Rather stupidly, I’ve only gone and finished République Episode 3 before writing about Episode 2; forgive me for a moment while I try to get back into the pre-Episode 3 mindset… *vigorously rubs face*... Ok, I’m good!
République Episode 1 didn’t exactly blow me away, perhaps on account of the abundant hype; Episode 2: Metamorphosis is – as predicted – more of the same but a little better. Nice. Oh, and you Android users can now join in the fun via Google Play.
When we last left République (***spoiler alert***), protagonist Hope was saved from interrogation by a mysterious stranger in a Prizrak guard outfit. What the…?
As such, République Episode 2 opens with Lady Mireille Prideaux lying unconscious on the floor, and once again we’re tasked with escaping the immediate vicinity – after paying a visit to the sympathetic book-loving Librarian. Remember; our dystopian overlords don’t care much for books and music and whatnot.
While République Episode 1 was understandably concerned with setting the scene, and gradually introducing the various gameplay mechanics (the stealth, the battery level on your mobile phone, your ability to unlock doors of increasing difficulty, the concept of upgrades, etc), République Episode 2 jumps in at the deep end. Good.
For starters, we have new, tougher guards with unpredictable patrol routes and protective armour; new OMNI upgrades including the ability to see guards through walls; and a trio of Resident Evil-style puzzles.
Ok, so, Pros and Cons, ladies and gents. As in the first Episode, République Episode 2 looks fantastic, with rich environments and worryingly realistic facial expressions.
As I touched on before, République Episode 2 is free to crank things up a notch since we’re now familiar with the game’s fundamentals. While Episode 1 was almost a drawn out tutorial, Episode 2 is afforded more room to breathe, with lots more in the way of story.
There’s also an utterly compelling moment when you’re given the choice of watching a death captured on CCTV alone, or subjecting Hope to the horror, too. It raises the question of information sharing versus censorship.
And those puzzles? Neat touch. Well, two of them, at least. I did enjoy the one with the statues and the chronology, ditto activating/deactivating laser beams, but the 3D rotational thingy was a bit of a pain in the bum. On the plus side, you can skip it (ahem).
Likewise, the guards remain a pain in the sense that they’re both utterly idiotic (incapable of hearing doors noisily opening and closing directly behind them, or sensing movement just a few feet away), and – simultaneously – relentless machines if they happen to spot you.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of waiting around for guards, something that’s made worse by those new guys with their unpredictable patrol routes. Fortunately, there’s an option to thin their ranks and focus on République’s story.
Do we have three Pros and Cons? Roughly? Ok, verdict time!
- Looks fantastic
- Sweet puzzle action (well, two outta three)
- Should Hope watch the brutal murder?
- The 3D rotational key puzzle (can be skipped)
- The guards are somehow both relentless and utterly inept
- Lots of waiting around for guards to move (guards can be reduced)
Summary: République Episode 2: Metamorphosis is ultimately more of the same but better. If it continues improving like this, I might even be sold on the idea of it setting a “new benchmark” (Washington Post) for mobile gaming.
Price: £2.99 @ App Store (£2.99 per additional episode, £10.49 for four-episode Season Pass)
Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.