I’ve had République in my virtual Must Review pile for a while now, and with the third episode arriving on the App Store later this week, and indeed all three episodes touching down on Google Play, I figured this was as good a week as any to turn the spotlight on Camouflaj.
There’s been a lot of talk – from the developers and critics alike – that République sets a new standard in mobile gaming, but I’ll be the judge of that. Verdict below.
Developed by guys who had a hand in classics like Metal Gear Solid 4, Halo 4 and Black & White 2, République is essentially a stealth-action game with a slathering of 1984-style dystopian bleakness.
Our protagonist Hope finds herself in a spot of bother on account of handling contraband (down with books!), and the player is tasked – in this first episode – with helping Hope escape the immediate vicinity.
As the player, you leap around the surveillance network, jumping from camera to camera and tapping where you want Hope to go. Needless to say there are guards patrolling the joint, so it’s necessary to plan ahead, taking their routes into account and whatnot.
And so ends a very brief synopsis of République. More words after the screenshots.
Ok, we’ll start with the obligatory Cons. For starters, République is arguably a little big for its boots. We’re told it was developed over four years, but as a gamer, I’m only interested in the end product – I don’t care if it was developed over four months or four years or four decades.
The notion of pomposity is given credence by the presence of Making Of videos. Clearly République thinks it’s something special, but the danger there is that it sets expectations a little high. Which perhaps explains why I wasn’t exactly blown away.
The whole control system feels a little cumbersome, too. I think that’s because you’re not quite in control of Hope, while movement around the surveillance system is frustratingly restrictive. But I guess that’s arguably the whole point.
Slightly less forgivable, however, I did find myself moving Hope out of cover on a couple of occasions, when what I really wanted to do was make a minute adjustment to the camera. Bah.
In addition, the guards are fairly idiotic, but that’s par for the stealth course, really (Metal Gear Solid, Dishonoured, Splinter Cell…).
On the plus side, République looks AMAZING; that goes for the environments, but special mention goes to the Faceware-powered facial expressions.
The story is intriguing, too. It’s all a bit vague in Episode 1, yes, but presumably things will become clearer throughout the remaining four episodes.
And I’m looking forward to seeing how the gameplay fleshes out. I barely got a chance to use my guard-distracting capabilities, for example, but it’s early days yet.
On the whole, maybe not completely bowled over by République Episode 1, but I'm certainly eager to find out what happens next, and how the game evolves.
- Looks great
- Those facial expressions
- Intriguing story
- République loves République
- Controls can be frustrating
- Silly guards
Summary: After Episode 1, I’m not quite sold on the idea of République reinventing mobile gaming, but consider my interest well and truly stoked.
Price: £2.99 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5.