Friday, July 3, 2015

PC Review #119: Ronin

Title: Ronin
Developer: Tomasz Wacławek
Platforms: PC
Price: $12.99
2D platformer and turn based gameplay sounds like an incongruous mix, but Ronin combines those elements to deliver a fast-paced game of tactical maneuvering and stealth action.
Ronin's story is light, more of a framework for the action than a compelling narrative. You're a motorcycle helmet-wearing heroine exacting vengeance of five powerful people involved in your father's death. Each target is approaching in a similar fashion; across three levels, you hack computers for intel on their locations, and then infiltrate their compound to kill them. This structure means Ronin can feel quite repetitive, as the gameplay doesn't really evolve beyond that core concept.
But what Ronin lacks in story and variety, it makes up for in style and fun. You can move around, scale walls and ceilings, and swing from a grapple hook; once stopped by an enemy, the game becomes turn-based, as you leap between laser sights and strike down foes with your katana. While Ronin makes sure to tell you it isn't a stealth game, there is a slight stealth element. Sticking to the shadows allow you to even the odds through silent kills or move into a better position to start your assault on a room.

You start with an effective array of skills that only expands as you progress. Special abilities such as holographic decoys, teleporting attacks, a ranged sword attack, and more allows you to execute stylish attack combos. A typical encounter has you smashing through a window, leaping between projectiles before swinging into a guard, knocking him through the opposite window, then using your accrued skill points to teleport to a distant enemy and continue your slaughter. It's fast, strategic. and always satisfying to clear a room through a well-planned chain of kills, leaps, and gadgets.
Ronin isn't the longest game - 15 missions, 3 per target - but bonus objectives and a New Game Plus mode adds some replayability. While the mission structure can feel repetitive, the core blend of turn-based action and tactical movement remains stylish and enjoyable throughout.

Ronin is available on Steam, Humble, and GOG, and is coming to PS4, PS Vita, and mobile devices later this year.

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