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Post by Leisher »

(TLDR at the bottom.)

Got this from the Humble Bundle sub. I put this one off for a bit because the art style just didn't speak to me (It's very 70s and I hate the 70s), and I really only thought of it as an FPS.

I was wrong. This game's art style is perfect for the story it tells, and it's fun as fuck. You know how games always advertise the "play your way", and it's usually a coin toss as to whether that's really true? It's true here. To a point, of course. Technology still has pretty tight limits. I will say that off the top of my head, I can genuinely not remember another game where the sneak through levels option was so perfectly done.

You wake up on a beach, and remember things, but not everything. You just know that you're in a repeating loop of time, and you're out to break it. The problem is that you're part of a large group of people who all entered this loop voluntarily and you're the only one that wants it to end. Also, a woman named Julianna is like you and can actually remember previous loops. (With one very notable exception, but that's for later.) She's trying to stop you. To break the loop you have to do a bunch of things in a single day. To make those things happen, you have to get in a lot of fights, live through multiple days, solve a bunch of puzzles, find loads of clues, and so on.

Quick note here: When you see people gathering, they're probably talking. Get close and listen in because some of the overall story, strategies/weaknesses, funny tidbits, and even puzzle clues are revealed in this way.

There are four locations. Technically, six if you count the opening level, which you play a few times initially and then never visit again once its storyline purpose has been fulfilled. The other is the final final area, but it's super tiny and I really wouldn't count it. The four main locations are the ones where you will spend most of your time. Now here's the trick to them: You can visit them during morning, noon (not all at noon), afternoon, and evening. Depending on the time of day, the area is going to be different. The other people's activities absolutely occur and alter areas. Often areas that are inaccessible during the day are open at night and vice versa. Every location is more dangerous at night. Some enemies can only be found at certain times, and so on. This is the main gimmick in how the story is told, so it plays a massive role.

Don't let that be daunting. You can rip through the story without spending years going through repetitive days. You can also skip time frames to speed things up. Also, only the most obscure optional puzzles require multiple visits to a location(s) at different times that don't mesh up with most of the other goals you're trying to achieve. For example: in Karl's Bay there is a character who is apparently one of the most interesting in the game. I've never spoken to him and I beat the game last night. Why have I never talked to him? Well, that's up to you to discover, but it'll be pretty obvious. One of the things I'll be doing tonight is intentionally playing through a day just for the goal of encountering him when I can. Sounds easy peasy, but I assure you the whole situation is fun and funny. It's going to require some combat, which I have done a few times, but didn't know...

And that's one thing I'll admit right now. Some of the puzzles are tough and the payoff might not be ideal, but the journey is still fun. After beating the game I have sought out a bit of help with a few things that didn't make sense. Just turned out I was doing them wrong and getting a bit too impatient. The smoke pact puzzle is probably the perfect example of how obscure a puzzle's solution can be in this game, and the payoff perhaps not ideal. Although, I did chuckle.

Some of the They're awesomely difficult due to the main mechanic of the game and the real lack of clues, but they also showcase one of the biggest flaws and that's how some of the features were planned out. For example, each level has a vending machine where you can theoretically buy some items to have delivered. However, you can't shop there until you get a code. Getting that code is, literally, called the game's most difficult puzzle by more than one place. By the time you get that puzzle solved, you really don't need the services of the vending machine. A minor quibble and you really need to solve that puzzle for another reason, but still a quibble.

So the fighting is standard FPS stuff, but with big twists. Here's where the "play your way" shows up. Want to silently kill everyone in a level? You can. Want to go guns blazing? You can. Want to not fire a shot and only kill your target? You can. Want to kill everyone, but not actually kill a single person yourself? It's possible on one level. The guns you get feel great and there's a mix of shotguns, handguns, machine guns, and a couple of specials you'll have to discover on your own. The one weapon you will always have is your machete, and while most of your kills with it will have the same animation, there are some really fun ones sprinkled in. (How your enemy is positioned, aware or unaware, etc.) You also have some grenades.

Most of the enemies are standard. They're just people in masks who got into this experiment. They suck at fighting and it's not what they signed up for, but they can kill you. You're not invincible. It won't take much to take you out unless you're using upgrades, and even then there's no guarantee of survival. Their most dangerous aspect is that they will swarm you, but this is also their weakness. Remember that. Also, not all kills need to be by hand. There are loads of things to find and exploit in the environment. Not just deadly, but also to solve puzzles or find new areas. (Shit, just realized there's yet another place I couldn't access and I know there's nothing there worth it, but I'll hit it tonight just to say I did it.)

Some of the fights can get really hectic. This is very, very true of a certain location at a certain time of day. Recon is very important and there are usually a lot more enemies in an area than you may realize. Also know that they won't always travel as you expect. Two nights ago I ran out of time trying to do a perfect day. It was late and I had to stop to head to bed, but fuck did I get into a night firefight. I was crazy outnumbered, outgunned, stuck in a terrible position, and worst of all my personal predator shows up at that exact moment. It was awesome.

Visionaries are the main baddies. They're also the most interesting characters (with a couple of exceptions). There's Fia, Charlie, Harriet, Egor, Aleksis, Frank, Wenji, Julianna, and you. (There's also one other person that's not a visionary, but has one of their special trinkets you'll want to collect and he's easily the toughest.) Each of them is there for a different purpose. Some are dicks, some are good people, some are just mad scientists, but all are in your way. All have abilities with one exception, which should be obvious based upon something I said a few sentences ago.

Other characters you'll want to seek out, and have to in one case, is 2-bit (you're going to love him), the unnamed person I mentioned in the paragraph above, the mask maker (the guy I have yet to encounter), and Pick Rexley. DO NOT Google that last one!!! Pick is optional, kinda hidden, and slightly difficult to get to. There are some specific parameters for Pick. However, Pick is easily the game's biggest mystery. I have so many more questions that will not be answered, and I love that.

The biggest threat to you is Julianna for a few reasons. First, she can just show up any time to hunt you. You will be notified when she's on the hunt, but be aware that whatever you were doing, guns blazing or sneaking, now your very own predator is hunting you, and yep, she can absolutely camo. Second, she's not always AI depending on your settings. She could be controlled by a friend in your Steam list (my setting) or anyone in the world. I turned that off because I read that it could get VERY annoying. Yes, you can also play as Julianna and do this yourself. That game setting is called "Protect the Loop". I did it once or twice. It was fun, but I always feel bad interrupting someone else's session. Although, there is a game mechanic in place that does assist Colt in not losing progress. You'll discover that before leaving the first area, which is really a tutorial area. Third, there's a story line reason Julianna is a threat, but that's a spoiler.

I didn't even get into Charlie Montague's challenges. Side games and totally optional, but you'll probably want to complete 3-4 of them. In fact, there's a lot I still haven't mentioned. Smaller things, but this game is pretty damn deep.

FYI, there are three endings. I won't tell you what they are, but the save system prevents you from just doing them all back to back to back. You will have to play through the final day each time. I did the true ending last night. I plan to knock out the other two tonight, including the "happy?" ending and the worst ending. Playing that final day, especially the evening, is just so much damn fun.

Rumors hint at a sequel. Sales were good enough for one. And the story definitely points to some shit going on outside of what even the visionaries knew. I definitely want more of this story, this universe, this setting, and this new FPS game mechanic.

If you love a good story with interesting characters, FPS action, innovation, playing stealthy (or not), and want a game that you won't beat in a single evening and will probably stick with you for a while, get this one.

TLDR: Absolutely awesome game that comes with my highest recommendation.
“Every record been destroyed or falsified, books rewritten, pictures repainted, statues, street building renamed, every date altered. The process is continuing day by day. History stops. Nothing exists except endless present in which the Party is right.”
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