Future Tactics: The Uprising (GameCube) Review

By Adam Riley 11.11.2004

Remember Plok? No? Well shame on you, as it was a superb SNES game created by some very talented British developers under the watchful eye of Software Creations. Those guys then went on to found Zed Two, crafted the addictive Wetrix on the N64 and were eventually bought out by Warthog, before finally being shut down. However, the team's final fling before its doors were closed was this, Future Tactics: The Uprising. Was it a worthy swan-song? Find out...

The future is an amazing place if all the computer games set in it are anything to go by. Well, in terms of technological advances anyway. You take control of a group that are struggling to survive in the harsh conditions that face them every day. There are 'Creatures' terrorising the human tribes on a constant basis, yet nobody can recall exactly where they came from. Some have chosen to fight back, most have failed. 'Father', however, is one that managed to wreak havoc amongst the Creatures, but he still succumbed to their malice. Upon death, his son, Low, decides to seek vengeance and kill those that killed his family. Taking along his little sister, Pepper, and anyone else that he can round-up, the mission commences...

Screenshot for Future Tactics: The Uprising on GameCube

Looking at the game from a graphical viewpoint there is not really too much to criticise it for, and yet in the same breath there is hardly a heap of praise waiting to be handed out. Future Tactics is an unusually styled titles with an extremely basic look that would not be too out of place on the N64, but also with lashings of stylistic colours and effects that place it beyond the reach of the 64bit machine. I suppose you could say this would be perfect on the DreamCast by that thinking...Everything flows impressively, with no jerkiness to the action and none of the system shocking that other games gives you when switching from lavish FMV scenes and strikingly bland in-game visuals. Saying that, the rather large levels available suffer from nasty invisible walls that will bug the hell out of you many times before completion. But the pleasure of being able to blow up practically everything is a very nice addition. As I say, this is a tricky one: 'good, but not astounding'.

Having played Plok and Wetrix, the musical side of Pill...sorry, Future Tactics, was something I was particularly looking forward to. After all, the theme tune from Plok remains to this day one of my all-time favourite pieces of gaming music. However, of course, whilst the developing minds might remain the same, different games generally mean different composers and so hesitation crept in upon this realisation. Thankfully, though, everything is extremely pleasing, with each of the tunes played throughout quite pleasant and, in some cases, very catchy indeed. The only real downfall comes when you look at the quality of the speech, with the unusual British accents used not quite fitting in with the whole 'futuristic' scenario and rather making things feel like the whole game takes place in Yorkshire or something crazy like that. Yet that is not to say the speech is bad by any means, with it in fact causing the odd chuckle every now and then. Like the graphics, overall, good but not great!

Screenshot for Future Tactics: The Uprising on GameCube

Future Tactics: The Uprising is not the game it used to be. What do I mean by that? Well, it quietly changed its name a while back. Therefore, anyone still waiting for the intriguing 'Pillage' needs look no further as they are one and the same. A different name does not mean drastic changes, though, and what we have in front of us is still the same strategy game that began development. Yet this is not the normal style strategy you find in the likes of Fire Emblem and Final fantasy Tactics; this is an attempted refinement of the genre that allows newcomers to jump in and not be too daunted by the statistics and slow-paced movement across a grid-like field notorious in game of this ilk.

As per the norm, before a level begins you are faced with the objectives that must be carried out and a final goal that should be aimed for. They can range from tasks such as protecting allies on the field right through to the basic first objective of reaching the other side of the area safely. Once you have been given a quick glimpse of the playing field, the action begins and this is where you notice the first difference. Whilst you are still taking turns to move each character around, you are not restricted by a grid instead by a very lenient boundary that you can freely wander around in until satisfied with your position. Suddenly the aggravating restrictions of past SRPGs is gone and all is well in the world, with you being able to wander and pick up any items nearby and place yourself so that you are ready to attack adequately or are safely located.

Should you choose to attack, then you will be faced with the job of lining up the target to shoot at so that you get a firm lock, then lining up the vertical and horizontal lines that scroll across the screen. The more accurate you are the more powerful the shot with extra strength added if you tap the confirm button after at the right time. Of course, like any RPG, you gain experience from encounters and can level-up your statistics throughout the game to bolster your defences, offensive power and so on, which will prove extremely useful against the telepathic monsters all around you, who just seem to get amazingly hard to beat in the later stages. Strong, yet excessively dumb in certain instances falling off cliffs, drowning in water, getting stuck behind blown up rocks and many other surprising occurrences will happen in front of your eyes making you very suspect about the level of AI in the game.

And that is your lot make your move, plan your route, discard of enemies, try your best to survive the onslaught and then complete the stated objectives. Rinse and repeat for nineteen levels and you are sorted. Yes, things can get slightly tiresome, but it is not all terribly bad as the element of thought that has to go into most of the levels helps you get through no problem. In addition, you can blow up the scenery around you as well. Always a great inclusion!

Screenshot for Future Tactics: The Uprising on GameCube

Looking at the price of Future Tactics: The Uprising, you would not be wrong to think that maybe the game itself will be a rather short experience. However, this is far from being the case here as quite a significant amount has been packed into this budget title. The nineteen levels within are all quite expansive and take a lot thought to navigate through safely, especially as the enemies surrounding you can be extremely devastating when working together to curb your progress. The only problem is that at times the whole thing seems a little unfair, with enemies having almost impenetrable defences and threatening to overwhelm you on many occasions. But, if the main play ever gets frustrating you can turn your hand to the engaging two-player battle mode...although why a four-player option was not made available, nobody but the developer knows!

Screenshot for Future Tactics: The Uprising on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

There is something missing from Future Tactics and perhaps it is related to the internal issues within Warthog over the continuance of Zed Two. But whatever the case, what could have been an extremely worthwhile strategy experience and a great introduction to the series for complete newcomers instead turns out to be nothing more than a good game with lots of potential. Definitely give this a rent or GAME's 10-day return option...

Developer

Zed Two / Warthog

Publisher

JoWood

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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