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Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves

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By Kelevandos02-07-2013
Bis18marck70 (editor)
BloodyFanGirl (editor)
Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves

The Defence

Developer:
Artifice Studio
Publisher:
Artifice Studio
Genre:
Strategy, Role Playing, Indie
Release Date:
05-04-2013

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Core i5
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce 9800
AMD Radeon HD4850
RAM:
4 GB
HDD:
4 GB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

 

The Devil works in mysterious ways. He is powerful and mighty, but oftentimes he chooses to do his work through men not resistant to his dark powers. While this may sound like the beginning of a Sunday sermon, it is in fact the message brought to us by Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves. But fear not, my children! While deep and educational in terms of the story, it remains hella entertaining!

The Trial

 

Sang-Froid is basically a tower-defense game, featuring elements of other genres, namely role playing games (regarding the game’s character development and equipment) and third person shooters (while making use of the rifle). Our task is to defend a little forest cottage against waves of mythical creatures. But while most of such games base their difficulty on quantity, in this case it is the quality that matters. The enemies are few, but powerful, featuring werewolves, will-o’-the-wisps, maikans and other creatures from both fantasy and the Native American folklore. Each creature has its strengths, weaknesses and behavior models, sometimes making the player spend more time on the preparation screen, carefully placing traps and bait, than on the actual field acting. New enemies appear along the story, making you rethink your „unbeatable strategy” over and over once you think you got it figured.

Welcome to the Red Tree District! Our girls are as loyal as dogs! Or wolves.

Welcome to the Red Tree District! Our girls are as loyal as dogs! Or wolves.

In order to stand ground against this diabolic bestiary, our character (we get to choose one of two brothers) will have to set traps, use sound and scent to lure enemies and turn to mystical forces to enchant his arsenal. We have a total of 12 traps at our disposal, some equipment we can purchase (both defensive and offensive, and some of it can even get special effects in the likes of a blessing or silver coating) and lots of different tactics to apply. The game keeps adding to our range of choice, increasing the complexity with every subsequent night. This tutorial system works well but we must learn fast as the difficulty goes up quickly. Also, there is no random match option, which would appear standard for the genre. All we get is the story, so if you are into a quick-setup action – look another way.

The story, which is one of the most valuable aspects of the game, tells us about the O’Carroll siblings and of twenty days in the December of 1858 which changed their lives forever. After the local priest attempted abuse on Josephine O’Carroll fails, he turns the whole settlement against her. Not long after, the local population of ferocious wolves gets even more ferocious... What at first appears as another cartoon-stylized gameplay setting soon evolves into a complex, intense tale of good and evil, engrossing the player until the very end. And then, when you begin to feel sad that it ended, the post-ending scene promises a sequel (so does the subtitle of “TOME 1” which is visible in the main menu)!

Quebecan calendars - investment in the future!

Quebecan calendars - investment in the future!

In terms of graphics, Sang-Froid is top quality for an indie game, but this is it. It is in no way comparable to the newest titles from the biggest studios out there, but if you prefer colourful landscapes and character & monster models built around an interesting idea (rather than care about the number of triangles) you will love this! Everything seems custom-made here, animations are smooth, the monsters unique, the cut-scenes funny and the game as a whole has this one-of-a-kind atmosphere. It is definitely worth checking out! The well-chosen music completes the atmosphere, but I wouldn’t call it memorable. The controls deserve a mention too, as despite the indieness of the title, there seemed to be no issues at all. Actually, it was the other way around - the sensitivity of pop-up buttons used for activating defensive structures and such surprised me several times with the responsiveness.

 

The Verdict

If you are looking for an interesting game, with a deep story told in a unique way and interesting characters - buy this game. If you are bored of all of the similar looking tower defense games and want something fresh - buy this game. If you like strategic challenges, oftentimes failed over and over again, but giving lots of satisfaction when finished, guess what? Yes, buy this game! And if all you want from a game is great graphics, with the gameplay best controlled with a single button and lots of costly DLC - search somewhere else. This is a begining-to-end game-tale, with no exploration, no DLC and no awesome PR. It is simply a story, but a one worth hearing.

 

Case Review

  • A Story Worth Hearing: The fable-like story of Sang-Froid will leave you begging for more.
  • Interesting Tower Defense: If you are bored with repetitive titles of the genre, try this one!
  • Play It Your Way: Use traps to defeat the ferocious beasts or face them head on with axe in hand!
  • Beastie Beastie: The developers did a great job with combining catholic and Native American mythologies for the bestiary!
  • Lots o’ Stuff: The amount of available equipment and its special features allows you to change the playstyle on the run.
  • Solid And Polished: There is nothing in it which I could call unfinished or unpolished.
  • Won’t Play Itself: The game gets tough and it gets tough fast. Be ready.
4
Score: 4/5
If you are looking for an interesting indie tale - you’ve found one.

Appeal

I previewed Sang-Froid: A Tale of Werewolves and upon playing the finished version, I have this much to say - I feel the same about it as I felt about the unfinished version. It is a game with great potential and interesting mechanics spoiled by a lousy game system and even worse controls. The floaty movement and combat really spoil the game.

However, rather than hiding its issues, Sang-Froid makes them a major part of the game itself, causing the game’s problems to push their way to the forefront. Thus, I cannot recommend it to anyone in its current state. While some of the art is beautiful and the design is quite well-done, the controls are simply much too primitive and takes away too much immersion from players to make it a game worth investing one’s time in. Perhaps it was an idea ahead of its time. In more well-funded hands, under different circumstances. Who knows?

2.5
Score: 2.5/5

Appeal

Sang Froid is a bit of a mixed bag. It offers a take on the tower defense genre that is unique enough for it to stand out from the crowd. It follows the same model as most modern tower defense/shooter hybrids; before each new wave, you set out defenses, upgrade equipment and prepare for the coming wave. During the wave, you'll take direct control over a character to fend off the beasties. Most of the differences that stray from the standard model are mere modifications rather than game-changers. For example, instead of setting out towers or turrets that continuously fire at the hordes of incoming enemies, you'll instead place out traps that hurt or slow down enemies who walk into them. While some traps activate automatically, others require your presence in order to function. Because the map grows larger with time, and you can't be everywhere at once, this element forces you to plan extra well before each wave. The game does a good job introducing you to everything, and that's good, because things get tough really fast.

Where the game fails, is where things get technical. Though the artistic direction is nice and ties in well with the gameplay, the graphics overall are unimpressive and sometimes downright ugly to look at - even for a small indie title. The landscape looks empty and dull, animations are stiff and floaty. In addition to this, controlling your character doesn't feel quite right either. But the sound design is for the most part strong; wolves sound like wolves for example, and the soundtrack is nothing short of amazing. The voice acting, however, is so bad that you'll feel an urge to tear off your speakers' cable with your teeth. Overall, Sang Froid is not at all a bad game. It pulls some of its own ideas off quite nicely and has some new elements mixed in with the standard model. It's too bad that the game has such serious technical shortcomings and fails to make you feel any sort of connection with the buildings you defend and the people you meet. All in all, this risks making it uninteresting for players to continue playing for very long.

3
Score: 3/5
Comments (3)
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Posts: 2850

Hmm. There's a certain logic in that. Scent marking

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Posts: 1512

Maybe that's what he is doing? :P

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Posts: 2850

Why does the guy in the first picture look like he's doing a wee-wee?