I should have kept my landline.
Far too often I feel games don’t go strong enough in new directions story and setting wise in videogames. How many games are about high fantasy, shooting, or more? That’s not to say we don’t get gems, but it’s far and few between. Here comes Republique, a PS4 version of a successful Kickstarter phone game, and one with a lot of promise, but ultimately left me struggling to even see it to end.
Someone is watching you…
Republique starts off with a rather unique idea. As the player, it’s apparently come to pass that a system has been hacked and a cell phone is the window to this world, at least in the original game. For the console version there has been some changes, so here we have the PS4 acting as a system that is being used to infiltrate and help the main protagonist Hope. It’s an interesting gimmick and the thought of using a system as a gateway to another person’s plight is one we have seen a few times before, but it always gets me smiling in a 4th wall breaking way. The idea that a player is interacting with another world and viewing a plot through multiple cameras is a cool idea. I only hoped it could have been better handled and even with the unique set up of the world and interaction, it becomes a bit of a mess.
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
How long to beat: 7 hours
Did I run out of minutes?
While the player is actively taking part in the story, the other element they will have to track is Hope. In the mobile version, players had no direct control of her. Here we have not only direct control of her, but the cameras as well. Going back and forth between the two is rather difficult in that it just comes off feeling very non-intuitive. The idea is there, but the execution is lacking. It gives way to having multiple camera angles that change much like the old Resident Evil games.
Where the major frustration comes is that players will have to manage those multiple cameras, sometimes jumping to another one, yet at other times the game changes them on its own. This is OK when not having to deal with the patrolling guards trying to lock you away. When trying to escape a pursuit, where the guards can outrun Hope, when the camera switches, it causes a delay, a camera change, and usually leads to her downfall. I can’t count how many times this lead to her being locked up once again. Yes there are ways to circumvent the guards by distracting them with abilities players can unlock but there are too many times Hope has no way to escape or cause distraction and leads to once again being locked up.
Can you hear me now?
There is a very solid idea and set up behind Republique but it’s one that I’m constantly pulling my hair to get through. The camera angles I can usually deal with but with the required accuracy for stealth and needing to control both Hope and the static cameras prove to be too infuriating. Republique has a great dystopian style world and a set up that had me hoping to overlook its simpler graphics, dated animations, and odd stuttering moments but the one thing that could have pushed this over the edge is fun factor, and that simply wasn’t there.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.