Vanguard Bandits is a tactical isometric role-playing game with a sci-fi twist. It’s very rare to find a role-playing game done in this fashion. Most role-playing games stay with one theme.
Vanguard Bandits is a well-rounded role-playing game that follows suit with other RPGs like Vandal Hearts. You fight on a grid (similar to a checkerboard) and you are only allowed to control (move) one character at a time.
It brings unique features to the table that I haven’t seen anywhere else before, such as the ability to choose your defend tactics when being attacked by an enemy when it’s not your turn.
When being attacked, you can select one of the following methods: attack, defend, counter attack, or avoid. These choices don’t necessarily mean you will survive the attack, but they will greatly improve your odds of surviving.
This is a nice feature and it makes me wonder why it wasn’t used in other role-playing games after Vanguard Bandits. The experience system is far different than any role-playing game in recent memory. When in combat, whether you kill your opponent or just wound them, you will gain experience and money from battle.
In between chapters/missions, you can buy items from the shop, equip, conduct interviews, and view mission briefings.
Here’s where the sci-fi element(s) comes into play: the characters in Vanguard Bandits all use ATACs (All Terrain Armored Combatants) when in battle. ATACs act like mech suits when in combat, but they closely resemble samurai warriors. So while the game uses fantasy-based elements, it integrates the sci-fi theme seamlessly. Sci-fi role-playing games are in short supply, and they’re a change of pace from the standard, run-of-the-mill fantasy RPGs that flood the market today.
The 2D graphics are beautiful during the exploration portion of the game, but you can tell that 3D graphics were in their infancy when combat ensues. The combat sequences suffer from low polygon counts and bad plane clipping. The animations are choppy and stiff. Granted, these graphics were considered top-notch back in the day, but they did not age very well over the years.
I really liked the isometric transition into 3D, though. It’s something that really wasn’t seen back in the day.
Needless to say, Vanguard Bandits is still fun to play and it’s worth adding to your collection It has an in-depth story that spans across multiple chapters, with around twenty chapters/missions in all.
Whether you played Vanguard Bandits back in the day or not, it will feed your need for some old-school, tactical role-playing.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Working Designs
ESRB: T (Teen)
|The 2D graphics are very pleasing to the eye, but the 3D graphics have really shown their age.|
|The music happens to be quite good even though it repeats often during combat.|
|A good tactical role-playing game with a decent story and fairly lengthy campaigns. It also has the right amount of fantasy and sci-fi.|
|A well-rounded role-playing game that delivers an enjoyable experience.|