Thinking Through It: Telepath Tactics

By Adam Smith on April 17th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

No mouse support. You have to move them with your mind.

Sinister Design’s latest Telepath RPG had enjoyable turn-based combat but at the beginning of the game, the player’s party are so underpowered that their options are few. Stab, shoot, move. It doesn’t lead to the richest of tactical experiences and even though the discovery of more abilities opened the game up later on, the intricacy of the combat didn’t shine through ’til later. Enter Telepath Tactics, which drops the story, keeps the Middle Eastern steampunk setting and concentrates on combat and combat alone. Mainly multiplayer but with AI to fight against should you wish (I wish). Hopefully it will be ready later this year and there’s a very early video below.

With destructible buildings, bridge construction to create new flanking opportunities and the ability to throw people into lava, it sounds like Telepath Tactics may contain all that is necessary for my tactical needs.

While the PC has a wonderful variety of tactical games, we are slightly undernourished when it comes to the Shining Forces and Fire Emblems of this world. Maybe that’s the mental itch this telepathy will scratch?

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38 Comments »

  1. pakoito says:

    I just keep lurking the internet for this kind of games with meaty tactics stuff but none seems to scratch my itch.

    D&D games, Down of War 2 and a couple of indie/boardgame like Alien Assault or some Vassal modules like Summoner Wars…are the best fix you can get.

    And Westnot system is boring-garbage, so don’t go there. Vantage Master’s Online doesn’t have enough depth. HoMM, FfH2, Warlock…all replayed and burnt.

    Emulators are the third way, anything Disgaea is awesome and last virtually forever, but the grind can be painful.

    • killias2 says:

      Ever try the Langrisser games? They’re wonderful.

      Langrisser 1 was actually available in the West for the Genesis as “Warsong.” However, look for translated versions of Langrisser 2, Der Langrisser (remake of L2 for the SNES, added branching pathways and a bunch of content, but it’s also easier than L2), and Langrisser 4. They’re all great

      • pakoito says:

        Yup, I played both of them a while ago…wonderful games. Now I am trying Bahamut Lagoon, which is a bit picky with the emulator but has a great combat system. Also, Yggdra Union which has a somehow “active” combat phase.

        The bad side is that JRPG fixation of bothering me with preteen kids in war. Don’t care, just give me a briefing and debriefing like Disgaea and I’ll manage.

        • killias2 says:

          Langrisser IV was just translated like 6 or 7 months ago. You may want to give it a try. There is a lot of dialogue, but most good PSX emulators have a fast forward function. Also, you can skip a lot just by hammering X. Overall, it’s a great game. I think L2 is, perhaps, more tightly made, and DL has better branching paths. However, it’s still one of my favorites.

          Langrisser 1 has also been remade as a PC game, which was also fan translated. It has the same story and scenarios, but the gameplay is made quite a bit more like Lang 2/DL. Ranged units are actually ranged, there are DL-style restrictions on mixing units, etc.

          • pakoito says:

            Links plox. My netbook can barely run PSX but it’s worth a try :D

          • killias2 says:

            elsallia.com is the main source of Langrisser news. Not that there’s a lot of it….

            http://www.romhacking.net/translations/1711/ – Lang 4

            Getting Lang PC working is a little trickier… Let me dig up an old post I made on this….

            Here we go:

            “Langrisser PC should be under its listing (http://elsallia.com/Games/LangrisserIPC). You’ll also want to grab the CD Fix thing from here: http://web.archive.org/web/20070617184032/http://www.cinnamonpirate.com/hobby/translation/lang1/ (Yes, we rely on the internet archive for major files….). If you use VirtualBox and get the current download off of El Sallia, you shouldn’t need the new patch (already integrated) or the Font fix. The CD Fix thing just lets you choose what drive the cd comes from. The game is pretty dumb, so it assumes everyone’s cd-rom is drive D.”

            Unless you’re willing to use VirtualBox or you still have XP, I’d skip the PC version. if you are willing to use VirtualBox, it’s not hard at all really. Just install it, use the CD fix to pick out the right CD drive, and it should work fine.

          • killias2 says:

            My longer comment is being moderated. It may take a bit to post.
            For now: checking Romhacking.net for the Lang 4 translation. That should be easy to get working

            ElSallia.com has the PC translation of Lang 1 for download on its wiki page. You’ll need Virtualbox (or an Windows XP PC) to get it working. You’ll also likely need the CD-ROM fix, which lets you select which drive the disc is in. I posted a link for that in the moderated comment. Hopefully, that will pop up sooner or later. Otherwise, look on ElSallia’s forums.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      “Westnot” … you mean Wesnoth? If so, I take offense to you calling it garbage…. and boring. To me it’s neither of those things.

      • pakoito says:

        Beuh-ring.

      • killias2 says:

        I have to admit. I’ve tried getting into Wesnoth myself. It just never clicked for me. Maybe I’m just missing something?

        • nullspace says:

          Wesnoth has no obvious hook or gimmick, it’s most exciting bullet-point feature is probably the day/night cycle. It’s just a well-balanced game that has rules tweaked just enough to fix some things that I don’t like in other games of this genre. In most games that have units that carry over between battles and permadeath you have to obsessively keep all your dudes alive or the rest of the campaign will be harder/impossible. In Wesnoth, in my most effective strategy some of my guys were expendable, some were vital (but not irreplaceable), and some expendable guys happened to survive and grew to be vital. This is mainly because it costs money to deploy your troops for each battle, and also because of how levels and healing work. I’d suggest trying one of the campaigns that’s about 10 battles long.

          • killias2 says:

            Hrmm, I’ll have to give it another shot sometime. I mean.. they do explicitly mention Langrisser as a source of inspiration. That, alone, earns two chances….

    • killias2 says:

      Also, if the RPG elements aren’t central for you, you may want to check out Military Madness and the Famicom Wars/Advance Wars series. If you’re okay with stuff being a bit more wargamey, that opens up worlds. In the East, there is the Daisenryaku series. Here in the West, there are about 10,000 turn based tactical war games. Recently, Unity of Command is supposed to be good. I bought it, but I haven’t played it yet. Panzer Corps is also supposed to be very good. OutofEight has a bunch of good western strategy game reviews, although not all are tactical or turn based. You may want to peruse through his 8/8 and 7/8 lists.

      • pakoito says:

        I’m not in for the wargames, they feel too economy-driven, same as Advance wars. I like the fantasy setting with presetup and the perfect game in my mind (today) is either ToEE for depth and Summoner Wars for bare tactics.

    • Lykurgos says:

      Have you tried Battle Academy? Incredibly slick PBEM system and wonderful tactical game. It has a nice SP campaign which is a bit puzzle-ly, but the MP really really shines.

      If you like and understand WWII setting it helps a bit because you’ll be familiar with unit capabilities (e.g. King Tiger is very very good, don’t expect your Sherman to bother it) but it sure ain’t essential.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      You know Nippon Ichi are making noises about bringing their stuff to Steam, right? They’re starting off by porting some dull-looking action game I’ve never heard of, though, but I’m gonna buy that anyway just to encourage ‘em.

      • Craig Stern says:

        I am a huge fan of Disgaea and La Pucelle: Tactics (Phantom Brave, on the other hand, can bite me). I will buy every single Disgaea title that they port to PC.

        • mckertis says:

          Come now, La Pucelle is complete rubbish, as a tactical game. Its only saving grace is that its voiced, and they kept Japanese track.

          • Craig Stern says:

            It’s been a while since I played it, but I rather enjoyed La Pucelle’s group attack system. *shrug* To each his own, I suppose.

    • Douchetoevsky says:

      I’ll go ahead and recommend Frozen Synapse if you want tactics. It’s a lot of fun and comes pretty cheap these days. Probably one of my favorite games from last year.

      • pakoito says:

        I tried it and enjoyed for a while, but I miss skills/spells/equipment to play with. I have to admit it is the best expression of the tactics genre, though.

        • d32 says:

          Knights of the Chalice?
          Silent Storm?
          Jeanne d’Arc? (Bit childish, but fun enoug; though it may exist on PSP only)
          Fantasy Wars?
          King’s Bounty?

          But take back what you’ve said about Wesnoth, take it back now!

  2. Hoaxfish says:

    wooden bridge over lava

    er, that doesn’t sound safe.

  3. Wizardry says:

    Tactical RPGs did actually exist on PCs once upon a time. In fact, they pre-dated Japanese “SRPGs”. Of course for some reason it’s trendy to ignore that and beg for SRPG inspired games on the PC instead of a western tactical RPG revival. This is usually accompanied by a heavy dose of D&D bashing.

    • gritz says:

      It’s good of you to set up your straw men so early in the conversation, wizardry.

    • killias2 says:

      Honestly Wizardry, I’m not even sure who you’re mad at here. In any case, most Western Tactical RPGs were RPGs with long battles. Japanese-style SRPGs were usually strategy games with some RPG elements. Fire Emblem and Langrisser have more in common with Military Madness than with the Gold Box games.

      That’s not to say that one is better than the other. I enjoy both. I just don’t know where your negativity is coming from.

    • ffs_jay says:

      How about just begging for anything and everything turn-based and tactical instead? I don’t care where it comes from, if it’s got an interesting combat system and some decent unit balance, I want in. Life’s too short for this willy-waving us-vs-them rubbish.

  4. gritz says:

    I’m desperate for games like this on the PC, but this looks pretty low-rent.

    • Craig Stern says:

      That video is pre-alpha; it’s there purely to show off some elements of the game’s mechanics. The finished game will have fully-animated units that face in 4 directions, as well as spiffy attack graphics.

    • Booch says:

      Did you hear how many 0′s were in that version number? “Pre-alpha” is being generous :p

  5. ffs_jay says:

    I don’t get why people are being so dismissive of this, as a turn-based tactics fan I think it’s shaping up really nicely. I’m also liking the new visual style, it already looks much more appealing than the old ‘fully overhead’ look you had going. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one to see how it turns out.

  6. Tony M says:

    I played one of the Telepath Psi Arena games. Definitely a PC game designed to scratch the Final Fantasy Tactics itch for PC gamers who don’t own a handheld console.

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