I didn’t get chance to play this as soon as the review code arrived, on release day, due to Christmas coming up. But then I found that there been a lot of problems with it anyway, as the developers increased the requirements and then had to tweet this or that, so it’s a good job I waited. but then, all too often games are not ready on release, hence why they have to have so many patches. Ideally, games would always be available for review around two weeks before the release date so we actually have time to get stuck into them, but then if they’re not even ready *by* release date, it’s an issue for everyone. Even then, I have had problems making it work at times, as I will get to.
However, at the time of posting this review, I am halfway through the game. I will go through until the end, but I don’t expect my overall score to change much, as I did enjoy traversing through the worlds of Beyond Two Souls and Heavy Rain.
Like those two games, some of the early levels do ease you into the controls and getting used to the environment, such as with young, female android Kara (above) – who begins by doing the housework in her first location, and which is in a very clever level which adds more story, depending on how many of the tasks you complete, so if you get them all done, then you get the full story.
However, it does start with a bang, as you take control of Connor, an android who looks like a man in his late 20s, who must solve the clues as to why another android went rogue and is now standing on the top of a penthouse apartment, and threatening to jump off while holding the family’s daughter and wanting to take her with him. Not only is it best to check out every single room, but also as many details as possible within the room (all tasks will by shown by holding down the right trigger, for example), then analyse the clues and reconstruct the crime scene if required, depending on which android you’re using.
Your can play through some levels in full like A New Home, whereas with others, you can only get 100% by playing the same level several times. For example, as the third android, Markus, who starts off by helping paraplegic artist Carl (Lance Henriksen), there are various mini tasks you can complete whilst he finishes his breakfast. However, it won’t let you attempt them one after another until you’ve got through them all, as you’ll interact with him again before that. Hence, you’d need to replay the level, so this does increase the replayability if you do want to get 100% overall. In my gameplay videos, I’ve only gone through each level the once. I wasn’t aiming for 100% and I just wanted to enjoy the story.
That said, I did attempt A New Home many times, because the recording of the gameplay went wrong, as I’ll get onto later. In playing this particular chapter, I got to the point where I really did just want to get 100%, so I went for it. However not every level is as gripping as that one.
There’s also more than one outcome for some levels, even in terms of how you can successfully complete it, and even depending on how or where you finish one level, will determine how the next level for that android begins, but bear in mind that it does cross over between the androids from chapter to chapter, before eventually the start to meet up.
So, onto the problems, and at times, the game crashed for no reason, such as after the chapter Stormy Night. Another time, when running the game, the Epic Games Store just closed instead! What on Earth is going on?
Also, a lot of times (and this hasn’t happened with the other Quantic Dream releases, nor any other games), I had trouble recording the footage. at one point. Maybe it’s just because I have the PC desktop across two screens? (one for the monitor, and one for the TV). What I’ve kinda learned is if I start the game while the ‘display’ is on the monitor, the game still starts on the TV (and recording it on that would just record a blank desktop), and then I go back to the desktop, change the display focus to the TV, and then record again, and it SHOULD work… usually, maybe… but I’ll try a few seconds just to make sure, so I’m not replaying the same level over and over.
Some games are a bit processor-hungry, so if I try to use OBS, that can stutter with graphically-intensive games like that. Hence, I’m using nVidia Shadowplay which is the next best alternative. However, as confirmed above, I’ve never come across this bizarre issue before.
As I get to the end of this review, I’ve realised I’ve not even disclosed any plot. Perhaps it’s best not to, so everything is a surprise. I knew a handful of elements beforehand, but not too many. Even the billing on Amazon doesn’t go into specific detail, and if you’ve played their previous games, you’ll know that in the Quantic Dream world, not everything is all sunshine and rainbows. And it’s not always for the faint of heart.
So, I can just say that I love the really affecting relationship between android Kara and young girl Alice. Also, I love the banter between android Connor and Hank, his human cop partner, and from the moment I saw his face, I knew it was Clancy Brown, who I mostly remember as the hard-as-nails prison guard in The Shawshank Redemption.
As stated earlier, I will play this through to the end. My series of gameplay videos will go live on Mondays and Thursdays each week, and will be added to the above playlist, starting from today with the first chapter.
UPDATE: Having now got to the end, I’ve still to upload my full playthrough, but suffice to say, in my case, the finale isn’t a happy time for everyone, and the thoughts of that after spending so many hours in all of their company will linger for a while – though, the outcome can differ for everyone playing it. I just wish some of the chapters hadn’t gone on for so long.
Then again, those in Heavy Rain were as short as two minutes in at least one occasion, and for Beyond Two Souls, they could range anything between 5 mins and 70 mins, which was too much of a disparity.
Now some glitches… (and all are spoiler-free)
- As well as a handful of occasions when the game just jumped back to the desktop for no reason – which I solved by just clicking back on the game icon on the toolbar at the bottom, but it’s still annoying.
- When I got to Chapter 27, I had to change the graphics settings from Ultra to High because it started crashing at the beginning of the level.
- Similarly, I had another crash in the final level and very near the end! Luckily, this was at the start of a particular scene, and I found by downgrading the graphics, yet again – this time to Medium, I could finally play it as long as I selected ‘continue’ from the menu, and not restarting the chapter. That’s still annoying, though. Why is this only crapping out late in the game?
- On the plus side, it was amusing that after you finish the game – and this will not spoil the ending – Chloe, the menu android, asks if she can be let go. Select yes, and she leaves, never to return!!!!
- Developer: Quantic Dream
- Publisher: Quantic Dream
- Players: Single player campaign
Director: David Cage
Producer: Guillaume de Fondaumiere
Writers: David Cage, Adam Williams
Music: Nima Fakhrara, John Paesano, Philip Sheppard
Kara: Valorie Curry
Connor: Bryan Dechart
Markus: Jesse Williams
Alice: Audrey Boustani
Hank Anderson: Clancy Brown
Luther: Evan Parke
Carl Manfred: Lance Henriksen
North: Minka Kelly
Amanda: Simbi Kali
Josh: Parker Sawyers
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.