Last year at E3, Nintendo revealed a new title behind closed doors called Code Name S.T.E.A.M. At that moment I didn’t really care about it since all I wanted was more Super Smash Bros information. In fact, the only good thing that was revelead behind those doors (as I saw it back then) was the Pac Man reveal trailer for SSB.
I remembered seeing a bit of it in later Directs, and at the very least, I found interesting that playable characters were taken from literary works like Peter Pan, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Wizard of Oz, The Red Badge of Courage and folk heroes like John Henry. (To be honest, I had to search who Henry Fleming and John Henry were, after seeing Tiger Lily, Lion and Tom Sawyer in the game)
Fast forward several months, and I found out there was a downloadable demo. It proved enough for me to want to buy it. Now, I’m not an expert or very knowledgeable about the genre, so this is a look at the game from the perspective of a nooby newbie.
To begin with: This is what you hear when you start up the game, this will either scare you away or sell you in right awat. It did the latter for me.
As you can see from the video, (if you weren’t too distracted by trying to sing along the code name T.H.E.M.E.) the game has a Steampunk setting and pits S.T.E.A.M members against a mysterious alien race that suddenly attacked London. Lucky for the good Queen Victoria, Abe Lincoln was kind of ready for it and in the area, and you begin shooting alien scum in the face.
S.T.E.A.M, (called Lincoln vs aliens in Japan) is a turn based strategy games with 3rd person shooting elements, kind of like Valkyria Chronicles. (Note to self: Play that game. At least the ones with SKies od Arcadia cameos. That game rules.)
You control up to 4 characters each equipped with their respective main weapons, a sub weapon and a boiler. Boilers provide the character with steam so they can move and attack. If you run out of steam (if if you don’t have enough) you won’t be able to keep moving or attacking. You can’t see the map from overhead, so you must rely on each of your characters’ field of vision. Since you can’t see every enemy (nor a list of enemies) it’s not a wise idea to let a character go too far away from the team.
Ending a turn with some reserve steam will allow you to start the next turn with even more steam. If you have enough steam to attack, you’ll enter overwatch mode, where your character will quickly attack any enemy that gets close enough during the enemy turn. This will prove to be a valuable strategy to defend yourself since sometimes you can stun enemies and therefore cancelling their attacks.
You can collect medals (coins) that will unlock more sub weapons to choose from. Coins also are used at save points. There are several save stations across the maps that you can use only once. A nice feature of these save points is that you can either just save, restore health ans steam of the character using the save point or restore (and revive) every character to full health ans steam. The cost for restoring a character starts at 10×1 coins, while the group restoring option starts at 100×1. Using either function again in another option will raise the cost to 10×2 and 100×2 and so on. This adds an extra layer of strategy since you can only use coins collected at that map, and you must decide when it is the right time to save the game, or to simply save the save point for later.
I can’t speak for the multiplayer yet, since I haven’t ventured into the world of PvP yet. (I usually stay away from PvP) At least the Campaign mode seem to be longish enough if they’ll stick to the “get a new character per mission.” pattern. When replaying campaign missions you’ll have the option to the standard version, Blind Eye (no health or steam containers in map), No return (steam usually refills if you backtrack… not in this mode!) and Merciless (stronger enemies). You’ll get more coins as reward depending on which mode you choose, so there’s something for those seeking challenges.
I almost forgot another feature: This game is compatible with the Fire Emblem amiibos, unlocking them as characters for this game. A catch to use them is that if they managed to get defeated, you’ll need to rescan them to add them back to your roster. I was lucky enough to get the Ike amiibo, and I was very excited to try him out. Unfortunately, I didn’t find him too useful since all he has in melee attacks. Hopefully one of the other 3 will be more useful, or I will change my mind as I get more familiar with the game.
The story seem to be simple with not much character development, focusing on action to move on from mission to mission. And that’s fine for a game like this, I think. Some of the voices get annoying after a while, and some quicker than others (I’m looking at you Tom Sawyer!) The art style and the cut scenes are awesome, and feel very action packed to me. I don’t know if it’s the New 3DS at work, but I also like how the 3D effects look on this title.
So far, I’m enjoying the music too. It has an eerie, sci fi feeling with a touch dub step and techno. I might be confusing or missing genres, all I know is that the music fits the game well in my opinion and I’m the sort of people that rarely pays attention to how good or bad music is in games.
Curious about the game? Give the demo a try! I believe, in my not so expert opinion, that this game should be getting more attention that it got.