“A rather superb single and multiplayer turn-based strategy game for the discerning gamer, in which you outsmart and out-steal your opponents. Indulge in a little bribery, blackmail, and assassination to rise to the top!” – With this, the game of Antihero is introduced on the website. Bribery, blackmail and assassination, combined with a wonderful art style, make this a must get, isn’t it? Well, here is my impression!
Installation of the game over Steam goes swiftly and a few minutes after clicking the install button, the game is ready to play. It takes up about 125 megabytes of your storage – almost impossible to believe in days where a patch of your regular run-of-of-the-mill game can easily come at a gigabyte or two. Then again, Antihero is not just a game, is it?
When I fired up the game, it ran windowed mode, which I quickly changed in the settings to get the full-screen experience. The settings panel is very light – it allows you to set audio levels, graphics resolution and there is a full-screen toggle and that is about it. No complex key-mappings, controller support or other complex settings. Very minimalist, so I can quickly focus on the game itself.
Your goal in Antihero is to guide a master thief to achieve supremacy over a town by scoring victory points. There are various methods to earn those points: you may assassinate targets, blackmail city officials or use some other tactic. You are not the only master thief trying to do this, so there is a scoring system where you can see who has more points. Whoever reaches the required amount of victory points first, wins.
Player can choose to play the the single-user campaign, where you battle your way through various parts of the city, following an superbly narrated story line. The early missions, called chapters, are focused on teaching the game mechanics, with increasingly difficult tasks. The later chapters expect that you know what you are doing and give you access to more resources, while also increasing the complexity of the task at hand. Alternatively, you can choose to play a multiplayer game, with either hot-seat support, or against online opponents.
You start a chapter by scouting the city around you with your master thief. If the opportunity offers itself, you may visit a house or two and collect gold or lanterns, the two currencies in the game. Those currencies can be used to either upgrade the skills and abilities of your thieves guild, or to hire staff into your organization. The staff to hire consists of various types, ranging from urchins to assassins. Each has a different skill set, and a rising cost. Urchins are for example used to infiltrate buildings, giving you specific advantages. An assassin can take out most of the hostile characters in one turn, but disappears after that. Managing the two currencies in the game, coins and lanterns, is key to winning the game.
Antihero consists of various chapters with increasing difficulty, different objectives and a range of characters that you meet. While the early chapters tend to be finished after a few minutes, later chapters take increasingly more time. The difficulty setting is an obvious factor in the duration of the chapter.
With the description of the game done, we now turn our attention to our impressions of the various aspects of the game:
- Graphics: due to the nature of the game, you should not expect cutting-edge complex graphics where you have to fiddle around with settings like FXAA, tripple-buffering and v-synch and other complex things. Instead, the player is greeted by a refreshing comic-like drawing style, which makes the game look very slick. The art style is used consistently throughout the game – as far as we have been playing it.
- Audio: the character sounds are suiting to the characters, and repeatedly clicking a character may bring up another sound. Maybe not like in the original Warcraft (“Don’t you have a kingdom to run” – anyone remember that?), but good enough to offer some variety. The music track sets the mood of the game: I feel like I’m in Victorian England where I burgle my way around the city. A feeling that I found to be underlined even more by the narrative. It is a masterpiece in itself. I wish that I can have the whole story told to me in one go after I finish the game, so I can enjoy that part once more.
- Game play: even when not an expert at this kind of turn-based games, it was a very pleasant introduction into this genre. Through the combination of slick graphics, fitting sound, amazing narrative and the step-by-step increase in complexity, I felt at home very quickly. The style and atmosphere were very enjoyable, and I see this be a game that I will be playing from begin to end – a rare feat for someone with an 11% completion rate of his Steam library.
Antihero is a very pleasant game where you can easily sink in several hours to complete the story line. After that, you can jump online to bribe and assassinate your way to the top. Solid game play, combined with excellent graphics and audio makes this highly recommended! Antihero is now available on Steam – and even has a 10% launch discount!Disclaimer: The game has been made available for free to review.
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