Echo

Go­ing to war with a sen­tient building… and your­self

Games Master - - Preview Eyes-on With Future Hits! - Ben Grif­fin

The way you play shapes who you fight in this thought­ful stealth puz­zle game. Sneak and foes get sneaky. Speed through and they’ll be­come faster. Whip out a gun and they’ll match your blood­lust bul­let for bul­let. And if you’re just re­ally nice to ev­ery­one? Well, no-one’s ever thought to try it.

En­e­mies are ac­tu­ally clones of your char­ac­ter, En, a white-haired as­sas­sin ven­tur­ing into the heart of a sen­tient mega-palace for mys­te­ri­ous rea­sons. Her minute-by-minute mo­tive, though, is crystal-clear: to reach the exit with­out suf­fer­ing an ig­no­ble death at the hands of an adap­tive mimic army.

Mimicry wolf

The sen­sa­tion of be­ing watched is pal­pa­ble. While the palace’s pry­ing eyes record your be­hav­iour and feed it to roam­ing sen­tries like re­vi­sion cheat sheets, those eyes do blink oc­ca­sion­ally. When the lights switch off and the building re­boots, you’re free to act as you please, prompt­ing a pe­riod of sin-free mis­be­haviour in which En can go trig­ger-happy in the dark. The caveat be­ing, to earn that re­boot, you have to di­verge from the cur­rent path and teach your en­emy a new be­hav­iour. It’s a smart way of scal­ing up the game’s dif­fi­culty.

From Ul­tra Ul­tra, a Dan­ish developer largely as­sem­bled from peo­ple who brought you mul­ti­ple Hit­man en­tries, you can re­ally trace a through-line be­tween those games and this. There’s the re­ac­tive AI, the se­date pace, the knife-edge ten­sion, and the con­stant re­minder you’ve got to think about your ac­tions. Hope­fully the AI is equipped to learn your com­plex­i­ties rather than shift be­tween a few core playstyle tem­plates, be­cause it’ll be won­der­fully off-putting to face a foe as bum­bling as we are.

By man­ag­ing the blackout cy­cle you can mould op­po­nents into ones you want to fight.

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