“Put on your glasses and grab your suppressed 9mm pistol. It’s time for Clandestine!“
Welcome to the wonderful realm of espionage and hacking with Clandestine, the indie release by Logic Artists. The game closely resembles that of Watchdogs with it’s database hacking and file grabbing objectives and that of Metal Gear Solid with it’s stealthy and espionage based gameplay and uses these aspects quite well throughout the story of the game.
The game is set in 1996, just 5 years after the breakdown of Soviet Union and it seems that the Russians are up to no good, there’s been a string of high profile murders which has put everyone on high alert. One company in particular is having a lot of issues, so they’ve been handed a spy by the name of Mauricio who is currently working as a punching bag for the local Ruskies, only problem is that he got his cover blown so he’s not being paid for his new job. They recruit a newbie by the name of Katya, a young spy who’s somewhat inexperienced (although not so much in this game!), she only has 1 kill under her belt and looks like she’s just walked out of a Fall Out Boy concert.
There are two ways to play; a solo gameplay experience and a co-op experience. In the solo, you play as Katya Kozlova who has a huge amount of gadgets and tech at her disposal to help her get through levels as if she was never there, she’s also pretty handy with a pistol just incase things go south and she needs to shoot herself a new escape route through someones skull. In the co-op you either get to play as Katya, or as Martyn Symborski, her hacker friend who’s able to crack codes, open doors and hack cameras faster than I can type 58008 into a calculator and hold it upside down.
The co-operative element of this game is great addition to the game and allows for two players to work simultaneously in order to progress through the levels as best they can. It works well and adds a new element to stealth based games, one which I haven’t really seen before. A game shouldn’t only work with it’s multi-player mode though and the making of a strong game should be more around it’s single player campaign, which doesn’t really differ if you go down this route.
There are a few unique and interesting features with regards to the hacking part. Using the H key will allow you to access the hackers network and travel through a virtual world to get passwords for computers, to check emails and get new Intel, to hack cameras, to see and tag enemies and many other things. It’s something that Watchdogs did quite well and Clandestine has really taken their system and evolved it further into something that’s quite unique and a core part of Clandestine’s gameplay.
Katya also gets access to some really interesting gadgets, but when it comes to gadgets most players will usually stick with the really basic ones that they get hold of early in the game. The pager comes in especially handy as you can use it to lure guards from one area to another, adding a bit more strategy into the game.
Stealth wise there’s nothing really new from any other game on the market because frankly it’s difficult to create something new when a game like Metal Gear Solid has done everything before. The game’s stealth feature works well, the only problem that I can find is that sometimes the game feels somewhat clunky and it can be difficult to get a hold on how to move. Also there is a limit to your visual field and a with a game like this it can be tricky to figure out just where your character is and how to get from point A to point B. That being said there’s many things that help you, but nothing concrete enough to become quite handy.
The graphics are reasonable but nothing unique. Ultimately this is an indie title so no one is really expecting the graphics to be perfect. They work well for what they are and the in game menus, hacker tools and the environment are all designed adequately so they work in favor of the game. Katya is designed quite well, and although I criticized her earlier for looking like she’s walked out of a Fall Out Boy concert, she’s actually an interesting character to play as and looks reasonable enough. The only negative point I have about the graphics come down to the lip syncing. There were times when the lips just wouldn’t move at all and the sound would keep going. It wasn’t really a negative because I found it hilarious but still it could be improved.
Sound wise the game’s not too bad. Although I had hoped in my life I’d never had to hear that awful 90’s internet dial up tone ever again (you know the one, that goes on for about 10 minutes and makes your stomach churn because it’s just so bad). Still this is a game which is set in that era so it’s only natural to use the sounds at that time. Other aspects of the sound in the game stand up for themselves and are fine, I have no other comments really apart from that they are reasonable and suit the game well.
As a whole, the game is reasonable. It’s strengths come from the new and unique aspects of gameplay that have been added to the already huge amount of functions that come with hack and espionage games so I’m impressed that Clandestine has added to this already massive amount of genre features.
The game has hit the target, but it’s not quite hit the center. There are a few things that could definitely be improved on such as the movement, the fluidity of going from normal wandering to stealth mode and the combat. I believe that with the right changes it’s a game which certainly has the potential to do well for itself and build up a nice fanbase for the developers.
If I could give the game a score around it’s uniqueness and potential it’d definitely be a 10 out of 10, but the few flaws in the game means it’s still got a lot of work to do to get up there, thankfully they are easy fixes so I hope that if we ever see a Clandestine 2, these issues will be resolved and I’ll have a new game to get hooked on.