|Platform:||Steam / Windows|
|Available on OS:||Windows|
|Genre:||First person, stealth, action, combat|
|Date completed:||November 2021|
|Game number:||17 of 1005 steam games (< 1%)|
Summary review: A very fun and relatively short stealth/assassin game set in a steam punk/Victorian world.
Graphics: Not sure if this game did a great job of upscaling or if I just have low standards but this looked really fantastic to me. Being released in 2012 allowed me to turn all the graphics settings up to max.
Music: Very much situation appropriate orchestral and atmospheric.
Controls: Very much perfect first person controls on a mouse/keyboard
Replayability: Due to its very definitive beginning-middle-end plot format, it’s replayability seems limited. Going through again to be more thorough (and chaotic) would be fun I think.
Total score: 80 / 100 – The game looks fantastic (to me) and I never encountered any horrible bugs or glitches. The game runs fantastically and – though this will be relevant to relatively few players – does not look stretched or skewed or anything when the resolution is set to 5120×1440. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the game, it just isn’t necessarily memorable or note worthy. An 80 is still a fantastic score.
I don’t remember when I purchased this game – probably around 2016 – but I remember being excited to play it. I started it several times but never got more than an hour in for whatever reason. Until this month when I decided I’m going to finish it one way or another.
Uninteresting anecdote, I was trying to decide between playing this game and the first Deus Ex from 2000: upon playing it I slowly realized just how much the two games have in common. I mean stealth, options to kill or only knock out, multiple paths to get to a location through underwater or through air ducts etc. Even the plague with controversy over a vaccine and a crossbow with tranquillizer darts. Those are about the only similarities though.
I’m going to be vague on the actual plot of the game and not reveal any kind of spoilers here.
The game is set in something of a steam punk/Victorian age with science fiction elements. You play a body guard of an empress and her daughter/heir. In the opening of the game the empress is assassinated by some mysterious figures that seem to be able to vanish and the little girl heir is kidnapped. You/the bodyguard are immediately framed for the crime and thrown in jail.
The basic premise is break out of prison, rescue the princess, clear your name bring those responsible for the assassination to justice.
Over the course of the game you start to gain super powers and “perk” abilities through collection of bonecharms and other items hidden throughout the maps. So you have to “earn” your way to super-human-abilities.
It’s going to take some patience
This game is your classic sneak/stealth game, in the style of the old “Thief” games. The maps start off relatively small with a relatively small number of enemies that aren’t that smart then very gradually scale up in size, scope and sub-sections culminating in a final exam style final map that requires use of all the powers and skills you learned and earned over the course of the game.
There is also something of a “chaos” meter the end-of-map summary screens tells you about. It seems the more people you kill versus knock out and the number of explosions you cause has a direct affect on the world as a whole.
There are some safes in this game, with actual combinations that must be manually entered. This is the closest thing to a puzzle the game has. If you can’t find the note or don’t eves drop on the right conversation you’ll never find open that safe. Unless you try 1,000 number combinations. Or look it up.
Do you even transporter, bro?
As I mentioned you more items you’re able to find over time the more abilities your able to unlock. The freebie you gets is the ability to transport a short distance. Up to a ledge, down to a ledge, behind a guard, on to a chandelier, it’s quite fun.
Then there’s other abilities like “dark site”, “blow wind good” and “possess life form”. I used dark site and transport the most. Hardly ever used possession or wind. Not because they’re not useful but because I had a bad problem with not having enough mana and wind and possession require a lot of mana.
Some light and dark
For my play through I tried to kill as little as possible. This requires a lot of patience and stealth to avoid being seen as well as avoid electrical arcing security systems. And pushing “quick save” every thirty seconds or so. There’s also an auto-save but I don’t have enough patients to replay the sections between auto-save points that many times.
From what I can tell, in a dark/villain playthrough, there would be a lot more rats and the city would degrade much faster. I don’t know if it would be a lot harder, just a different play style. I noticed there’s a few more powers I never tested out since their just their for a kill-them-all style play through. The descriptions certainly sound great though.
Notes on plot (non-spoiler)
The plot seemed fairly straight forward to me. The “twist” at the end I felt I saw coming from the start (like literally the first time I meet the characters). I’m not necessarily complaining though. I mean story-wise not all games can be Drake’s Fortune 4. I prefer to think of this game as something of a premise provided for exploring these different maps and scenarios. That’s what we’re here for, right? Interesting scenarios to test said mad stealth kill skills?
The lore built up over the game is actually fantastic. Everything seems to run on whale oil, the Tesla-era electricity arcs I think are really cool, the game world has a very specific style and “vibe” to it. There’s tons of books in the game in fact. I’m sure my play time would be at least an hour or two shorter if I had skipped all the books. Those really add something to the lore.
Now some negatives…
I don’t have a lot to say negative on this game. It’s not overly long at ~25 hours, it doesn’t force you into optional side quests and the “puzzles” and relatively simple.
I did find some frustration with the button prompts: sometimes I would transport myself behind a guard then try and push CTRL to choke him out only to find the button wasn’t working yet. I would try and turn different ways to make the game bring up the prompt but the guard would end up turning around and seeing me. That’s where the F5 quick-save comes in handy.
There’s a similar issue with trying to transport up to a ledge: it’s not always obvious if it’s possible to make it to a particular ledge or a particular distance.
Actually, I think that the “dark site” ability may be a little over powered in the game. It allows you to see through walls and the exact “vision cone” of the enemies as they move around. At one point I think I could just leave that ability one for a whole map since there’s no disadvantage to it at all.
And f*ck those fish. Just shove grenade up all of them. Stupid attack fish.
If you really love relatively slow moving stealth kill type games, I think you’ll love this game. The Victorian/science fiction lore is compelling, the maps are large and multi-layered (by why I mean there’s not only a high road and low road but multiple paths in between those elevations) and it’s very rare (if ever) you’ll feel like you don’t know where to go next.
|Method of control used||keyboard/mouse|
|Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”)||n/a|
|Hardware requirements:||Game released in 2012, relatively low just to run it|
|Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?||5120×1440 seems to work okay for me|
|PCs tried on||~2019 era core i7 laptop/nVidia GPU|
|Works with 4:3 screens||n/a|
|Initial setup required||5120×1440 setup, subtitles|
|Time to complete||~25 hours|