About This GameVigilantes is a combat focused, turn-based tactical RPG set in the declining, crime riddled city of Reiker. The game offers hardcore squad-level combat in a gritty neo-noir setting, intel gathering through surveillance and interrogation, a detailed character system, base facilities, crafting, and much more.
- Party-Based Tactical Combat System, including lethal and non-lethal attacks, powerful perk-based activated abilities, attacks of opportunity, cover, aimed and special attacks.
- Deep Character System: build the ultimate crime-fighting team using the UPLIFT system which comprises 6 stats, 9 skills and allows for a variety of viable builds. Further customise your characters with over 60 perks.
- Gather Intel: Run surveillance and interrogate defeated enemies to locate each gang’s leadership and facilities.
- Story: Experience the hard-boiled story of a group of vigilantes waging war against the overwhelming might of the criminal underworld. Gain advantages in combat through skill checks and choices in dialogue, and help out citizens in need.
- Adversary System: If an enemy manages to flee, they will become more powerful and you will have to face them again later. Take them down quick!
- Crafting: Upgrade weapons from 9 distinct classes and craft special items, such as hot-loaded ammo, armour, and medical items.
- Base Facilities: Build and upgrade 5 facilities (gym, library, firing range, surgery, workshop) to gain bonuses and access advanced crafting options.
- Reactive AI: An enemy that reacts to your actions, by setting up ambushes, and is responsible for recruitment, building facilities, improving gang equipment and training.
So What Sets Vigilantes Apart From Other Games?
1: SettingI’m sure you’ve noticed that the vast majority of turn based games favour fantasy or sci-fi settings. How many turn based games have you played that don’t feature aliens, orcs, mutants, wizards, or bandits as antagonists? With Vigilantes, we wanted to offer you something fresh: a modern, neon drenched, rainy city in the midst of an unprecedented crime wave, supported by hard-boiled prose that brings the setting to life. It’s no country for sorcerers or laser guns, but brace yourself for psychotic mob hitmen, molotov wielding doomsday cultists, and paramilitary survivalist snipers!
2: Intel GatheringYou can’t take down vast criminal organisations by getting into street fights with low level hoods. Surveillance operations can reveal basic information on the extent of a gang’s presence in a city district, or how much wealth they are gaining from operations there. To put a gang out of commission, you must locate and eliminate their boss, and smash their facilities. To do this, you must fight your way up the gang hierarchy, using your skills and equipment, such as truth serum, to break them in interrogation.
3: Adversary System & A Reactive EnemyWhen’s the last time you saw an enemy attempt to flee in a turn based RPG? What happens if they escape, and come gunning for you down the line, more experienced and powerful than ever? When an enemy runs, will you give chase, or focus on active threats?The gangs will not sit back and allow you to dismantle their operations. They will carry out criminal operations, using the ill gotten proceeds on recruitment, equipment, training, and building buff providing rackets. Success comes with its own risks in Vigilantes. Once you get a gang’s attention, they will dispatch deadly lieutenants to ambush and track you down. You may very well set out as the hunter and find yourself the hunted.
Will I Like This Game? Should I Buy Vigilantes?The demo we released for Kickstarter is around 18 months old now, so it doesn’t offer a good indication of the game’s current features, content, polish, and balance. Thankfully, Steam offers a no quibble refund policy if you have spent less than 2 hours playing and have purchased less than 2 weeks ago, allowing you to see if you like Vigilantes, without committing to a purchase. While you won’t be able to experience everything the game has to offer in 2 hours, it will give you a good idea of what to expect. Vigilantes is continually being improved, and we take feedback on board, so if you tend not to play Early Access games, please consider adding Vigilantes to your wishlist!
- OS: Windows 7 or later
- Processor: Dual Core 2 GHZ
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB VRAM)
- DirectX: Version 9.0
- Storage: 5 GB available space
– Gather a team of vigilantes and train up their skills and abilities
– Undertake tactical combat missions on a wide variety of maps, indoors and outdoors
– Run surveillance ops to identify crime hotspots and gang activity
– Interrogate defeated gang members to gather intel on their operations
– Build up a base of operations, and raid your opponents’ bases for cash and equipment
– Craft improved weapons and equipment (with an actually good crafting system for once), and a few unique items
– Build relationships with your teammates, and improve your reputation with the citizens of Reiker (or not, as the case may be).
Gameplay design is deliberately old-school, with plenty of stats and skills to play around with, plus some more modern features such as organic skill growth (i.e. you improve your skills by making use of them) and perks. The combat itself is pure fun, with the variety of weapons – from SMGs and machetes to incendiary grenades – making up for the lack of magic or psionics in the setting. One interesting decision is that there’s no level-scaling, nor are enemy levels static; instead, the gangs will level up at their own pace which varies according to the difficulty setting. This means that they can theoretically outlevel you and make the game impossible to complete, though in practice this is unlikely to happen on lower difficulties.
However, it’s actually the writing that appeals to me most. The game never makes the mistake of taking its somewhat-ridiculous premise too seriously, and the in-game texts and dialogue encounters are laced with wit and humour alongside more serious moments. All the characters are great fun, and well-acted to boot (I particularly like Ray Case, the Chandler-esque private detective). The whole thing has the feel of a 1980s Hollywood action B-movie, which is in no way a bad thing.
It’s not a perfect game. There are a few odd gameplay quirks, like the fact that you can be in ‘full cover’ even if enemies have direct LoS to you, and you may miss some useful features altogether (such as the ability to target body parts) unless you read the text-only tutorial messages very carefully. One thing I’d like to see in a hypothetical sequel is a greater focus on story progression; while there are plenty of dialogue encounters, they’re disconnected from each other and occur pretty much at random. The characters added later in development are also less fleshed-out than the earlier ones and have fewer interactions with teammates and enemies; however, these things are clearly the result of the inevitable time and budget constraints, and don’t detract from a very impressive achievement by a tiny dev team.
TL;DR: A great little indie game, highly recommended for any fans of old-school, hardcore turn-based tactics.
Quick recommendation review:
If you like classic turn based squad games like 90s X-Com, Xenonauts, Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, Omerta, or other titles using AP-based movements, you’ll love this little surprise gem. Its very playable in its current form and the combat mechanics are satisfying and fun.
Game is already good, and can only get better. High recommendation! No need to wait for a sale. Comment on this review if you want further details, I’m alt-tab’ing back to the game! Its gonna be a late late evening of "just one more turn"-addiction.
A lot of games that claim to be in the JA2 spirit focus exclusively on the tactical combat but don’t include much of a strategic overworld game and don’t even try to include memorable characters. Vigilantes at least attempts all three.
Tactical Combat: C+. AI is almost hilariously bad but the battles are short and you can still have fun optimizing how fast you take everyone out. Controls and core concepts are good though.
Strategic Overworld: B+. Actually done pretty well. The UI is janky but scouting the map, taking over sectors, selecting missions, managing inventory, managing group healing are all good. My main complaint is I’d like more depth, but the breadth is there.
Memorable characters: C+. There are seven characters and you choose up to 4 for your primary squad at a time. They’re mostly boilerplate, but they do have their own little story arcs. Nothing to write home about and I’ll probably forget everything about them in a week but it was fun while it lasted and I did end up attached to Caia! The writing itself is… wildly variable, some of the story encounters are genuinely interesting, others made me cringe.
Overall though I’d say this is worth the price for a compact experience (finished in 9 hours on normal mode) that captures the spirit of a Jagged Alliance style game.
TL:DR — Vigilantes is a turn-based strategy game with some role-playing elements. You character is a crime fighter who decides to take the law into his own hands against 3 criminal groups in the city. The objective seems to be to eliminate the criminal presence in the city by killing all 3 crime bosses. Along the way, you improve in stats, gain allies, and commandeer loot in your victories against the Mafia, Survivalists and religious zealots.
•You can upgrade your base with facilities that provide passive skill bonuses. Deciding which to build first and getting enough money to do it are the main challenges here. Your base is also where you heal, equip, manage your team and buy and sell things.
•There is a city map where you have to conduct "surveillance" in order to gain insights into that sector. You’re warned early on not to spend too much time on this as your opponents are upgrading and improving as time passes.
•Inventory management — along the course of the game, you have opportunities to buy, appropriate (through won battles) and sell equipment. There are many choices here to be made, determined by the type of gameplay you prefer (e.g. what kind of weapons do you buy? what should you sell? what should you craft?)
•Once you identify a sector as hostile (with a criminal presence), you can launch a mission. There are 3 levels of difficulty depending on the amount of criminal activity present. You may also encounter potential allies on these missions, who will join your cause.
•The battles are turn-based, using an action point system. You can equip weapons (offensive & defensive), reload, switch fight modes, go into overwatch, etc. After you win a battle, you can interrogate prisoners, take their loot, and steal from equipment caches.
This is an early access game, so that is a consideration. However, as of v.24, there are some things that don’t work, don’t make sense, or can be improved:
•The reason why there are 3 criminal groups is unclear. Does one link with another, or provide clues to another? From what I can see, the only difference is in the weapons and tactics they use. If there is no purpose to having 3 groups, after a while, the gameplay becomes quite grindy. There doesn’t seem to be any purpose in eliminating one group after another, other than to "finish" the game.
•The RPG element is very thin. The "perk" system is good (think Fallout) but there is hardly any interaction between Sam and his team, other than the initial dialogue. Once they join, that’s it — even though some of them appear to have their own preferences and agendas. There are some "random" events where you may get some cash or loot, but otherwise these events are not really necessary to the main game at the moment.
•The turn-based tactical play works quite well. LOS during battles seems accurate, weapon dynamics, unarmed combat, grenade throwing, and physics look realistic. One issue I have is not having enough weapons that allow "full" upgrades other than the magnum-looking handgun. You can upgrade specific features (reduce APs for loading, increase clip size, etc.), but there is no overall upgrade available to any other firearm other than the handgun.
•After you win a battle, especially after wiping out a Lieutenant or Boss, the crime level in that sector should go down to zero. What purpose does it serve to have, say, another 11% crime presence after the Lieutenant/Boss is dead?
•Having facilities is a nice idea but after I take it over, why not have it generate income for me? Or perhaps provide a passive stat boost? Or regularly provide some free items? Otherwise having criminal facilities serves little to no purpose — I might as well just focus on killing the Lieutenants to get intel on the Boss.
•Currently, you can craft disappointingly few items (maybe 6 or 7). Perhaps V.25 will address this issue. Being able to have full upgrades to weapons will also make the game more fun/challenging.
•There is a yellow high-end sniper rifle (the Ronin?) that has no stats when you mouse over it. This is a small thing since it’s still EA, but it makes buying or using the rifle pointless. I thought I’d mention it.
I think Vigilantes has a lot of promise but it needs to be fleshed out. I’ve always wanted a turn-based Mafia-themed strategy game, failing which, this crime fighting alternative will do. However, it can be a much better game — think Jagged Alliance — in terms of resource management (sectors could provide unique bonuses for e.g.), strategic rationale (why 3 groups? what’s the relationship between them?), and RPG elements (all the characters seem empty and lifeless right now). There is no interaction between NPCs (or with your character), insufficient interesting random encounters, etc.
I will update the review and rating when the game leaves early access. I have high hopes for this game.
Good Xcom-style gameplay
Enjoyable Base Building
Intel Gathering Meta-game
Shop improves alongside the player
Audio recordings are of various qualities
Gang War Grand Strategy & Surveillance
Once the player gets past the prologue, they are able to access the city map. This map is sliced up into an 8 by 8 grid. Each tile has its own danger level, gang occupation, wealth, and crimerate. A gang leader and enemy racket may also be present in a particular tile (Also known as a district). Danger level explains how many enemies are on a tile. If there is a high danger level, enemies may also have a special buff applied to them. Crime rates directly measure a gang’s control of the area. A higher crime rate means there are more enemies to fight. Wealth is how much money the gang on a tile has. The more money they have, the better their equipment will be. This makes more dangerous enemies appear. The rackets and the gang leaders are the main objectives in the game. Rackets are structures that are generating money for a gang, take it out and the player will heavily cripple a gang’s economic power. Gang leaders are special characters who the player must kill. Every gang consists of a boss and three under-bosses. Enemies in combat can be pacified instead of killed, and interrogating enemy units will provide intel on who and where a boss is located. These bosses are not easy targets to kill though. I really liked this mechanic. It really felt like I was actively racing against the clock. The game skips hours instead of days, so time has quite a bit more meaning. It is hard to balance intel gathering and raiding too. Intel is invaluable as it allows the player to hit key targets, but the longer a player drags the game on, the more powerful the gangs will become. I also liked how the interrogation of enemies played off of different stats.
Stats & Leveling
There are two types of stats in the game, skill stats and core stats. While there are levels in the game, a character does not gain experience by killing enemies. Instead, the characters gain levels in skill stats by performing these skills. The skills are close combat, firearms, explosives, bypass, crafting, medicine, trade, presence, and surveillance. Most of these are pretty straight forward. The two that might not be obvious are bypass and presence. At the end of combat, the player is able to find item caches based upon their surveillance level. The character with the highest bypass level is then able to break into these objects. The harder it is to break in, the better equipment is in the cache. Presence is the ability to either intimidate or persuade someone. This stat would likely be called charisma in any other RPG. Core stats directly affect the skill stats. There are six of them: utility, prowess, leadership, instinct, fleetness, and toughness. For example, toughness increases hitpoints, max ability points, and resilience, which is stun resistance. Finally, when a character levels up, they are able to gain a perk sometimes. These perks are powerful. One such perk allows for a character to have a chance to not consume ability points after firing.
Combat uses ability points to perform actions. To move costs ability points and so does using a weapon. I was happy to find that melee is actually viable in this game. In so many turn-based strategies, melee is cool, but it is only secondary to guns. In this game, since resources are limited, huge guns aren’t as prevalent as in other games. Attacking in this game has a lot of mechanics too. Weapons have multiple fire modes. Guns can be “snap shot” for less ability points, but they take an accuracy penalty. Weapons can also target specific body parts. If the body part is hit, then it will inflict a powerful debuff onto the enemy hit. This reminded me a lot of the VATS system from Fallout. The way that a player can increase their battle prowess is through items found in the shop.
The Shop & HQ
The Shop is a unique feature that really helps to sell the theme of building up a vigilante empire. The player will often collect a ton of weaponry from fallen enemies and item caches. These build up and quickly become useless. To make them useful, sell them to the shop. This generates money for both the player and the shop. If the shop gets enough money, they level up and gain new inventory options. Money can also be spent on HQ upgrades which improve stat bonuses and provide features like crafting.
This game is an excellent Xcom style of game that has a ton of mechanics built into it.
The story starts quite abruptly and doesn’t ever go very in-depth due to reparability. The game has the player’s personal character walking through a bad part of town one day. He witnesses a brutal mugging and decides to don the ski mask he coincidentally bought so that he could dish out some vigilante justice. Somehow he then cuts all ties with his life and devotes himself to defeating the terrible crime in his city. I loved learning about the backstory of the side characters though. They all have unique personalities. Some begrudge your tactics, but know that you are actually fixing the city. Others are just plain crazy. I wish there were more character interactions included as that would allow for replayability, but it would also allow for the player to create an emotional connection to characters.
One of the main problems with the sound is that its quality varies so heavily. This is most apparent with the voice actors. After meeting a new ally, they get a short, voiced introduction. One of the best performances is from the voice actor of Ray Case. He adds emotion and a Noir feeling into the setting. Emilia De Soto’s voice actor didn’t have the same impact sadly. Weaponry can sound strange too. It doesn’t sound like bullets, instead it sounds like some strange pneumatic cannon sound that is shooting a tennis ball. Sound is definitely one of the areas where the game could be improved the most.
The graphics aren’t the best, but they get the job done. The graphics look cel-shaded and they are a bit cartoonish. There isn’t a lot of shading, so everything can look a bit pastel at times. The variety in environments is quite good, and there is a bit of variety in enemy unit type. It is quite easy to tell the difference between improved enemy unit types.
This product was reviewed with a key provided by the developer for free.
The game is about what the title implies : fighting crime as a group of civilians, the end goal being taking down three gang leaders. For those familiar with SRPGs, the combat doesn’t reinvent the wheel and reuses both old and new concepts (APs, interrupts, overwatch, turn delay, half/full cover, etc.). Other than that, it also uses some RPG elements such as skill checks during dialogs, perks and crafting/weapon upgrading. There’s also a slight base building component where you upgrade your facility which gives you some bonuses.
During a playthrough, the enemy gangs also improve their troops and equipement. They can also build facilities that give them specific buffs.
The fighting aspect is the game’s strongest suit in my opinion as I’ve rarely seen a game in this genre where pretty much all builds are viable and there’s no dump stat. Pretty much all ranged weapons are useful in their own way, melee builds are an efficient counter to ranged characters and utilites such as explosives and smokes can save your life in a pinch. The game also encourages you to have a varied approach as all companions have their speciality though you could say it railroads you in builds for them, I think this is a positive. The only character you can build whichever way you want is the protagonist, Sam. Fighting is pretty straightforward as all enemies know where you are and you have vision on the whole map.
The game is about 15 to 20 hours long, although there is a mode that adds more bosses that makes the game a bit longer (which I wished I picked on a new game). Content wise, there is little variety in maps but a fair amount of random special encounters. The weapon selection is classic but varied in the number of models and upgrades there is. The story pretty much takes a back seat for most of the game except at the beggining when recruiting the predetermined companions and for lieutenant/boss takedowns. The game has two different endings depending on whether you used lethal or non lethal takedowns (it’s an on/off switch, doesn’t matter what attack you use).
Voice acting is questionable, regardless of the actual voices (bad mixing and sound quality). There was an effort done on character interaction by having specific dialogs play out depending on who you bring in a mission. As for the character themselves, that’s up to personal taste; I was indifferent to all of them except for the private detective which is a caricature of hard boiled detectives in noire movies, speaks in monologues and narrates his actions in third person. Pretty funny.
Melee and dying animations are pretty well made for a small budget indie game, movement anims can sometime be bretty janky though.
If you’re looking for an SRPG with an original setting, has elements from different genres and don’t mind the eventual jank that comes with small productions, give it a shot.
If you liked fallout 1 and XCOM back in the 90’s you’ll love this title , create a gang, setup a base, train and craft weapons and crew, gather intel on various sectors on the map for Mafia activity. Its a race to control each grid on the map as the mafia gets stronger as well and takes more control over each sector.
Vigilante’s strengths are far more superior than its weaknesses. Create a gang, craft the base you ever wanted and accomplish the autorithy over other gangs in order to be the real goodfather of the city.
The story was pretty good. The whole vigilante thing is a nice change of place that I don’t see a whole lot of in video games, and the genre is a good format for it. It was a bit cheesy & cliché at points – but the little micro-stories throughout the map were a nice touch. The way you approach a scenario will affect how the combat plays out, and you’ll definitely find yourself wanting to do as much as possible to avoid / minimize combat by the time you finish the game. The story is where it’s at with this game – it’s the most enjoyable part. There’s very little voice acting, so be prepared to do some reading.
Graphics & sound definitely aren’t anything to write home about, but for the price? Not terrible. Pro tip: if you do pick this game up, there is an option to turn off the "ding" for everything you click in the audio options. The little voice acting there is sounds like they recycled the same guy & girl for all the characters – but again, it’s a $15 game.
EDIT: Worth noting that the DEV responded and fixed the bugs that I initially mentioned in this review, so thumbs up Timeslip! In my first playthrough I experienced very few, and it’s great to know the developer is on it in regards to fixing issues.
As for gameplay, well – it’s fun at first but I feel like the gameplay loop is a bit unnecessarily drawn out. I spent 24 hours on completing one pass through the game, and at least three quarters of that was purely out of dedication to finishing the game and not because I was enjoying myself.
The meat of the game, the turn-based combat, needs some serious work. The entire map is revealed and all of the enemies immediately know where you’re at, so as soon as combat starts they’re going to rush you like a mob of zombies (some of whom shoot guns). There are a lot of maps that look like they could be really interesting, but you’re not likely to engage in any gunplay more than a few tiles from where your characters start out as the zerg mentality of the NPC’s pins you down. "Boss NPC’s" like the lieutenants and gang bosses are just slightly stronger versions of the same NPC’s you’ve spent hours fighting with a LOT of backup, so be ready to square off against their undead horde. It seems to me that there’s very little required in the way of strategy. The problem is that games like this the turn-based combat is the primary game loop, it’s what you’re going to be spending most of the game doing. Unfortunately, after your first few ventures out into the city it’s just not any fun.
The character-focused RPG elements are an interesting approach to the genre. I really wish I could customize my main character, or any of the characters for that matter, but it doesn’t detract from the game at all. There’s a bit of a grind, which is to be expected in any RPG, but I think if the gameplay loop were a bit more fun it’d definitely be tolerable. The perks are varied enough that each of your 4 primary characters should be fairly unique, and they managed to keep non-combat skills relevant as you encounter stories throughout the map. I wish the upgrades you apply to your characters had more of a visual effect, but – it was only $15.
In summary: for the price it’s an okay game, but I found myself saying "it was only $15" a bit too much. If you pick it up do yourself a favor and put it on the easiest game mode so you can rush through the campaign quickly. I don’t have any desire to go through another playthrough, it just takes too much time and it isn’t fun enough.