En­ter your mind palace in Twin Mirror

Hands-on with dontnod’s lat­est nar­ra­tive ex­per­i­ment

Games TM - - CONTENTS -

For­mat: PC, PS4, Xbox one | pub­lisher: bandai NAMCO | de­vel­oper: dontnod EN­TER­TAIN­MENT | re­lease: 2019 | play­ers: 1

We re­cently had the op­por­tu­nity to sam­ple but a taste of Twin Mirror, a slice of in­tro­duc­tory game­play cut from the first episode of the game, Lost On Ar­rival. It’s weird; pretty bloody weird. Then again, at this point we wouldn’t re­ally ex­pect any­thing less from Dontnod.

We quickly hit the beats of the trailer. We are in­tro­duced to Sam, a man with a sad story that has led him down a sad path: to a down­trod­den part of small-town Amer­ica. Then he wakes up with a crack­ing hang­over, and all hell breaks loose; his shirt is cov­ered in blood, he can’t remember a thing, and there’s a spritely man­i­fes­ta­tion of his sub­con­scious dart­ing in and out of the ho­tel room, goad­ing him. If that wasn’t enough to process, he has got a re­cep­tion­ist slam­ming on his door telling him that he’s about to miss check­out, and no­body likes a late fee. So Sam re­treats into his mind palace in an at­tempt to fig­ure some things out.

Oh, yeah, we should prob­a­bly ex­plain.

One of Twin Mirror’s pri­mary game me­chan­ics is tied around your ac­tiv­i­ties in Sam’s mind palace – a space where frag­ments of his me­mory live and con­tort, some­where that we will be able to use to re­con­struct and rein­ter­pret in­for­ma­tion from his past. It’s here where we recre­ate the ho­tel room in an at­tempt to fig­ure out what the hell hap­pened the night be­fore. This vi­sion of the room can be ma­nip­u­lated, giv­ing us the time and space to change de­tails in the room and at­tempt to trig­ger the rec­ol­lec­tion of a me­mory.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing idea, and one that isn’t all that far re­moved from a sim­i­lar sys­tem seen in Dontnod’s Remember Me. But there’s some­thing to Twin Mirror that feels a lit­tle more en­gross­ing and en­velop­ing than that par­tic­u­lar previous ex­per­i­ment. A psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller in a world in which noth­ing is quite as it seems; a mur­der mys­tery with a pro­tag­o­nist con­stantly at odds with his own me­mory and per­cep­tion of re­al­ity? That’s cer­tainly some­thing we can get be­hind, so long as Dontnod can clear up some of the pre­sen­ta­tion and fram­er­ate prob­lems we wit­nessed in our demo.

Still, for some­thing so ob­vi­ously nar­ra­tivedriven and in­her­ently fo­cused around branch­ing de­ci­sions, it’s dif­fi­cult for us to get a taste for how all of this will play out across the three chap­ters. But it cer­tainly has our at­ten­tion, al­though, as with ev­ery­thing that comes out of Dontnod, it’s sim­ply im­pos­si­ble to know whether this will be an­other Life Is Strange, or whether it’ll be rel­e­gated to the an­nals of his­tory like Remember Me and Vampyr.

The first episode of Twin Mirror is ex­pected to launch in early 2019, al­though pub­lisher bandai namco is yet to re­veal how close the wait is likely to be be­tween each chap­ter.

Above: Twin Mirror is a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller that will seem­ingly take great de­light in sub­vert­ing ex­pec­ta­tions and throw­ing you into a litany of chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions.

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