2 has three.
After Jake Solomon''s XCOM reboot, Enemy Unknown slammed something very special when it reduced the complexity of a turn-based tactics game to a simple concept: each unit can do two things per turn. It''s not a problem, either, but a clever repositioning of complexity. By making the rules of the game clear and non-fiddly, it allowed players to realize that the great things you might do through moving and shooting.
Deep breath. Lots of games took that and ran with it. It became clear, in fact, that Solomon and his Firaxis team had basically created a new sub-genre in tactic games: the XCOM-alike. This is because they believe that the original Hard West was one of the greatest. XCOM but ghostly cowboys. Yes please.
Three action points? This is correctly focusing on the basics of Hard West 2 in interesting ways. Move, then shoot, and then...? Answering that question is where a lot of the fun of Hard West 2 lies. (I Hard West 2 is certainly the third action point, but no matter if I''m wrong and it''s in the first game - Hard West 2 is certainly the game in which I first began to really think about the whole thing.) Fun like, you know, blowing up another of your own
Hard West 2 is another spooky cowboy game, but everything is gothic and frightening. A ghost train is terrorizing the plains, controlled by an actual nemesis, and it allows for ambushes, bank jobs, train shoot-outs, and other great cowboy stuff.
It''s still an excellent tool for clarity. Instead of building a base between missions, you maneuver around a map, uncovering new sites (these may boost loyalty to others) or get you some extra loot or cash. You heal in towns - after each mission here, you do not auto-heal, which is worth knowing from the off - and you talk to sheriffs and take on side quests and hang out in saloons. And then there are the missions themselves.
Let''s look at a variety of your posse to complete each task, and you may equip them with pistols and sub-weapons, from pistols to rifles, and even maneuvering tools. This really was in the original Hard West, but it''s so beneficial we''re going to go over it again here, because I love it.
You can take cards out of missions and then use them to make hands. Each unit has a five card hand, which depends on what cards you give them, and it opens new abilities and abilities. Skills are also fantastic, but it is also painful to lose out on something.
All of this is important because missions require the absolute most of you and your units. You can screw up here because you used the wrong equipment on them, and the wrong cards, putting lives under danger. I mean, it makes it sound overwhelming and binary. Maps here are vast and varied, with lots of enemies. But let''s not forget that I just learned from Hard West 2. I''m very grateful for the feedback you received from you.
When I first heard about it in an enthusiastic email, I saw the genre-shifting potential in it. So you kill an enemy, and you get a unit completely refreshed. Perhaps you then kill someone else: WHAM. Bravado kicks in and you''re good to go once more. You may chain kills, renew yourself with each dead baddy.
Firstly, yes, a screen full of baddies might be a turn''s work rather than an entire evening, which is very nice if you have a dinner reservation. Secondly, it gives you a high degree of understanding of the game, which is reminiscent of the pounding energy of the most thundering wild west locomotive. Thematic resonance, mates. Also! It encourages you to exploit your abilities together, and then I will kill them one two three times like that, to butcher a beloved
I will leave you to unravel the synergies themselves, because there''s three acts-worth of fun in the one hand. Not because grenades are a pain, but because bleeding is involved in HP with every action, but because grenades are effective in healing. Ditto the evil spooky guys who can change HP between turns: meat grinder territory. Don''t forget to throw in some soft targets to make Bravado a little set-piece puzzle when you''re in a spot
It''s finally where character skills come in: if you lose your characters after each battle, you can''t beat them for good, but you''ll be able to swap places with another group, effectively removing them from a distant tower and into the middle of your pose. Even standard weapons can also use ricochet, depending on how many characters you want. It''s a pleasure to take part in the whole game.
I''m sure, though, that all of this work is completely automated, rather than moving onto the next one. I want to try a different approach - staying high for a power boost, or using luck more, a system that gives you a greater chance to hit enemies with every shot you miss, and every shot that misses you. I want to see what happens if I don''t prioritize the enemies I think I should, or if I move quicker.
Because of all of the genres, these are the games you really live in. You move so fast through a platformer or an FPS, but with a tactics game I can spend a half hour on enemies and pondering the potential of a single unit, a single skill, the next. All of that and ghostly cowboys? Yes.