Lamplighters League is an upcoming Game Pass wonder for the XCOM crown

Lamplighters League is an upcoming Game Pass wonder for the XCOM crown

According to Harebrained Schemes co-founder Mitch Gitelman, I was the first developer and not a game tester to play Team Shadowrun Trilogy’s new strategy game, the pulpy 1930s Lamplighters League Xbox in San Francisco during GDC 2023, I was captivated by the combination of real-time stealth and XCOM-like turn-based combat, and was grinning from ear to ear the entire time.

When I found out you could safely wait in the tall grass for a patrol to pass oil-encased explosive boxes, with all the enemies, interactables, and randomly placed items on each level, and take out four guards at once, I laughed. . I found out later that Gitelman and the rest of the Harebrained Schemes cheered me on watching this happen, because I had just unknowingly demonstrated something the team was concerned about when they first showed off their new game; The League of Blufflighters absolutely rules.

As well as getting an hour of hands-on Lamplighters League experience myself, I also sat down for an interview and hands-on presentation with Gitelman (left) and game director Chris Rogers (right), who discovered a medium. game mission and showed off the game systems. They were probably both as hungry as I was while I waited for lunch, but that didn’t stop us from getting down to business with the recently revealed League of Lamplighters .

If I’m being deliberately reductive, Lamplighters League immediately made me think of a Firaxis XCOM reboot – the UI and visual language was instantly familiar, and certain mechanics from across the series, especially XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, appear in this thrilling pulpy 1930s adventure.

That’s not to say that Lamplighters League isn’t original, it’s actually incredibly unique and sure to be a Game Pass blast, but if you’ve ever played XCOM you’re sure to feel right at home all the time. right away, that’s for sure.

How Lamplighters League lets you move your agents around and scout an area before real-time combat is awesome. You can set traps, eliminate enemies, and place each character in their ideal position before screaming and engaging in turn-based combat. However, you may be able to complete a mission entirely in stealth mode or switch between stealth and turn-based combat, and this level of freedom makes Lamplighters League a truly dynamic experience.

There’s a risk that the setup phase will also be real-time, forcing you to be very careful before making noise, but this gives Lamplighters League a very different feel to the gameplay loop you see in games. similar turn-based games. Strategy games.

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Unlike XCOM, however, the ten agents you can take on missions (three at a time, four for the biggest heist missions you can prepare for) are fully realized characters who interact with each other at the same time. both in the story and in the game in completely different ways. . You’ll start with the same three, but Gitelman tells me that “next time you play you can choose your starting Agents”, which provides a completely different experience right from the start.

One of my favorite agents was Fedir, a Russian strongman who acts like a tank class. His abilities include drawing enemy attention and turning his own damage into a buff, but he’s also very superstitious, and these aspects of his character allow him to rub shoulders with other agents both in and knocked out, calling one of the others. Officers. . with hidden powers a “witch!” at a moment’s notice.

The experience can also differ significantly on each map. The story I told you earlier about patrol and explosive boxes is not guaranteed, as enemies, items, interactables and items are procedurally generated in most play spaces. by default. The Lamplighters League tutorial alone was a treat for me, as these card and character systems work so well together, and I had only scratched the surface.

Lamplighters League is a GOTY Game Pass competitor for XCOM fans

Lamplighters League isn’t just about the micro experience of taking your agents through levels, but you also get a more macro experience of upgrades, unlocks, and an XCOM-like world map at your arrangement.

There are three houses after the game’s titular tower at World’s End (with the extra-long subtitle invoking the game’s serialized Indiana Jones vibe), and their bosses will travel across the world map, causing chaos. “If they fill up their meters completely, you have a chance to try and take them out,” Rogers tells me as he excitedly points to the world map, “otherwise it’s game over.”

If this sounds like the War of the Chosen XCOM 2 DLC, it definitely plays like one, creating a steady pushback from the game’s three factions that aim to keep you on your toes. In fact, you can attack these three factions directly as they move across the map to control them, as well as sending your own agents off-mission to run supply runs, which should keep all three factions at bay.

Lamplighters League is a GOTY Game Pass competitor for XCOM fans

Despite all the XCOM comparisons I’ve made, Lamplighters League still has its own strategy game DNA. I really enjoyed seeing how you can find yourself in near defeat situations and successfully plan your exit, as each character ends up with a wide variety of abilities they can use in conjunction with their gear and environment. . The more you know each agent inside and out, the better you’ll play and get the most out of their stories.

I told Gitelman, who seemed pleasantly startled by the thought and even more giddy than he had been during my first gaming session on that incredibly windy San Francisco morning.

“That’s what I love about this game,” Gitelman says with a smile. “You can find yourself in these really difficult situations and if you use your characters well in combination – switching between them, using their AP, using your special abilities – you can improvise your way out of these things, and it feels like a action adventure .movie.”

Harebrained Schemes wants the narrative, world, characters and gameplay to be inextricably linked in Lamplighters League, immersing you deeper into the experience by making turn-based strategy and the overall story as close as possible. Although it seems like a very difficult task, I certainly felt like it worked in my limited time with the game, so I asked Gitelman how the team pulled it off.

“What we’re doing is developing a character concept based on a trope, like an obvious thing, we need a big guy, right? OK, we have a Russian hitman. We tell the design team, and the design team goes, “Okay, what is this guy? You know, when he takes damage he gets angry, we’ll make that part of his character. And now he’s a furious character. And it comes and goes like that,” says Gitelman. “It’s a very collaborative, very iterative process, and they start to prototype character abilities. As they do that, we realize ‘Oh wait, we can incorporate that into the background of his character.

If you’re excited about Lamplighters League, don’t worry, the strategy game is releasing this year, and a console and PC Game Pass version is also planned on day one. It’s one of my favorite games I’ve seen at GDC, and it could very well be a massive hit when it releases later this year.

Brent Dubin
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming world you are looking for.Work Email: