Review: Serial Cleaner (PS4)

Review: Serial Cleaner (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac, Linux

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
Title: Serial Cleaner
Format: PSN (940.4 MB)
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: iFun4All
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Every criminal organization needs a professional cleaner, someone that mops up the blood and disposes of the bodies after a hit. In Serial Cleaner you are that person. Your goal is not to kill, but to dispose of evidence before the cops can complete their investigation.

Taking place in the 1970’s, you play as a cleaner that takes jobs to pay off his gambling debts and support his mother. The character seems like a nice guy despite having a job in which he covers up the crimes of bad people like the mob and a serial killer.

The story is rather miniscule. It’s told through short sequences before every mission with television and newspaper reports filling in the gaps and fleshing out the time period with references to real world events from the 70’s.

It’s primarily a stealth game. You arrive on the scene and must dispose of whatever bodies are there, collect any evidence and clean as much blood as needed. Disposing of bodies is simple. You just pick them up and bring them back to your station wagon or dump them in designated areas.

At its core it feels like a puzzle game. You have the ability to pull the map back and get a lie of the land to plan your moves carefully, then it becomes about execution. I had to plan my routes according to the enemy movements and find the easiest and quickest way to finish the objectives.

The cops have vision cones that are noticeable thanks to their flashlights and there are usually quite a few officers roaming the map. There’s no way to fight back when spotted, leaving you to find a hiding spot because you can’t outrun the police. This is where the game tends to break down a little.

First off, the cops’s vision cones can be somewhat misleading. I was often spotted by the police when I know I shouldn’t have been due to being behind cover. Sometimes it felt like the cops could see through walls or objects which meant I needed to run and hide, leading to another inconsistency.

Scattered throughout the map are hiding places like bushes or boxes. All that is required to hide is to get close to the object and hit the Cross button. But this action wouldn’t work sometimes and I would end up captured because the button prompt didn’t appear or respond. I failed a lot due to these inconsistencies and more often than not I found myself frustrated.

While I did have fun, I found myself becoming bored by the lack mission variety since nothing really changes throughout the game outside of more objectives to complete per mission. Added to the sometimes frustrating gameplay I ended up enjoying the game less and less as I marched towards the end.

Visuals:
I love the art style of the game. It captures the look of the 1970’s in a very cartoony way. It often reminded me of Hotline Miami which nailed the look and sound of the 1980’s.

That comparison is especially true with the amount of violence and destruction found in Hotline Miami, but just after that, Jacket finished a mission. There are some absolutely brutal crime scenes and they look fantastic through the game’s 1970’s style.

It takes place in some cool locations which switch up enough that I at least found the changes somewhat refreshing even if they didn’t really impact the gameplay much.

Audio:
Matching the visuals, the soundtrack achieves that 1970’s vibe. It’s filled with light jazz that would work for either a 70’s porn or cop show. I’m pretty sure that’s a compliment.

I love the soundtrack even though it doesn’t change much from level to level and I honestly couldn’t tell you if there are a lot of songs or just a few songs recycled. Regardless I never grew tired of the music and enjoyed what it was able to add to the experience.

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

Conclusion:
I always loved characters like Mike from Breaking Bad or The Wolf from Pulp Fiction, characters that clean up after the bad guys. No matter the situation, they’re calm, cool, and can handle anything.

Serial Cleaner is not a perfect game. It has some serious flaws that can make the experience border on frustrating. The mechanics could use some tweaking which would elevate the whole thing.

The game has a lot going for it. The idea is solid and the visuals are great, it just needs some work to make for a more compelling experience.

Score:
6.5

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

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