Interesting stealth and camera mechanic pushes this first entry into République right along.
Version Reviewed: PS4
In our connected world, we do not often like to think about the ways in which someone with the right amount of smarts and access could watch our every step. Some are a bit more comfortable with it. Many have taken up this concept and given access to their daily lives through Let’s Plays, Vlogs, and other weekly shows that give a slice of life.
The worldwide tradition of watching what people do on cameras they upload each day is an idea République takes and flips on its head. In a similar way to how Twitch chat will defeat a game of Pokémon, the protagonist of République, Hope, leans on you to help her navigate her way through the facility and escape. This is not a pre-planned exercise to inform people of your daily thoughts, but an exercise in freedom both physically and politically.
In République, you are the guide, Cooper, a rebel within the Prizrak, a security/military force, for the protagonist in a world looking much like our own aesthetically. That is about where the similarities end as the political atmosphere of the world is rife with the tyranny of a few. Hope is a young woman in a school for Pre-Cals.
The big disruption in Metamorphosis, a radical “terrorist” by the name of Zager, has just been executed. The news of this “victory” for the leaders of Metamorphosis and the Prizrak does not go understated. In fact, there is another of Zager’s followers whom will be executed soon. Hope is thought to have put Zager’s Manifesto onto one of the République’s books and, this being her third offense of this kind, she is locked up. She is contaminated and set to be recalibrated. As with all dystopian societies, reading any texts unapproved by the leadership gets you in trouble.
There are a plethora of books you run across which will be burned; things like Brave New World, Candide, Animal Farm, and others will not be tolerated in this environment. Much like Fahrenheit 451, there is a rejection of book knowledge from the establishment and they exert their control over society by only showing them things which will make them act in their own self-interest. All of these were being provided by the Librarian, who seems to be another person on the chopping block for Prizrak.
As for the leaders, they must be from the time when Fahrenheit 451 was written. Technology is unaccounted for in their plans to control their subjects. In this strictly watched society, there are cameras everywhere. Hope’s phone is able to link to the cameras and sync with the video feed allowing you, as Cooper, to look ahead, behind, and see around corners all while Hope is not moving. Using these mechanics, along with some other more primitive stealth measures, République has crafted the beginnings of an interesting puzzle narrative game that sees you sympathizing with “terrorists” and working with Hope to help her escape in Episode 1.
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To add a bit of intrigue to the game’s puzzles, you have a limited number of actions with the cameras you can do. Open doors, close them, lock them, trigger explosions, among other things but you must keep watch of the amount of batteries you have left in the phone. If the batteries run out, you may need to backtrack to the nearest charger before you can continue. If you collect it throughout the stage, you may be able to use pepper spray on the guards to keep going, but once you are caught, there is no additional fighting back. You start back in the nearest cell to your location.
République Episode 1 sees you attempting to help Hope find her way to escape. It works pretty well as an introduction to the mechanics and the characters and the narrative of the story. Ultimately, it does not prove too thrilling of a narrative until the very end of the episode flips the script on Hope and Cooper’s plans and some things hinted at early begin to take shape.
Keep that left trigger locked and aimed to App Trigger for review of the next chapter in République.