K-COM (Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children)

Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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Did you enjoy the X-COM and BattleTech style of combat? Did you spend the better part of an hour at the start of Pathfinder: Kingmaker looking through all the classes? If so, you want this game.

First let's get the obvious out of the way: this isn't a triple-A game. The graphics are nice but not remotely mind-blowing. Translation to English is good enough to get the point across but you'll know full well this wasn't translated by a native English speaker. Music isn't particularly impressive, either. But the gameplay.... oh my!

Your game starts out with just one guy: Albus. A pretty standard, bland-as-can-be JRPG main guy. Once you get through a little tutorial as an apprentice and some backstory, you'll start doing some missions. Albus can whack an enemy with is sword, kick off a single target wind spell, or do a tiny area-of-effect attack at the start of the game.

As I said, the battles are similar to X-COM, but they aren't the same. You do still have the "two actions per turn" thing, though, and even some characters (not Albus) that can do the overwatch thing, waiting for an enemy to move before shooting, but this game's combat seems more complex:
  • It isn't your whole side going, then the enemy's whole side going. Each character's time is tracked and a line on the right side of the screen shows who will get the next turn. It's pretty easy to mess around with that line, too. Getting attacked will sometimes get you pushed further back in that line. Doing a large attack will mean your next attack won't come back as soon as doing a smaller attack. So don't go wailing on that wounded grunt when a small attack will finish it.
  • You can get an XP bonus if you "overkill" an enemy. So sometimes you should actually go wailing on that wounded grunt, especially near the end of a battle.
  • Actions also take up vigor. You get some vigor back each turn but, eventually, you'll run out. You can get vigor back by resting for a couple of turns, drinking a vigor potion, or a few other ways.
  • Your spells have a spell bar. This isn't some resource like mana that dwindles down as you use your spells, though. It's actually the opposite! The more you use spells, the more bonuses you get, until eventually (after around 5 spells), the bar maxes out and enables a special spell ability. When you use that power (or after two turns) the spell bar goes back down to 0 again and the special ability disables until next time.
  • Cops! For some reason, the fact that Albus has spent an entire year as an apprentice troubleshooter means he can take over police squads on the scene. These folks aren't as strong as a troubleshooter but they aren't bad and you'll probably get a few of them. In some other missions, you'll get guest troubleshooters.
  • There will be a few little boxes scattered around the mission where you can pick up loot and even equip it right in the mission if it's something you can use.
As you go through the game, you'll level up and eventually get your own apprentice troubleshooter that's more of a mage, and then a martial artist with fire kicks, and then a healer, and so on. Each character has a base class and, after getting to a suitable level, the character can pick a more specialized class. The new class will unlock some new abilities that can be used in battles.

Then there's the masteries. These are another kind of skill but, unlike abilities, you don't activate them in battle. Instead, they are passive things like giving a character to a free melee attack on the first enemy between turns to get within one square. This is where the serious customization comes in because there's over six hundred and fifty of these things as of this writing plus 287 "set masteries" that you can get by slotting certain combinations of masteries. Not every character can slot every mastery - some are for everybody but some are only for certain classes, certain characters, humans, beasts, robots... That's probably a good thing that will keep you from outfitting each character with similar masteries.

Getting masteries is a little strange but it works great in practice. When you defeat an enemy, masteries drop much like loot. When one drops, you not only get a skill that you can slot on somebody, you also learn out to make it from other masteries. So, if you end up with more Body Training masteries than you can use, you can turn one into Acuity to make your crits hit harder or Concentration which makes crits more likely. Or make one of each then combine those two masteries (plus a few others) into a Counterattack mastery, which makes any character with a melee attack automatically hit back when struck.

You can play the game online or off. If you play online, you can see other players in the market and trade with them, plus you can see (if you want) what other players have been choosing in the dialog options that appear. However, the servers do go down for a couple of hours of maintenance every week or two. If you start playing the game online, you can switch to offline but I don't think you can ever go back unless you're willing to lose all your offline progress.

Albus is a bit dull but the next two characters are fun ones. From the previews I've seen of the other characters, most look like they'll have good stories to tell as well. The "Spoonist" enemies have been a delightfully weird cult, too. (Is The Tick behind it all!?)

My biggest beef with the game is that there's only one save. I'm playing online so I'm guessing my save is online, too, so at least I won't lose all my progress if my PC decides to lock up at a bad time {glaring at you, Subnautica!} but there's also no way to save your game then re-load. That means no save-scumming but what really bothers me is that I can't try out things risk-free. Some of these masteries are odd and I would actually like to try them out without worrying about what masteries I have to destroy to get them!

I'm only 30 hours in and don't have nearly all the characters there are in my company yet but the game has already been worth more than the full $25 (USD) price. It's actually a little cheaper than that on Steam until August 10!
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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It's a big one for sure. It took me 30 hours to get to my third troubleshooter and there's more to come. I tend to play my games slow but still...

Oh, I forgot a fun thing I've never seen outside of beta testing - they've given players the ability to help translate the game. I bet that tool has helped a lot, too. There's a few odd things here and there in the dialog but, when I look at the achievement list for this game, ooooh my! "Why this code is here? Using protocol abilities 50 times." Looks to me like the original translation was pretty weak.
 
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Kaamos_Llama

Community Contributor
Jan 31, 2020
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This sounds very interesting to me mechanically. I wish listed it might give it a try someday, I wouldnt have given it a second look without your post so thanks. The art style is really not my thing at all.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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Oh jeez, I missed a big difference in my original post. If your character gets defeated in battle, the character is just out for the rest of the battle, not killed off! You've just got a few, well developed characters in this game, not a small army.

Still having a ball!
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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I wanted to test 2K video uploads so, naturally, I used the game I was playing...


I'm playing an earlier mission and didn't even bump it up with the 'challenging' option so this is a bit of a cake walk. Still, it shows how the battles play out.
 
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