Another hidden gem on the tablet market, has come to the PC. This was a game I was at first unsure about, that it could be too voyeuristic. I was mistaken and it is truly a stunning game idea at its core, it’s beautiful and bleak at the same time as well as stunning yet scary. It’s one that should be part of your collection.
The very core of the game is the security system you use, hijack, through the OMNI system. This is how you control Hope, guiding her around the school/college she is in, from its prison, to its power plant and beyond. Perhaps the challenge to this game is finding the angle. The few items present: the pepper spray and stun guns, the few collectibles, most of them are electronic in messages or e-mails. All of them require you to find the best angle to explore this place you’re in, whatever it is exactly.
The OMNI system is how you access the camera system. Each time you hack into a camera, you can swap your view to the next through line of sight. If you take the time you can find others, you can find access codes, items and these collectibles. The other aspect of the OMNI system is the ability to unlock and lock doors at will. If you can’t evade the patrolling guards, you can lock them in small rooms. Make sure they can’t get to Hope. You can do the same for items in the environment, unlocking safes and small rooms for you to explore.
The story is gently introduced and brilliantly told. Starting with a room search to find contraband, the escape and mysterious benefactor are only the start of the mystery. As you slowly explore the many rooms you can find out more, about the regime and the threats to its existence. Banned books can be found in the oddest place, store rooms, under pillows. You’d worry about being in a world, with some of the volumes listed in the seemingly ever growing list of banned tomes. The moments where Hope is speaking into the camera on her mobile phone stand out, raw emotion obvious, yet never excessive. This is a woman who needs your help.
Stealth is the other part of this game and it is handled very well. Meant for the tablet, it was easy to navigate Hope through and around the world. There’s plenty for her to hide behind and keep her out of sight. The rooms are obvious to their function, cafeterias, security rooms, power plants and more. Exploring this place is a tense affair, you’re never sure of what is around the next corner until you look. Even with looking, you are often trying to evade, rather than engage. You will carefully study your environment each and every time you change area or room, that feeling never changes. This is perhaps where the real work of the team behind this game stands out, it is so atmospheric.
A final note on the controls, they have been deeply intuitive. The way you can control cameras doesn’t take much time to learn. It’s almost as if you’re there with a control stick, directing the cameras yourself. There’s very little to this game which doesn’t show care and attention to detail, no matter how minute.
Graphics and Audio
There are few words to really describe this game, beautiful is the first one. The first chapter is in what could only be called an ornate school or college. There’s something about the detail in the wood work, statues and ornamental gardens that says this is a place of wealth or prestige. The security system and barren prison-like sections tell a very different tale. It’s hard to explain just how effective this is, until you’ve seen it yourself. The presentation of the upgrades and the world, everything is designed to fit just right.
The audio is stunning as well, you will be listening to the many voice actors and you’ll be sure you recognise them. I was surprised at some of the actors present in this game, even in some of the smaller roles. The music is atmospheric and just adds to the feelings listed above. There’s just something that keeps you just off centre, the whole thing is just there to keep you off balance. As scary as it is, it is wonderful.
There are no multiplayer features for this title.
Republique is something that is hard to explain. The OMNI view and how you interact with the world is limited, but there’s still so much to do. There’s also this feeling of it that I can’t quite explain, it’s 1984 with a modern twist. It’s Animal, there’s something deeply Orwellian to this game I can’t help but enjoy. If you like your espionage, spies and cyberpunk, this is definitely one you will like. If not, you might like it anyhow and you should give it a shot.