Review: République (PS4)

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Title: République
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (5.06 GB)
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment
Developer: Camouflaj, LLC
Original MSRP: $24.99
ESRB Rating: M
République is also available on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
République is a mystery that unfolds as you try to escape your surroundings. You are Hope, a girl that has been scheduled for re-education, yet you want to keep your ideals and morals. The game does an excellent job of setting up a premise that we’ve seen before while adding something new to the genre.

The mood is dark and gloomy but beautiful in its own way. Hope is not alone though, as she has a mysterious benefactor to help her escape and this is where you, the player, come in.

You are in control of the surveillance and security systems around the mysterious Metamorphosis. It’s here that a sort of storytelling magic takes place. It isn’t in big cutscenes or surprising game play, it’s more low key and starts with a plea for help. The story unfolds through five episodes and as you help Hope uncover the secrets of her surroundings, you get the feel of this unique but terrifying place and situation.

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The people and places begin to take on a life of their own, and nothing is what it seems. It may seem that I am trying to be as vague as possible and it’s true, I do not want to spoil the magic that happens within the game. What I will say is that the story is very complex and dense.

Anywhere in the facility may hold a small key of unlocking the mystery within. From finding a guard’s ID card or banned books, to artwork on the walls, everything gives you clues about the greater story. The game does such a great job creating an atmosphere and a believable world that you’ll feel can actually exist. It is the greatest strength of République, and as you progress it draws you in and gets you to think of that world as you go about your day.

… puzzles are an organic component …
Gameplay has changed dramatically since the game’s original iOS and Android days. Instead of giving Hope instructions and taking control of the surveillance systems around Metamorphosis, you are now in full control of her. This is a weak part of the game though because at times it is hard to see Hope as she scurries along a hallway or gets blocked by an item in the world.

I found myself getting caught a few times while trying to navigate the rooms and hallways, especially if I was on the wrong camera or did not pan the camera the whole way. I will say that it is a nice addition to have full control and it should be considered a welcome one at that.

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The puzzles are another high point of the game. They are designed so well that at first I missed that I was in a puzzle solving situation. This is a good thing. The puzzles are an organic component to the facility and are not often obvious. I would be remiss to not mention that some of the puzzles are devious in design, and paired with trying to avoid capture they can be quite the challenge.

Another highlight is what I consider the main gameplay, controlling the cameras and systems of Metamorphosis. I found myself always switching to different cameras to find the best angles and sweeping for guards. The camera system is also one of the main ways you get involved with the story, allowing you to interact with computers, guard IDs, items, and the phone system.

… had me searching every guard …
All of these different components really bring out the gameplay and integrate you in this world. One thing that plagued the iOS and Android versions was loading issues. While mostly better, there were still some issues which started to happen more often the further I progressed. While not game breaking, it did cause some frustration.

The collectibles, of which there are several kinds, are one of the best things in the game. One of my favorites is finding Floppy Disks on the guards. This is as far as I will go with this one and let you discover it for yourself, but this one collectible had me searching every guard I could.

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There are others that open up the world, such as banned books, which have the infamous Headmaster narrating exactly what is wrong with the book and how it affects the world negatively.

Visuals:
In some cases, the graphics or art design in a game can become a character in itself, and I think Metamorphosis is its own character. The world is beautifully detailed in an opulent area, and a smartly designed compound.

… atmosphere and tension …
The art design for Hope and the guards is quite good as well. The overall look is sleek and beautiful. The only technical problems I ran into had to do with loading issues as described above, but other than that, the game ran smoothly.

Audio:
Audio is another bright spot and that’s due to the game’s voice cast. With favorites as Dwight Schultz, David Hayter, and Jennifer Hale, the cast propels the story to great heights. The voice actors take this story and situation to the next level with each complimenting the other very well. The music is also very well done, providing atmosphere and tension.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
It’s hard not to gush about the story in République since it’s so well told and acted. It was the overwhelming reason for me to continue my journey throughout the game. The package as a whole is pretty slick as well. Even with the loading times, this game is worth playing. It is always funny reviewing a game you know little of and it’s a surprise to see what you get. This was a great surprise and it’s definitely worth playing.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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