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    Old 12-08-2011, 07:59 AM
    Cirius Cirius is offline
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    Default 'Week' 31 - Frozen Synapse



    I’ve always thought that the game of chess needed more guns. You can say what you want about the flexibility of the queen or the unpredictability of the knight, but what it boils down to is if the bishops brought bazookas, pawns packed pistols and the king carried kalashnikovs, I can’t help but feel that the international chess championships would have a far larger audience.

    Mode 7’s Frozen Synapse is the next generation of chess. You can forget Star-Trek’s tri-dimensional nonsense (I’m sure Spock cheated half the time anyway), FS takes turn-based strategising to the next level with a simple concept that results in astonishing depth. Presented in a top-down viewpoint, the stylised blueprint graphics and bright colours seem friendly enough, but they betray an infinite battleground of death and destruction.



    Playing FS is a game of matching wits with your opponent. Each turn you issue precise orders to your small squad of soldiers, then hope to god that you’ve managed to successfully anticipate your opponents commands. It is not a game of random chance. In addition to plotting and adapting your own moves each turn, you can also map out those expected of your opponent and see how the two interact.

    Once you’ve satisfied yourself that there is no way on earth your opponent could have outmanoeuvred you, the commit button lurks ominously at the bottom of the screen. Click that button and there’s no going back. The turn will play out, the soldiers will move, and many of them will die. The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry, as Frost once said. He must have played at least a couple of rounds of Frozen Synapse, as frequently your finest plans will dissolve in a hail of gunfire.



    The single player campaign is gripping enough, providing a variety of scenarios that offer a number of unusual situations, but it is the online multiplayer where FS really shines. It is a viciously unforgiving environment. A new player will easily find themselves taken apart by veterans, but it is astonishing just how rapidly you will ascend the learning curve. Every game I played brought valuable lessons about the correct use of cover, overlapping fields of view, and it wasn’t long before I started to notch up victories. Also, thanks to the developers generosity, Frozen Synapse comes as a pair so you can hand one copy to a friend and experience the highs and lows of learning together.

    If I was to level one complaint at Frozen Synapse it would be directed at its terrain generator. Each map is entirely randomised, and as a result is that games are quite often unfairly weighted towards one competitor. When the rest of the game is balanced so effectively, it is surprising that the developers didn’t do more to ensure a level playing field.



    Actually, I have another complaint – the AI. Any computer that can beat me so thoroughly and consistently over so many matches should be instantly unplugged before we end up with Skynet hammering on our doors. I’ve tried suggesting a nice game of tic-tac-toe, but the blood-thirsty machine just hurled the board aside and demanded more blood.

    Frozen Synapse is tough, but infinitely rewarding. Its turn based nature make it ideal for people with limited gaming time at their disposal. Best of all however, a demo is freely available on Steam, so there’s really no excuse for not at least trying it out.

    [URL="http://www.containsmoderateperil.com/chess-with-guns/"](Originally published on Contains Moderate Peril 13/09/11)[/URL]
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    Old 12-08-2011, 01:24 PM
    sparkasaurusmex sparkasaurusmex is offline
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    LOL I'm embarrassed but that game actually frustrated me before I learned it!
    This PC Gamer Club is awesome because I'd have otherwise just left Frozen Synapse to bask in it's own victory over me.
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    Old 12-08-2011, 01:33 PM
    sparkasaurusmex sparkasaurusmex is offline
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    "Mice and Men" thingy is Robert Burns, couple hundred years before Frost was born.
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    Old 12-08-2011, 09:26 PM
    Cirius Cirius is offline
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sparkasaurusmex View Post
    "Mice and Men" thingy is Robert Burns, couple hundred years before Frost was born.
    Thanks for the correction, you learn something new every day.

    Today I learnt to check my facts, and not assume my memory of a poem I studied about ten years ago to be correct.
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    Old 12-09-2011, 05:53 AM
    BadManiac BadManiac is offline
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    I'm skipping this one on account of not having ANY interest on competitive online gaming, which is where this game supposedly really shines. But I thought I'd post something anyway just to show support and interest in the game club. Let's keep it going!
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    Old 12-09-2011, 07:26 AM
    Cirius Cirius is offline
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BadManiac View Post
    I'm skipping this one on account of not having ANY interest on competitive online gaming, which is where this game supposedly really shines.
    I see where you're coming from, but I'd really suggest you at least take a look at the demo. It's a fascinating little game. The 'competitive online' element is only as competitive as you want it to be; I quite frequently use its slow paced game-play as a conversational backdrop when I'm chatting to people, and it's almost irrelevant which of us actually win.
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    Old 12-09-2011, 01:17 PM
    sparkasaurusmex sparkasaurusmex is offline
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    Seems like the game would be amazing online, but I can say the single player demo is quite a nasty little challenge.
    I was going to purchase this game because of the PCG club, but with so many great indie games going for like $15 or less Frozen Synapse is just too expensive.

    Also: I hate that my only comment about the review is a correction. It really is a well written review
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    Old 12-09-2011, 09:57 PM
    johnway johnway is offline
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    i've got the game and enjoy the strategy and scratches that tactical itch quite nicely. I'm about half way through the sp and its tough, really tough in places. It doesn't help that i still don't understand the mechanics sometimes i'm lucky, other times its just bullshit that i get taken out. I recently recorded one of my games and all intends and purposes, my opponent should have had the jump on me right from the word go but somehow my men in the open take him out.



    I use the check function a lot and my soldiers seem to look like they're twitching like crazy as they point in every direction to cover corners.


    speaking of SP, does anyone understand the story? I know its about some group of resistance fighters trying to take on a big evil corporate environment and uniting the various factions to defeat it. I don't understand the shape technology all that well nor do i understand all the way how the baddies in the game are actually bad apart from i suppose building some sort of computer that could predict every outcome or something.

    Last edited by johnway; 12-09-2011 at 10:00 PM.
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    Old 12-14-2011, 04:01 PM
    sparkasaurusmex sparkasaurusmex is offline
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    PCG has a link to this deal on the front page:
    [url]http://www.getgamesgo.com/little-big-bunch[/url]
    Includes Frozen Synapse and you pay what you want!
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