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République (PS4) review

On March 30, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

République is an episodic stealth action game developed by Camouflaj and it was funded through Kickstarter, the Kickstarter, which launched on April 10, 2012, made $555,662 exceeding its $500,000 goal. Following the Kickstarter, which was for PC, iOS and Android versions of the game, the first of five episodes was released in December 2013 for iOS, slowly over time new content was released with the October 2014 Android release containing three of the five games, and the February 2015 PC and Mac release containing four of the five episodes. Now finally in March 2016, we have all five episodes and a PlayStation 4 release, this review will focus on the PlayStation 4 version, which was published by NIS America.

République is set in Metamorphosis, a totalitarian nation where books that don’t conform to the Overseer’s beliefs are burned and everyone is watched and tagged by an ever-present surveillance system. In this hellish nation, the game focuses on 390-H or as she calls herself, Hope. Hope wishes to escape from the controlling nation and see the world, but she can’t do it alone, and so you the player must help her escape by using the nation’s own surveillance system to guide her towards her goal, but the task isn’t an easy one as you must complete puzzles and make sure that none of the numerous patrolling guards find her.

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In terms of story the game is an interesting experience especially if you take the time to find all the collectibles such as banned book and audio tapes, for me discovering the banned books was one of the most interesting side-objectives as the Overseer/Headmaster would explain why he ordered books such as Ulysses and Invisible Man to be banned, but I’m digressing from the story. At first glance the story can just be about a simple girl trying to escape from an oppressive nation, but as you play through the episodes you begin to see a bigger picture emerge, one that slowly casts a dark shadow on everything, but the size of shadow is really determined by deep the player delves into the collectible realm, because while the game explains that the story is about a man who wants to control information, this story is simply the game’s cliff notes and the collectibles helps to create the overall story. If you are a fan of story I recommend replaying République numerous times as all the collectibles help piece together the true sinister meaning behind Metamorphosis. Speaking of replay value, the game isn’t overly long as each episode taking between 2- 2.5 hours to complete.

Now while the concept and story are interest, the game is let down a bit in the gameplay department. The idea that you play as a mysterious person who can jump from camera to camera, scan the environment and guide the helpless Hope to her goal is pretty solid, but there was a small nagging issue I discovered early on and that is if the nation is heavily monitored by security cameras how can I Hope get around without getting spotted, it is an issue that really tore me out of the experience, this issue was made worse when in one of the later episodes the guards start using the cameras in an attempt to find you. Yes, I know it is a contrivance created for the game, but once you notice this glaring issue, it never really goes away.

So, what other gameplay elements are there besides guiding Hope around the room and keeping her hidden from the patrolling guards. Well, there are simple puzzles, for example, one puzzle involves you illuminating a number of statues in a certain order and another has you rotate an object until it works. If you are hoping that République has some difficult puzzles you are a bit out of luck as they are very much simple logic puzzles that won’t cause any form of stress.

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Now as I mentioned earlier there are collectibles, well they have a separate purpose and that is the fact they help you unlock skills, to gain skills you need to find a computer and sell the information you have collected a data broker, and in return you can buy skills that for example pings the location of guards and the ability to predict the path a guard will take.

Before I finish talking about gameplay there are three important points I need to mention. Firstly, you have the ability to hack into certain areas, but hacking uses up your battery life, which you can regain by finding a charging station. Secondly, there is a form of combat, if you are caught you can use pepper spray or a taser to temporarily disable an enemy although doing this will increase the security level. Finally, there are no consequences to being caught, sure you lose your weapons, but other than that there is nothing to fear you are just put in a cell that you can easily walk out of.

Now, I haven’t said much about the characters in République yet, so let’s talk about them. The characters are interesting as they elevate the game’s story as you get to see how each character you meet really feels about Metamorphosis. As you play through the game each character you encounter slowly evolves over time, for example, Mattie who is the editor of the nation’s newspaper comes across as a minister of propaganda and not the helpful if not a manipulative woman she later appears to be. The characters in République are like coins they have two sides to them.

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Ok, now I think it is time to look at some of the game’s main issues. The most prominent issues for me were the load times, automatic camera changes and some frame rate issues. The load times was by far my biggest caveat as it made exploring a chore as you have to wait a surprisingly long time for areas to load and the loading was shown by a static covered screen, which was not a pleasant viewing experience. The automatic camera changes were also annoying especially when going from area to area as the changing of camera alters the controls so when entering a room forward it could become backwards in the new room, this led to moments where I was constantly entering and leaving a room just because I had the audacity to continue walking forward. The final main issue was some frame rate issues, this wasn’t a major issue for me, but I did notice the game stutter from time to time.

In terms of graphics and audio, there isn’t much to say, the game runs at a crisp 1080p and the music was incredibly soothing and blended into the game rather well, in some cases it blended in so well I never noticed it.

Conclusion

République is a stealth-action game set in an intriguing totalitarian world while the world is incredibly interesting the gameplay is somewhat boring as it lacks any major challenge.

Score: 8/10

Pros Cons
 + Intriguing world  – There is no immediacy to the gameplay
 + Exploration is rewarded  – Long load times
 + Has relatively strong replay value
 + Not all characters are who they first appear to be
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
 Camouflaj  NIS America  Stealth-Action  16+  PC, PS4, iOS, Android  March 25, 2016

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on République, visit http://www.camouflaj.com/.

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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