Quest for a Unique Gaming Experience
Developed by Trese Brothers, creators of mobile and PC turn-based strategy games for over a decade, Cyber Knights: Flashpoint is an upcoming cyberpunk tactical RPG. Set in the same world as the 2011 mobile title Cyber Knights RPG Elite, this third-person combat simulator promises hundreds of hours of gameplay. It also has the brag-worthy distinction of having been fully funded on Kickstarter in under 12 hours. The game will first release on Steam sometime in March 2021 and later be ported to mobile platforms.
The game takes inspiration from XCOM and other genre-defining turn-based strategy titles. But Cyber Knights strives to separate itself from the pack. Trese Brothers has willingly taken on new challenges with its first foray into development of a fully 3D game. The company considers it one of its most ambitious games to date. It has expanded the dev team, built a new game engine, and removed the grid-based movement system.
That’s right. Cyber Knights is gridless. And, in a genre that is traditionally grid-based, that might require a minute to get used to. But Trese Brothers explained that removing the grid will give the player more precise control over movement and positioning along with more challenging cover mechanics. To select targets, Cyber Knights instead uses a technique known as “raycasting,” a term that’s a bit over my head. It has something to do with 3D graphics and computational geometry. All that really matters is that it results in more realistic combat effects. For example, a grenade’s damage will diminish in relation to the target’s distance from the detonation point.
Everybody Enjoys a Nice Dystopia
Cyber Knights takes place in the dystopian New Boston Zone of 2231. It is a dark future in which technology has overrun everything. Artificial consciousness has been successfully created and subsequently globally outlawed. The world is beset with man-made environmental disasters. And rivalrous mega corporations have set up colonies and research stations throughout the solar system. In other words, the game is cyberpunk the way we love it through and through.
The cyberpunk setting isn’t just genre fluff to color the backdrop of the game, however. Cyber Knights attempts to fully investigate the ever-intriguing themes of transhumanism, artificial consciousness, corporate warfare, environmental collapse, cybernetics, and superhuman abilities. Trese Brothers wants players to delve into these topics and explore their significance throughout the course of the game.
As such, Cyber Knights does not revolve solely around fighting, and here enter some of the RPG elements of the game. The world is dynamic with multi-tiered and interconnected storylines. The game immerses you as the player in city-wide events, mid-level stories involving employers and NPC contacts, as well as more personal intra-team interactions. These events can occur simultaneously. So you have to decide which to prioritize, which to postpone, and which to disregard entirely.
And your choices will have an impact on the world and the characters in it. If you ignore jobs or become distracted by one storyline and neglect another, parts of the story can move on without you. Likewise, your team evolves depending on these decisions. Make the wrong choice and somebody might feel betrayed; make another and the bonds of loyalty may grow stronger.
Let’s Make a Deal
In the game you are a mercenary, or Cyber Knight, employed by the highest bidder. These employers are some of the most dangerous and powerful agents in the New Boston Zone, each with their own agenda. You will have to negotiate contracts, maneuver around the fickle and potentially volatile whims of crime lords, and take advantage of criminal connections in order to gain access to weapons and gear to power up your squad of up to six hired mercs.
In Cyber Knights, success during missions will depend on skillfully building a diverse squad of specialists. Each mercenary whom you hire comes with a backstory that defines their personality, skillset, and starting traits. You can customize every member of the team with unique abilities, jobs, gadgets, and weapon and ammo loadouts. And as the game progresses, you can train your squad to improve their skills and talents. Or ensure they are in top enemy-stomping form by equipping them with increasingly powerful and useful cybernetic implants.
When not busy blasting or sneaking their way through a mission or interfacing with contacts in the city, your team will hang out in the Safehouse. Earnings from completed missions will fund upgrades and additions to your base. Build a clinic where your mercs can undergo cybernetic surgery, add workshops for crafting and modding weapons, or convert a room into a kennel to house a pack of nano-enhanced attack hunds. Again, the decisions made here will impact outcomes in the game. For instance, rooms you build in the Safehouse might provide access to unique gear or affect the healing time of injured squad members.
Time to Fight
Missions in Cyber Knights will be both handcrafted and procedurally generated. So you can replay a quick scavenger run multiple times and enjoy a fresh experience every time. Or you can reattempt a more complex operation using different tactics to try for a different outcome.
Prepping before heading into a mission can mean the difference between victory or failure. In order to nudge the odds of success in your favor, it will often be advisable to bribe a security agent, forge security passes, hit up a contact for a stolen passcode, or purchase a virus from a hacker to disrupt the security network of your next target.
Weaponry in the game is stronger than defensive armor. This means that taking hits even a few times during a firefight can lead to serious injuries to squad members or, even worse, elimination from the fight. So your goal is to not get hit. You will need to use traditional turn-based tactics such as combining long- and short-range weapon use and taking advantage of cover, high ground, and overwatch if you want to come out victorious. Utilizing the game’s stealth mechanics to take out lone enemies without alerting their comrades will also be key in gaining the upper hand during missions.
Not surprisingly, as your team of mercenaries progresses in the game and becomes more powerful, so too will the foes they encounter become more difficult to overcome. Trained security contractors and corporation soldiers replace gang members and street militias, each with different specializations and abilities, battle tactics, and types of intelligence. And in addition to human opponents, your squad will have to hack their way past hostile security systems in order to infiltrate target facilities and locations.
Look to the Future
With the plethora of information provided thus far by Trese Brothers about the game, Cyber Knights promises to be one of the developer’s most ambitious games yet. If it proves to be anything like their previous titles, upon its release in 2021 the cyberpunk tactical RPG will quickly gain a faithful following who will appreciate the dystopian world of the New Boston Zone for years to come. Additional information about the game can be found on the Cyber Knights: Flashpoint Kickstarter page.
Source: Rock Paper Shotgun
Is it Hardcore?
Cyber Knights: Flashpoint promises to be an in-depth and compelling plunge into a cyberpunk dystopian future. Trese Brothers aims to tap into the knowledge gained from developing its previous games and ramp up the graphics, world development, base building, and character customization with this latest endeavor.