Satel­lite Reign

A top-down tac­ti­cal strat­egy with fu­tur­is­tic cy­ber­punk flair

Mac Format - - RATED -

Satel­lite Reign tasks your squad of four with shoot­ing, sneak­ing and hack­ing through a se­ries of mil­i­tary-in­dus­trial com­pounds in a war against an evil mega-cor­po­ra­tion.

Mis­sions in five city dis­tricts fol­low the same stilted for­mat – sneak into a vault, sneak out – but with no­table free­dom. You could shoot out the lights, hack all the cam­eras, kill the guards, or hi­jack a passerby to use as a de­coy. This makes for dy­namic and un­ex­pected set pieces, breath­ing life into oth­er­wise repet­i­tive quests.

Mis­sions are but­tressed by rote tasks: si­phon­ing cash out of banks, brib­ing weapons re­searchers, and steal­ing DNA to re­place dead agents. High-qual­ity DNA in­cre­men­tally im­proves health and stamina.

Ca­pac­ity for im­pro­vi­sa­tion is of­ten frus­trated by opaque me­chan­ics or clunky ex­e­cu­tion. It’s rarely clear if, say, guards will spot an agent in cover. Com­bat de­mands in­or­di­nate mi­cro­manag­ing, made worse by the lack of the ‘tac­ti­cal pause’ com­mon in the genre. Fire­fights usu­ally de­volve into chaos as your lo­ca­tion is over­run af­ter the slight­est mis­step.

If you’re pa­tient enough to over­come its bar­ri­ers to en­try, Satel­lite Reign is a fine, if un­even, tac­ti­cal game.

At its best, this is a metic­u­lous and dif­fi­cult game, but its me­chan­ics too of­ten fail the ex­per­i­men­ta­tion it tries to en­cour­age. Still, a suc­cess­ful heist, as a sur­gi­cal strike or a des­per­ate dash, of­fers the rare ex­hil­a­ra­tion of player-cre­ated drama, and Satel­lite Reign’s arse­nal be­comes more fun and us­able over time. Joseph Leray

Some guards es­cort you off the premises – move sud­denly and the guns come out.

Ex­pan­sive world is full of ac­tiv­ity

Cus­tomi­sa­tion and flex­i­bil­ity

Inel­e­gant con­trols

Not enough mis­sion va­ri­ety

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