Story Video Gaming This Year: the Three (Psycho)Thrillers

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So I did mention that I wasn’t going to write for a while (and I lied). I found some free time between work, the film fest and well, just being away from a computer and out in the “real” world. However, I got seriously excited when I was reminded of all the games I had been looking forward to when I got to a computer. I’m a very big fan of games with a story that act like a movie (duh, I grew up with ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ storybooks), so I love Quantic Dream and everything they’ve made so far. Also, being a big fan of films, it is no doubt that I absolutely loved ‘Heavy Rain’ and ‘L.A. Noire’.

For me, there are three big “psychothrillers” (for lack of a better word) that are coming out this year that I’m extremely excited for.

The first one is ‘Remember Me’. Set in a futuristic Paris, the objective of the game is to “remix” your targets’ memories in order to manipulate them. In one of the gameplay trailers, you see your character, Nilin, remix the memories of a politician (? wasn’t really paying attention too much to that). You are given multiple possibilities, but only one allows him to kill himself. That’s as much as we have so far on the gameplay. The story in itself is pretty simplistic and like any other sci-fi movie – protagonist has memory wiped clean from former employer, protagonist must now find out why. Sounds a little like ‘Total Recall’, huh? Regardless, it uses a female character to tell a story that could’ve been easily told through the eyes of a male, but it didn’t, which makes the game that much more enticing. There really aren’t enough female characters in games that are represented in a human way – not hyper sexualized or love interests. The movements are similar to that of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and I’d love to see more of this game.

Second is ‘Watch Dogs’. I’ve been waiting for this game for honestly god knows how long now. Think the show ‘Dexter’ mixed with… Something about hackers. The graphics look outstanding, the story is interesting and the attention to detail is immaculate. Or so it looks in the gameplay on Youtube. Your character plays a hacker that is bent on killing someone who is a murderer roaming the streets of Chicago. To make matters worse, the guy you’re trying to assassinate is a media mogul, so of course he paid the judge to get him out of court. The game is focused on the information era that we live in, but in another universe, in which everything is easily accessible (therefore easier for you to gain access to your surroundings). The sci-fi quality of the game that is built in a contemporary setting, unlike ‘Remember Me’, is what I found most interesting, as it is reminiscent of WikiLeaks, invoking questions of privacy and how we are constantly being watched (pun). But at the same time, parallels ‘Remember Me’ in a way that they both play with ideas of privacy invasion with the dawn of technological advancement.

Finally, we have ‘Beyond: Two Souls’. As I had mentioned earlier, I am a fan of Quantic Dream and I’m definitely expecting this to have a ‘Heavy Rain’ feel, gameplay-wise, however instead of dealing with serial killers, we have a paranormal aspect to this narrative (so I guess you can compare it with ‘Fahrenheit’). What am I excited for most? Other than the Tribeca Film Festival afterparty (which I will definitely have to write about), I’m interested in finding out the different endings of the game. Your character is Jodie, who has psychic abilities and has an “entity” (or ghost) that is attached to her, who she uses to move objects, possess others, etc. So far it looks like there are many problem-solving puzzles, but each solution provides a different cause and effect. There is a horror aspect to the game (many jump-scares), as with anything dealing with the paranormal and I am completely intrigued by this game. While I’m still a little sad that Ellen Page wasn’t going to be the lead female character in ‘the Last of Us’, now I’m just like, WTF-ever, this game looks sicker.