GungHo Online Entertainment, NIS America / Camouflaj, Logan Games
Action Adventure, Stealth
It’s quite common these days to see a game that was originally announced for iOS devices expand onto other formats (Android, PC, OS X). Especially when Kickstarter is behind it all, so a Playstation 4 release doesn’t seem all that strange. It’s interesting to see how a game that was originally developed for smart phones/tablets would play, with the end result not being what you would expect.
Spread across five episodes, République is what I would call the perfect example of a stealth game. You don’t just control our main character Hope, you guide her towards the exit of a labyrinth known as Metamorphosis – a place that performs experiments on people who were born and raised in the facility. The player is given the power to hack into the city, with your field of view being what the surveillance cameras can see. This is the idle power to help Hope escape this place, as you unlock doors & hack computers when needed. As you jump from one camera to the next, you are in a freeze-like state, which is just what you need for planning your next move. The item that allows you to do all this is called OMNI View. In the early stages of the game, you aren’t allowed to do a whole lot unless you purchase upgrades by selling information you acquire about Metamorphosis. It’s a handy option, one that will make your time with the game a lot more relaxed thanks to the set challenging difficulty.
The guards here aren’t stupid, and will be aware of any tiny mistake you make as you try to hide yourself from their view. This game isn’t by any means a walk in the park. You’ll be targetted by any mistake you make, which is easily done as you try to figure out the easiest route from one room to the next. Being caught does not mean game over. You are simply escorted to the nearest cell, or save house as you could call it. It’s nice to not be punished that badly, but you’ll still feel a sense of frustration as your plan is foiled by a tiny mistake you didn’t seem to notice.
Along for the journey is Cooper, a member of Metamorphosis who has decided to help Hope and the player escape. His assistance comes in the form of explaining Metamorphosis and the way it works. You could get away with saying he’s basically the tutorial section, without being spoon-feed how to play the game. Cooper’s dialogue is spot on, which a great selection of comical lines which deliver a lot of impact thanks to his Microsoft Sam voice and keyboard emoticons. I wouldn’t be lying if I said Cooper was my favourite part about République – he’s just what you need to lighten up the dark mood set by the opening section of the story. My favourite Cooper part of the game is the explanation of the video game collection that are on floppy disks, which can be obtained by having Hope pick them from the back-pockets of the guards which are wandering around. Each one is an indie game that you might be aware of, but if not you can still enjoy what Cooper has to say about them. Collecting them all is the perfect challenge for those that are up for it.
For what was an iOS game originally, the PS4 release is very nice looking. Hope, with her cyberpunk appearance doesn’t stand out as she escapes the facility that looks like it belongs in a Metal Gear Solid game. The attention to detail is great, with enough to catch your attention as you plot your escape route. Speaking of Metal Gear, audio logs that can be obtained are voiced by David Hayter, the legendary voice behind Solid Snake. That alone is enough to capture someone’s attention, which is a smart move if you want people to play a stealth game which shares quite a few similarities.
République is worth spending time with. It’s a well made game that isn’t perfect, but has enough attentional content that makes it more than your bog-standard escape from one room to the next stealth experience. If you have some free time, help Hope escape from a life she wants to forget. If you do, Cooper will personally thank you from the bottom of his heart, and deliver a performance you will want to tell everybody about.