This game might be one of the most misunderstood games this year, it seems that everyone hates it right now. I can see where they are coming from, but I also don’t think people are quite ready for this kind of storytelling. There are some shitty things about it that we will get into later but first let’s start with what this thing is.
The game is more an interactive movie than a real game. The main story revolves around a deaf person, that wants to revenge on some people that have taken his mother from him. But the story mostly revolves around the kidnapping of a person close to him in the present. And the story expands from there.
Something I do agree about is that the brawl scenes where you have control of the character is really badly executed, you beat up some people, and the story just continues on its own. These brawls do nothing for the most part for the story, and we would have been fine without them. It almost adds anything to the story, except in a few rare cases. And the fights against some of the stronger enemies is just confusing, as they are some kind of events where you need to press the right buttons at the right time without any visual or audio cues.
But I do find the way they otherwise have decided to tell the story interesting. There is no real dialogue in the game, and the scenes are primarily driven by emotion, and I find that the actors for the live scenes are pretty good at portraying those emotions. I think that the criticism for this part of the game comes from that people are not used to watching something without dialogue. For hearing people communication with words is an essential thing, and when they are put in a context where there are no words heard they have a hard time comprehending what is going on and what the story is telling them. You also need to remember that everything that is happening is from the perspective of somebody without hearing and while some have commented that the main character can read on lips and that the dialogue could have been subtitled I think for what they were trying to do it would have been a poor decision to do so.
I think that I understand what they tried to do here, but the overall execution could have been better. With another pacing of the game, and something else than the brawl scenes this could have been an excellent game. Now it is a good story without a clear goal. The interactive parts of the story could have been executed better helped to build up the world these characters are living in. But now it’s just a tedious breakup of the story that is mostly annoying and does halt the story without a clear purpose.
I really want to love this game, and when I started to write this, it was because I did want to write something other than the harsh reviews about it. But in the end, it is tough to see past the apparent flaws even tho there are some good things in there and some good ideas. I did indeed not have any expectations of the game because I rarely follow the hype trains about games and have found almost all games that I really love by accident and this was cheap in the PlayStation store, and it seemed interesting by the description.
But in the end, I would have to give this game 4 / 10 as a final score. The story idea is compelling, and the recorded parts of the game are well done with good actors. But the overall execution is not just there.