Review: Invisible, Inc. Console Edition (PS4)

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Title: Invisible, Inc. Console Edition
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.15 GB)
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: T
Invisible, Inc. Console Edition is exclusive to PlayStation 4. The original game Invisible, Inc. is available on PC, Mac, and Linux.
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:
Invisible Inc. is a tactical turn-based stealth game that is designed for the hardcore and beginners alike. Some games just throw the player to the wolves and expect them to learn along the way. Invisible Inc. gives the player many options to make the campaign as easy or as hard as they want.

Besides the three standard difficulties, there are a few advanced modes to give the player even more challenge. For players new to turn-based tactical games, there is Beginner mode. I really enjoyed this mode in my first playthrough.

It starts off slow and gradually continues to get harder becoming pretty challenging at times. I always had to take my time and consider all my options but I never felt completely overwhelmed.

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For those who think Beginner is too hard or Expert is too easy, the campaigns are fully customizable. You can change the amount of power you start each mission with, how much money you start the campaign with, how many times you can rewind to the beginning of your last turn, the number of turns the guards stay down, the amount of guards, and/or how many campaign hours before the final mission.

There are even explanations for each setting so the player knows exactly what they are tweaking and how it will affect their campaign.

Do not let all the settings cause you to freeze with indecision. I recommend new players try beginner on the default settings. The developers balanced the campaign in a way they thought was fair but still challenging. And you do want challenge.

There were a number of times that I took a deep breath after finishing a mission and just marveled at the fact that I survived with both agents intact. Keeping my cool and using the tools available to me to overcome my mistakes and the increasing challenge was exhilarating.

… missions near your current location …
The player starts at a map of the world with different missions spread out across the globe. The clock is ticking, as there are only seventy-two hours remaining before the final mission. The player must do everything they can to gather intelligence, gather weapons, and upgrade their agents to prepare.

While all the missions can be boiled down to infiltrate a corporation and hack or steal something, there are different types of missions with different rewards. Do you need more money, did you leave an agent behind and need to rescue him, do you need more powerful weapons, or new augmentations?

The player must also consider how far away each mission is. You can squeeze in more missions if you do the missions near your current location, but sometimes you really need a new augmentation and that mission is twelve hours away.

Even which of the three corporations you are infiltrating is something to consider as they focus on different ways to secure their offices.

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The mission begins with the agents being teleported into a room of a randomly generated level. As you start to explore the surrounding rooms, there is a meter in the right hand corner of the screen that fills in a part of the meter after every turn.

Every five turns, the security level increases, and with each increasing level of security comes a new challenge. This makes the missions easier the faster you can complete them, but there are also items and money that can be found when exploring each level.

On one mission, I came across a station where I could buy more incognito programs that are used for hacking. I did not have any money and continued on my way searching for my goal.

After completing my goal for that mission and cracking safes along the way, I had two choices. Take the straight shot for the exit and easy getaway, or head back to the terminal and buy those programs.

… providing challenge while giving the player different options …
I thought it was worth the risk to do the latter. Finishing that level was much harder than it could have been, but those programs saved my butt a few times later in the campaign. After a few missions, every twenty-four hours of game time, the difficulty increases. There will be more cameras and enemies, the enemies will wear armor, and hacking will require more power.

There are many ways to prepare for the final mission. You can upgrade your agents, buy weapons, buy various gadgets, and improve your hacking capabilities. The game even gives hints about what to expect.

Near the end of my first campaign, I was told that I would soon be facing highly armored enemies and that I would not be able to sneak up behind those enemies and knock them out with a melee attack.

The next mission I choose was to steal some high value piece of technology. The high tech gadget did not fit my play style, but I found a dart gun in another safe nearby that was really useful.

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Invisible Inc. isn’t all about punishing the player or stacking that deck against them. It’s about providing challenge while giving the player different options to overcome the situation.

If an agent is spotted by an enemy guard, the player can rewind, move one square to break line of sight, use a weapon or gadget to get away, have another agent knock out the enemy guard, or, if all else fails, use a medi gel to revive them.

I do not go into games looking for things to hate so I have something to write about in a review. Still, I always come across some systems or mechanics that I think could be better or that I do not like. I can not think of one thing I would change with the gameplay or with the mechanics.

A hardcore tactical turn-based stealth game would have most people running away; it had me nervous. Invisible Inc. is so approachable and yet does not forget about the hardcore fans. It provides them the modes and options to make it as challenging as they want it to be.

… a number of framerate dips …
Visuals:
The game has a great sense of style. The character design is highlighted by their exaggerated poses and actions. I also enjoyed the art style of the cut scenes. The levels have a sterile and oppressive feeling that I imagine a futuristic evil corporation would have.

Depending on the layout and size of the rooms, they can be cluttered at times with mainframes, safes, consoles, and access terminals. In a game where every action point matters, it is frustrating when you send one of your agents to the wrong spot.

To help with this, the player can click L3 to go into another view where the walls go away and all non-important items in rooms are represented as white blocks.

While it runs smoothly most of the time, I did have a number of framerate dips. The game is turn-based, so these momentary chugs did not affect the gameplay. Yet, the game is far from a graphical powerhouse and these issues should not exist.

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My biggest problem with the game’s visuals is that I had to play most of it at my desk with my monitor. I have a fifty-inch TV and my couch sits eight feet away, but I was squinting to read the text.

I could see the orange bar below some of my weapons and gadgets signifying they were in cool down, but could not see how many turns before I was able to use them again. When playing on my monitor, I was able to be zoomed out and see the majority of the level at the same time.

On my TV, I was constantly zooming in and out. I had to zoom in to make sure I was moving my agents to the correct positions, but I also had to zoom out to see the whole level so I could make the correct decisions.

I had to zoom in and out while playing on my monitor too but not nearly as much. Invisible Inc. was released on PC last year and it feels like some of the visuals were not thought through when porting the game from PC to the PS4.

… the gameplay is phenomenal …
Audio:
There is no soundtrack. When you’re in the hacking menu there is loud rhythmic music, but most of the time the player will be hearing the low electric humming that is the background noise.

The games has sound effects for almost every action: tip toeing around, hacking cameras, and attacking guards. There are even sound effects for rotating the camera, changing views, and switching between agents.

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

Conclusion:
I was frustrated at times squinting to read text and see all the important information I needed to consider when making my next move. It was much easier to just play at my desk on a monitor.

Aside from that, the gameplay is phenomenal. Whether you are a newcomer to the genre or a veteran looking for a challenge, Invisible Inc. is the game for you. The campaign is short, about five to eight hours, but it’s meant to be replayed multiple times, increasing the difficulty with new campaign.

The player is also unlocking new agents and hacking programs after each campaign, offering new ways to play. While the randomly generated levels help keep each new campaign feeling fresh, it is the same story, and the story is not great to begin with.

If you are at all interested in turn-based or tactical stealth games you owe it to yourself to try Invisible Inc.

Score:

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

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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