Its no secret in these hallowed halls of the Gamespace office that I’m an avid comic book reader and superhero fan. I’ve never been one for tabletop games, e.g. HERO systems Champions role-playing games. Instead, I’ve always chosen to dole out my form of justice digitally. I’ve played the full gamut of superhero games. My resume includes the beloved City Of Heroes, City Of Villians, Champions Online, and DC Universe Online, to name a few. Perhaps the most obscure choice being 2002’s Freedom Force if you remember that one. I’m drawing your attention to Freedom Force specifically. It was the game that came to mind immediately when I saw Underbite Games‘ Sentinels Of Freedom “advertised” in the Nintendo Switch eShop’s “Coming Soon” area. Welcome to our Nintendo Switch review of Sentinels Of Freedom!
Sentinels Of Freedom is considered to be a story-driven superhero, turn-based tactics game based on the Sentinel Comics universe. The game itself hit Steam PC earlier this year with additional planned releases coming on Xbox and PlayStation 4. Ironically the Nintendo Switch sees its version released before the other consoles. Nowadays the Nintendo Switch is usually the last console port.
Every Good Hero Has A Plan
If your new to this type of game it’s all based on you controlling a squad of superheroes where “moves” are turn-based, i.e. you than the CPU, repeat, not always necessarily in that same order. Each character has a pool of “action points”, this is your resource for getting anything done in a turn. Each hero has two “stances” which each has a finite number of powers to use. You can only be in one stance at a time, thus limiting your power choices. You can use action points to change stances or wait until the end of the characters’ turn where you can change stances for free. Moving your character into a position is a choice that requires action points as well.
It probably all sounds a bit complicated and for a fresh tactics player, it will be initially. To the strength of the game, you’re thrust into game action right away without thinking about creating a character. The first two missions or so in Sentinels Of Freedom are devoted to being a tutorial. The mistake I made is starting the game in undocked mode. This game has a lot of detail text! Unfortunately, the font is quite small making it hard to read without zooming in all the time. This is perhaps the game’s biggest fault, so much so we can’t recommend playing this game much “on-the-go”.
Not Just All Bashing Heads!
Sentinels Of Freedom isn’t as deep as say a Civilization 6 when it comes to strategy but don’t short change it. There’s plenty of tactics factors built in to consider, things like placement, stance choice, buffs, positioning, facing, etc. Initially, it can be quite overwhelming. After a few missions and wins, you’ll get into a groove. Paying attention to the on-screen objectives is a must as well. In one mission I kept knocking out villain, after villain, which felt like an endless stream as they kept coming. Then it dawned on me, the objectives said I needed to save three civilians. Doing so ended the mission in success.
Every Hero Needs To Look Good
Eventually, after a handful of tutorial missions, you get to create YOUR own superhero character. While the artwork seems a bit cartoony I was impressed by the level of customizable details in Sentinels Of Freedom‘s character creator. It seems like the developers drew some inspiration from Champions Online while going as deep as the character creator in City Of Heroes.
It seemed like you have control over every physical aspect. Even character personality and backstory choices affect your character’s base score in key areas. While there are a robust number of choices in some regards, things like color choices seemed to be more basic. Even so, there’s nothing here to stop you from making your favorite hero, or close to it, from other universes!
It’s Also About The Comics
Throughout the mission, you’ll have plenty of comic book panel cutscenes as well as in-game dialogue choices, though this seems more like a roleplaying feature versus changing story flow. A nice touch, while perhaps expected nowadays, is these scenes include your crafted character to help draw you into the game.
All in all, the battles were challenging, the story was deep, with cheesy dialogue but still entertaining. The small font just makes it difficult to play undocked which is a major disappointment. We encountered a few character creator and movement glitches but nothing showstopping. All in all a strong debut in the first of a series. It’ll be interesting to see how Underbite Games improves in Chapter Two!
Note: Our copy was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Freedom Force