Tales of Glory 2 – Retaliation hit the Steam store a few weeks back as an early access title, and I’ve been meaning to give it a try. If you’re a fan of the original Tales of Glory, then its sequel may surprise you. The first game is basically a medieval strategy game with physics-based melee combat and a 30 plus hour campaign. In Tales of Glory 2: Retaliation, swords, and shields are replaced with assault rifles, hand grenades, and airstrikes. It’s a stark change in direction, and one this gamer is excited to say is off to a great start.
As of now, you can play through six different missions with many more promised. How you play these missions is what makes this game different from most other single-player VR shooters. On some missions, you’ll go in as the leader of a five-person team. You can raise your left hand to your ear which activates your comms. From here, you can give out commands to individual team members or the entire team. These commands can be as simple as “follow me” or “lay down cover fire” or more specific commands. Your four squadmates have specialities that you can utilize as well. One of them is a medic that you’ll need to dispatch when a team member goes down. You can also have one team member launch grenades where you need them while another can lay sniper fire into a specific area. Remembering how to do all of this in battle is difficult at first, but it does get easier. There are also voice commands that you can access via the game directory but I haven’t tried that yet. And believe me, I can’t wait to test this!
On your lower back, you’ll find a tablet that shows you a map of the area and your current objectives. Depending on your current mission, you can also use this to call in airstrikes or send other squadrons to whatever area you want, fighting as they go. That is just a basic overview of the strategy portions of the game, but this is also a shooter. So … how is the shooting?
It’s pretty good, thankfully. The guns look and sound authentic enough but the emphasis on real-world physics is what sets this one apart from most of its contemporaries. Your hands and other objects don’t pass through any part of your weapons. This means you can use objects in the game to stabilize your sniper rifle, or you can literally control the recoil of each weapon by simply placing your off-hand on top of the barrel of the gun. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just grab the barrel from the bottom like every other game, but it’s cool that you can. This unusual realism does make it a little more difficult at times. One example of this is while using the bolt action rifles as you have to make sure that when you reach for the slide, you don’t bump into any part of the rifle.
These physics don’t just apply to the guns either. Similar to Population: One and Virtual Battlefield, you can climb most everything. This opens up each map, especially the stealth missions. That’s right, some missions send you in alone to kill a specific target. This is where Tale of Glory feels more like Splinter Cell than Call of Duty. You’ll need to dispatch your enemies quietly. Sure, you can use your silenced pistol, but you can also sneak up to them, grab their head with both hands, and snap their neck. If that’s too clean for you, you can grab them and beat them to death with your gun or stab them in the chest. And don’t forget to drag the lifeless meatsacks back into the darkness before they’re spotted. The difficulty for each mission is quite difficult but in a fun way. There are multiple difficulty settings if you do get too frustrated or want even more of a challenge.
There are a couple of little things that stood out to me in a good way: the stealth missions are tough but very cool. Sneaking around in the dark guided only by the flashlight attachment on my weapons, and reaching down in the dirt to pick up rocks to throw for distractions is the VR stealth-action I’ve always wanted. Plus, it’s cool that it uses the current time and day as the mission details print out on the screen at the start of each mission.
Sadly, there is no multiplayer or co-op at this time, but the team at BlackTaleGames has said that a co-op feature is potentially on the roadmap for future additions. There are, however, weapons and gear to unlock as you score points as well as a worldwide leaderboard. Both of those are cool, but a co-op addition would make this an absolute must-buy even as the game stands now.
Tales of Glory 2 – Retaliation doesn’t really have a story or a campaign just yet, but if the original Tale of Glory is any indication, there will be much more to come for this military strategy/shooter. You can grab this early access title right now on Steam for twenty dollars US if you don’t mind jumping in early. I don’t know for sure where Tale of Glory 2 will end up, but Black Tale Games has laid the groundwork for something really special here.