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When you hear a name like Tactical Assault, you rightly assume there's going to be a decent amount of tactical thinking involved in the ship-on-ship gameplay. Well, you certainly do have to mind your location in relation to the enemy, but all the action takes place on a flat plane - how sneaky can you be when you can only steer left and right?
In the mission we tested, we had to check out a mysterious signal that was emanating from deep space. Once we got there, a few different options were available: float around and chill; scan the area for enemy ships and attack; or scan the area for enemy ships and try to talk them out of a confrontation. We opted for a battle worthy of a Klingon funeral song.
Battle, despite the game's tactical implications, is in real time, but again, you're only moving your ship side-to-side. The idea is to soak up damage with your shields and keep spinning around so those weakened parts take as few hits as possible. This basically results in you making figure-eights with your not-Enterprise spaceship, trying to sneak in a photon torpedo or two against the other guy. Green shields are good... red or nonexistent shields mean it's time to call for help. Which we did. With the extra ship-support, we vanquished our Klingon adversaries and ensured that the strained racial tension keeps going.
When you're not flying in a circle, trying to line up a solid shot against the enemy, you can delve into some light resource management. Pull power from other systems, overcharge your weapons... easy stuff, nothing too heavy, but could give you an edge in battle.
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