Liberated released earlier in the year to mixed responses, Pixel Heart are now publishing physical copies of an enhanced edition and asked us to have a look at the game. Dystopian future, downtrodden protagonist and lashing of Comic book culture. Sign me up!.
So Liberated: Enhanced Edition is a re-release containing extra content, 2 epilogue chapters and various tweaks to improve the game. We never got the chance to cover the original game so sadly cannot comment on just how much of an “upgrade” this is.
Liberated initially nails the presentation, it looks just like a comic or graphic novel and wastes no time dragging you into this gritty world of repression and government surveillance.
The art is top notch and the black and white colour scheme that runs throughout really brings home the fact this isn’t a happy narrative you have been brought into.
It’s not long until you’re making narrative choices which mean you’ll either see the full story or just skip a bit which if you’re anything like me means you’ll be going back after the chapter closes.
There is also somewhat of a dual narrative which sees you playing as other characters involved often as a counterpoint to what you’ve just done. It’s a fantastic way of presenting this cat and mouse tale!
Unfortunately not everything is crisp, when you get to the gameplay sections it falls flat and really knocks the experience, first off the animation.
Playing through the game I could see a lot of similarities between this and titles such as Flashback, Another World and The Eternal Castle, cinematic platformers basically. They are often very weighty in controls, easy to die but have phenomenal animations and storytelling, Liberated has at least one of these.
The animation in Liberated leaves a lot to be desired, controls feel clunky and frankly the animation looks it. The character models look floaty and barely convincingly interact with the world they inhabit.
This also ties into the awkwardly placed and pointless QTEs that appear almost randomly. The button presses lack feedback and it doesn’t change the narrative should you “fail” just keep trying until you get it right, it’s painfully archaic.
The shooting mechanic in the game is very twin stick and especially when fighting human enemies it has a lot of weight to it. Nothing quite replicates the feeling of landing a good streak of headshots, which is essential, you’re not John Rambo and won’t be chain gunning your way through the government!.
Alongside shooting, platforming and QTE you’ve also got several puzzles to break up the story. The pacing is generally quite good once you pass chapter 1, I found that Chapter to have really off pacing and wasn’t the best way to introduce players to the gameplay.
Liberated: Enhanced Edition should see gamers around 4 hours till completion and as this is very narrative focused there isn’t too much in the way of collectables or stuff to tie up post game. You can miss comic segments so there is that for budding 100%ers.
I loved the story of Liberated and the world of government oppression it created, the comic visuals were fantastic and the gameplay sections, while the weakest aspect, still had a good mix of action and stealth. The animations really held the game back and made it look cheap and nasty. While not my favourite cinematic platformer it is still worth a look for any fan of the genre.
Great game but held back in animations and forced QTE sections
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