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Thursday, May 13, 2010

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Frozen Synapse Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Out of Eight has posted a new preview of Frozen Synapse, a new turn based tactical game in development at Mode 7 Games. The game is described as a simultaneous-turn-based tactical game in which players take turns to craft and test the perfect strategy, then execute their plans and watch the results. Frozen Synapse features both single and multiplayer action, a variety of guns, hand crafted maps, and a map editor.

Frozen Synapse is a turn-based game where you issue orders to your units in a planning phase, and then watch the action play out in five-second-long simultaneous turns. You can test out your plan before you submit it, even moving enemies around to see the results. Since there are no dice rolls in Frozen Synapse, if you guess the enemy’s movements correctly, your test session results will be accurate. Before each match, you are given a randomly selected roster of units and must make do. These include the short-range shotgun, the medium-range machine gun, the long-range sniper, a grenade launcher (which can bounce off walls), and a rocket launcher (which can destroy walls). The amount of randomization in Frozen Synapse is great, leading to a different experience every time you play. Units are ordered around by double-clicking on the ground to issue a waypoint, and then right-clicking on a waypoint to issue more specific orders. The interface needs some more work to make issued orders more apparent (icons are very small) and the game easier to navigate. Units can aim (but makes them move slowly), duck or stand, hold fire, and focus or ignore a particular enemy. You can also introduce time delays to their actions to improve precise timing. The number of orders may be small, but they certainly cover the gamut of what needs to be done; I certainly can’t think of any additional commands that are necessary.

There is no health in Frozen Synapse: one shot is one kill. The victor is determined through the following advantages, in order of importance: using cover, not changing your stance, not moving, and aiming. You are also given an advantage if you spot your enemy first and certain weapons are given benefits at certain ranges. Whoever accumulates the most combat bonuses will win the fight every time: this predictable nature makes Frozen Synapse feel more fair. The advantageous use of cover does mean that games can result in stalemates, as neither party wants to move (as attacking always puts you at a disadvantage). Rockets and grenades can “remove” campers from their hiding spots, but if you weren’t given these units at the beginning of the match, you can get a less than exciting result. Thankfully, the levels are usually small enough where action is constant most of the time. Games don’t last very long (between five and sixteen five-second turns), so you never have time get discouraged at being dominated, or feel like you wasted hours of your precious time: just start a new match.
Visit the page below to read the full preview.

Out Of Eight: Frozen Synapse Preview
Mode 7 Games
Frozen Synapse

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