REVIEW – Apple users might have heard already of Camouflaj’s game, because on iOS, Hope’s adventures started in 2013 in an episodic format. However, we can now enjoy the complete totalitarian state stealth game on PlayStation 4, and PC as well!
For once, I would start with mentioning the story itself to be a little different with how I talk about things in this article. I liked how the cutscenes were put together, and – involving state surveillance and its effects – the way the camera interrupts and gets pixelated for a few frames. We could even interpret that it’s like Orwell’s 1984 reimagined in the game – everyone and everything are seen. Metamorphosis also has a few items scattered to expand the background story. Not bad for a start, huh?
This weird letter-number combination is how Hope is called in this world. The story also involves a covert agent called Cooper, and a mobile that is connected to Metamorphosis’ network. Hope doesn’t want to be „recalibrated”, so she tries to get the hell out of there. It’s not going to be easy. We’re not in a winning situation. The gameplay is focused mostly on stealth. This is where we could all say Metal Gear Solid, but the camera angles are fixed. Aaaaand this is where we could throw in Resident Evil! In fact, Republique feels like a mixture of the two franchises’ early installments.
Unfortunately, this mix is also part of the problem with the gameplay. (And I don’t mean that the PS4 only gives the chance to look at one camera while the PC allows multiple ones simultaneously.) The way the game switches between the cameras is jarring – the gameplay „locks up”, plus navigating Hope around is also something you must learn. One time, you might go one direction on one camera, only to end up going the opposite way on the next! Trust me; it can be a bit confusing.
Thankfully, we won’t be absolutely defenseless as we will be able to buy new skills later on, like an X-Ray vision, which allows Hope to see where the guards are. On the other hand, they also keep up the pace in the improvement race, making that escape a problem despite improving. You can still disable the guards if you have to, though. Too bad the gameplay becomes a bit repetitive, plus episode four seems to have a somewhat sudden turn in ambiance… and don’t even get me started on the ending. The plot gets explained in what, a few minutes – this is not how Camouflaj should have ended the story. It ends in a sloppy, lazy and annoying way.
Music, audio? I liked Hope’s voice (Jennifer Hale, if you are curious), but Cooper felt a little off. It’s not because his voice actor didn’t even bother, it’s because he covered himself by using a weird text-to-speech engine. Well, privacy is an important thing nowadays, so it makes some sense, doesn’t it? (Hearing Cooper trying to crack a joke in a computer voice is absurd, though.) The audio is okay, but not outstanding. Republique is also average with its graphics; the Unity engine isn’t meant to do revolutionary things, but it makes its job done regardless.
Seeking the future while being stuck in the past
The concept and the core idea is excellent, but the way Republique was done feels sloppy due to lack of money (it’s a Kickstarter project, backers’ names were used for enemies). If the devs would only have been able to make the gameplay a bit faster by avoiding that camera lag while also keeping it fresh, then my only issue would be with the ending.
Still, despite all of what I just said, I rate this game a weak 7 out of 10. Nowadays, this technologic futuristic plot is very common: last year, we had the Apple-FBI case, this week we saw Homefront: The Revolution with the Appl… I mean APEX. See where I’m going with this statement? Corporation bosses want to be saviors of the world with likely shady shit going behind the all-so-happy cover.
If the game didn’t cost more than 10 dollars (currently, it costs 25 on the US PS Store), it would be worth a purchase. Or hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony decided to throw this game in as a freebie for PS Plus subscribers in a few months because they tend to dodge giving away decent games for the Instant Game Collection…
+ The story is nicely done
+ Stealth doesn’t get boring
+ Totalitarian, futuristic tech-ruled world – is this our future?
– The ending is ridiculous
– Cooper’s text-to-speech voice
– Camera ch—————-ange. Cam——————–era change.
Publisher: Camouflaj, Logan Games, Darkwind Media
Developer: GungHo Online Entertainment
Genre: 2D Action stealth
Release date: March 22, 2016