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June 2024


Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Spitfire Interactive
Release Date: May 29, 2024


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Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Capes'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on May 1, 2024 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Capes is a gritty superpowered turn-based strategy RPG that will return hope to a world without heroes.

Midnight Suns was one of my favorite games in 2022; I found the XCOM-meets-superheroes theme to be addictive. The relatively poor performance of the game left me wondering if we'd see its like again. Despite being inspired more by something like Freedom Force, Capes reminded me of that game a fair bit.

Capes is set in a dystopian future in King City, where superheroes have been forced underground and an evil corporation has taken over. The corporation finds anyone who shows traces of superhuman powers and spirits them off to somewhere bad. You follow a group of renegade "capes" (who do not, in fact, wear capes), who, aided by a former superhero, stand against the forces of evil and return justice to King City.

While Capes has a lot in common with XCOM visually, the gameplay is distinctively different. The first major thing is that you're superheroes. You're not hiding behind waist-high walls but are in the thick of things. Positioning is still very important for this reason. You can see who enemies are going to attack and manipulate positioning, so your more vulnerable members are kept safely behind the strong ones.

Facet is the tank of the party. He can create crystal growths on his body that significantly reduce the damage he takes from all sources, and he can taunt enemies into focusing on him, freeze them in place, and more. He has am Ultimate ability that is charged when he takes damage. He's not invulnerable, but he's durable enough to take multiple rounds of sustained damage and be up and about.

Rebound, the team's teleporter, can take about two to three hits before she's downed. In exchange, she has an absurd amount of mobility. Her basic movement action is a teleport, so she can move across gaps that others can't and she can teleport as part of her attacks. She even gains bonus damage from backstabbing enemies. She is absolutely brutal in combat, but if Facet isn't tanking for her, she's practically helpless.

This is further amplified by the game's Disarm mechanic. Enemies who are armed with weapons can be disarmed, either by the special powers of characters like Rebound and Mindfire — or just by being close and choosing to spend one of your action points to disarm. This is important, as guns and other weapons are a big boost to enemy damage. If an enemy is going to survive their turn, it's better to leave them disarmed so Facet only has to deal with punches instead of bullets.

The teamwork emphasis of the game is also present in special Team Up abilities. As long as a character is within three spaces of another character, they can team up to perform special combo attacks or abilities. Rebound can teleport one of her allies to a spot that she could otherwise move to; this is immensely useful to move the slow, armored-up Facet. On the other hand, if Rebound attacks an enemy who is busy focusing on Facet, he can create one of his crystals for her to slam into an enemy to deal extra damage. Mindfire can do the same by sending one of Facet's shards at Mach 10 into an enemy's face. These combo attacks are super useful but require careful positioning.

Of course, the enemies can be just as dangerous as your heroes. There are big supervillains who require your team to work together to take down, but there are also enemy supers who can be overwhelming when combined with regular mooks. You're forced to use stealth mechanics to avoid them, but they demand extremely smart tactical positioning. It's a nice reminder that you might be superheroes, but the other side has supers as well.

Overall, Capes has the potential to be a darn fun take on the XCOM style. It sits comfortably in the middle ground between XCOM and Midnight Suns, and it offers the same superhero action as Suns while providing some of that XCOM flavor. I'm looking forward to experiencing more of the game when it hits later in May 2024 for PC and consoles.

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