République Review – Mystery Wrapped in Mystery

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Developers Camouflaj and Logan Games have introduced us to the mysterious world of Republique. Was it worthy of our time or was it a mystery best left unsolved?

Read our review to find out.

When it comes to the different ways that users are able to consume games it makes sense that different markets deliver experiences in different ways, but when the those products cross over, it can be difficult for things to not feel out of place. Enter Republique, funded through Kickstarter as a game for iOS/Android and now brought over to PC and the PlayStation 4. Taking place in a dystopian world, where you must use cameras to guide a mysterious girl named Hope around a mysterious facility called Metamorphosis, in hopes to keep her out of the hands of mysterious group, who have a mysterious interest in her.

As you can see, the story surrounding Republique is a series of dark and shadowing figures posturing for unknown reasons. To some users this may seem like an interesting plot, one full of questions just waiting to be answered, but to me it felt almost overly ambiguous and hollow. Great stories require a level of connection that can only be achieved by establishing a world, not by sidestepping content under the premise of future revelations. While the story does eventually get to where it needs to be for the characters to become personified, it asks far to much from the user for them to reach that point, with little to no real effort from Republique’s passive narrative design.

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Besides the opening and ending moments of each of the game’s five episodes, Republique doesn’t contain any significant cutscenes. This leaves most of its story to be told through out voice overs and your ability to piece together events using fragments of information around you. Hacking emails, listening to voice mails, finding tapes and even pick-pocketing guards offers you bits here and there that you can use to decipher who many of the main characters are and what is going on in this strange facility. Given the game’s roots as a mobile title, it makes sense to not lock the user into cutscenes, and allow them to digest the story in their own time, but as a console or PC title, having a significant amount of the game’s background tucked away feels cheap.

Originally the game was created around a touch interface where the player could simply touch the screen to guide Hope from location to location, but with the shift over to the bigger screen, player now switch to directly controlling her movements. This switch does work fine, but not without removing the player as the person guiding Hope. While seemingly a marginal change, it does have a significant effect on the distinction that Hope is supposed to be a separate character you are trying to help, not the character you are playing.

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Republique‘s take on the Metal Gear Solid hide-and-go-seek gameplay does work well, but with little variation and a low budget design it is difficult to give it much credit when it is outshined by an almost 20 year old game. Moving from cover to cover is simple enough, but the game’s AI and the way you interact with it feels dated and overly simplified. Using a taser or pepper spray to stun enemies, or watching their paths so you can sneak around are mechanics that we have seen multiple times, but done better.

Thankfully while some of the core aspects of the game do feel rooted in a mobile experience or a bit dated, don’t mistake Republique as a cheap experience. The voice work in the game is fantastic, and that is to be expected due to its all-star voice over cast. The visuals, while varying quite a bit, hold their own well enough when compared to other indie titles on the market. Sadly the asking price of $24.99 is a bit high given the level of competition players will find on the bigger platforms. Some gamers will enjoy what content there is here, as it does have an interesting atmosphere, but most gamers looking for a memorable stealth experience will be best be served looking else where.

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