As of late I’ve had the pleasure of playing the new PS4 release Republique, the recent game by developers Camouflaj and Logan Games and published by GungHo Online Entertainment Inc which was released on Playstation 4 on March 22nd. Some of you hardcore gamers may already know of it as it’s a pretty big title when it comes to mobile and tablet gaming and been released episodically since it’s initial iOS launch back in December 2013.
I’ve had my eye on Republique for a while because you can usually tell if you will like a game based on what you see pre-release and I’ve always been a sucker for stealthy hacker games and haven’t managed to get my teeth properly stuck into a good title since I blew my load (of cash) playing Watchdogs.
The game begins with you receiving a phone call, once answered you get to meet Hope who mysteriously tells you how much trouble she’s in, how she needs help and how they’re going to hurt her. After which you get to watch a bit of dialogue revolving around the start of the story. You’re not identified as of yet, but you are who you are (if that makes sense) and It’s your job to watch and uncover the truth behind what’s going on.
Poor Hope has been caught with a manifesto which is referred to as poison by the seniors of the institute and believe me when I tell you they aren’t too happy about it. She’s been caught a few times with books which are ‘banished’ and it seems and all information comes back to a guy named Zager who was recently killed for preaching the same information. After a bit of investigation as to where she’s got the book from, she’s thrown into the brig, before Cooper (you’re soon to be bff hacker mate) picks up her phone and takes you on a tour of the institute, Metamorphis and you’re treated to a lovely speech by The Headmaster. The storyline is great and I really want to keep playing just to see what happens next, whilst at times it can seem a bit slow, it builds the mystery of this strange place and keeps you hooked.
The opening credits just fueled my ambition for this game because once again I’m playing a game which has the voice of David Hayter! I swear there is nothing this guy has been in and once again he’s found his way into my heart.
So once you’re in the brig it’s time to escape, because there’s no PS4 in there, so what’s the point of staying?! You’re given a brief ‘tutorial’ zone where you learn how to do some bits and bobs like hacking cameras, pepper spraying guards and having a great time showing off your awesome hacker skills. Or do what I do and lock / unlock doors until you have no battery left and manage to break the game.
The game does a cracking job of teaching you what you need to know. The game is completely played through the eyes of cameras and digital objects. In the ‘normal’ form you can control Hope, move around and generally be stealthy. If you hit the R1 button though you’ll enter OmniView, where you can demonstrate your hacker prowess. In this form you’ll freeze time (time God powers are always good) and be able to view through the eyes of cameras to see guards, read emails, learn new bits and progress through the various levels of each map, the only downside is you can’t move, but this would make the game pretty easy if all the other guards are frozen, so swings and roundabouts really.
The game is almost a puzzle game. You’re not supposed to go speeding through the maps but take your time and figure out the best way to approach each area. It can be a little too slow, especially when your as impatient as me, but it’s not too bad once you get truly into the game and as you take your time you’ll begin to uncover more and more information about this shady institute. Fortunately you have a map, some way point areas and a whole heap of information to keep your character wandering round and hacking cameras for hours on end.
Naturally with Hope you’re not going to be running down corridors and gunning down enemies, which is nice because I’ve been playing as a bullet sponge in The Division of late so much that I swear I’m starting to develop shell shock, but hey, someone’s gotta take those shotgun blasts to the face for your buddies! Because there’s no real combat in this game it means that you have to rely on your logic and common sense to avoid any confrontations between enemies. Naturally you have a few gadgets at your disposal such as P-Zero, a single use pepper spray which acts as your ‘Oh shit!’ Button, but the majority of time you’ll want to avoid confrontation altogether.
I was a little skeptical after seeing some of the images of the game during pre-release because the graphics didn’t look ‘all that’ but after playing the game for some time they’re actually pretty good. The level of detail in objects, characters and even the information that you pick up is very defined. It’s always a worry when a game converts from one platform to another, especially from mobile to console as sometimes the graphics can be a little low grade, but Republique is the exception and the graphics do the game proud.
Sound effects play a crucial part in this game, it’s digital based so expect to hear a lot of ringtones, beeps and bops and other phone noises. They’re nothing particularly special but they’re nothing bad. The only downside to the sound is that one of the characters is voiced entirely in text-to-speech. Whilst it’s not exactly a game killer it can be pretty frustrating when you’re being told what to do by Stephen Hawking.
My major criticism comes in the form of the controls. Every time you enter a new area, the screen goes on the fritz and you jump to another camera in another location, meaning if you were moving forward, holding the same button now could send you back to the previous location. So sometimes in certain spots you can hold forwards and just keep going back and forth. Furthermore, you can flick through your inventory with the left and right arrow buttons to select if you want to pickpocket or use an item, I just couldn’t get used to this and I’m ashamed to say that I pepper sprayed more security guards than I care to admit and now I feel like a sadistic monster, which isn’t too different from other games, but I was trying to be stealthy this time.
All in all, the game’s good. The story line is great and I want to know more about this shady institute, I’m not too far into the game but it’s already proving pretty mysterious and very interesting so I will continue to play. As I mentioned before, the whole element of hacking is great and Republique pulls it all off well, it’s nice to see a game where you actually rely on hacking than just gunning down enemies left right and center.
The only downside comes in the form of the controls, but it’s not a deal breaker. The fact is that if you like the look of Republique then it won’t bother you too much, the system could be advanced somewhat but it’s not awful so don’t let that ruin what could be an otherwise great experience.