Massive Chalice Hands-On: Xbox One Strategy Game You’ve Been Waiting For
In a post-XCOM world, we can understand your hesitation. Turn-based strategy that’s holstering the lasers and unsheathing swords; your initial excitement towards the concept is going to largely depend on your preference towards science fiction or fantasy. But, as it turns out, there’s a hell-ton happening behind the scenes in Double Fine’s latest Kickstarter enterprise that should have fans of the genre preparing to unequivocally surrender their time to the strategy overlords.
If you became a slave to the fear of permadeath in XCOM, there’s a fairly good chance that Massive Chalice will have you climbing the walls with frustration. It’s essentially impossible to make a run through Massive Chalice with your original team intact, and that’s entirely intentional. Double Fine wants your characters to die. It wants them to fall in love on the battlefield, to foster children and prepare them to fight for when you inevitably fall.
Massive Chalice has intergenerational scope, a feature that Xbox gamers are rarely treated to. Fire Emblem – and more recently Rogue’s Legacy – has been building on this concept for some time, but this feature set colliding with a surprisingly deep and fine-tuned tactical gameplay is where we’re really getting excited about this Xbox One console exclusive. Because, in terms of tactics, it plays exactly like a traditional round of XCOM. Your heroes drop down into an environment starting down The Cadence – an army of monsters – through the fog of war. You’ll trade turns moving and attacking on a tile-grid, you’ll balance the needs of the few against the overall mission and cry when one of your favourite warriors dies.
Of course, Massive Chalice can’t rest on its influences. Where Double Fine hopes the game can truly shine, is as the emotional and tactical elements collide. You’ll need to weigh up the risks of sending a grizzled veteran into a particularly tough battle, or keeping them back at base to pass their invaluable combat experience unto a new breed of soldiers. Managing combat efficiency and lineage is going to be a difficult tightrope to walk, but it’s an extra level of depth that we often found missing from the other strategy games to traditionally land on the Xbox 360.
Massive Chalice has big ambitions, but a small development team. That combination can often cause big problems, but if we’ve learned anything over the last decade, it’s that you should never count out Double Fine. The studio has a lot to deliver, but Massive Chalice looks more daring and engaging every time we see it.
Double Fine’s Massive Chalice is set to launch on Xbox One 1 June 2015, it’s also going to be free for all Xbox One owners thanks to Games With Gold for 30 days.