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République left a bad aftertaste.


I just finished the game and I'm… confused. And let down. I knew there was a catch.

Let's start from the beginning. What is République? It was an episodic mobile game (I believe originally intended for iOS) that kickstarted founded its way into PC with a Remastered version (I played mine on Steam) that includes all 5 Episodes in one neat package.

It's a stealth game that has you controlling CCTV cameras in a totalitarian world trying to aid a girl (Hope) in her escape of a strange facility. It's engrossing stuff. Controlling the cameras gives you a somewhat freer version of fixed camera angles from classic survival horror or early Metal Gear Solid games, you have other tools you get as you go along that help you guide the girl through the winding corridors of Metamorphoses (The strange facility) avoiding guards and picking clean the environment of collectables. The idea of using the tools of the Opressor to aid the escape of the Opressed is neat.

The presentation is excellent. It was a mobile game so I already adjusted my expectations but I was blown away with the consistent art direction, the believable world, the enthralling story laid out in front of me and some of the characters. There's some top notch talent in the voice acting department by the way, David Hayter (Of Metal Gear fame) and Jennifer Hale (Of Mass Effect fame), both giving the best performances of the whole game, of course.

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In just a few minutes I was HOOKED. I found the CCTV-controlling-camera mechanic innovative (Think of Watch Dogs camera hacking stuff). Avoiding guards isn't hard… at all but the game is clever enough to incite you to engage with the guards and pick pocket them for goodies that range from pepper spray that would aid you in case you get caught and collectables! Which are, honestly, one of the best parts of the game. You can get this floppy discs of other kickstarted indie games with a little note from another character telling you why they loved this or that game. It's super charming and beautiful and it shows some deep love for video games in general!

So… where's the catch? Well… of course nothing is as it seems. The game is easy to a fault. The first three episodes are too easy. Guards are deaf, blind and brain dead. You can get right to their assess and they wouldn't know and even if you do get caught there's no big penalty. You are escorted slowly to a cell (which is always near by) and that's it. Maybe you loose your pepper spray but avoiding guards is so easy and pepper spray is so plentiful that it doesn't even matter. The story is told mostly through audiologs or variants of audiologs which I'm fine with, also, it's a mobile game, my expectations where adjusted. They took a page of Deus Ex book and nailed the voyeuristic satisfaction of reading someone's office e mail but that's pretty much it.

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The game's story gets messy and not in a confusing cool way, just messy that you really can't understand what they where going for and it's never concluded in a satisfying way (at least for me). But the worst offender is Episode 4 where, SPOILERS I GUESS it turns more into a stealth survival horror game that sees the main character's personality shift 180 degrees into this new person that is never acknowledged nor explained nor referenced again. Exposition dumps carry the story into a sci-fi realm that didn't completely vibe with the first three episodes and there's a gigantic enemy (A la Haunting Ground) chasing you the whole episode over.

Republique started off as a strong and interesting game. A cool set up, the escape of a totalitarian state, David Hayter occasionally speaking like Snake, Jennifer Hale speaking in french and heartwarming-ly geek gushes over indie games in the collectables had me head over heels with it but the story and narration of the last two episodes where too much of a mess to left a good taste on my mouth. Almost all the cool parts of the game are taken out and what replaces it it's not better :/


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