Ta­coma an in­ter­est­ing and pow­er­ful game

Bray People - - ENTERTAINMENT -

THERE’S a cer­tain voyeuris­tic qual­ity to Ta­coma that was mildly off-putting at first, but af­ter hours spent dig­ging through your co-habi­tants be­long­ings, watch­ing ar­gu­ments and em­braces, I couldn’t warm to the in­trigu­ing and dis­turb­ing fu­ture world that Ta­coma builds.

You play as a con­tracted AI com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist who must board the Lu­nar Trans­fer Sta­tion Ta­coma af­ter your task is com­plete. Ta­coma’s well-de­signed sec­tions of­fer a wealth of in­for­ma­tion and aug­mented-re­al­ity (AR) record­ings that you can down­load to your Nin­tendo 3DS-like de­vice.

Down­load­ing the record­ings al­lows you to ac­cess the meat of Ta­coma’s sto­ry­telling. All or most crewmem­bers are usu­ally present in every scene, so I was en­cour­aged to ex­pe­ri­ence each record­ing in dif­fer­ent ways as I fol­lowed mem­bers to hear their part. This is made easy with the rewind, fast-for­ward, and pause func­tions that ma­nip­u­late the time­line which shows the length of the record­ing.

The time­line was also help­ful in show­ing when a crewmem­ber opened their AR desk­top, which can also be ac­cessed dur­ing the record­ings. In­ter­act­ing with the desk­tops and notes left through­out the sta­tion is op­tional, but they’re im­por­tant re­sources for gath­er­ing more con­text about each crew mem­ber’s is­sues, in­ter­ests, and re­la­tion­ships.

With only two days of oxy­gen left, many of the record­ings in­volve the crew ar­gu­ing, prob­lem-solv­ing, or com­fort­ing one an­other as their time starts to run out. Even with­out fa­cial an­i­ma­tions of any kind, it’s easy to in­ter­pret their emo­tions, mostly due to phe­nom­e­nal voice act­ing from the cast. But to re­ally un­der­stand the crew’s dy­nam­ics, you have to poke around their emails and IMs, the books and keep­sakes in their bunks, and the few record­ings that cap­ture them alone.

Of course, while the in­di­vid­ual sto­ries you gather up from the crew are en­gag­ing, there is also a wider nar­ra­tive be­ing pushed by the de­vel­op­ers. One of your crew mem­ber’s con­ver­sa­tions with the sen­tient AI on board the ship serve as your main source of learn­ing the big pic­ture stuff go­ing on out­side of Ta­coma, but it feels in­com­plete. It is my one main gripe with Ta­coma that, un­til the very end, the greater con­text feels very far away.

Ta­coma is an in­ter­est­ing and pow­er­ful game. While it may not pro­vide break­neck ac­tion, it will leave a last­ing im­pres­sion on the player.

While it may not pro­vide break­neck ac­tion, Ta­coma will leave a last­ing im­pres­sion on the player.

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