Liberated Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Liberated RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Liberated Review: Black and White Stealth, Comic Book Style https://www.gameskinny.com/pvhnn/liberated-review-black-and-white-stealth-comic-book-style https://www.gameskinny.com/pvhnn/liberated-review-black-and-white-stealth-comic-book-style Mon, 01 Jun 2020 09:15:02 -0400 LloydCoombes

Cyberpunk, that nebulous way of describing humanity’s entwinement and dark fascination with technology, is all the rage these days. Liberated, a new indie sneaking its way onto the Switch and Steam, offers a unique take on the genre – it’s just a shame that its voice is lost in the dark.

Liberated puts players in the black cap of Barry Edwards, a man living a double life. By day he’s a (mostly) law-abiding citizen and IT professional, but by night, he’s decrypting data, hacking into domains that he shouldn’t be, and stashing stacks of currency in his apartment.

Liberated Review: Black and White Stealth, Comic Book Style

If this all sounds familiar, there’s no getting around it – the game undoubtedly takes heavy inspiration from the Wachowski’s first Matrix movie’s Neo when setting up Edwards, while eventually taking cues from the likes of V for Vendetta.

In the very near-future world of Liberated, citizens are monitored and awarded Credits through a seemingly impregnable algorithm. Something as simple as jaywalking can see the heavy-handed police knocking on the door, and the clamor for credits has driven the masses to constant fear and censorship, while others have been pushed into rebellion.

It’s Urban Dystopia 101, and it feels like that in trying to channel so many influences at once, it loses its own voice in the crowd, aside from some timely reminders that democracy and autocracy are just fractions away from each other.

Killing In The Frame Of

Where Liberated sets itself apart from the rank and file is in its presentation. Framed as a comic book series, it filters its sci-fi trappings via Frank Miller’s Sin City, all black and white and dripping with noir style. It feels like a continuation of earlier iOS and Android darling Framed, only with less color and more gameplay.

Each frame is wonderfully drawn, and subtitles are impressively legible even on the Switch. Dialogue options can see players skip over entire panels, while action sequences play out within the confines of the page, too.

For the most part, Liberated is a 2D stealth title. Barry can hide in shadows and initiate stealth kills; he can also wield a firearm capable of flashy but brutal headshots. We say "for the most part," because Liberated also offers frantic running sections and hacking minigames that range from simple puzzles to even simpler button mashing.

In between these sequences, quick-time events dictate much of the bigger set pieces. Car chases and action sequences devolve into timed button presses, and while it helps the story move at a decent pace, it feels a little too prevalent for our liking.

The actual stealth fundamentals start at a basic level, but they are masterfully ramped up over the course of the campaign. It’s not long until Barry is taking cover behind moving vehicles, or bobbing and weaving to avoid detection from drones, or swimming through underwater sections.

Liberated’s commitment to its aesthetic is absolute, with each of its chapters referred to as issues. Each comes with its own gorgeous cover art, and can be replayed to return to parts of the story you may have missed.

Ink Blot

That’s not to say there aren’t blemishes on its pages. The game’s use of black, white, and shades of grey means that the hallways and openings that Barry can take cover in are tougher to discern than you might think, leaving you standing in the open as an enemy turns around. There’s also occasional slowdown when flipping to the next in-game page.

There’s also a degree of ludonarrative dissonance in Barry’s actions. Early in the game, he has to race home in an effort to arrive before the police, with the boys in blue looking to accost him for, among other minor infractions, a lack of a valid train ticket. In his efforts to get there quickly, he has no qualms with choking out a guard. It feels a little ham-fisted in the early stages, albeit as essentially a tutorial.

For comic book fans looking to enjoy Liberated as a piece of literature, the game offers a story-only mode that strips away gameplay sequences. You’d have to be a true purist to play it in this fashion, especially given how much of the game’s interactive elements (outside of its core stealth action) feel as basic as pressing a button to select a dialogue option.

Liberated Review — The Bottom Line

Pros:
  • Unique visual identity
  • Fun 2D stealth
  • Multiple paths
Cons:
  • Full of cyberpunk and tech-noir genre tropes
  • Leans a little heavily on QTEs

Liberated leans a little too heavily on genre tropes for its story to feel anything other than derivative, but it more than makes up for it with a striking visual style that touches every aspect of gameplay.

Its reliance on quick-time events aside, it’s a fun, stealthy page-turner that’ll feel like nirvana for Alan Moore and Frank Miller fans. If you enjoyed the likes of Limbo or Inside, you’ll find a lot to love with Liberated.

[Note: A copy of Liberated was provided by Walkabout Games for the purpose of this review.]

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Indie World Unveils Golf Story Sequel, Dauntless Switch Out Now, More https://www.gameskinny.com/8vomc/indie-world-unveils-golf-story-sequel-dauntless-switch-out-now-more https://www.gameskinny.com/8vomc/indie-world-unveils-golf-story-sequel-dauntless-switch-out-now-more Tue, 10 Dec 2019 15:27:32 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Not to be outdone by Sony's rapid-fire State of Play that unveiled the anticipated Resident Evil 3 remake, Nintendo held a 20-minute showcase highlighting indie games coming to Nintendo Switch from now until 2020.

There's a lot to unpack from the presentation, from a Golf Story sequel to Axiom Verge 2, Dauntless, and much, much more. Needless to say, if you're a Nintendo Switch owner and fan of indie games, there's a lot to be excited about heading into 2020. 

Let's get started with Sports Story.

Sports Story

Nintendo first served up a new trailer for Sports Story, the follow-up to the smash indie hit Golf Story. Sports Story, though, takes things beyond the golf course. It is a full adventure with tennis, golf, soccer, volleyball, baseball, dungeons, spies, and enemies to overcome.

Sports Story looks like it shares all the quirky humor of the original. The game will launch on Switch in 2020.

Axiom Verge 2

The next big surprise was, per usual, saved for last: Axiom Verge 2. Tom Happ, the creator of Axiom Verge, showed off a new sneak peek of the next installment in the series, Axiom Verge 2.

The Metroidvania sequel is very much in the same vein as the original, though this time around, you'll explore a wider variety of areas in a snow-themed world. Axiom Verge 2 releases sometime in fall 2020.

Gleamlight

Gleamlight, a game developed by the makers of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, tells a different kind of story than the 2019 Symphony of the Night inspired Metroidvania.

Gleamlight is a mysterious journey told in stained glass style, featuring a sword as the main character. This sword fights the darkness with the help of children, though it's not clear what the darkness is yet or how the children are involved.

Still, It's a gorgeous looking game that obviously takes inspiration from Hollow Knight. However, one innovation here is that there is no user interface and there are no words. Gleamlight will launch on Nintendo Switch in early 2020.

Bake n' Switch

Bake n' Switch, a party brawler centered around little doughy things, looks as chaotic as Overcooked and has plenty of food-themed goodness and mind-crushing obstacles to overcome.

The goal here is to bake the cute ol' doughs and serve them up as offerings to angry deities, which naturally means it's everyone for themselves.

SuperMash

SuperMash takes inspiration from RPG Maker, letting you pick two game genres and create something completely unique out of it. Every game created in SuperMash is random and different, though you can control certain elements with DevCards.

Players can mesh six different genres together, from Metroidvania to stealth, shoot 'em up to JRPG. Games can be shared with friends and saved for posterity, and there will even be a story mode.

SuperMash will release in May 2020.

Sail Forth

It's not Sea of Thieves, but Sail Forth is pretty darn close. In this high-seas adventure, you'll explore the vast oceans with your customized boat, take on pirates, find hidden quests, and adventure to your heart's content.

Although much more detailed, the game's aesthetic evokes a very Burly Men at Sea vibe. However, there's a lot more to do here than replay the same levels over and over again for different endings.

Sail Forth will launch in 2020.

Dauntless

Dauntless, Epic Games' take on the Monster Hunter World formula, received an update during the presentation as well, along with a new expansion announcement in Stormchasers.

Part Monster Hunter, part MMORPG, Dauntless brings players together to explore a colorful world, take down massive monsters, and use loot to craft even better weapons and gear.

The other news? Dauntless is available on Nintendo Switch today for free, and Dauntless cross platform, cross region play, and cross save is supported on the Switch version.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD

Oddworld has had a rocky relationship with Nintendo, but wild shooter Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is coming to Nintendo Switch on January 23, 2020. It is currently available for pre-order.  

You will take on bounties, avoid enemies looking to turn you in for a bounty, and rely on your trusty crossbow that uses live ammo — literally live, like rodent bullets — to keep from pushing daisies in this action-adventure game set in the Oddworld universe.

Liberated

Liberated, a cyberpunk-inspired game told in the form of a graphic novel, is basically a futuristic 1984. The world is always online, and the government takes advantage of that by keeping tabs on everyone at all times.

Liberated combines platforming and action and will launch first on Nintendo Switch in 2020.

The Survivalists

The Survivalists is a new crafting-survival game set in The Escapist universe where you train monkeys to help you establish a village on your deserted island. Because of course.

Gathering resources leads to new recipes that let you explore further on each procedurally-generated island, uncovering new items to help you survive. Of course, you uncover new threats along the way. The Survivalists will release in 2020.

That's it for today's Indie World news, but stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Nindies news as it breaks.

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