Frontline Tactics (Mac): Flawed But Addictive Free-To-Play Turn-Based Tactics Games

Goodness, this is a rather tough game to play. The game description for Frontline Tactics goes like this: “You command a modern, elite fighting unit over varied missions, yadda yadda yadda”. OK, but why do I have a feeling that my bunch of operatives are like a couple of rookie PMCs (private military contractors) with no business on the battlefield.

My first mission with my two operatives was to storm a village and kill all the insurgents hanging around the area. The game is a turn-based tactical one, so naturally the map is one large grid. I placed my operatives at the starting point, and go about the business of trying to kill a whole bunch of seemingly intelligent insurgents. Those buggers can really try to outflank you.

I took a while to get used to the game, but the basic concepts such as taking cover and hiding in camouflage plus line of sight are very important and soon I was winning missions. The game is probably as tough as the new X-Com game, but my PMC-wannabes don’t shiv (as in they don’t freak out). It’s only right that I reward

Winning missions nets players credits which can be used in the Barracks to purchase new items or upgrade your soldiers’ skillsets. This being a free-to-play game, the developers walk a fine line between rewarding players for playing the game or giving them a shortcut by spending some cash. Basic turn-based staples things such as overwatch are purchasable skills, and there are interesting weapons upgrades and unit type classifications available for purchase as well.

It’s pretty evident that in order to win quickly (and let your bunch of merry men survive intact as a team by the end of the mission), you’ll need to buy (as in pay REAL MONEY for in-game credits) your way through as winning missions do not offer much points in the first place, and you’d be reduced to repeating missions if you’re stingy. Well, I’m a stingy-poker and if a game labels itself as free-to-play, I’ve got no intention to spend a dime for it.

Besides, replaying missions allows for more practice and practice makes perfect (and hopefully a lesser number of dead operatives). The game features great looking 3D graphics but the soundtrack…well…let’s just say it’s more enjoyable Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower” while you are being a virtual PMC. Your squad numbers will grow in size as you continue winning and unlocking levels and bonuses.

Despite all its flaws, the interesting tactical gameplay plus the sheer addictiveness of trying again (and not being as frustrating as X-Com) Nine Over Ten 9/10 rates Frontline Tactics at a 4 out of 5. The game is available for free for both PC and Mac on Steam by publisher Meridian4 and developer Full Control.

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