Comics have been a huge part of my life. I would fluctuate between Marvel and DC at first and occasionally veer into some indie stuff. We’ve seen some good movie adaptations and some bad ones. Nevertheless, they’ve been an influential mark of pop culture. In this age of everyday tech breakthroughs, we’ve seen comics occasionally going full digital ad moton comics are also a thing. What Liberated is trying to do is to give us more freedom when “reading” such releases. A comic that you can actually play, influence some character decisions and even the ending? Sounds tempting.
In this game, you won’t be liberating much anyone, but instead, become a part of an insurgent group known as Liberated. The world in this game is a dark and gloomy place. Social networks, facial recognition, fake news, citizen credit systems. The only truth is the one that you’ve been taught by the government. A story of authoritarianism, how it is slowly born in democracy, and how it consumes it. Fortunately, being a member of an anti-government group will help you reclaim freedom and what’s being taken away from you and the rest of the city.
What makes Liberated is the unique art style and how the story develops. We’ll talk about the art style later. As the story moves forward, you are shown pages from an imaginary comic book. Just like the reality of the game, it is dark, bleak, and raining all the time. At certain points, you can choose how to respond to other characters and slightly influence how they treat you (although, most of the time you can only choose to respond in a “polite” or an “arrogant” manner). There are also some quick-time events from time to time where the reaction window is closely tied to the difficulty you’ve chosen when you started the game. At the core of it, Liberated is a platformer & a side scroller with a few puzzles thrown in between. You work with your crew to infiltrate government facilities, steal some stuff and sneak or shoot your way out depending on how well you did. There are some sections of the game where it reminded me of Mark of The Ninja as you hide in the dark corners and strangle unsuspecting enemies. If things go sideways, you have a gun at your disposal that you can use to shoot your way out. Using it will show you some neat comic book stuff like words “BANG!” and “Headshot!” whenever you shoot at enemies. There is no such thing as a health bar and yo character can only take a couple of hits before dying so sneaking and not rushing in is extremely important.
Now let’s talk about the star of the party. The visuals. While there’s no much color in Liberated due to obvious noir related reasons, smart shadowing and level design still give it some dash or originality and immersive atmosphere. Having a city eternally drenched in rain and coupled with strong shadows on almost every object is a sure way to label your game as noir but there’s more to it in Liberated. The dialogue sometimes seems like it’s from a 60s noir flick and all you need is a corrupt and drunken private detective in the game for a full picture. Although, considering how things are in the game, such character would probably be on the government side.
There is some music during story defining moments but it’s nothing that I would label as memorable. For most of the gameplay, you will be accompanied by some faint & intense background tunes just so you don’t feel completely alone while sneaking. It’s clear that the music in Liberated takes a back seat over the visuals and art style that were clearly given more love. Aside from that, the voice acting is decent. Nothing that will blow your mind but it’s that some dedication was in the place.
Liberation does exactly what it says. It is a decent indie adventure platformer that doesn’t shoot for the start. It is a mix of a few things from other games and that combination works (and plays) rather well. If you’re on a lookout for a noir story-driven platformer that combines some gameplay from Mark of the Ninja and certain visuals from XIII, then this just might be your cup of tea. To be fair, you can probably complete it in one afternoon but if you grab those two of the story add-ons that are now being offered during release week, you might squeeze just a bit more from the overall length of the game. And for such an affordable price, it would be a crime not to pick it up.
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