The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance Tactics review – puppet master

The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance Tactics – Hmmmm… (pic: En Masse) The Netflix show gets its own video game tie-in, by the team behind Stranger Things 3, but have they come up with a successful strategy? There have been a lot of unexpected revivals in video games over […]

There have been a lot of unexpected revivals in video games over the years – from Shenmue to Bubsy Bobcat – but Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance really does beat them all. It seems almost unbelievable that, after all this time, Jim Henson’s 1982 movie could get a TV prequel series that is arguably even better than the original, especially as it still uses puppets in the same way and with just the right level of additional CGI. It’s a miracle that has to be seen to be believed and we very much suggest you do, whether you’ve seen the original movie or not.

You’ve probably already guessed from the name, but this is a clone of the seminal Final Fantasy Tactics and the various other games it inspired. That means it’s an old-fashioned, turn-based strategy game with role-playing style character progression. Not an obvious way to go with The Dark Crystal franchise, but then we’re not sure what would be, beyond a Telltale games style adventure.

The role-playing elements, again ripped off from Final Fantasy, are fairly in-depth, as you unlock different jobs (i.e. classes), equip weapons and items, and choose which of the various special abilities to take with you into battle. The interface for all this is a chore though, and quickly deflates your desire to experiment; as does the fact that you have to keep specialist characters levelled up for them to be useful, which requires a lot of unwanted level grinding.

The most interesting thing about the game, and the one obvious benefit The Dark Crystal licence brings with it, is that the Gelfings and their allies are physically very weak compared to most of their enemies, especially the Skekis. That means you have to engage in some potentially interesting hit and run tactics, while gaming the move order in your favour so you can get in an attack and avoid the inevitable counter. Although the robotic artificial intelligence means that never quite seems like the tactical triumph it should be…

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