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Review: Ironclad Tactics

Posted by on January 30th, 2015 | 0 Comments | Tags:

Set in an alternate history where automatons or “Ironclads” exist during the Civil War, Ironclad Tactics brings a unique genre to the Playstation 4.  It’s a lane and card-based tactics game that might have you reminiscent of Plants vs Zombies.

After brief tutorial levels and story getting you acquainted with the alternative history, Ironclad Tactics introduces its not quite turn based deck system.  Decks consist of 20 cards with card-types that include Tactics, Human Infantry, Ironclads, and Parts for Ironclads (2 slots, one for weapons and one for buffs).  You’re free to build your deck with any combination of these types of cards.  As you play through the campaign, you will unlock and earn more cards.  Some are earned just by completing a level, while others require you to beat the level a certain way, forcing you to adopt a unique strategies.  You can also earn upgraded versions of some cards by playing with them certain ways (ie. Play Union Rifleman 30 times to unlock Veteran Rifleman).  Cards can also be unlocked via online 1v1 battles.

A few complicating factors to mention are the cost of Cards and their faction.  Each turn you earn 1 “AP” (which can be buffed with certain tactics).  Each card has a different price, so you have to make tough calls on including some of the more elite cards.  For example:

Do you want your Ironclad costing 4 AP to be equipped with a damage buff (3 AP) and an advanced rifle (4 AP with a 1 turn reload phase), or do you want him outfitted with something cheap that will start doing damage next turn?

Cards also have a faction which they belong to and decks are restricted to only two factions.  This often makes you face the difficult decision on what tactics you would like to employ.  By the end of the game, some tactics get quite complex.

The game looks great, but I wish the text would have been bigger sometimes.  Units have distinct personalities and represent their factions well.  The story is relayed through comic form, and while I really didn’t care for the characters and bizarre twists and turns in the story, the game itself kept me engaged.  They included both DLC packs in this release, so you get 4 campaigns preloaded, which adds a lot of content.  I would have liked to hear a little more civil war era music in there, but the music helps add a little extra intensity to some of the battles.  Curtis and I encountered a glitch during the credits and in 1v1 that gave us no music.  Speaking of multiplayer, you can square off against a friend, or play co-op with them through the campaign.  I found that this was the best way to play through the campaign, allowing for teamwork and extra factions to be used.  We could each bring our own decks to battle and form interesting combinations that helped us go through the end of the main campaign.  I would like to note the few boss levels encountered seemed a bit cheap and I think the final level came down to a lot of luck, but hey that’s a card game for you.

Love alternative history and wish this game would have made a little deeper use of its source material.  I think this is my common gripe with games that try to draw something out of history scenarios, can’t help I’m a bit of history buff.  Play this game with a friend, I may actually drag Curtis back to unlock some more cards.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.

General Info

  • Time Period isn’t adequately used
  • Mandatory Deck tweak every level
  • Bosses are cheap