State of Mind Review
- Developer:Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
- Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
- Genre: Story driven/ adventure
- Release Date: 15/8/18
- Platforms: Xb1/PS4/PC
- Reviewed on: XB1 on 4k Samsung TV
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
Question. If your memories were extracted from you and put into someone or indeed something else, would you still be you ? Would the new person or thing be more you than you ? Get ready for a lot of theoretical thinking like this for when you play the game State of Mind, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Lets kick this off with, I love this game. It’s been a long time since a game and it’s world has totally immersed me with such a well thought and fleshed out setting. The environments, artwork, in their settings are amazing, so much so that even just the simple act of just being in this gorgeous, dystopian, sci fi, futuristic, troubled 2048 Berlin, was a fantastic experience alone, let alone the actual gameplay.
Every set piece area was drenched in atmosphere. The broody rain soaked, slightly battered worn out future apartment of a cyber sex worker with the rain slanting down the window pains. The trim, bright sparkling clean, sharp, vibrant work office with the stunning backdrops in the distance.
Then there are nice little touches for example, in the two main apartments for the two main protagonists, there are futuristic “google” like settings you can change for the apartment. IE, you can change the apartments lighting, holograms, music etc as though it’s your very own place. Then the items littered around the areas like statues, chess sets, accessories, that all scream of realism for a world futuristic world that isn’t actually real!
But what do you actually do in this game? Good question as to be honest the trailers didn’t really explain it very well.
State of mind, is like the game, Life is Strange, Heavy Rain, or Beyond Two Souls, ie a mainly story driven experience, but played in a third person perspective, with you exploring areas and your surroundings to unlock clues and items to advance the story. There are no guns or shooting, just walking around. There are some mini games like tune in a transmitter, fly a drone, piece together clues on a noticeboard in the right order, all of which are welcome and well presented change of pace gameplay ideas that add to the experience.
However, as this is a story experience, it’s success is really reliant on how good of a story it is. It’s safe to say the story danced the line on being incomprehensible at times, but, stick with it and enjoy, because it unravels into something excellent.
This story is complex because it covers many themes all at once and has you as the player thinking am i being taken on a journey from the story of either Total Recall, Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, Psycho Pass, Terminator or The Matrix? The fact of the matter is it’s actually bits of all of them but none of them so, you really do have to be taking it all in at all times to keep up.
It’s not something you can play for a few hours, leave it, to come back later either as with a lot going on, you’d forget important dialogue. This is also exacerbated by the fact that there are not a lot of pointers to what you are to do next or recaps of what has happened. Yes yellow upside down triangles give you hints at what is available to interact with, but what you may need to do is not highlighted anywhere on your screen at all, ie make a call on your hive phone, or go to another location. No, this game simply wants you to strap in, buckle up and enjoy the ride and do nothing else until you have finished.
So as you wander around this glorious world, you unlock or set off conversations or find clues for which the narrative and voice acting is brilliant. The main character you play ( although there are 5 you play as in total in the game ) is a wound up journalist called Richard Nolan, who is voice acted by Doug Cockle, the same voice actor as Geralt from the Witcher series.
His interactions with others around him highlight the quality of the writing, narrative, and superb voice acting. To highlight even more how great this aspect of the game is, the character models are low in polygons by design, which somehow kinda fits, so therefore have very few facial expressions you can actually read or see. So the back of the story is mostly carried by what you can hear and how it’s delivered therefore all down to the voice. However this brings me to one of the negatives of the game.
Some moments are very very touching, or dramatic, but those moments are not as powerful as they could have been simply by the lack of facial detail because of the low polygons.
The other aspect, wholly looked over by many, is the audio, and State of Minds Audio is outstanding. First up the music is excellent, especially in the nightclub DOOMSDAY. Then when the drama unfolds ( for example in the uncomfortable cyber sex scene ) the music pulled you along like a great horror film moment. Little touches around the world of people and machines chatting to you, drop in and out depending on the distance you are away from them in the game. It’s just class.
So if you have read this far you may be thinking from my own narrative that this game is on for a high score. Unfortunately the game has put me into a really awkward position to score it. Around 8 hours in, to my 10 to 11 hour playthrough i have come across a glitch in the game that means i can’t proceed until it’s patched. We have approached the developer for comment but nothing at the time of publishing this review has come back. The glitch in question is the “ find the secret lab “ puzzle on Richard Nolans PC. My game camera zooms into the pc screen but then doesn’t show me the options to choose, it just stays there close up.
So glitch aside this is an incredibly, if complicated, story driven game, I highly recommend. It screams big budget triple A production quality from a developer that isn’t. The story had me on edge all the way during the time I’ve played it, wanting to know more. The glitch in question may only be for the Xbox version i played as I’ve seen gameplay videos of the PC version running fine on the puzzle I can’t get to complete. I have no doubt this will be patched so my score will be based on that.