Frozen Synapse 2
It’s always worth double-checking.
DEVELOPER MODE 7 GAMES • PUBLISHER IN- HOUSE www.frozensynapse2.com
The action in Frozen Synapse 2 plays out in perfect five-second bursts, as soldiers carry out orders with precision. It’s great to watch. Your team might breach a room from multiple entrances at once, or duck behind cover just as a grenade explodes on the other side. It’s flawless and meant to be enjoyed, because these moments take plenty of planning on your part.
Let’s say you find yourself controlling a soldier armed with an assault rifle facing an enemy unit holding a shotgun. Between these units lies some basic cover. Should you tell your soldier to stand their ground and take a shot, or move to the cover and open fire? Which is safer? What happens in either case? Unlike most turn-based tactical games, in Frozen Synapse 2, you don’t need to guess.
Instead, you run a test scenario for each decision. This means not only simulating your soldier’s actions for the next five seconds, but also those of your opponent. You can confirm what will happen if both units hold their ground, or what happens if one, or both, of them run for cover instead.
After collecting this information you’ll want to see if you can give your soldier an order that has them win regardless of what your enemy does. The question changes from, ‘What should I do next?’ to, ‘What do I think the enemy is going to do next, and how do I counter it?’
In singleplayer, this often comes down to logic. The AI is challenging, but I rarely found it surprising. Its response to player action is usually an aggressive one, although it tends to avoid most unnecessary risks. This makes it reasonably predictable, although in most cases that’s countered by the fact that it’ll bring a lot more firepower to the battlefield.
However, playing against other human beings can be anything but predictable. This is where the game truly grabbed me. I’m reminded of why I don’t enjoy playing chess against AI, but love playing in person: the best move is often the one that surprises your opponent the most.
The campaign features a procedurally generated city for the player to scheme and fight over alongside several other factions. Each of these groups has a different agenda, which sees them clashing at times, although all of them are equally interested in the ‘relics’ you’ve been collecting as you defend the city from an invading force.
There’s so much room for experimentation here. Do you want to maintain a good relationship with the more powerful faction? You don’t have to. From the very start, you can choose to attack any building in the city, no matter who owns it.
Frozen Synapse 2 is not a game of chance. Luck isn’t meant to be much of a factor. It’s about running the same simulations your opponent is running and then trying to get inside their head and figure out what they’ll do with that information. Just like in chess, it’s about seeing a good move and then looking for a better one.
Do you want to maintain a good relationship with the more powerful faction? You don’t have to.
You’ll want to simulate your opponent’s actions, too.