In a distant but not so unrealistic future, society lives and functions through a virtual world where games take the forefront of public interaction. ‘Gamedec’ by Anshar Studios, thrusts you into the world of a Gamedec, the name given to an online detective in this cyberpunk dystopian world.
After choosing from a range of character models, you must choose the personality direction path and the societal standing you will take as you take on a number of cases in the digital world of Warsaw, Poland. Your job is to investigate cases through dialogue options and make deductions by weaving and twisting evidence together to form an ultimate conclusion.
Each story is distinct in having interesting and very relevant to the modern technological world themes. This relevance is the subtle social commentary, dare I say it, digs at the gaming world with references to identity theft, catfishing, loot boxes, premium subscriptions, and of course, online addiction.
The cases are pretty interesting, especially if you are down with the tech lingo, but I found that quite a few characters aren’t very memorable, especially without voice acting. I know it was probably due to budget, but this feels like one title that having voices assigned to characters would definitely elevate the production.
The gameplay is a combat-less, top-down, point-and-click romp, with most of the action or events played out through dialogue choices. While there is physical violence some events can lead to death and a quick restart as this is the digital world after all, and death isn’t permanent when you can load back in. The dialogue options are extensive, with some offering aspect points into your personality tree of professions to unlock conversational tricks for even more vast and detailed responses to use further on down the track to alter the outcomes.
Because the gameplay is so simple and literally utilises minimal button mapping, it transfers from docked to handheld mode seamlessly. It should be noted though, that despite the easy gameplay, I did have to reload two saves through my journey due to my character being glitched into a corner by an NPC.
While the universe is small on screen the graphics are actually impressive, held up completely by the sheer detail pumped into the gorgeous but miniature environments. Either in handheld or docked onto a big screen, each new environment overwhelms the eyes, from grimy futuristic cities reminiscent of The Fifth Element to western towns you’d think had been pulled straight from the classics.
There isn’t any real set soundtrack with most of the tension built through written dialogue and atmospherically created sound effects. A pity really, as there are so many atmospheric non-copyright cyber-electronic songs available on the web. Another missed opportunity.
For such an indie endeavour, Anshar Studios have created a cracker of an RPG adventure. While not perfect and restricted by things a Triple-A title might be able to access readily, ‘Gamedec’ had me logging in to the system over and over again to delve into this not-so-distant future where crimes online may affect reality.
- Interesting storylines and case
- Well written dialogue
- Cool cyberpunk, futuristic aesthetic
- Beautiful miniature environments
- Use of aspects and professions in dialogue opening up more options
- Simple gameplay
- Minor glitches
- Only a select few characters are memorable due to lack of voice acting
- Lacks any real soundtracking