Top Critic Average
Double Fine's Massive Chalice takes XCOM's DNA in a fresh direction, but doesn't exceed it.
Massive Chalice's aggressive tactical combat would be stronger without so many opportunities to lose due to bad luck.
Basically, the game asks a lot of you, and demands that you pay close attention to every decision you make. While that makes for a steep learning curve, requiring deep thought is hardly the worst sin a strategy game can commit. Slyly funny, satisfyingly deep and yet slick and simple to play, Massive Chalice is a huge return to form for a studio that is overdue a comeback.
A strategy role-player that is filled with clever ideas and inspires great empathy with your characters, even if the battle system is a few steps behind XCOM.
A strategic experiment in eugenics that could benefit from more attention to the fine details
Massive Chalice can create hilarious moments of eugenics disasters, but other elements leave a lot to be desired.
A smart, fun exploration of turn-based tactics in a fantasy setting.
Massive Chalice's generational loop makes for a strong core, and elements like the hybrid classes lend it some much-needed depth. However, it doesn't do a great job of tracking the history of your heroes, and it's ultimately lacking in elements like diverse character art and base classes. Still, there's the foundation for a phenomenal strategy game here if Double Fine is willing to build on it. As it is, though, it makes for a diverting few hours, and a welcome change of pace from XCOM.
I felt like middle management making the same position appointments that a computer could make more quickly and all I got for my click click clicking was combat with bigger numbers on the same handful of stages. There is some payoff with the bloodline idea at the end, but it is not worth the rote meat grinder to get there.
Between the bloodlines, research, and combat, Massive Chalice tosses a ton to micromanage, and it can feel overwhelming. But it all builds up to a spectacular ending that makes it worthwhile and satisfying.