Review: Master Reboot (PS3)

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Title: Master Reboot
Format: PlayStation Network Download (761 MB)
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Wales Interactive
Developer: Wales Interactive
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: T
Master Reboot is also available on Steam.
The PlayStation Network download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Death is a scary thing. It’s the end, just blackness. But what if, after death, people could still enjoy your company, your stories, even your humor? While we may never actually have that choice to make, Wales Interactive built an entire game around this idea; the idea of, in a way, living forever.

Master Reboot is a fascinating idea, though it never becomes the game that it seems it was meant to be, and is stuck feeling like a pitch for a game rather than an actual finished game. The idea of Master Reboot just being a concept, not an actual final product, permeates throughout the entire game.

Gameplay
Master Reboot takes place in the future where we have developed the technology to “live” forever through the Soul Cloud. The Soul Cloud is a server where a person can upload a portion of their soul to keep on “living”. Once their soul is a part of the Soul Cloud, they are able to relive their memories and even have living family members and friends experience their memories as well.

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Taking on the role of a deceased woman who is in the Soul Cloud trying to put together the memories of her life, Master Reboot will take you on a journey through her life masked by outrageous puzzles and horror; from childhood to adulthood and everything in-between. With the completion of each puzzle, you move closer to finding the answers this woman seeks about her life.

Creating challenging, yet fun, puzzles in games is always an issue – sometimes being way too hard or insultingly easy. Unfortunately, Master Reboot fails most of the time at creating a sense of challenge in their puzzles. While there are a few standouts that will give you a hard time, yet are rewarding enough to figure out, many of them will require, at most, a 5th grade level of problem solving. The lack of skill, or brain power, required to solve the majority of the puzzles isn’t a bad thing by itself, as long as the puzzles are rewarding to do. Sadly, that isn’t the case in Master Reboot. There wasn’t a single time when I was excited or thrilled to be working on another puzzle and for a game built on puzzle solving, that is a problem.

The game is a psychological thriller. It’s supposed to be full of those jump-inducing moments that can keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. Just as the puzzles in the game, the thriller side has its ebbs and flows. There are moments of horror, eliciting a jump out of you, and other moments where you will walk right past an element used as a scare tactic without batting an eye.

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While the story of Master Reboot is integrated deeply into the gameplay, making it sometimes hard to follow, it’s enjoyable. The game addresses multiple different themes throughout, providing a decently deep and interesting story for not just the woman you play as, but for the world around her as well.

Visuals
This is an odd-looking game. One on hand, the visuals are physically painful, with screen tearing, anti-aliasing and just a constant visual strain to look at. However, I enjoyed the bad eye candy. The visuals are not without their flaws, but the artistic direction chosen really gives you a sense of this dream world Wales Interactive created.

You’ll be lucky to find one hi-res texture throughout the game, giving even more credit to the idea that Master Reboot is just a concept of a game, but those low-res textures also make the idea of being inside a dream all the more plausible.

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Audio
In order to nail the exact level of fear required for a thriller, sound is crucial; the timing has to be perfect to add that little extra to the moment. Master Reboot, for the most part, does it pretty well, using sound to add suspense to almost every second of the game. Though, as most of this review has stated before, it isn’t fully realized.

There are moments when the sound will drop, or not even start playing, removing most of the tension from those scares. One such occasion was during a section that was obviously supposed to be one of the scarier parts of the game, the audio never even started. I was left watching the scene play out on screen without any sound and needless to say, I wasn’t that scared.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion
Master Reboot has a truck full of great ideas throughout its story but with poor puzzle creation, lackluster terror and, although an enjoyable thematic setting, abysmal visuals. It is rather hard to recommend this game to anyone. While Wales Interactive has created a wonderful framework for what could be a fantastic game, it just isn’t fully realized now; nothing screams “finished” about the game.

Score:
4.5

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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