Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics PS4 review09/01/2019
Achtung is a tactical (the clue is in the name) turn based RPG from Auroch Digital which combines World War II with the Eldritch mythos in a strangely fitting combo.Unless you have lived in a cave away from the history books and historical movies or just have serious issues, you’ll already know that Nazi’s are bad guys. Like REALLY bad. So what more of a reason do you need for gunning them down than adding the fact that these Nazi’s are also demon summoning pains in the asses?You take control of a rag-tag group of soldiers trapped behind enemy lines and your mission, should you choose to accept it (which would be weird if you didn’t – it would make is a very short play) is to fight through the hordes of Nazi-summoners and find out their secret plan. Four against thousands may seem like impossible odds but your four aren’t exactly normal soldiers – then again summoning Eldritch monsters isn’t exactly how we learnt about the war in school.For those who’ve ever played a tactics game before (X-COM, Final Fantasy Tactics or my personal favourite Vandal Hearts, etc…) this game will be a familiar friend and yet adds its own little flare to make it stand out from the crowd. My favourite thing about A!CT is how you can level up and become stronger. Completing missions will grant you with experience and once you level up you can spend these points on new abilities and upgrade your stats. It’s nothing spectacular but just keeps you on your toes knowing what’s best for battling through harder levels. Also, you’re rewarded with certain items which you can equip onto your weapons to make them more powerful as well as gaining health packs and grenades which will aid you in future fights.Speaking of being kept on your toes, what this game gives you that other tactical games don’t is The Shroud – a fog of war which conceals the map and hides the dangers that lurk within. It adds the horror to this game, do you take it slow and steady, possibly giving the enemy a chance to snipe your commando or will you run headfirst into the mist straight into the wrath of some unknown creature? When an enemy is within the Shroud, it’s identity and actions are hidden making it the prime spot to summon their demonic pals without you even knowing what you’re about to face. It also makes the enemy much more difficult to hit with a good shot.Moving towards the mist (or using certain abilities) will recede the black mist and reveal those waiting to kill you where you stand. Their identities are revealed and you now have a much better chance of landing a bullet between their eyes (sometime between multiple eyes).Each turn you move your characters through the battle field spending action points which also count towards certain basics such as firing weapons, reloading and even casting your own mystical spells. What sets gameplay apart from other tacticals is that you also build up and spend what’s known as Momentum. In a way they’re just extra Action Points but for much more fun abilities such as charge attacks, firing sidearms, extending your field of vision or using Ariane Dubois’ very own pet demon to syphon health from the Third Reich.
Although levelling up and gaining new abilities can be truly rewarding and satisfying it can also be frustratingly slow. The web of abilities each character owns does slot each person into specific roles but getting to the bigger and better abilities it can take a while to build through the less exciting steps such as Increased Leadership or Weapon Accuracy. Still, as I said – once you do start the ball rolling it picks up drive quite nicely. However, if you more of an impatient gamer, it may be a little too much of treading through treacle to get where you want to be. Even the scenery throughout the game takes a while to go from sneaking through Nazi infested woodland (which is fine the first few levels but can become quite monotonous after a while) to more interesting Cthulhu inspired landscapes.What’s more, the Eldritch horrors that are summoned are sometime underwhelming – even the great beast Shoggoth looks like a gloopy blob of… gloop…with tentacles and although it inspires fear on your team (your characters can become stressed – which could be a great addition to the game but to be honest it’s a little flat and ends up just being an annoyance) it doesn’t seem to do much else. It’s attacks aren’t actually that almighty and so with the right moves you can squish it pretty easily.
Overall.I felt that I loved and hated this game all at once. It held me captive for hours and I enjoyed everything about it whilst playing but underneath the facade I felt that it should’ve been so much better and the nagging feeling of it needing a boost of energy kept me from adding it to my Christmas wish-list (not that I needed to as I was already playing it, but you know what I mean). However, if anything at all has grabbed your interest by the Eldritch horror/tactics genre then I would definitely recommend giving it a whirl.