Frozen Synapse Prime – Review

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Have you ever started a game where the initial experience left you feeling extremely cold? When you pick up something you you expect those initial moments of the game to be filled with little wow moments that really get you into the experience, kind of like how James Bond film always starts with an awesome action sequence. When I put my PS Vita down after my initial hour with Frozen Synapse Prime I was left feeling worse that cold, I was frozen.

Over time though my cold, cold heart was thawed by a brilliantly designed tactical game that I couldn’t get enough of.

Frozen Synapse Prime has been brought to PS Vita by Double Eleven and it’s essentially a updated version of the 2011 mobile title Frozen Synapse. Thats not to say this is just a lazy mobile port; graphically the title looks decent without ever being something spectacular, it sounds good and the implementation of control system is very well done, allowing you to use either the Vitas touchscreen or the analogue sticks to make your way through the menus and make decisions in game.

Frozen Synapse Prime 1

With regards to the story, if I’m completely honest there’s not really anything here to write home about. You effectively are commanding a group of people called Tactics who are part of a rebel organisation trying to take down the big bad evil corporation who control everything. Little pieces of story happen at the beginning and the end of each mission to try and give you some context but it really isn’t the main reason you find yourself wanting to play through the 40 campaign missions, it’s the amazing level design and tactical gameplay that does that.

I’ve made it four paragraphs without mentioning another game that everything reading this will be thinking of…XCom. This is not XCom, it is a completely different style of game and it is amazing for that. You get the opportunity to plan your moves for your team, each move takes place over a number of seconds and within those seconds you can command your troops to do various special manoeuvres in order to give them the best chance of survival.

The kicker with FSP is that when you have locked in your moves and ask your team to carry them out the enemy moves at the same time. Here ensues an amazing tactical battle, even more so than XCom. You start to think the enemy is going to do one thing so you plan accordingly, only for them to do something completley different and three of your team die. You feel responsible, “how could I have not seen that’s what they were going to do” you scream to yourself in frustration.

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The frustration that you will feel when team members die is more to do with the fact you didn’t anticipate the enemy movement and not because one of your team has just died. There isn’t any individual soldier progression so that sense of despair as you see a Sniper who you have been carefully levelling up for ten missions doesn’t really hit you.

There’s a decent amount of mission variety over the course of the games 40+ single player missions so you don’t find yourself getting too bored just wiping everyone else off the map before you progress. There are missions where you need to hold out for a certain amount of time, escort high value targets and collecting data keys whilst staying alive to name but a few. It certainly helps keeping the game fresh. And if you have had enough of the single player you can jump into some multiplayer where you can play several games at a time if you so desire.

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