We all like our privacy right? In today’s world we see a lot of issues regarding privacy so it’s a very real concern. That’s why the story in Republique on PS4 seemed interesting to myself. Some of you may have already played this game on mobile platforms a few years ago when it released but certain things about that version I didn’t like when I saw it. I can say now that it has made its way to the PlayStation 4 many of my issues with the mobile version have been taken care of.
Republique is a third-person stealth game where you must help a young girl named Hope make her way through this enemy stronghold. You’ll be aided by a rogue enemy named cooper along the way who will give you tips and provides you with a phone that is able to tap into the cameras all around the place. I won’t spoil any of the story but like I said above it mostly deals with privacy issues, censorship, and it explores what would happen in a surveillance state. The world you are in is Metamorphosis which is the capital of the society. I mentioned above some changes that were made to the mobile version that I really like and the main one is the fact that you actually control Hope’s movements. On the mobile version you would tap the screen of where you wanted Hope to move but on PS4 you move her with the analog stick. I like to have control of my character so this is a change that I’m happy was made. Just to point out this change was also in the PC version for those of you who have played it.
While I was playing the game reminded me a lot of the original Metal Gear Solid in some ways and that is because it was created by some of the former Metal Gear Solid 4 team members. David Hayter even voices one of the characters in the game so there is another tie in as well. Getting back to the gameplay you must guide Hope through the rooms and hallways of Metamorphosis while avoiding the enemies placed about. Hope can crouch with the circle button and run with R2. She has no weapons to speak of in the game so you can’t kill the guards but certain items you find can help you against them. Items such as pepper spray that you can press square to use and temporarily blind them and other items as well. You can also sneak up behind guards and press square to pickpocket them usually resulting in a floppy disc. The guards all move in the same movement pattern which is another similarity to the original Metal Gear Solid. The controls work well for the most part but they can be wonky every now and then.
The phone plays a big part in the game as you will be using it to hack into the cameras. This is called OMNI View and it pauses everything while you’re using it. In OMNI View you move the cameras with the right analog stick and can interact with other objects in the environment by holding the button it prompts you to hold. These items include posters on the wall and emails and voicemails that provide more story. Every one of these items that you scan or books you find while playing as Hope will earn you a certain amount of money. You can then use that money at certain terminals to purchase upgrades such as the ability to hack into those emails and voicemails I mentioned, the ability to set off sounds to distract guards, an upgrade to see their patrol paths and more. I liked that I could move from camera to camera and check out some of the rooms ahead before moving Hope into them. You can only move so far ahead of Hope though. You also have a certain amount of battery life and using abilities drains it faster. When it runs too low you won’t be able to do anything other than looking into the cameras until you recharge the battery. This can be done by finding batteries or using a recharge station in certain rooms.
Considering Republique is an indie game and was created after running a kickstarter the game looks really nice. The graphics have been improved from the mobile version and everything from the environments to the character models look pretty good. The audio is also done well and the game features some great voice actors such as Jennifer Hale, David Hayter, Khary Payton and Rena Strober. There are some cool easter eggs in the game as well that I really enjoyed. Those floppy discs that you can pickpocket from guards are actually games from other studios that you’ll hear Cooper talk about. Another little nice touch is when you scan a guards passport with a camera and you see that they are all named after the people who backed this on Kickstarter.
Now for some of the stuff I didn’t like about Republique. The game suffers some performance issues as well as some questionable design decisions. First off when you are switching between cameras in the game a lot of time the transition is smooth but other times the game can stall for 5-10 seconds before it loads. This could be due to the unity engine that the game runs on as we have seen that engine has had issues in plenty of other games as well. The controls for Hope can be wonky sometimes as well as I mentioned where while moving around especially along cover you can get stuck and she won’t move exactly as you want here to. This can lead to getting caught by the guards sometimes which brings up another issues I have with it. The game really has no punishment for failing as you’ll never die or have to restart. Instead when you are caught by a guard they escort you to a containment room and lock you in. However, you can then just access OMNI view and hack your way out so there really is no penalty for getting caught other than losing any pepper spray or such you may have on you.
Republique tells a pretty good story, has good character performances, and looks nice while playing it. While the game has it’s faults I enjoyed it a lot and found it to be a pretty good stealth game. The game is only $25 and has some nice hidden secrets as well. If you don’t like slower paced games or games that don’t feature much combat you may not enjoy it and it does have some technical issues. Regardless the story it sets out to tell is worth experiencing and if you passed on it before due to not being able to control Hope you’ll want to play the PS4 version. There aren’t very many stealth games on the market right now but developer Camouflaj has crafted one that is very much worth playing.
+ Good story that ties into some real world themes
+ Good voice performances
+ Great Stealth gameplay
+ Interesting environments that are fun to explore
+ Lots of cool easter eggs
– Performance issues when switching between cameras and rooms
– No real punishment for failing
– Some control issues
Final Score 8.5/10