Publisher/developer The Fullbright Company Format PC, Xbox One Release 2017
Tacoma has come on a long way since we first played a rather barebones build last year, but its core has remained unchanged. Set on the titular lunar transfer space station, you play private contractor Amy Ferrier, who has been sent by Tacoma owner Venturis Corporation to retrieve sensitive information and the station’s AI, ODIN, following an as-yet-unspecified emergency. Tacoma’s crew are absent and, if protocol was followed, should’ve evacuated, but ODIN tells you that their whereabouts is classified information.
Whatever the truth, you’ll be able to witness the events that took place in the hours leading up to the emergency thanks to ODIN’s rather intrusive logging of key crew interactions. These can be played back as holographic recordings, each member of the crew differentiated by the variety of body shapes and the different colour assigned to each person.
The Fullbright Company has spent the past year rebuilding the Tacoma station to ensure that it’s a more convincingly habitable space, and the effort shows. The station’s new centrifugal design still allows for transitions between zero G and standard gravity ( managed by nifty ‘vertical’ foot lifts that zip down the long arms which extend from the station’s centre), but the crew’s living quarters feel more functional than the spaces designed around the surface-transfer mechanic we saw last year, which saw Ferrier disengaging her magnetic boots to leap between walls, floors and ceilings solving environmental puzzles.
But Fullbright has simultaneously deepened your interactions with AR crew recordings and the environment. Rather than simply deciding which thread of conversation to eavesdrop on, now you have the power to pause, rewind and fast-forward playback to excavate every detail and interaction. Scenes take place over much larger spaces, too, so a couple of characters might pair off and head into another room at one point – perhaps to discuss other characters behind their backs. You’re also granted access to everyone’s desktop, an AR HUD where you can pore over private emails, information about the environment and other things they might not choose to vocalise. Fullbright suggests the order in which you hear conversations, and the additional context provided by these snippets of information, should profoundly alter how you perceive each character.
The setup empowers you as a voyeur to these stricken people’s lives, piecing together the story as you excavate each thread and slowly make sense of what’s going on, and their predicament is leant further credibility by some sharp writing and effective vocal performances.
Now you have the power to pause, rewind and fastforward playback to excavate every detail