STATE OF MIND

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTEST - @Koenig­inKatze

Spec­u­la­tive sci-fi: the ac­knowl­edge­ment that, yes, it can get worse and here’s how. De­vel­oper Daedalic imag­ines two sides of a fu­tur­is­tic coin. Richard Nolan lives in a dark and op­pres­sive fu­ture, where the po­lice force is an en­tirely ro­botic, au­thor­i­tar­ian body, and he works for seem­ingly the only news out­let in the West, The Voice. Adam New­man, how­ever, lives in the bright and hope­ful City5 and works for chirpy news out­let The Present. Both men find them­selves knocked off bal­ance af­ter a car ac­ci­dent, ques­tion­ing their mem­o­ries and the shift­ing dy­namic be­tween them and their fam­i­lies. Sleuthing for clues, the in­flu­ence of the tech noir genre is ob­vi­ous. You’ll be de­crypt­ing your home an­droid’s mem­ory mod­ule, piloting a drone to scan club­go­ers’ IDs, and ques­tion­ing your friends over full-body, holo­graphic FaceTime. A com­pelling view of Ber­lin in the year 2048 is pre­sented through­out the first and early sec­ond act; much time is spent re­flect­ing on the line be­tween our real and vir­tual lives, crit­i­cis­ing the think­ing that the two aren’t one and the same, and ex­plor­ing the ways ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy si­mul­ta­ne­ously em­power and dis­em­power us.

The low-poly vis­ual stylings invoke a sort of retro­fu­tur­ist sen­si­bil­ity, a com­ple­ment to the story’s noir in­flu­ences. But like those pointy char­ac­ter mod­els’ faces, this one doesn’t fare well in closeup.

IN TWO MINDS

The noir in­flu­ences are, sadly, per­haps most ap­par­ent in the story’s an­ti­quated gen­der pol­i­tics; one promi­nent dame gets a full bingo card of tropes filling the role of the Other Woman, the Ill Girl, and the Down-on-Her-Luck Sex Worker With A Heart Of Gold. Bor­row­ing an­other noir genre con­ven­tion, many char­ac­ters are un­lik­able but rather than be­ing be­liev­ably flawed, they feel car­toon­ish. Even in the shoes of a va­ri­ety of key play­ers, it’s dif­fi­cult to re­late to or care about any of them – the kiss of death for any nar­ra­tive game.

The world build­ing, through the mun­dan­ity of its fu­tur­is­tic tech­nol­ogy to the in­sis­tent ad­ver­tise­ments that glower through win­dows, is its most com­pelling as­pect, along­side the nov­elty of its vis­ual di­rec­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, the good faith it builds with this is squan­dered by its story. The full po­ten­tial of that plot hook teased by the story trailer, of peo­ple be­ing up­loaded into a vir­tual world, is left largely un­tapped, cul­mi­nat­ing in a dis­ap­point­ingly sedate round of mu­si­cal-chair-es­que body hop­ping. The to­tal­ity of the story feels over­long and bloated, with the fi­nal act drag­ging through what feels like at least three end­ings. And when you do get to your fi­nal choices, they’re not given the space to re­ally breathe or feel weighty. What starts out promis­ingly as a sci-fi, tech noir mys­tery quickly un­rav­els into a rote, playable ac­tion film.

VER­DICT

“IT ALL CUL­MI­NATES IN A SEDATE ROUND OF MUSICALCHAIR-ES­QUE BODY HOP­PING.”

A com­pelling take on the fu­ture ham­pered by a story very much of our time. When I think about it, this is one I’d strug­gle to rec­om­mend that you pay much mind to. Jess Kinghorn

Full body FaceTime looks su­per-cool in the­ory but be­comes hor­ri­fy­ing when you fully con­sider its likely prac­ti­cal re­al­ity.

INFO

FOR­MAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB DAEDALIC EN­TER­TAIN­MENT DEV DAEDALIC EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.