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Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy Review

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy is one of the many strategy RPGs of 2022. For some reason, this was a year where a ton of these games came out all at once. One of the first high profile releases of 2022 was Triangle Strategy; a classic take on the genre.

The hybrid strategy RPGs like Live A Live, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope or Digimon Survive took bold steps in mixing up the strategy formula. There are more strategy RPGs to come: The DioField Chronicle, Tactics Ogre and three Front Mission remakes for this year and beyond.

There is no shortage of strategy RPGs in 2022. Just what does it take to make a good strategy RPG anyway? Is Absolute Tactics an underdog that can in this densely packed year of strategy RPGs? What can gamers expect? Find out in our Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy review!

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy
Developer: Curious Fate
Publisher: Akupara Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: August 15, 2022
Players: 1
Price: $24.99 USD 

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy does not make the best first impression. It has awkward graphics that rely on limb-based animation, character anatomy looks off and the dialogue feels anachronistic for a high fantasy setting. The early days of its release were also plagued with random crashes, but thankfully these have been addressed.

The story reads like a very stock “hero’s journey”, with the cast being more broad archetypes than fleshed out characters. One look at some of them and just by their designs, most people will know everything there is to know.

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy is not a subtle game. Mercy is a very generic and forgettable evil wizard and he’s got three goth girls who act as his generals. These are the “Daughters of Mercy”, and for some reason they are written like modern day e-girls who spend too much time on social media.

The stupefying dialogue is almost impressive with how far it goes in how dumb it is. It utterly clashes with the setting which is trying to be serious.

The experience feels as if one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing and the result is a headache-inducing mash of ideas that never feel complete. Huxley, the protagonist, won’t be winning awards for compelling characterization either.

The biggest change he undergoes is his outfit and that his dog becomes an extension of his abilities. He has no personality and always has a punchable, smug face that makes you want to throw acid in his eyes.

The character sprites are very limited with their animation. There is not a lot of range of poses or expression on them, and they move stiffly – even when standing still, their idle looks overly tense.

After a while, you may adjust to its crap-factor and won’t notice it and the decent environment models do most of the leg-work. The gameplay is a mixed bag as well.

There are some compelling strategic elements at play like how every character unit is extremely unique with their attack panels. Everyone has their bespoke abilities that make them indispensable in battle, and everyone participates with no benching.

There is a lot of potential for some complex and deep battles in Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy. Many of the story encounters will have shifting conditions and will demand some involving scenarios and set-pieces.

The spectacle does impress and make the game seem far more epic than it actually is. While the main story missions are a highlight, the same can’t be said for everything else.

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy is a very linear strategy RPG with some of the most disappointing and laziest implementation of training or grinding.

Most strategy RPGS allow some kind of random battle system where players can put their skills to the test and experience some variety and earn some extra XP on the side. In Absolute Tactics, the party set-up screen has an optional encounters menu which is suppose to function as an alternative to random encounters.

The problem with this is that every single one of these are scripted to be a certain way. This means no matter what, the player can use the same strategy every time and every battle becomes busywork. There is no variables to account for at all and to add insult to injury, the game’s balance is unusually very easy.

Most of the game was completed on “hard”, before “hardcore” was patched as a free update. By then it was too late and characters were already overpowered and there was not much left to accomplish. Anyone who is interested in Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy would be better off playing on the hardest setting to get the most out of it.

Aside from the unique approach to the units and how players can specialize them with equipment; Absolute Tactics is an incredibly average strategy RPG. It is very unremarkable and its held back by its atrocious writing.

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy makes a case for strategy RPGs needing care and attention given to the narrative and writing. Having characters that the player can care about or find entertaining can do a lot. Sadly, most of what makes the story and characters seem like some kind of joke or accidental satire of RPG tropes, as if it was written by jocks who despise RPGs.

The gameplay in Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy was close to being interesting. Its scope is very limited and the various soft-locks encountered were frustrating and time-wasting. Some of the technical issues were ironed out, but risk of them happening still looms while navigating the confusing menus and esoteric UI.

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by Akupara Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy is now available for Windows PC (via Steam) and Nintendo Switch.

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The Verdict: 5

The Good

  • Indispensable and flexible character building
  • Varied and diverse terrain for compelling battles
  • Does not overstay its welcome
  • Bright and colorful style, with huge monsters
  • Gimmicky stages that add some variety to the battles

The Bad

  • Insufferable anachronistic dialogue
  • Too easy
  • Dull and cliché story
  • Sloppy and vague interface
  • Repeating sprites and enemy types

About

A youth destined for damnation.